Volunteer Vignette 3: Dena Speevak


Den Speevak, AJA 50+ Volunteer

Dena Speevak, the long-serving Secretary on the Board of Directors of AJA 50+, loves to write.  Much of her volunteer story below is, in fact, in her own words. 

Like many AJA-ers, Dena came to Ottawa from Montreal in the ‘70s looking for opportunity. Armed with a Master’s of Library Science degree from McGill, she went on to work for 29 years in libraries and information management, primarily in the Federal Government.

I was part of the large migration of Montrealers to Ottawa in the decade of the 1970s.  I have a Masters in Library Science from McGill and worked for 29 years in libraries and information management, primarily in the Federal Government.

By her own admission, Dena is a “planner”.  As such, she prepared for retirement in 2009 with a commitment to try new things such as golf, yoga, and educational courses.  As well, as she put it, she wanted “to feel a part of society and use my skills”.  In 2011, Dena started attending a few AJA 50+ events and found the organization to be “like family”.  She met the President, Cecily Bregman, one of the original founders, and her “clear sense of the mission of AJA 50+ was inspiring” to Dena.

Dena understood the value of volunteering, devoting her time and expertise in organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Society, the Ottawa Network for Education and Elections Canada.

Dena also looked into volunteering for AJA and for the next two years was responsible for the Communications portfolio. In this position, Dena wrote articles for the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin to promote AJA 50+, its events and programs, and she prepared a brochure for the organization.

Cecily Bregman then encouraged Dena to become AJA’s Secretary, a role she has been fulfilling with professionalism and dedication ever since.  Tasks include preparing agendas for Board meetings and the AGM and minutes for these important sessions to provide an account of key issues and decisions.  As a member of the Board, Dena actively participates in the decision-making and strategic planning processes on behalf of AJA in all its myriad aspects.

Dena notes, “Having been a library manager, I love information and writing.  Therefore, I feel I am using my skills in the focus and attention to detail required as Secretary, and previously in Communications.  It is wonderful to be appreciated for your abilities, to feel useful, and to get to meet so many talented retirees from different walks of life”. 

Dena Speevak readily encourages all members to get involved in a volunteer role with our organization.  As she put it so well, “There is a great deal of teamwork to the running of AJA 50+ and it is being a part of something useful that is so satisfying.  I am very grateful to have AJA 50+ in my life”.  And we are very grateful to have Dena Speevak so involved in the life of AJA 50+.