The Lifetime Achievement Award was created to recognize a women who has been in business for many years and to celebrate her achievements as a business leader in our community. Last year’s award was presented to Janet Campbell, owner of Mrs. McGarrigle’s in Merrickville.
Mary Rae got a taste of what would become her passion at a very young age, when she started helping her grandfather in the family business.
When she finished high school she enrolled in college to learn about secretarial work. Once she graduated she did a short stint at CFJR and then the Bank of Montreal. She began working full time at JB Kelly insurance Broker Limited in July of 1978. This was a very busy time for her with children at home and a budding career. Mary Rae became a Registered Insurance Broker in 1980 and a shareholder in the firm in 1988 with money she borrowed from family. She has achieved the highest level of competency in the insurance business completing all designations that are available. She also served two terms as President of the Leeds Grenville Insurance Brokers Association.
A very shrewd business woman, Mary Rae is not afraid to get down to business and work shoulder to shoulder with her team, to create processes, checklists and to ensure quality standard are met within herorganization. Her co-workers describe her as: a good listener, great adviser and always non-judging.
She was President of JB Kelly until she and her partners sold the business in September 2016.
Another talent that she is blessed with is the ability to recognize talent in the music industry. In 2005 she helped Johnny Reid start his fan club and then went on tour with him! She also realized a unique talent in Brett Kissel and brought him to the Joshua Bates Centre in Athens for his debut in Eastern Ontario.
Mary Rae has been instrumental in putting the Joshua Bates Centre in Athens on the map, assisting with getting acts to come to this small venue. She is a member of the Athens United Church and has been involved in many projects at the church. She is a devoted mother to 3 wonderful children, 7 adorable grandchildren and one precious great grandchild. She was married to Wayne, the love of her life, for 40 years. Even two bouts with cancer couldn’t stop her from doing all the things she wanted to do, including travelling.