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Deborah Dunne: 2020 Economic Impact Award

Deborah Dunne’s journey to becoming an entrepreneur took the form of a gradual evolution rather than a moment of revelation. Her parents started the retirement home in the 1970s, and when her mother was ready to step away, Deborah stepped in.

Deborah looks to her mother as a role model. After the sudden death of Deborah’s father, her mother was left with four children and a business to run. It wasn’t easy, but she persevered, and eventually Deborah took over the operation.

Clearly, the fit was a good one. Deborah is passionate about the seniors - “my seniors,” she calls them - who call Alderwood home. She knows it can be hard to be unable to maintain the same lifestyle as when one was younger, and she wants the residents to be comfortable and feel well taken care of. “They get up every day with a smile on their face,” she says, and that motivates her to do a great job. She feels privileged to be in a position where she can improve people’s quality of life.

Deborah was humbled to receive a letter saying she had been nominated for an award. Ask her about the key to her success and she’ll say she surrounds herself with people who share her values and work ethic. Entrepreneurs need to do their homework, she explains. They need to make informed and strategic decisions: success comes from watching the markets, knowing your limits, knowing when to move forward and when not to. And they have to love what they do: “In business you have good days and bad days: you have to love it enough to get through the bad days.”

Deborah feels a strong attachment to her staff and her seniors, but also to the area of Witless Bay and the Irish Loop. When she took over the business, Deborah rebuilt and renamed it for the nearby hills. The residence is situated right on the Atlantic, with a view of the islands; it’s nestled in the community, so the seniors are safe to go for walks. And community is a big part of what she does: she employs about 20 people in the area and has sponsored hockey teams, ball teams, and awards at the high school, and supported Santa Claus parades. She is proud to belong to a community that respects and cherishes seniors, she says, one that “knows their worth,” which is evident in the support the community returns to the seniors at Alderwood.

Deborah says she’s a person who has always got out of bed two feet first. “I’ve never not enjoyed my job,” Deborah says - “I’ve always loved it.”


Economic Impact recognizes an entrepreneur whose business has significantly impacted the local economy. This entrepreneur has improved the economic position of the community in which it operates by employing local resources, stimulating growth and contributing to sustainable community development. Sponsored by Hebron Project

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