Main Brook mayor headed to busi­ness hall of fame

Ju­nior Achieve­ment New­found­land and Labrador names Barb Genge to its class of 2019

Northern Pen - - Front Page - BY THOM BARKER SPE­CIAL TO THE NORTH­ERN PEN

It’s been 40 years since Barb Genge, home­sick for New­found­land, de­cided to leave her job with Blue Cross in Toronto and try to make a go of it in her home prov­ince.

“I had a ter­ri­ble case of lone­li­ness,” she said. “It’s like all New­found­lan­ders, you can’t tell any­one what you’re lonely for, it’s just New­found­land; it’s the way of life.”

Re­turn­ing to the North­ern Penin­sula, she dab­bled with a few busi­nesses be­fore es­tab­lish­ing Tuck­amore Lodge and Out­fit­ters. Now, 32 years later, she is be­ing in­ducted into the Ju­nior Achieve­ment New­found­land and Labrador (JANL) Hall of Fame.

“Through her long-term en­tre­pre­neur­ial pur­suits and com­mu­nity in­volve­ment, Barb has made a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact in her re­gion,” stated a press re­lease from JANL.

Genge, cur­rently mayor of Main Brook, said she was left speech­less by the hon­our.

“I was dum­founded when I re­ceived this and I was just hon­oured to be rec­og­nized among New­found­lan­ders who have done a lot for New­found­land and New­found­lan­ders,” she said.

One per­son not sur­prised by the an­nounce­ment was Christo­pher Mitchel­more, MHA for St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Mead­ows.

“I’ve known Barb Genge my en­tire life and I could not think of a more de­serv­ing in­di­vid­ual an­nounced to be in­ducted into the Ju­nior Achieve­ment Busi­ness Hall of Fame,” he said. “As the Busi­ness Min­is­ter and as a friend, I am so proud of her recog­ni­tion and that she is one of our very own.”

De­spite her sur­prise at this lat­est award, Genge is no stranger to ac­co­lades.

Ac­cord­ing to the JA re­lease, Genge is also a mem­ber of the Tourism Hall of Fame in Ot­tawa and has re­ceived the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Award from Parks Canada and Hospi­tal­ity New­found­land & Labrador, as well as the Cana­dian Tourism Com­mis­sion Award and En­tre­pre­neur of the Year.

Out­door Mag­a­zine named Tuck­amore Lodge “one of the six best re­con­noi­ter­ing des­ti­na­tions in Canada.”

It goes beyond her own busi­ness, though, ac­cord­ing to Mitchel­more.

She has cham­pi­oned many causes, helped so many peo­ple along the way and strength­ened the re­gion through all her vol­un­teer ef­forts,” he said. “Her con­tri­bu­tions and im­pact is far­reach­ing and she de­serves this praise.”

Genge has never been in it for praise, how­ever.

“I did it for my busi­ness and my com­mu­nity and re­gion and noth­ing any more than I didn’t want to go back to work­ing in Canada,” she said. “Canada’s not a bad place, Canada’s a nice place, but it just wasn’t for me, okay?”

The most re­ward­ing thing about be­ing in busi­ness, Genge said, was very sim­ple.

“Just be­ing able to cre­ate em­ploy­ment for my­self and to re­tain the peo­ple that put trust in me, came with me and gave a lot,” she said. “We all stuck to­gether and we’re all grow­ing old to­gether.”

Cre­at­ing local em­ploy­ment was also the rea­son she even­tu­ally got into pol­i­tics.

“When you work in eco­nomic devel­op­ment, be­cause I did that as well, you’re al­ways into the po­lit­i­cal scene, you’re al­ways deal­ing with politi­cians, civil ser­vants, you’re al­ways ham­mer­ing on some­one to get what you need for your area,” she said.

“You hope that if you got in (to of­fice) that you might be able to make a small change, and that’s why you get into it.”

And the rea­son for her suc­cess was just as sim­ple, she said.

“I pulled it off be­cause the peo­ple I had work­ing with me, they wanted to stay home, they wanted to not leave just as much as I did.”

That is not to say, how­ever, that she is not grate­ful for the cur­rent hon­our.

“The rea­son I’m happy about it is be­cause it lets New­found­lan­ders know, if you start some­thing, if you’re per­sis­tent, you work at it and you use the sys­tem that’s avail­able to you, you can stay in New­found­land.

“I’d just like to thank the per­son, or per­sons, that nom­i­nated me and that they saw the value that I could be a part of this group and I just want to say thank you to all the peo­ple that work for me mak­ing that hap­pen.”

Genge will be in­ducted into the hall of fame at a gala sched­uled for May 23 in St. John’s.

“You can’t tell any­one what you’re lonely for, it’s just New­found­land.” — Barb Genge

THE NORTH­ERN PEN FILE PHOTO

Barb Genge, the mayor of Main Brook and owner of Tuck­amore Lodge, will be in­ducted into the Ju­nior Achieve­ment New­found­land and Labrador Hall of Fame.

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