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Recognizing Lynn Dollin as a Women of Influence in Local Government Award

by Sean Meyer, Municipal World
in Governance, Leadership

As part of its ongoing 2020 awards celebrating Women of Influence in Local Government, Municipal World is excited to recognize Lynn Dollin, Mayor of Innisfil, Ontario.

“This award celebrates women who have made significant contributions to the field, whether on the administrative or political side of life,” said Municipal World CEO Susan Gardner. “These women have worked tirelessly to make things happen in the interest of strong local government, and also supported so many others along the way. And, they deserve credit for helping to inspire the next generation of local government leaders.”

Lynn Dollin has been the mayor of Innisfil since 2018, and a force on town council for some 26 years. A councillor for a decade and then deputy mayor after that, Dollin was also the president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) from 2016 to 2018, where she represented municipal interests in discussions with the province. She is currently completing her term as AMO’s past president.

In Dollin’s nomination, Karen Shea highlighted how the mayor’s “influence, leadership, and bold vision,” has been essential in gaining Innisfil a reputation for being “Canada’s most innovative town.” The list of innovation initiatives is impressive for a municipality the size of Innisfil – including becoming the first municipality globally to partner with Uber to create a transit system solution, and the first municipality in Canada to accept cryptocurrency as a payment method for taxes.”

Embracing Mentorship for Young Leaders

In addition, the nomination spotlighted Dollin’s role as a mentor in AMO’s inaugural Youth Fellows Program, which is designed to help guide future leaders as they begin a rewarding career in municipal politics.

“Being a woman of influence, it is a responsibility. I think it comes with a challenge to do a lot of things better, to raise the bar a little higher, and help other women,” Dollin said. “It gives me great hope for the future that young women are so confident, and so well spoken, have such initiative and such drive. Knowing they are coming up behind us is very reassuring to me.”

Dollin credits her own mentors – including 2019 Women of Influence honouree and former AMO executive director Pat Vanini, and local government icon and former mayor Hazel McCallion – for helping to show her way in the local government world.

In also nominating Dollin, Innisfil Councillor Donna Orsatti described the mayor as a well-respected member of council with a broad knowledge and involvement in “policies and politics from both the municipal and provincial level.”

Championing Local Government Excellence

Given her position on Innisfil council for 26 years and her leadership at AMO, it comes as no surprised that Dollin is an unabashed champion of local government.

However, Dollin acknowledged local government can also be stressful. This is particularly true, she added, in the social media world of today where it can often feel like people have become more polarized and spiteful. And of course, their comments – which would likely never be made in person – can be disheartening as well. Even so, there are times when a word or two from the public is just what she needs to get through the day.

“I get 100 emails a day. Two of them are the ones that keep me going. I keep a file of those ones,” Dollin said. “The ones that say you made a difference, we couldn’t have gotten through this without you, you are doing a great job keep it up. Those are the ones that keep you going.”  MW

✯ Municipal World Insider and Executive Members: You might also be interested in the article: Municipal World honours Women of Influence in Local Government. Note that you can now access the complete collection of past articles (and more) from your membership dashboard.

Sean Meyer is Senior Content Editor for Municipal World. During his 25-year career in journalism, Sean has covered municipal politics in several small- and medium-sized communities and gained an understanding of the structure and political framework of government.

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