End of an Era

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The TADA bids farewell to Doreen Rodrigues, who is retiring after more than 33 years with the association.

In a world where loyalty and dedication to a job are increasingly rare, individuals who not only remain committed to an assignment for decades, but also attend to that assignment with the utmost professionalism and attention to detail, stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

Such is the case with one of our dearest team members, Doreen Rodrigues, who recently announced her retirement and will certainly be greatly missed by myself, by the TADA staff, by our board, by our dealers, and by anyone who has had the pleasure of working with her over the more than 33 years she has devoted to our organization.

Over the years Doreen has worked with 33 different presidents, as well as three executive directors, including myself. I have personally seen her work her wonders, effortlessly (or so it always seemed) attending to all her duties, and making sure the TADA runs smoothly and everything is organized.

A consummate professional, Doreen has always been deeply respected by the dealers as well as the vendor community. She has always had what I call the “back of the industry” in mind. Whenever a dealer called with any kind of need or concern, she always made their concern her top priority.

To say that she is a hard worker would be an understatement. I can recall her coming into the office while on her vacation if she needed to. That’s not something we ever asked her to do, but she was willing to do so for the good of the TADA and our members. She was always the first one in the office in the morning, and always willing to do whatever was needed to make sure everything was cared for.

TADA’s ‘Mum’

Most of the executives and board members fondly referred to Doreen as “Mum.” That’s because she took care of them as though they were her own children. My experience with Doreen has been nothing but positive.

I think back to when we met over 11 years ago. At that time, Doreen had already been part of our organization for over 22 years, and I know that it couldn’t have been easy to have a new executive director come on board—and one that wanted to make some changes.

But not only did Doreen adapt to that change, she has been pivotal in helping us become the association we are today. Whether it’s in the services we provide, the events we host, or even some of the automation that we’ve been able to bring to our processes, Doreen has been a professional and a real friend.

It’s going to be difficult for all of us to say goodbye. It’s going to be a big change. The industry—and I, personally—are indebted to Doreen. Some of my favourite “Doreen quotes” include, “You’re crazy,” “It’s not happening,” “Over my dead body,” and “I’ll get it done, not to worry!” She will be missed.

Past Presidents

As we say farewell to Doreen and wish her the best for her retirement years, I thought it appropriate to have some of our past Presidents share their thoughts with us:

Doug Sullivan, TADA President, 2016/17

“She is the mother hen. I have a hard time believing she’s retiring. She’s certainly going to be missed. She’s a wonderful lady. She’s part of the family, and she’s someone we won’t soon forget.”

Larry Lantz, TADA President, 2015/16

“She’s calm and reassuring. She has a great sense of humour and is happy to be in the background taking care of all the details. She’s like a momma bear looking after her cubs.

“I always thanked her for babysitting us, because when we forgot something, she was always there to remind us and to make sure nothing important would fall between the cracks.”

Susan Gubastsa, TADA President 2018/19

“Doreen is probably one of the most together and solid individuals I’ve ever met. She just commands respect, but not in a harsh way. She’s very gentle and kind, but at the same time, she’s the only person I know that when Doreen sends you an email, you respond. There’s no thinking, ‘I’ll get back to her later.’ You just see her name, and I don’t know what ‘it’ is, but you respond.

“The first time I met her, I was going to my very first TADA meeting. And when I was introduced to her, she rattled off a list of details about me and then rhymed off a story about my dad. Her memory is impressive. She’s like an encyclopedia.

“She’s like a mother to all of us. She’s so warm, but when she needs to kick your butt, then she kicks your butt… just like a real mom. Everybody loves her because she’s a wonderful human being. She will be missed.”

Ken Shaw, TADA President, 2004/05

“She’s the classic ‘if you want it done right, do it yourself ’ person. I’ve always admired her attention to detail and how she made things look simple, even when they weren’t.

“She’s not the kind of person who wants praise and recognition. She does what she does well, and she shies away from the spotlight. She was the mother hen, and to this day I still call her ’mum.’

“It’s the end of an era. It’s not going to be the same without Doreen.”

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