Second Spirit of Michael Young Award Presented by SSE Ontario

20 Aug 2018

By Chryssa Koulis

As part of our 5th birthday celebrations, I had the honour of presenting the Spirit of Michael Young Award to an inspiring woman and dear friend. This is part of the speech I gave that evening:

“In 2014 we presented Diane Dupuy of Famous People’s Players the Spirit of Michael Young Award for being a trailblazing social entrepreneur. This isn’t an award we present annually, but rather only when we find that special person that exhibits the qualities of SSE founder, Michael Young. And that’s a very tall order. In fact, Marjorie and I haven’t seen eye to eye on this since we gave the award to Diane three years ago. The recipient has to be a visionary, a leader, a follower, a true humanitarian. But, that’s not all. They also need to be inspiring, to catalyze people to move humanity forward.

I’m proud to say that we found someone who truly embodies the spirit of Michael Young, and that the entire SSE community supports in receiving this award. It’s my great honour to present the Spirit of Michael Young Award to my dear friend, Marjorie Brans.

While Marjorie takes a moment to collect herself, as I think we successfully managed to surprise her, I have just a few words. Marjorie is a woman of many talents but her greatest gift is making every single person she encounters feel valuable – each and every one of us in this room has felt this. She believes in each of us more than we believe in ourselves at times. She has no boundaries, which often gets us into trouble. She is relentlessly trying to make the world a better place, and will stop at nothing. She is not a typical Managing Director. She has helped people who are in trouble with the law, people struggling with mental health issues, people dealing with illness and death. I’ve seen her sacrifice over and over again for the benefit of this organization, not because of the organization but because of the people in it. Because of you.

Marjorie, I know that you don’t think you deserve this award but you’re wrong. When I sent out the note to our community saying that this was the plan, the outpouring of support was overwhelming. We unanimously agreed that you deserve this award. It’s not about your accomplishments, or your titles. It’s about how you make people feel. You believe in the potential of people, of everyone. And like Michael Young said, ‘everybody has the capacity to be remarkable’, and no one believes that and demonstrates that more than you. On behalf of the entire SSE community, thank you for being the wonderful person that you are.”