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The collected wisdom of ...

Mary-Long Irwin

President, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce

Residence: Thunder Bay

Q Describe your perfect day.


My perfect day would include a long leisurely walk along Lake Superior with my husband, Jock, and our daughter's dogs. We would be able to feel the cool air, see the fall colors of the leaves and realize the gift of where we live. After the walk we would spend the evening with our family and friends.

Q Have you ever witness a miracle?

Yes I have, every day that my daughter Carla is here is a miracle. She was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 6 months and was given 10 to 12 years to live. Today she is 29 and with the miracle of treatments, her faith and will to survive, she continues to amaze me.

Q Ever take a spectacular risk? How did it turn out?

For those that know me, know that I have a fear of heights, water and I do not swim. Several years ago Jock bought me a gift of Scuba Diving lessons. I accepted the gift not realizing what a risk this was. After "in class and pool" lessons we were on our way to Jamaica. My first dive was almost 100 feet in a perfectly clear ocean. My fear of heights kicked in as I could see a turtle 100 ft below. I put my faith and trust in Jock and the Scuba diving master and finished the dive. Today, it is one of my favorite ways to see another part of the spectacular world in which we live. I am thankful that I did not let fear rule me and that I took the risk and didn't miss seeing the wonders of the ocean.

Q Who are the greatest minds you've ever met?

The greatest minds, to me, are that of an entrepreneur. They believe in what they can do, they have so much confidence in their business they put up their personal assets including their homes so they can get loans to get started, they work 80 hours or more per week, provide jobs for people and sometimes meet payroll with personal credit cards.

Q Is there one year in your life you would want back?

If I could I would take 1996 back. It was the year I married the most wonderful man in the world and I also weighed 125 lbs.

Q What will keep northwestern Ontario's industries sustainable?

We need a level playing field for our industries. We need competitive sustainable energy prices similar Manitoba, Quebec, and Minnesota. business to make sure southern Ontario and Queen's Park understand the significant impact this industry has to the province.
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Author:Irwin, Mary-Long
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:Interview
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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