2017 IW Winners

Influential Community Trailblazer - Timmins

Noella Rinaldo

Noella Rinaldo

Noella Rinaldo is a woman of many skills and talents, but sitting still isn’t one of them.

The tireless community advocate wears multiple hats on any given day in her myriad roles as a Timmins City Councillor, the Executive Director of the Downtown Timmins Business Improvement Area (BIA), and a member of several boards and committees.

“Timmins is my hometown, and I see so much potential and opportunity for its future that I feel it’s a privilege to be part of the growth,” she said. “My work with the BIA , council, and sitting on these boards and committees is an honour to help shape what the future of Timmins looks like. The efforts bring together people, resources and ideas to move us forward.”

Rinaldo spent her childhood in the small hydro community of Fraserdale/ Abitibi Canyon, but moved at the age of 17 to Timmins.

She hit the ground running on arrival, simultaneously holding down two or three jobs at any given time — everything from radio announcer to aesthetician — before launching a men’s clothing store, Zenone’s, with her husband, Perry. The store eventually expanded into women’s clothing as well, opening locations in North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie.

After 25 years in retail, Rinaldo left the stores, and her career entered a new, unexpected chapter. In 2010, in a chance encounter with then-mayor Tom Laughren and Counc. Mike Doody, Rinaldo learned the BIA was seeking an Executive Director, applied, and got the job.

“It’s funny how life opens another door,” she said. “It was just kind of serendipity that I met them both that day and everything kind of worked out.”

She simultaneously decided to run for city council, and is currently in the middle of her second term. She’s only the fourth woman to ever sit on council, and has been on serving longer than any other of the former female members combined.

Of her vast repertoire of completed projects, Rinaldo’s proudest successes are those that bring value to the community. In 2011, she successfully worked to establish the Urban Park Market, a farmers market that annually draws thousands to the downtown core. Three years later, she led a campaign to upgrade the downtown electrical grid to provide a more stable and secure power source for the downtown businesses.

Rinaldo believes strongly in using her life to improve her community and the lives around her. And a large part in making that happen are the connections people make with each other.

“No matter where you are, you’re meeting people for a reason, and there will be a point down the road where you realize why you met them,” she said. “Everybody brings something to the table.”

It’s unlikely Rinaldo will slow down any time soon, as each idea she has, and each connection she makes, sparks an idea for a new project, or a new way to grow the community.

“I love feeling that we are moving towards change and improvement for a better city. I enjoy the challenge, the exuberance and expectation of growth,” she said. “It’s why I sit on council, why I love my work with the BIA and the committees I sit on. It’s the optimism of the future.”

Sponsored by: