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Learn more about the 2014 Award leaders




Joy Finneyleading with vision and a determined commitment to social change

Healthy Community mobilization

In 1991 the town of Elmira, Ontario was in a state of crisis because the drinking water was contaminated with toxic chemicals. Joy Finney worked alongside others in the community who wanted to  create positive change from this challenging situation.  They encouraged people in the Township of Woolwich to imagine what a healthy community could be and how they could achieve that vision.  The result of the visioning session was the creation of Woolwich Healthy Communities, a citizen-led organization which has worked to improve local social, environmental and economic health for the past twenty-four years.  Woolwich has gone on to become one of one of the most active and longstanding Healthy Communities organizations in Canada. The local Township Council endorsed their guiding principles to help them make healthy choices. Joy believes passionately in Margaret Wheatley’s suggestion that it is trusting relationships which enables communities or organizations to ride the waves of change, for it is trust that frees people’s creativity and generativity.  Joy inspires others to feel good about themselves and about their contributions to the broader community.

Agnes ContoisElder, traditional teacher and influencer  

Aboriginal career development

Agnes invests time and energy as an elder, community leader and role model.  She inspires Winnipeg’s Aboriginal youth through traditional teachings, including the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers. Agnes’ Career Trek program has increased the number of high school graduates in her community and contributed to their success.  She also hosts healing circles and introduces traditional foods to community members.  Agnes received a small grant in partnership with the University of Manitoba Basketball Team to facilitate a program called “Running with the Bison”, which encourages young people in basketball and skill development.  Agnes has faced many challenges and personal losses in her family, including those caused by residential school trauma. She brings healing by reconnecting young people to their Aboriginal culture, and inspires young people to be healthy within in a healthy community.

Leslie Dunning national champion for safe and healthy communities

Injury, Violence and Abuse Prevention

Leslie Dunning is a national champion for RespectED, the Canadian Red Cross program working to prevent violence, bullying and abuse.  Her leadership, throughout a 36 year career, has also helped to grow Canadian Red Cross injury prevention programs which provide safety training for more than 2 million Canadians annually.  For the past 25 years, Leslie has also provided leadership to engage the Canadian Red Cross with more than 300 First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities - involving them in first aid, swimming, water safety, disaster preparedness and violence prevention education initiatives.  As well, her leadership has enabled the Canadian Red Cross to support more than 20 other countries in their violence prevention efforts.  Leslie is a leader who understands that “healthy communities are safe communities”.  She has mentored leaders within the Canadian Red Cross, as well as in other organizations, to inspire them in their prevention endeavors.  She believes that leadership is about elevating others and that you can accomplish more with and through others than on your own.

Teresa Flemingadvocate, change agent and mobilizer

Support for Deaf and Hard of Hearing parents

Teresa Fleming is a Deaf woman who works and advocates tirelessly for Toronto’s Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community to provide Deaf parents with the services and resources they need. Known affectionately as a “force of nature”, Teresa is particularly adept at finding agency partners to provide services, engaging them with her enthusiasm, and helping them to understand the Deaf community culture and communication.  Within four years, she has successfully helped to increase services, financial and organizational commitments to support parents and young children using sign language (ASL). Teresa is a trusted advocate, a valued leader, and an inspiring agent of positive and lasting change for people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Doug Kellyinnovator and advocate for First Nations Peoples

British Columbia First Nation Health Authority

Grand Chief Doug Kelly has been a tireless community champion for First Nation’s health in British Columbia. By learning to listen and listening to learn, he worked with countless other leaders to create Canada’s first provincial organization dedicated to the health of First Nations– BC’s First Nation Health Authority.  Doug believes in the importance of self-care, and created the first annual BC First Nation leadership health challenge, called ‘Beefy Chiefs’.  He successfully lost over 80 pounds, and has inspired many other members of the First Nations community to achieve a healthy weight.  Doug’s leadership has included work with the BC First Nations Leadership Council, First Nations Summit Political Executive, First Nations Chiefs’ Health Committee, and Stó:lō Tribal Council.  He developed child welfare and other programs, such as First Nations fisheries and economic development.

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