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Learn more about the 2011 Award leaders




Joyce Rock

Having recently returned to her home city of Montreal, Joyce spent the previous 13 years working in a variety of roles in Vancouver BC’s Downtown Eastside, the last of which was as Executive Director of the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House (DTES NH) from 2005 – July of 2011 where her leadership has been making a difference in the community. 

The DTES NH is a nexus for community inspired engagement and programming that not only addresses the needs of the community, but fosters belonging and ownership within all of its programming. Described as a ‘lifelong community leader’ Joyce educates for change by living out a social justice philosophy and modelling for others how to integrate these values in day-to-day activism and advocacy. Joyce throws a new light on entrenched socioeconomic marginalization.

Together, Joyce and DTES NH bring out the best in the community – treating all as rife with capacity and inherently deserving.  While residents have space where they feel respected, Joyce’s work directly confronts the stigmatization and inequities that low-income DTES residents face. In 2009 Joyce co-founded the DTES Kitchen Tables Project with Heather O’Hara of the Potluck Café Society, a DTES social enterprise. Joyce continues to work as co-leader of the Project, the goal of which is to reform the quality, nutritional impact, abundance and delivery of food across the DTES in consultation with residents, community food providers, non-food providing community organizations, healthcare workers, policy makers, growers/suppliers, food/beverage industry professionals and researchers.

It also creates jobs within a Community Economic Development model geared to low-income people facing barriers to traditional employment. The DTES Kitchen Tables Project is a grassroots expression of the Right to Food philosophy. This means the Human Right of Downtown Eastside residents to secure water and abundant, local, fresh and nutritious food, available across the DTES and delivered in a dignified manner. The transferability of the DTES Kitchen Tables Project’s 7 Food Solutions has already drawn the interest of many communities across the country, from New Westminster BC to Winnipeg MB and Moncton NB.

“Taking leadership roles in programming, advocacy, and research, Joyce leads under a model of collaboration, never taking credit for her extraordinary success in bringing people together around common goals.” 

“Joyce has become a key ambassador for the social determinants of health and an agent for community transformation in Vancouver.”

Walter Hossli

Walter founded Momentum, a community economic development organization over 20 years ago. He and his team have been assisting Calgarians transition out of poverty using a community based approach and Sustainable Livelihoods model that helps both develop skills and identify assets. Momentum has worked with thousands of individuals in Calgary offering, skills training, business development, micro lending, money management and matched savings.  Momentum’s matched savings program was one of the first such programs in Canada. Walter was also instrumental in launching Vibrant Communities Calgary, an initiative that advocates for policies which address root causes of poverty.   In addition to his work here at home, Mr. Hossli also regularly volunteers abroad in Africa and Belize where he provides capacity building work.

“Walter has built a leading organization through a commitment to shared leadership style that is built on humility, persistence and integrity.”

“The uniqueness of Walter’s leadership is based on his authentic and intentional commitment to share leadership among staff, board and other community stakeholders.”

Gordon Smith

Gord has been actively involved in his community of Windsor-Essex for over 35 years.  During these years, he has been a member, volunteer or chair of more than 12 community organizations. He broke down silos between health, education, business, recreation & leisure and organizations to address an issue of collective importance; the health of his community. While President of the local chapter of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Gord became interested in the formation of local Heart Health networks. He was appointed Vice-Chair of Health Action Windsor-Essex (HAWE) and Chair of their Workplace Committee. Gord served as Chair of HAWE from 2001 until it was dissolved in 2009. He was the founder of Citizen’s for Advocacy Windsor-Essex, which helps hundreds of individuals with intellectual disabilities and seniors have the benefit of someone speaking out on their behalf when necessary. He was also instrumental in bringing together and inspiring over 36 organizations and volunteers to form a coalition, Go For Health Windsor-Essex (GFH) of which he is now chair. Gord’s vision is a time when all citizens of Windsor and Essex County are striving to reach their optimum level of health, and are living disease and injury-free.

“His passion and love to the health of the community is evident in all of his interactions.”

“Over the years Gordon has mentored many individuals and inspired them to volunteer and get involved in the community. Gordon portrays community volunteer work as an important part of one’s life.”

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