Story by Matt Kennedy
Through her roles as a loving wife, dedicated mother and in nearly three decades in public health, Patricia Bromby has run into more than her fair share of “glass half-empty moments.”
Life gets hard and challenges mount, but Pat always projects optimism and hope. She doesn’t spend her time dwelling on half-empty glasses because she is busy figuring out exactly how to fill them to the brim.
Pat is the most supportive woman her husband Paul knows and a mom who can take pride in the way she raised her children Pamela (30), Patrice (29), Paige (22) and Paula (21). She is also highly regarded in the Public Health Department as a hard worker, a trustworthy confidant, friend and advisor.
“She’s never got a bad word to say about anybody,” Paul said. “She is always a positive, glass-completely-full person, and she has always had a good listening ear. Listening is really one of her best skills, and she is all-around uplifting and happy in every situation. She finds the good in people.”
Anyone looking for the good in Pat needn’t look very far.
Born and raised in the suburbs of Toronto, she is the daughter of a nurse in her mother, Janet, and a civil engineer in her father, Steve. Pat’s parents have a long list of qualities they admire in their daughter along with professional achievements and family contributions that fill them with immense pride in their daughter.
“Our Patricia, aka Tricie, aka Patti, is and has been, a very cheerful, loving and dedicated daughter,” Janet and Steve said. “She is very family-oriented, planning family gatherings and activities, willing to pitch into whatever needs to to be done. Patti makes the most mundane things feel like fun. And we do enjoy our Scrabble games! Her positive attitude makes for productive happy times and good memories. We are very proud of you, Patricia, with your personal and professional accomplishments that all have taken a lot of stamina, determination and perseverance. We love and admire you.”
Pat’s upbringing in a loving home is clear in the way she approaches her roles as a mother and wife now, and even in her choice to be in the business of helping people.
“Patti is one of the few people I turn to for advice because she actually takes the time to listen to everything I have to say,” her sister, Sarah, said. “Patti takes the time to understand the people in her life. She is an exemplary woman. I love her, and I am extremely fortunate to have her as my older sister.”
Pat’s sister, Debbie, added: “To me, she is a loyal sister — always available with an ear to listen, supportive words of encouragement,— and a willing accomplice to drink wine. She is my best friend. Nursing and helping others is her calling. She lives what she believes and coaches.”
Paul likes to say that Pat has created her own “Care Bear Land” because of the absurd levels in which she loves and supports people, and her kids can’t disagree.
To her oldest, Pamela, Pat is a portrait of empathy, but also of incredible strength and persistence.
“Mom is so special because she is strong, giving and empathetic,” Pamela said. “She is a superhero, through and through. Mom has taught me the importance of giving and its impact, and to care for others. She has helped to shape the person I am today. As a new mom, I hope to have the same strength and can be as amazing as she has been.”
Patrice has come to appreciate more than ever the many roles her mom has played in her life, from the support system she was in her youth to becoming her trusted advisor and friend. Pat has taught her kids so many life lessons along the way, but it’s her shining example that continues to stick with all of them.
“My mom has shown all of us what it means to be a good person,” Patrice said. “She taught us that, as a woman, you do not have to follow one path or be just one ‘thing,’ that you can be kind and caring but also be incredibly intelligent and strong. She taught me that you can be whatever you want, as long as you try your best and remain kind. I am forever grateful to call her my mother, friend, and teacher. I love you, Mom!”
One of the best gifts Paige has ever gotten from her mom goes a step beyond her love, time, leadership and support.
Paige knew she could always count on her mom to be there for her and listen, but is also grateful for the foundational skills Pat shared with her and her pearls of family wisdom.
“Despite being highly educated, she didn’t just guide us through the academic world,” Paige said. “My mom raised us in a house full of intergenerational knowledge. She taught me to knit, to grow a garden, to bake, and to make maple syrup. The mixture of it all taught her daughters that they can be anything they want to be and do everything they want to do, just like Mom. My mom is a million things. Being my mom is only one part of her being, but no matter the role, she carries herself with dignity, intelligence and an abundance of kindness.”
Paula is inspired by what her mom says and does, but like so many, she is in awe of the way she carries herself. Wherever Pat goes, good vibes and great fun seem to follow.
“She always pushes me to do my best and to be my best self,” Paula said. “She brings a positive atmosphere to every conversation, family function and event she is a part of. She is truly a one-of-a-kind mom, and I am forever thankful I have her in my life!”
Heidi Matthews has felt that same sense of gratitude through her 25 years of friendship with Pat. They experienced motherhood around the same time and went on many adventures, including a joint walk on their spiritual journeys.
“I want to thank her for all the traveling we have done together, through motherhood, on our faith journeys and by motorcycle,” Heidi said. “I am so grateful for your generous, affirming and delightful company. As we stand at the threshold of our third chapter, I look forward to walking together a little longer.”
Generous and affirming are two good words to describe Pat in her work in Peel Public Health. She is valued there for her expertise and hard work, but also in the way she is a kind, thoughtful colleague and friend for anyone who needs it. The difference Pat makes goes well beyond her job description.
“Pat is a kind and nurturing person,” said Paul Sharma. “She is always positive even during tough times. She has been a great mentor to me especially when I joined the Region of Peel and again when I transitioned into my director role. Pat is a great friend, co-worker, and mentor. She makes coming into work every day enjoyable and fun. Her positive outlook on life and work makes everyone around her better.”
Judy Buchan met Pat in nursing school and said she came away with a first impression that holds true to this day: Pat is kind and outgoing, but also unflappable in pressure situations.
“Pat never seemed to break a sweat, despite all the competing priorities on her plate,” Judy said. “We were in awe of her ability to manage so much and always appear to be so in control. Pat’s sense of calm and being grounded permeated outward to her friends in nursing, so we all benefitted. Pat is an amazing friend, co-worker and mentor. She sets the bar high and helps others to jump over it. Thank you for your generosity, positive spirit and for being a friend for life!”
Maria Morais is another good example of Pat investing in her co-workers beyond the walls of Peel Public Health. Maria has worked with Pat in many capacities over the years, and has come to lean on her expertise. Maria also says she will never forget the way Pat shared with her about the sometimes-difficult balance between work and family.
“As a busy mom of a big family herself, Pat extended support and wisdom during my early days of raising my child and balancing work, home and health,” Maria said. “She is always looking out to support and promote a healthy work environment that incorporates trust, openness and kindness among others. She is truly a special person and inspiring mentor, and an important leader to Peel Public Health and the Region of Peel. Pat, thank you for being YOU!”
That message of gratitude is also clear from Paul and their kids, who form a better, stronger family unit because of everything Pat continues to do for them. She sets the example for all of them and focuses so much of her energy building up her husband and kids and supporting everything they do.
“I love her more than she’ll ever know,” Paul said. “She has made me and everybody else I see around her a better person. Pat does that by how she treats everybody with love, care, support and encouragement no matter how busy she is, which is amazing. We’re in awe of how she manages to do that and how much that positively impacts everybody.”