A mom, a volunteer, a community leader and entrepreneur with a proven record of success.
An 18-year resident of Ward 6’s Pine Ridge neighbourhood, Dominique came to Guelph in 1997 to work for The Co-operators. A few years into her job as The Co-operators’ first public relations specialist, she met Mike Hallett at Molly Bloom’s on St. Patrick’s Day. The luck of her Irish ancestors was smiling that night and the two tied the knot two years later … on St. Patrick’s Day.
As the years ticked-by, Dominique was promoted to manager, media and government relations and then to director of public affairs for The Co-operators. Mike and Dominique started their family, welcoming Robbie first and Elise just two years later.
Throughout these early years, Dominique volunteered with a number of organizations, including planning the Pine Ridge East community BBQs in Colonial Park and began a decade of involvement with the Guelph Community Foundation where she helped launch Guelph's first Random Act of Kindness Day and co-wrote Guelph’s 2018 Vital Signs.
Having always had a hankering to be self-employed (like her dad) and to be home when her kids were small (like her mom), Dominique left The Co-operators and founded Accolade Communications. With extensive experience developing and implementing government, public and media relations strategies, she can dive deep into data and quickly grasp the big picture. A thorough researcher and talented writer, many of her projects have been important tools for public policy advocacy. These include #GenerationFlux : Understanding the seismic shifts that are shaking Canada’s youth, Sport & Belonging and Art & Belonging. She also works extensively with the Canadian Index of Wellbeing where she has been a key collaborator on national, provincial and regional reports for the past several years.
Juggling Accolade and her children’s early years, Dominique also completed an MA (Leadership) at the University of Guelph. While she was proud of her research on trust, she was proudest of serving as her class valedictorian in 2012. She was also thrilled to serve on the university’s Leadership Advisory Board.
Shortly after completing her M.A., Dominique embraced the opportunity to join Agricorp’s communications department. It gave her a deep appreciation for people working in government, a sense of the complexity of competing priorities and huge respect for the importance of agriculture in the region and the province. Although she had worked for the House of Commons, as a consultant and an in-house lobbyist, Agricorp was her first experience working in a government agency.
But in 2015, work in the community called again and she could not resist. Adept at marshaling community resources, Dominique worked with Special Olympics Ontario and the Guelph Police Service on all aspects of fundraising and community mobilization for the 2016 Special Olympics Provincial Spring Games in Guelph. Definitely, one of the best jobs ever… until now.
As your future City Councillor, Dominique can’t wait to align her community and communications experience to fight for smart development, advocate for affordable and livable communities, and to represent and engage the people in Ward 6 on the issues that matter most.
Dominique O'Rourke has a talent for communications and public policy...
Founder and Principal, Accolade Communications
Researcher and author: Generation Flux: Understanding the The Seismic Shifts that are shaking Canada’s Youth (2012)
Vital Signs Special Report: Sport and Belonging
Vital Signs Special Report: Art and Belonging
Public Relations Professor, Conestoga College School of Business
Manager, Corporate Communications, Agricorp
Public Relations specialist, Manager of Media and Government Relations, Director Public Affairs, The Co-operators Group
Associate Director, Communications, Bell Mobility
Government relations researcher and consultant, SAMCI
Parliamentary Intern, Canadian Political Science Association
Page and Tour Guide, House of Commons
... and a deep commitment to community
2018 YM-YWCA Women of Distinction honouree
Mentor for 2018 Oak Tree Project
Guelph Community Foundation: 10+ years on board and committee
Chair, GCF Marketing Committee and Nominations Committee (2018)
Vice-Chair, Chair, Past Chair GCF Board
Co-chair, 15th anniversary gala
Co-founder and co-chair, Random Acts of Kindness Day
Co-author, 2018 Vital Signs
Current member, GCF Grants committee
100 Women Who Care Guelph, Founding member
Réseau-Franco Guelph, Founder
St. René Goupil School Council President for 4 years
United Way Board and campaign cabinet member
Action read volunteer tutor
RCMPI ensemble for two shows before kids... now I drive my daughter to rehearsals (don't miss Annie in November!)
Pine Ridge East Community Association, Board
Organizer, Pine Ridge summer BBQs 2007, 2008 and 2009
Dominique's approach is informed by formal education in economics, political science, leadership and community
Bilingual Honours B.Sc. Soc. in Economics and International and Comparative Politics, University of Ottawa, Magna Cum Laude
M.A. Leadership, University of Guelph, Dean’s List and valedictorian
Certificate in Corporate Community Relations, Boston College
Member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)