From Opimian’s New Chairperson
Carol Fitzwilliam, Chairperson of the Board
Carol Fitzwilliam was recently named President and Chairperson of the Board of Directors. She has been on Opimian’s Board since 2017. She is a retired member of the Quebec Bar, a certified director (ICD.D) and a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors. Welcome, Carol!
Opimian Wine Club is one of the great treasures of my life. My husband Frank and I joined Opimian almost 15 years ago, and from the beginning we subscribed to the Founders’ Choice wine program. We had always been a wine-drinking family, but we were ready to try better wines. Neither of us knows much about wine, but we know when we get one we really like. For us, Founders’ Choice is a gift that keeps on giving! Also, relying on Jane Masters MW’s tasting notes, we have chosen wines of significant breadth and diversity that have expanded our experience and enjoyment. Both Frank and I are quite content to continue to let Jane improve our wine palates!
Throughout my law and business career, I have served on boards of directors of community organizations, educational institutions and crown corporations. While each board presents unique challenges, the best boards are those that bring together people of diverse skills who work collaboratively to ensure the organization’s future strategic success. The Opimian board shares the qualities of the best boards, bringing dedicated and hardworking members with a wide range of professional experience, and who volunteer countless hours to guide Opimian’s future. We have challenges, but we are addressing them one by one, and along with Opimian’s dedicated and enthusiastic staff, we are seeing progress.
The future success of Opimian lies in our ability to engage the next generation of wine lovers. Today’s wine lover has multiple options and channels for purchasing good wine. However, how many can say on any day of the week, “tonight’s wine was chosen by a Master of Wine”? Or, where else can one enjoy such good value with unique and exclusive wines from small vineyards worldwide?
Our children, Emma and Daniel, have grown up with Opimian and understand why we love it. This year we offered them a membership and a subscription to the Discovery program, which they will share. I suspect that as their palates evolve and their lives mature, they will also be avid ambassadors for Opimian.
Q&A with Carole
1. What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It’s a reminder to us all that a healthy society requires the voices, the inspiration and the creativity of women and men in order to flourish. Women’s voices have historically been less heard, but over the years we have made great progress. There is still work to be done to ensure that women’s point of view is equally considered; International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate progress and contemplate the challenges that remain.
2. What led you to the wonderful world of wine?
When I married Frank, he said that I was marrying him for his mother’s pasta and his father’s homemade wine. There is a tiny bit of truth to that! We have always enjoyed wine with our meals and after years of drinking my father-in-law’s wine, we were ready to broaden our experience. A friend told me about Opimian and we joined over 15 years ago.
3. Which women are you inspired by and why?
First and foremost I am inspired by Jane Masters MW. I cannot imagine the exquisite subtlety of her palate. One can study for years to acquire knowledge, but they way she has honed her naturally sophisticated palate over an entire career is remarkable. A little further afield, I am inspired by the women vintners who have come to the forefront of winemaking throughout the world. They are a testament to the entrepreneurial leadership and the passion of women business owners who daily grow their businesses to offer the best possible wines to wine lovers across Canada.
4. What do you believe will be the biggest challenges for the upcoming generation of women in the world of wine?
For both women and men working in the wine industry, the biggest challenge will be to connect with the next generation of wine drinkers by offering exceptional quality and a unique story for each wine. We are all connected by stories and those stories will make a wine stand out within the crowded market of great quality wines.
5. What advice would you give your younger self?
6. You have had a prestigious career involving important positions. What do you think was your biggest asset to help you achieve your career goals?
Hard work and perseverance are essential to achieving goals. Choosing a career path that interested me immensely made it easier to put in the time and effort. My success was nurtured by the confidence that came from knowing that if I worked hard enough and long enough, I would likely succeed.