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Special guest inspires Sault business women (3 photos)

Thursday, January 30, 2014   by: Darren Taylor

Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Debbie Amaroso was the keynote speaker at the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce Annual Women in Business Breakfast, held at Algoma’s Water Tower Inn & Suites Thursday morning.

Approximately 190 professional Sault women, representing a variety of sectors across the community, attended.

Also in attendance was a ‘visible minority’ of some professional Sault men!

Mayor Amaroso, elected as Sault Ste. Marie’s first female Mayor in 2010 and winner of the 2013 ATHENA Award (an internationally-recognized award which honours an individual for professional excellence, community service and assisting women reach their professional goals), shared details with Thursday’s audience concerning certain events and circumstances in her life, which she said have helped to shape her into the strong individual, successful career woman and political leader she is.

Mayor Amaroso said the sudden, unexpected loss of family members and friends throughout the course of her life, as well as other traumatic circumstances have, despite the sadness and difficulty involved, built a resiliency in her, along with a determination to achieve and live life to the fullest.

Her thought process, the Mayor told her audience, became “to build on my strengths.”

For example, Mayor Amaroso said that she learned, at a young age, that she possessed good negotiation skills, something which she said she has utilized as Mayor.

“I know who I am, I know what I’m good at, and I know what I can improve.”

Speaking to after her speech, Mayor Amaroso said: “I know that life is short and fragile and can be taken away from you in a minute, and you need to enjoy the time that you’re here, and that creates that ‘bounce back’…it’s wallow and waste your time or enjoy every moment you have.”

“Doing what you love to do with your life, that’s what it’s got to be about.”

Sault Ste. Marie Ward Three City Councillor Pat Mick, in attendance for the Mayor’s speech Thursday, encouraged more female candidates to step forward and get involved in running for political office.

With 2014 being a municipal election year in Sault Ste. Marie, and having already filed her papers for re-election, would Amaroso welcome a challenge for the title of Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie?  

“The nice part of an acclamation is that you can keep your energy and focus on the job that is going on every day and you don’t have that distraction.”

However, Amaroso added: “The nice part about other candidates putting their name in the ring is that it shows a healthy interest in municipal politics, that people who feel they have the strengths to do that leadership role are out there and are offering themselves to the community.”

“I’ll certainly accept whichever one comes my way,” Mayor Amaroso smiled.

“I’ve loved this term and I hope the community embraces that and thinks I’m deserving of a second term,” Amaroso told us.

After her speech, the Mayor was presented with “Steeltown,” a painting by Sault artist Jackie Janisse.      

Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Amaroso worked for 40 years in social services, and worked as Program Manager with the Ontario March of Dimes, and later, as Systems Navigator with the Red Cross.

Having also served on a number of boards and committees, including a stint as United Way Campaign Chair in 2005, Amaroso served as a Ward Five City Councillor from 1997 to 2006 before becoming Mayor in 2010.

Amaroso has a son and daughter, and recently became a grandmother.


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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
theprotector 1/30/2014 2:14:41 PM Report

yay pat yourself on the back for being a failure as a mayor
Gurpy 1/30/2014 2:25:40 PM Report

the protector
YOU ARE SO IGNORANT!!! I personally like Mayor Debbie! She truly works for the people of this city and I hope and PRAY she is re-elected!
Right Winger 1/30/2014 2:28:16 PM Report

How is the truth ignorant?
justsomeguy 1/30/2014 2:38:51 PM Report

Gurpy - do you personally like her or like her efficacy as mayor?

I'm not that impressed. Maybe it's just me but I haven't seen any improvements. In fact from what I've seen some of the programs have deteriorated.
Gurpy 1/30/2014 2:47:31 PM Report

I like her as Mayor. I do not know her personally. I`ve had good results with her. Whenever I`ve brought something to her attention she has dealt with it almost immediately! I`m impressed!
theprotector 1/30/2014 2:50:37 PM Report

oh so she only does things for her friends, I get it now. That doesnt seem fair does it? How about someting good for the rest of the city? Because I think she has failed grossly as a mayor Im ignorant? Really, you seem to be some sort of relgious fanatic, keep throwing "pray" around alot! I prefer "prey" myself.
Gurpy 1/30/2014 2:51:43 PM Report

!@# 1/30/2014 2:53:17 PM Report

the protector/just some guy
must be a teenager if you don't know how politics works...if they don't do any damage...that's a sign of a good politician. I don't even hear from her...ever....Have you looked around lately!! What is it exactly you want her to do?? Raise taxes to get things done...yo complain...don't do complain...what is it exactly you expect her to do?? Putz
Gurpy 1/30/2014 2:58:10 PM Report

yeah guys what is it your`re expecting her to do? Huh? NO, she cannot be "silent". And she is in a position of authority over men! YES I LOVE IT! GO MAYOR DEBBIE GO!!
justsomeguy 1/30/2014 3:02:53 PM Report

I was a teenager 25 years ago. No need to drop the maturity level and start name calling.

I was naive and was expecting the change and improvement she promised in her campaign. Silly me.

justsomeguy 1/30/2014 3:04:03 PM Report

@Gurpy - why the sexist attitude? I couldn't care less what the mayor's gender is as long as they do a good job.
Right Winger 1/30/2014 3:04:08 PM Report

Did she inspire the Sault Business women to join The Oaks Golf Club in Kinchloe MI and wear their Club Jackets to local golfing fundraisers?
Gurpy 1/30/2014 3:08:26 PM Report

Sorry if it came across as "sexist". It wasn`t meant that way. I am happy to see woman in positions which were previously male dominated, that`s all.
justsomeguy 1/30/2014 3:11:49 PM Report

You said "she is in a position of authority over men"

To put a different perspective, if I had written "he's in a position of authority over women, go John go" about the previous mayor, that comment would not be tolerated and would promptly be taken down.

Whether intended or not, it's sexist. Gender should not be a factor - accomplishments should be.
Gurpy 1/30/2014 3:20:49 PM Report

I agree. but it is still exciting for me as a woman to see a woman in a role which up until not that long ago was male dominated. It should not be perceived as anything against men. Men are more than competent but so are women! We are starting to see some balance which is welcomed! Remember when men could not be nurses (mayby your too young). Men make wonderful nurses, hairdressers etc.
Gurpy 1/30/2014 3:23:53 PM Report

And she is the Sault`s first female mayor! That is exciting! Not sexist!
justsomeguy 1/30/2014 3:27:53 PM Report

Being mayor isn't about being in a position of power. It's about being in a position of responsibility, action & service to the city.

The people of SSM should be in a position of power over any member of city council. They are accountable to us & serve us. Without us, that position wouldn't exist.
annette 1/30/2014 3:30:25 PM Report

The Mayor of Sault Ste Marie has been hiding since her election. In MY personal opinion, this city can certainly use a VOICE, someone a little younger with more ambition and enthusiasm would do this Next Elliot Lake retirement community, some good...
We are a border city on the trans Canada highway we should be booming.
A fantastic Water Park or heck more affordable where the old hospital is perhaps
River View Mental hospital back to the downtown core, who in their NOT right mind is going to catch a bus all the way to 3rd line... hey, can I have a transfer.....
Another big manufacturing company or 10.
Industries that would keep Canadians here, and bring over Americans, besides for our hunting and fishing
Gurpy 1/30/2014 3:31:09 PM Report

If you are not happy about something, you have every right to voice your opinion to the mayor or city council, whoever it may be.
justsomeguy 1/30/2014 3:32:36 PM Report

Gurpy, you're assuming I don't. Believe me, my councillors and the mayor have heard my voice, though constructively. I'm not getting the impression that they listen though. Seems more like lip service.
Gurpy 1/30/2014 3:36:19 PM Report

Is no one responding to your questions/comments etc?
justsomeguy 1/30/2014 3:39:44 PM Report

Generally after a few weeks I may get a response. My one councillor has never, ever responded. When I do hear back, it's the usual "thanks for your input/concern/feedback which we are already aware of and are working on, leave it to us". When I ask to get involved, then it's the usual "I will forward your information along" and then never hear back from anyone.

Our city council treats us residents like mushrooms if you catch my drift.
!@# 1/30/2014 3:42:38 PM Report

No name calling justsomeguy...facts...."her campaign promises"...your kidding right...."her campaign promises"....from a politician...that can only come from a kid that kind of thinking....yeahyeahyeah....they all promise...just don't do any damage!!
Gurpy 1/30/2014 3:48:39 PM Report

I know exactly what you are talking about and boy is it ever frustrating! I contacted the councilor for my ward regarding an urgent issue. I never got a response! So, I contacted the mayor and received a reply pointing me in the right direction. I remember thinking how I could not wait until the municipal elections to have this person knock at my door for my vote! GOOD LUCK!
Meow 1/30/2014 3:48:48 PM Report

I voted for Deb the first time. Not because I am a woman! Because I was worried that the other guy would be influenced by Fratesi. I am disappointed with myself because Deb is way more under the CAO's thumb. Mr. Fratesi should have shared the award.
Gurpy 1/30/2014 3:52:47 PM Report

Refresh my memory. Who was the other candidate?
muf 1/30/2014 4:32:40 PM Report

Sounds like there are quite a few prospective mayors on here today ! Where were you last election ? Sounds like maybe some of you could have cured the Sault of all it`s problems by now.
justsomeguy 1/30/2014 4:41:40 PM Report

Muf - anyone who actively campaigns for a position better have some solutions.
All I'm doing is giving some feedback.
Stugatzu 1/30/2014 5:03:02 PM Report

She was horrible as a ward 5 councilor, and even worse as a mayor.

Debbie really hasn't brought anything tangible to the people of Sault Ste. Marie. She does a lot of talking... but produces little in the way of results.

I can guaran-damn-tee you I will not waste a vote on her come election time.
annette 1/30/2014 6:20:43 PM Report

Muf... I was voting for her last election. My what a shame...Maybe I will run for Mayor...We need someone who isn't afraid of the public and ward councillor's...Someone with a little fire under their A$$ who is productive and active with the people of Sault Ste Marie..Someone who wants to clean up this crime ridden, drug driven, poverty stricken, jobless stuck in the 80'S city
justsomeguy 1/30/2014 6:25:02 PM Report

Well there's my vote!
Gurpy 1/30/2014 7:01:04 PM Report

Wow! I can just imagine the uproar if we had Rob Ford! I don`t see the problem with our current Mayor. She is a Mayor not a miracle worker!
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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