Chelsea, Quebec woman wins top 100 award

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by Trevor Greenway on December 9, 2010

Janet Longmore (middle) with some of her DOT team members in Ethiopia.

Janet Longmore (middle) with some of her DOT team members in Ethiopia.

Janet Longmore of Chelsea, Quebec is a proven high achiever, and now she has been recognized for it.

The chief executive officer and president of the Ottawa-based international non-profit organization, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), was among 522 women who received the prestigious 2010 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award in Toronto on Nov. 29.

“It means a lot to me, but even more to my organization DOT,” said Longmore, who was one of 18 women recognized by the Women’s Executive Network in the Trailblazers and Trendsetters category. “It’s the recognition of years of dedication.”

The years to which she refers began in 2002, when Longmore founded DOT as a way to train and empower young people across the world to improve their lives by integrating technology into everyday life.

In just eight years, Longmore’s organization has managed to set up operations in 11 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America that are developing, in transition, or are under stress. DOT gives youth and women across the globe the tools, skills and equipment to create sustainable entrepreneurial opportunities that will help develop the economy of less-fortunate countries.

“DOT is dedicated to creating opportunities for people to create business ideas that are sustainable,” said Longmore from her South Ridge Chelsea home.

The part about DOT’s work that really makes it sustainable and cost effective is the “train the trainer” approach Longmore has undertaken. She said it’s similar to the comparison of feeding a man or teaching him how to fish.

“It’s locally driven ownership,” said Longmore. “They go into their own community and teach them how to use the technology. Every country is run locally. It’s not about Canadians going over there; there is a lot of talent in their own country. It’s self sufficient.”

The train-the-trainer approach helps developing and marginalized communities retain their citizens, as recent university graduates will have the confidence to stay and develop business ideas that will work in their hometowns. Longmore said it helps communities “develop economically.”

DOT teaches community youth leaders how to use computer software, develop business plans and models and use technology for efficiency and communication, among other things.

While the award didn’t come with any major funding, Longmore is happy that her organization’s message is becoming more and more pervasive.