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Natalie Chapman, a committed citizen

Mental Health
Social inclusion
April 22, 2018 •  By Centraide

Her leadership and vision have contributed to and continue to improve the quality of life of many families.

Natalie Chapman worked for more than 20 years for the West Island Association for the Intellectually Handicapped.

Now retired, Natalie Chapman worked for more than 20 years for the West Island Association for the Intellectually Handicapped (WIAIH). As recently as a few months ago, she served as Executive Director there. Her longstanding commitment to promoting social justice in her community is inspiring: her leadership and vision have contributed to and continue to improve the quality of life of many families on the West Island.

With the help of her team, Nathalie set up numerous programs to offer more services to people living with intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorder, as well as providing crucial support to their families.

A great leader, Nathalie was always able to motivate each member of her team and rally them around a common vision and goal. Throughout her career, she showed the organization nothing but spirit, a willingness to be flexible, and unerring commitment. As of her first year as a Director, she provided the Association with a budget surplus that allowed her to maintain a stable, permanent team, which helped make WIAIH one of the largest organizations of its kind in Quebec.

Although heading a major organization like the WIAIH takes a tremendous amount of time and effort, Nathalie continued all the while to volunteer her time for a variety of projects that benefit the West Island community. Over the years, Nathalie has sat on the boards of many public institutions, including on the West Island’s CIUSSS (health centre) committees.

More recently, in addition to her role at the WIAIH, Nathalie has been successfully raising funds and promoting the creation of a new community centre called KIZMET, which is aimed at the youngest children in the community who are awaiting results on an autism diagnosis. This new centre will offer the children’s families invaluable support, by putting them in contact with other people who have gone through the same experience.

Where some see insurmountable obstacles, Nathalie Chapman has always seen opportunities to be seized. She has never shied away from rolling up her sleeves to get things done. Her outstanding contribution to improving the social fabric of West Island comes down to her unwavering, authentic leadership, and her passion, trust, and courage – the hallmarks of all great leaders.

Natalie Chapman is the proud recipient of the Solidaires Leadership 2018 award.