Dr. Roberta Bondar profile picture

150 Profiles: Dr. Roberta Bondar

As we mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist is profiling Canadians from across the non-profit sector and putting a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector.

Name: Dr. Roberta Bondar

Current role in the sector: President (volunteer), The Roberta Bondar Foundation

Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector: Before anything had left planet Earth—including satellites and Yuri Gagarin.

What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
It has always been from a volunteer perspective. I grew up in and was heavily influenced by the volunteer world of my parents, Mildred and Ed Bondar. As a young child and teenager, my sister and I were avid Girl Guides from Brownies to Sea Rangers, members of both our church youth groups and family YMCA. I believe in and have lived the motto of “Service Before Self”, volunteering in projects that depended on my dedicated youthful time and energy. Our mother and father fostered the values of respect and dignity for others, encouraging my sister and me in leadership and followership roles.

Describe your desk/workspace.
My desk is usually a MacBook Pro that sits on my lap wherever I am doing fieldwork in support of The Roberta Bondar Foundation. Other times, I am in my home library, surrounded by medical, scientific and technical reference texts.

What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
I have expanded my understanding of the non-profit sector in practice: in my former role as Chancellor of Trent University and now as a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors. I am also an avid reader and researcher and use Twitter as well to find relevant articles and news items.

What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
The sector needs to constantly think about governance and the ethical responsibility that underscore the actions and activities of an organization, from the top down.

Do you know someone we should profile as part of this series? Email us at philanthropistprofiles@gmail.com

Dr. Roberta Bondar is a neurologist, scientist, author, professional landscape and nature photographer and the first Canadian female astronaut and the world’s first neurologist to fly in space. Among her many awards and distinctions, she is an Officer of the Order of Canada, appointed to the Order of Ontario, inducted into the International Women’s Forum International Hall of Fame, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and honoured with her own star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. Dr. Bondar was Chancellor of Trent University for two terms and is the President of The Roberta Bondar Foundation.