Anne Tower joined the Belonging Network in September as our new Executive Director. In this interview, Anne shares her special connection to adoption and her goals and dreams for the Belonging Network’s future.

What’s your connection to adoption?

I actually am adopted. I was adopted as a child and my little sister is adopted, so my family wouldn’t exist but for adoption. And there are actually many, many more adoptions in my extended family. So you could almost say that adoption is a bit of a family tradition for us.

Does being adopted impact your life?

It’s a good question. I never did think it impacted me, it’s… it doesn’t define me, but at the same time for me, anyway, it’s a really positive part of my identity. I was adopted as a little child, 6 months old, by wonderful parents, and I was very loved and nurtured growing up. I’m actually very proud of being adopted and very open about it and I’m really happy to tell anybody how well it worked out for me, anyway. I guess it makes me feel a little bit special, makes me feel like I was chosen, so I think my parents did a good job being open about it with me right from the beginning.

What drew you to the Belonging Network?

I’ve worked in non-profits more than 20 years: almost all of them with youth causes, mostly in education. I love all of the non-profits I’ve been allied with, but I can’t think of anything more powerful than family and permanence and shaping a young person’s life.

When I think about my skills and experience, working with the amazing team and parent community at the Belonging Network is the perfect opportunity to make the biggest impact that I can at this time in my career.

How do you spend your free time?

I actually really like working, so I do spend a lot of time working. But when I’m not working, my husband and I have a little family cabin out in the woods and I try to get out and hike and let nature heal me, and all that kind of thing. We both have elder parents, my dad is almost 95 years old, and my husband’s mother is almost 93, so we spend quite a bit of time going back and forth across the province. We visit Victoria, where my dad is, and Kelowna, where his mom is, quite frequently. We are blessed to have a lot of extended family and wonderful friends, so I do like a good party as well. I also really love stories, so reading, movies, and live theatre are all big joys in my life.

How do you define success?

I define success as being able to use the talents and gifts that you have—whatever those might be, and they’re different for each and every one of us—to exercise them and to use them to serve other people. I think that is what gives most people life, to do what they’re good at and to do it in service of the greater good, making a little difference in their corner of the world; that’s how I define success.

What’s your hope for the Belonging Network?

I hope we can keep doing all the great work that we are doing now. I know that the landscape of adoption is changing and not only adoption but permanency is becoming more and more important for our community, so I hope that together we can keep doing all the good things that we’re doing, but also look at how our world is changing, identify the places to make the biggest difference with the strengths that we have, and then go there boldly.