Once her children had grown and moved on from the house, it was time for Eileen to re-invent herself!
During the “at home years,” Eileen threw herself into volunteer activities. And, since she’d studied at MSVU and worked in HR at the Halifax Regional School Board, she had a lot of talents to offer! Eileen helped as “Class Mom”, set up the Safe Arrival program at her children’s school, and was a member of the School Advisory Council and the Parent School Association as Program Chair, Secretary and Chair…and chaperoned many class trips, including her daughter’s Honor Choir trip to The Netherlands.
So…we can easily say that being a “stay at home” mom was a little more about helping everyone around her and being completely involved in her children’s lives rather than actually staying at home!
Volunteering at her children’s school wasn’t quite enough for this energetic mom and through the stay-at-home years and continuing on…Eileen has dedicated a great amount of her time and energy to helping others.
Eileen has helped out in the community working for the Heart Foundation and Cancer Society in their door-to-door campaigns, she was the Founding member and Past President of Adoptive Parents Association of NS (even hosting the National Adoption Conference in Halifax the year she was President), she coordinated a series of educational presentations for the young women at the Home of the Guardian Angel, and was a member of the Adoption Advisory Council for the Department of Community Services!
Through her church, Eileen was involved in Parish Council, she Chaired an incredibly successful & well-attended women’s retreat, and she also Chaired the Social Justice Committee. Eileen co-developed, taught and coordinated the “Sunday School” program for several years and she still co-ordinates a program through Social Justice Committee to supply muffins (baked by many volunteers) that are delivered weekly as nutritious snacks to homeless and at-risk kids through Phoenix Youth drop-in centre and the youth shelter…a program that Eileen initiated, that’s still running after 15 years and has since added delivery of toiletries and personal items. Eileen is presently on Social Justice and Liturgy committees and is involved in refugee sponsorship and is a Hospitality Lead. Along with all of that, Eileen looks after the church decorating and she assisted with furniture purchases and other selections and purchases when the new church (Saint Benedict) was being built.
It’s no wonder that Eileen was nominated for an Elizabeth Seton Award!
While Eileen has been involved in many endeavours…she has a special place in her heart to support Dress for Success, Ovarian Cancer Canada, and the ALS Society…and hopes to work more closely with them in the future.
In 2000, Eileen began her Interior Decorating company, Emerald Interiors. While there weren’t a great many courses available to her in Halifax, Eileen studied through distance education at a design school in New York. Along with her Interior Decorating work, Eileen received her certificate in Home Staging in 2005 as well as a certificate in Feng Shui. She continually keeps up-to-date with workshops, courses, and trade shows offered locally and in other cities. Eileen co-founded the NS Interior Decorators’ Association and served on the first Board of Directors, holding positions of Membership Director, Vice-President, and President. She also co-founded Home Stagers Atlantic and forms part of the leadership team, and is a member of the Centre for Women in Business. Through her business she has volunteered with such projects as revamping a community centre, supplying items for children at a family centre, and Co-coordinator of volunteers for Dine By Design East for two years.
Eileen’s design work keeps her incredibly busy between meeting with clients and contractors, overseeing projects and installations, staging a home….the list goes on. Eileen is incredibly friendly and happy to work on a new and exciting project…helping clients find the perfect space to live and work within.
To say that Eileen’s work and volunteer life is busy, is a huge understatement!
But…it’s not all work! Eileen and her husband Don are the proud parents of Jillian and Ryan…as their kids were growing up, there’s was the house where kids congregated. Jillian is now living in Toronto with her husband and new baby, Sophie…and Ryan lives a bit closer to home and, as a skilled carpenter and renovator, has worked on some projects with Mom!
Eileen is the very proud grandmother of three! While taking more frequent trips to Toronto to see the baby, she enjoys spending time with Ryley and Mia…helping out their parents by taking the kids to music lessons (where she can transport an entire set of drums in her Kia Soul), bringing them to youth group or sports games…helping on school projects…picking up at the sitter, doing crafts…finding time to do anything that makes her grandkids happy including trips to the market, parks a movie, playdates with friends and sleepovers.
When not working, volunteering or spending time with her family…Eileen is quite happy to spend some time with her husband, having travelled to several world destinations…they manage to fit in a trip to White Point each summer (usually with kids and grandkids), and are looking forward to a trip to Niagara this year. As well, plans are underway for a dream trip to Ireland!
Eileen is an avid reader, loves to refinish furniture, dabbles in photography and enjoys working in the garden. Lately, she has re-discovered the joy in colouring. She enjoys music…classical, jazz, and instrumental while working at her desk and reading…then switches it up to pop/rock or broadway tunes while working in the kitchen…or driving in her car.
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About Eileen’s car:
Eileen wasn’t planning on purchasing a car when she did but after being rear-ended, she found herself shopping for a new vehicle. She admits, her husband thought she may have hit her head a little harder than they’d originally though when she wanted to test drive one of the “quirky-looking Souls!” It wasn’t long before Eileen was driving one home! The ease in jumping in or out and accessing the back seats for client samples or strapping in a child into a car seat were huge benefits. Plus, it holds a ton of stuff in the back and accessing everything form the hatch is easy. Eileen says it’s great in snow and has never failed to make it up the steep hill she lives on. Plus, she loves the way “Soul” is written in the upholstery along the inside of the doors!
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