BELLEVILLE – It takes a lot of work to be a people person. But for Rose-Marie Stevenson, the most important part she said is to listen.
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Stevenson lived in a relatively large family, though she said her father left them when she was born. Raised primarily by her mother and grandparents, she said growing up without her father didn't change the way she was raised.
"I think we had very strong ethical and moral principles," she said. "Taught both at home and at our workplaces,"
In highschool, she said she didn't have much choice in courses if she wanted to be a nurse, as she said she was forced to take business courses and language courses in both French and Latin.
After highschool, Stevenson would apply for a Department of Health training course, going into a nursing program. Originally the course was three years, but she said she decided to scale it back to one year as she wanted to get married.
After getting married and settling down in Brockville, Ontario. She would work there as a nurse for over 30 years.
She said one of the worst moments while nursing in Brockville was caring for a 7-year-old child who was suffering from Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disorder. The child would end up passing away despite caring for him for over two years.
Stevenson says she had a hard time understanding the loss until much later on in her life.
"I think I understand better now that God is in control, but in those days I wasn't old enough to get that," she said.
But for her, the most memorable experience of her career was becoming apart of the Board of Directors of the Nursing Association of Toronto.
"I became head of social economic welfare right when the Health Disciplines Act came in 1974," she said. "I negotiated with the government on what nursing assistants would be permitted or not permitted to do,"
In 1988, after starting to develop various health problems, Stevenson would return back to school at St. Lawrence in Brockville, studying computer programming.
"Since I couldn't lift and I couldn't work in nursing, I thought I'd look into office work," she said.
This path would take here to work as a Customer Service Representative for a printing company in Brockville called Mitchell Office Forums.
She said she was a jack-of-all-trades while working there for the next six years, doing a variety of tasks such as filling out orders, helping customers and take in orders.
She said that since she wanted to work with people, she felt that being a Customer Service Rep would continue to have her work with people.
"Nurses are born as people-pleasers," she said. "So when you get into another profession, you want to please the boss and the customers,"
After leaving the company and moving into Belleville, she would return to the medical field as a care-giver for the elderly and sick.
"I have two people I'm caring for," she said. "I take them out to help get them groceries, or take them shopping or help get their clothes,"
"Just being a jack-of-all-trades to make their lives easier," she said.
She also dedicates a few hours of her time volunteering at the church, doing paper work for them as well as teaching Sunday school.
Stevenson said the most important aspect of being a people person is to listen.
"Sometimes what they don't say is more what they need than what they do say," she said.