A Conversation with Past Board of Directors Presidents during the Tenure of Peter Rozeluk
“I was one of the people Peter talked to as he was working through the process of leaving his career as an accountant, to pursue his calling to work in the non-profit space,” says Allen Page, current Board of Directors (BOD) President. Allen met Peter Rozeluk around 1986 at the church they were both attending. Many years later, Peter confided in Allen that he was ready to commit his career to helping neighbours in need.
In August 2010, Peter was hired as the Executive Director of Mission Services of London (MSL). “We needed the kind of analytical thinking Peter brings to things. He’s an observer, he asks a lot of questions, and he researches,” states Susan Gowan, BOD President from 2010-2012. “Tenacity is the word I think best describes him. He was determined to do well for the sake of the clients, regardless of obstacles”.
Ross Chapin, MSL Foundation BOD President from 2012-2016, agrees. “It would have been very easy for Peter to get lost in the numbers but he never allowed that to happen. He never lost sight that he was caring for real people, real human beings with significant needs, and he was guided by that”.
Peter’s determination to assist those struggling in the community was largely driven by his faith in God. “His faith is so strong, which is amazing and which he really needs with Mission Services,” says Betty Doré, current BOD President for the MSL Foundation. Kim Cechetto, BOD President from 2018-2020, shares a similar outlook. “He always had a quiet optimism about him that I think is really based in his belief in God, and his belief that God directs the organization”.
“Peter would often say, ‘We are doing the best we can and I just have to trust that God will help us,’” Deb Miller, BOD President from 2012-2014, recalls. “I was so impressed that he was so faith-filled and he realized we can’t control everything, and so we’re just going to control what we can, and things worked out”.
Peter was also able to guide progress and decision-making by placing confidence in the Senior Leadership Team. “He had a very humble approach to his leadership, and was always interested in what other people had to say and considered their opinions carefully,” says Alex Verdun, BOD President from 2016-2018. “An excellent leader is a person who draws out the best of the people he’s working with and encourages them to reach their full potential, and I saw that for sure on the leadership team. Each of the members was a solid contributor”.
Deb echoes Alex, “He was committed to being an equitable leader and he really treated everyone as being a significant contributor because he respected the work they were doing, and he respected the care that staff and leaders were bringing to the community”. Allen adds, “That’s a hallmark of his leadership. He places trust in his team and he lets them operate. He guides”.
With the support of staff, volunteers, and the BOD, Peter was able to accomplish much over the past 12 years. One example is the expansion of the Mission Store which Allen describes as a “bold move”. “To have a storefront with the profile that ours does, I think it has benefited the organization but it was also bold to do it,” he says. While the Mission Store has always had a great impact in the community, it was once quite small. Today, the store spans over 10,000 square feet and was recognized as a Corporate Social Responsibility finalist for the London Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Awards in 2019. It was also voted the Best Thrift Shop in the Best of London competition by The London Free Press in 2022.
“That was a big project and a big move,” says Susan. “He didn’t have to have all the implementation skills. He found those people and allowed them to drive it”.
Peter was also able to transform the governance of the organization during his tenure. “Moving from an operational board to a governance board under his leadership,” explains Allen. “Peter also placed an emphasis on creating, implementing, and updating the policy manual, ensuring it was both comprehensive and internally consistent”. Allen describes Peter as someone who believes good policy informs good practice. “You see that being manifested in his spearheading of Mission Services’ accreditation program through the Canadian Centre for Accreditation”.
Allen also believes Peter “was bold in bringing in a focus on development and fundraising”. Betty agrees as she describes one of Peter’s greatest accomplishments with the Foundation as “supporting the fundraising team over the years, and letting them grow and think outside the box”. She notes that the Foundation has always been able to assist Mission Services of London when required.
“Financial stability is key but there’s also operational and spiritual stability,” says Wendy Broadhead, BOD President from 2020-2022. “He provided a good foundation for that so we could continue to operate”. The spiritual component of MSL was a priority for Peter. Not only was he driven by his faith, but increasing the visibility of the organization’s faith-based values was an objective set by the BOD. “Even though we were doing the things we were doing because we were motivated by our faith, we wanted to start raising that in our profile and messaging. That has happened. It’s been subtle but positive… Peter directed that activity. Other people were involved, but as the leader, he set the tone and direction,” explains Alex. “He’s a very clear-headed thinker and implementer of things,” Wendy adds.
Most recently, Peter has led the expansion of MSL’s addiction treatment program. As part of the Ontario government’s Addiction Recovery Fund, Quintin Warner House will receive $584,000 each year for the next two years for additional addiction treatment beds, doubling its capacity from 10 to 20 beds. What is more, an increase in aftercare programming is planned to coincide with the expansion, including more supportive housing for graduates. With long wait lists for addiction treatment in Ontario, this will have a tremendous impact on men seeking sobriety as well as their loved ones.
Needless to say, Peter has had a great impact on the operations of MSL over the past 12 years which has made a lasting difference in the London community and in the lives of neighbours in need. “He was the right leader at the right time with the right skill set for Mission Services,” Allen surmises.
David Broad, Foundation BOD President from 2010-2012 says it for all of us, “He will be greatly missed”.