Lori Hildebrandt Penner
Lori joined the Westgate staff in time to see her oldest son graduate from Grade 12. For the start of the 2020 school year she will only have one child (of four) left in the building and wonders once her daughter graduates (2022) if she will miss being hit up for money, snacks, a signature or treated as a coat tree. Lori’s own education was spent mainly in independent faith based schools, followed by post secondary at University of Winnipeg’s Menno Simons College and CMBC (CMU). She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Social and Economic Development and a Bachelor of Theology respectively. Early in her marriage she spent time volunteering on an MCC term working at Mediation Services. This was followed by 11 wonderful years at home caring for their growing family. She felt blessed to be able to take that time and enjoyed managing life for a family of six, while her husband worked outside the home. In turn she has also felt grateful (and at times surprised) at how much she has enjoyed working for pay. “It hardly feels like work when you can enter such a lovely space everyday and be surrounded by such amazing, caring and funny co-workers”. She has really appreciated getting to know the students and particularly enjoys the witty banter that can come when students visit the office to sign out for a coffee run or leave for their spare. More specifically, she is very grateful when students sign out in the office even if there is no witty banter to accompany the event. When she is not at work you can find her in the bleachers watching her children play sports, hunting down new recipes to try, playing board games with her family, finding a strip of sunshine to read a book in and doing the dishes…there are a lot of dishes when you have 6 big people living in a house with no dishwasher! One thread that has been consistent throughout Lori’s life is the importance of connecting with people of faith and the wider church community. Lori has spent time volunteering with Mennonite Central Committee as well as Camps with Meaning. Being camp staff as a youth and then “mature staff” later with her husband when her children were small has been life shaping. These days, Lori and her family are active members at Douglas Mennonite Church.