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Hub for Good

Meet Ron. Ron Hunt is a Carleton alumnus (BEng/74; MEng/76), past Carleton Alumni Volunteer of the Year recipient and long-time Carleton donor.

After 26 years at Bell Canada, he moved into management consulting for the public and private sector. Now retired, Ron maintains an extremely active lifestyle—both physically and in his community. He’s been a member of the Rideau Trail Association for over 40 years (including two stints as president of the Association), past director of Hike Ontario, dedicated volunteer at his church and volunteer project management mentor for the Ottawa Chapter of the Project Management Institute.

He’s also a runner, a gardener, a hiking enthusiast and an aviation history buff.

He’s an impressive (and busy) guy, to say the least.

It’s not surprising, then, that as the pandemic escalated, Ron looked immediately to his community to see how he could be of service.

“I’m currently the vice-chair of council at my church as well as the chair of the property committee,” Ron explains. “Over the past month, I’ve been really busy working with my colleagues as we dealt with the restrictions on in-person activities and the cancellation of in-person church services. We’ve leveraged Zoom to move a lot of activities and meetings online. In fact, I have become the local expert on the use of Zoom for committee and council meetings, including screen sharing, voting and managing the conversations.”

Upon learning of his expertise with Zoom, the Board of the Bell Pensioners’ Group (BPG), with which Ron has been involved since 2006, reached out for help.

“The BPG was recently faced with the challenge of pivoting their planned two-day face-to-face board meeting in Montreal to an online format. When they approached me to help support this shift, I was happy to be involved.

“While working with my church on the move to online activities, I wrote a guide on facilitating effective online meetings through Zoom,” Ron recalls. “I drafted the document to support my church colleagues, but it came in handy for BPG as well. I’ve since shared it with other people in my network, including my hiking friends and colleagues at Carleton.”

In addition to helping out the organizations with which he volunteers, Ron makes time to support his personal connections, too.

Every day, he’s been checking in on his friend and fellow Carleton donor, Nadia, to make sure she’s doing OK.

“I met Nadia in the fall of 2017 when, at the age of 89, she expressed an interest in attending my ‘Introduction to Hiking’ course. We started doing some gentle urban walks and have become good friends. I usually see her once a week and we connect by phone every day.

“With the pandemic and ensuing physical distancing guidelines, this check-in has become even more important. Nadia lives alone, so I make a point to touch base with her on a daily basis; we’ve even had a couple Zoom sessions. She knows that she can call me if she has any technical issues or if she just wants to chat.”

When asked about his drive to help others instead of slowing down during this time, Ron simply says: “That’s just the way I am. I think I inherited my interest and willingness to serve others from my mother. One of my sons often says ‘To dad, play is work, and work is play.’”

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