As out-going President of Weizmann Canada’s Montreal chapter, Joanne Nemeroff reflects on seeing the Montreal community grow, the Weizmann Institute’s culture of collaboration and her continued work as a member of the National and International Boards.
For more than 17 years, Joanne Nemeroff has been at the heart of Weizmann Canada’s Montreal community, helping to cultivate a network of passionate supporters with a shared goal of science for the future of humanity.
Joanne was first connected to Weizmann Canada through Susan Stern, Weizmann Canada’s CEO. With a busy career and active family life, Joanne had not worked with any non-profit organizations before but was excited by the opportunity to get involved in the community and delve into an area where she could find a new passion, basic science research.
Joanne has heard from and spoken with some of the brightest minds from the Institute as a member of the community over the years, meeting them when they visit Canada and on her visits to the campus in Rehovot, Israel. During the past few years though, and particularly during the pandemic, online events have become a new avenue to connect with science. “The pandemic changed people’s appetite for science,” says Joanne. “By having online events with Weizmann scientists, we’ve been able to reach a lot more people and even collaborate with other countries.”
As Joanne’s interest and knowledge of science grew, so did her involvement in the community, moving into leadership positions on the National Board of Directors, the Weizmann Institute’s International Board and serving as Co-Chair of the Vera and Chaim Weizmann Honor Society.
Spreading the light and hope of Weizmann
As supporters, Joanne and her husband Howard Nemeroff have given to several Weizmann research initiatives and programs, including to Alzheimer’s research and the Institute’s Postdoctoral Program for Advancing Women in Science. This has been an area that Joanne has been proud to see grow, with the Institute doing more than ever for diversity and women in science. “We’ve made a very specific effort to get women involved and get more scientists from outside of Israel,” says Joanne.
These commitments are what Joanne sees as part of Weizmann’s mission of getting the brightest minds and giving them the tools and environment to follow their curiosities. Above all, it’s the culture of collaboration that she believes makes the Institute stand apart from any other research institutions. “At Weizmann, you can have a physicist, a chemist and a computer scientist collaborating and working together,” reflects Joanne. “This kind of collaboration doesn’t happen so easily in the real world but it’s happening everywhere at Weizmann.”
These are the special aspects of the Institute that Joanne says she always mentions when she is talking to someone who is new to Weizmann. This has been crucial in the success of the Montreal Chapter and helped to expand it to the thirteen volunteers that is has today. As someone without any formal science education herself, Joanne finds that the scientists she has heard from can make complicated subjects approachable for everyone. “Weizmann scientists speak in a hopeful language that anyone can understand and get behind,” says Joanne. “When you see how their research is going to help the world, you want to get involved.”
While Joanne’s time leading the Montreal Chapter came to an end, she looks forward to continuing to have an impact as a member of Weizmann Canada’s National Board and the Institute’s International Board. Joanne will also remain as a member of the Chapter and is excited to see her friend, Danielle Bitton take up the lead as the new President.