Kirk Cox and Hélène Branch

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Kirk Cox and Hélène Branch live in their lakeside home 15 minutes outside Shelburne. Kirk grew up in Shelburne and Hélène was raised in New Brunswick. They met while they both worked on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Kirk and Hélène worked in national politics, Hélène in the Office of the Prime Minister and Kirk as a senior advisor to four federal cabinet ministers. Even though they are no longer working on Parliament Hill, they still love politics and are known to host election night parties at their home.

Kirk was raised and went to school in Shelburne, and he has deep family roots in the area. After university, he worked in Ottawa for almost nine years before he and Hélène decided to look for opportunities to move home. "Family and sense of community are very important to us. In Ottawa, you have friends, but you don't know many of your neighbours and you don't feel part of a community, as you do here," says Hélène.

They started their own consulting firm providing government relations services to clients across Canada. Clients included national industry associations, universities, nonprofits, and multinational firms. "We realized that with Internet, phones, and fax machines, we could live anywhere. We wanted to be satisfied professionally, but we also wanted to be part of a tight-knit community, develop strong friendships, and be closer to family. We have all of these things here," Kirk says.

Kirk and Hélène have been back in Shelburne for more than three years. Kirk is now the Chief Administrative Officer for the Municipality of the District of Shelburne and Hélène is running the consulting company, which now focuses on organizational change and development. Both are involved in their community. Kirk is a member of the local volunteer fire department and is on the board of the Osprey Arts Centre and Hélène helps with the food bank,and youth drop-in centre, as well as the Osprey. They enjoy traveling the area on weekends looking for community hall breakfasts and suppers throughout the county and beachcombing with their dog, Ellie.

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