Natasha Dobler began her role as the Executive Director in January of 2017. Natasha recently sat down with our Community Development Team to share why she was drawn to Nova Vita and what she plans to bring to the role.
Q:What motivated you to apply for the role of Executive Director?
A: I was drawn to Nova Vita because of its reputation and innovation. Not only does Nova Vita provide a continuum of services and programs for women and children experiencing violence, abuse, and homelessness, it also has rehabilitation programs for perpetrators of violence. I wanted to be part of an organization that was making a difference, creating healthier lives and communities, and willing to be creative in achieving those goals. Closet Couture Boutique, Nova Vita’s social enterprise, was another unique gem that attracted me to this organization as a sustainable way to generate income for the shelter (plus I happen to love fashion).
Q: What was your background prior to coming to Nova Vita?
A: I’ve worked in a women’s shelter in the Hamilton area for over 15 years in various capacities, starting as an emergency shelter worker and progressively moving up into a senior management role. For 7 years, I served on the Woman Abuse Working Group, a coalition of over 20 community agencies in Hamilton working towards ending violence against women, and Chaired the coalition for 3 years. I was also the community coordinator for the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women for 7 years.
Q: What unique qualities do you add to Nova Vita and the role of Executive Director?
A: When you meet me in person, it’s very clear that I have a passion for anti-violence work. I love working collaboratively with my staff team and with community partners. I’m focused, driven, and analytical, yet I enjoy thinking outside the box. My energetic personality tends to be contagious.
Q: Tell us about your hobbies and interests outside of Nova Vita.
A: Going for a nature hike with my partner and two children is my most favourite pastime that soothes my soul. And when I get a chance to slow down, I love to practice yoga, go swimming, admire art, and travel. I love learning and trying new things. I’ve been known to spontaneously dance in public or sing out loud… in my car… with the windows up. I don’t have a very good singing voice and that’s ok.
Q: What is your vision for Nova Vita?
A: My vision always is to work towards violence-free lives, relationships, and communities. I want Nova Vita to be the leader in compassionate, effective, innovative, and sustainable service provision; a safe, inclusive, community-based organization that offers hope and assists individuals on their healing journey.
Q: What surprised you about Nova Vita?
A: I was familiar with the programs and services Nova Vita’s offers, like the emergency shelter for women and children, the transitional housing support, the counselling programs, the off-site programs for perpetrators, and the community outreach. What surprised me the most was how the staff and volunteers went above and beyond in their work duties illustrating their dedication, compassion, and commitment towards the clients. I quickly discovered that Nova Vita was more than a bed. Not just in the services we provide, but in the heart and soul that is Nova Vita, alive within our hallways, and rooms, and throughout our building. It’s a feeling that is hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it. If you’ve visited Nova Vita, then you will know what I mean.
Q: Describe one unique thing you have learned from working at Nova Vita.
A: The one thing that I have learned from working here and I am truly amazed about, is the sheer volume of community support and commitment towards Nova Vita and in ending violence. A community that is willing to lend a hand, to get involved, to donate, and to help us do our work. Our work, here at Nova Vita, is critical. It can have a tremendous impact and it can be life-changing. It’s hard work and it’s emotional and it’s tiring. But it’s also inspirational. And it’s meaningful. It feels good to know that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. And to have the community support you in this vision is just incredible.
Q: What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishments of your career?
A: Becoming the Executive Director of Nova Vita, of course!
Q: What should the Brantford community know about you?
A: Hmmm. What to tell you that I haven’t already shared? I am a hard worker but I also like to have fun; balance is important to me. I’m good with math and also creative. I always try to look for the positive in any given situation, or at the very least accept the lesson learned. I’m talkative and animated, especially when telling a story about my children, but I can also be a very good listener, experience from my years as a counsellor. I believe diversity is a strength and I’m always striving to be more self-aware and inclusive. I also identify as an intersectional feminist.
Fire Chief Caskanette and Natasha at Heels to Heal 2017
Q: Anything else you ‘d like to say?
A: The Brantford and Brant County community has been extremely welcoming. I have met so many interesting and friendly people already. Each and every one of them has been kind and inviting and helpful. I am quite grateful for the warm reception I’ve received so far and I look forward to getting more involved in the community.