The Shortlisted Nominees
Meghan Laing- Changing the face of homelessness
Meghan works in Nova Scotia and has dedicated her time outside of her work as a real estate agent to raise money for affordable housing and homelessness. Her leadership qualities are described as determination and perseverance.
Meghan created awareness about the need for housing by hosting two successful events which involved numerous volunteers and community members. Both events were met with resistance and commentary that suggested she was trying to create something the community did not need. Meghan continued, undaunted by opposition, inspiring others to follow her lead. Her work has not only created housing opportunities for people who are marginalized but it has also fostered a sense of inclusion within the community. Meghan demonstrates compassion, and drive which has engaged hundreds in her quest to change homelessness one person at a time.
“Because she was brave enough to express her true passions, she was able to engage others to make a difference.” - Bill Pratt, nominator
Suzanne Friedlaender – Changing policy for cleaner air
Suzanne is the President of the Ottawa Council on Smoking or Health (OCSH). Her relentless advocacy and desire to see Ottawa become a smoke free city has kept her focused on change despite many obstacles. Her leadership style is described as leading by example, seeing opportunities not obstacles, making mistakes and learning from them, and working collaboratively. Due to Suzanne’s strategic approach to engaging and communicating with involved parties, her team has been able to change policy in Ottawa resulting in the restriction of outdoor smoking in public spaces.
“Local, grass roots, old facioned advocacy is still the best way to influence, engage and inspire change. Suzanne has all those qualities.” - David Bard, nominator
Raymond Fortier- A strong community volunteer
Raymond has been volunteering in his community for over 40 years. His leadership was key in creating awareness about the need for a community food bank in Cochrane, Ontario and then making sure that one was set up. He exemplifies leadership through knowledge, aspiration and dedication. A successful businessman, now retired, Raymond has been a constant supporter of his community.
“He shares through making suggestions on initiatives, through mentoring employees and volunteers in leadership, through example and through inspiring support for those timid of the role to embrace it instead.” Cochrane Mayor, Peter Politis
Mr. Mike Mroczek – Engaging community in physical activity and sport
Mike goes beyond his job as educator with the St. Clair Catholic District School Board in Sarnia, ON by volunteering countless hours to create a fitness program for children and parents in a neighbourhood identified as high risk. He has sought the creativity and input from staff and students to engage others who were faring poorly in the regular physical education course. Participation in an early morning program has grown significantly since its inception and it encourages grade 7 and 8 students to become mentors to continue to encourage physical activity among their younger peers. Mike’s ability to recognize a need and then to initiate change continued with an evening community walking program – creating a free activity for families of all ages.
“He is truly a mentor to every participant and also to the community participants in the walking
program. He is leading the way in showing adults the importance of their attention and participation in
their children's health.” - Martina Jackson, nominator
Gabrielle Langlois- Mobilizing her community around active transportation
Gabrielle is the volunteer coordinator for the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre in Toronto. Listening to the needs of the community, Gabrielle found an innovative way to integrate community participation, leadership and capacity building through the Bike Project. Involving groups of volunteers to act as health agents she has created a greater awareness and support of bike culture in the community. This unique approach to physical activity and health reflects Gabrielle’s vision and approach to bringing diverse groups together and to find strength and leadership in others
“Rather than a rallying leader, Gabrielle listens to and observes members of the community. From this
she coordinates activities and events that allow for participants to have platforms and opportunities
where THEY themselves can contribute fully and effectively." -Community member
Karen Mottershead – Creating opportunities for teen parents
Karen, Executive Director of Terra Centre for Teen Parents in Edmonton, is known for taking risks while moving forward to facilitate change that will benefit others. Karen has led an innovative project to ensure that bursaries and childcare support are available to assist teen mothers enter and complete grade 12, and move forward with their lives. Karen’s leadership approach models how to work for systemic change
“It is a balance between compassion and determination for change that is so prevalent in everything she does and that which makes her leadership style unique.” - Karen Caine, nominator
Bill McKeown – An advocate for people living with visual impairments
Bill, recently retired Vice-President, Government Relations with Canadian Institute for the Blind (CNIB) has left his mark as a leader. His work to influence and to change policies and programmes affecting the lives of people dealing with visual impairments reflects his approach to working with government, business and communities by forging relationships and networks. He ensured that the determinants of health such as income, employment and education were addressed to change lives for blind and visually impaired people. He led through mentoring others, sharing his wisdom and support while motivating with his sense of humour.
“Bill McKeown is a world-class leader whose actions have rippled across the province and even nationally.” - Canthy McFee, nominator
Tracy Scott – Supporting community based healthcare providers in First Nation communities
Tracy has devoted her energies to shaping and advancing Saint Elizabeth Health Care’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) Program, leading a cross- Canada virtual team. Tracy has used creative approaches to leverage web-based technologies and distance education programs to build skills and confidence among community-based healthcare providers in First Nations communities. Tracy keeps everyone focused on positive interactions and is highly committed to working with First Nations to build lasting relationships so that learning begins with people’s own knowledge and experiences.
“Tracy has demonstrated a natural ability to bring people together to find new and innovative ways of addressing social needs and challenges.” - Nancy Lefebre, nominator
Brenda Flaherty – Changing community care for the future
Brenda works in Hamilton as a volunteer on multiple projects to promote partnerships for community health across the continuum of care. As national board member of YMCA Canada and as the past Chair of YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford - Brenda has helped shape a new direction for community health. She was instrumental in creating a partnership called Live Well, bringing together the YMCA, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences to create a common vision to improve community health. She has influenced how community and healthcare staff can collaborate through knowledge translation and challengin the status quo.
“Brenda has a genuine compassion for understanding the issues and making the time to see how the experience is enhanced from the front-line participants’ perspective.“ - Genevieve Hladysh, Nominator
Bridget Fewtrell – Creating organizational change
As CEO and President of ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment & Development, Bridget has inspired staff and volunteers to unite around a shared vision of a fully integrated system of services for children with disabilities and their families. Bridget was determined to create an organizational structure where children were not assigned to a specific program with historical and inherent accessibility guidelines. She has been able to restructure the services of ErinoakKids to ensure a comprehensive service delivery system by fostering that dream among staff. She acts on her belief that all staff, no matter what their role, should be acknowledged for their contributions.
“When leaders are willing to expose their own vulnerabilities, they create a safe atmosphere for staff to do the same. This creates fertile ground for growth and development.” Mary King-Lyons, nominator
Jack McCarthy – Ensuring safer and healthier lives for communities.
Jack has been a passionate community advocate, social worker, community developer and health services executive in Ottawa for over 3 decades. As a community champion Jack’s strong leadership has contributed to comprehensive health care at the local level, the provincial and the national level. Whether in his role as executive director of Somerset West Community Health Centre or in his many voluntary capacities, Jack clearly understands that if you are going to challenge a politician or political decision always come with a viable alternative and not just criticism for criticism sake.
“Jack leads with curiosity, intent and the solid will to make the world a better place for those who live on the margins and by extension for us all.” - Rosemary Jones, nominator