Meet O’Brien Farm Board of Directors
The OBF Board of Directors is comprised of individuals from the community with diverse experience and skills.
Shannie Duff was first elected to the city of St. John’s council in 1977. She has served as mayor, deputy mayor. She has also served as a member of the Newfoundland House of Assembly for the district of St. John’s East. Throughout her political career Shannie has been a champion of good urban planning, affordable housing, downtown revitalization, heritage conservation. In addition to her municipal career, Shannie has extensive involvement as a volunteer with many local, provincial and national community organizations including as founding chair of the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. She has received many awards in recognition of her lifelong contributions as a volunteer and in 2003 was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada.
Sharon, a cancer nurse in her working life, is now retired from that rewarding career and taking on volunteer activities. Her graduate program in nursing helped her to understand and be sensitive to issues of marginalization, and the relationship of policy to practice. She is Chair of the O’Brien Farm Foundation, and sits as the family representative on the Pippy Park Commission, and member-at-large on the St. John’s Women’s International Film Festival Board. She is interested in food security, travel, community development and history. Having raised two fine children she finds her free time full of all things O’Brien, establishing an arts residency at her family’s historic general store, and previewing films.
Mary Olivia (Maura) Mannion. When she arrived with husband John (both natives of Ireland) in St. John’s in September 1967 from Ireland (he was researching Irish immigration for his Ph. D. at the University of Toronto) they were quickly advised that he should talk to Aloysius O’Brien. In January 1968, they finally met the three O’Brien brothers, an event that changed the course of their lives. Moving back to live here in 1969, they purchased a cottage across the road from O’Brien’s, built a new house on the site and have lived beside the O’Brien Farm ever since. After Aly’s death in 2008 they served as joint executors, ensuring that his wishes to preserve the farm as a green space were realized. As a member of the board Maura continues to work toward the realization of Aly’s dream.