CRHNet awards program: 2022 award winners

By Sophie Guilbault

The CRHNet Awards Program is a national awards program established to recognize and honour individuals participating in and contributing to the study and practice of disaster risk management. Recipients of the 2022 CRHNet awards were celebrated last January for their exemplary contributions to the field. The winners all demonstrated strong leadership in their respective organizations; the CRHNet Board of Directors and awards committee is thrilled to recognize their active engagement within our community. Learn more about each of our winners below.

The Larry Pearce Education Award

The Larry Pearce Education Award is offered by CRHNet members to deserving post-secondary students undertaking studies in any discipline related to Canadian disaster risk and/or emergency management. This competitive award is intended to encourage innovative disaster risk management work in Canada and defray the post-secondary education costs for recipients in the year the award is granted. Accordingly, recipients must be enrolled in full-time studies in the year in which the award is given.

1st place:  Aidan Osborne
Aidan is currently enrolled in the Disaster and Emergency Management program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Outside of the classroom, Aidan has been pursuing a research opportunity with the RCMP to critically evaluate and assess the capacity and capability of the civilian aircraft to facilitate and assist with search and rescue efforts in Alberta, drawing on his personal experience as a pilot. Aidan has also worked in close collaboration with the Canadian Red Cross, initially as a responder with the Emergency Response Team and currently serves as a volunteer Personal Disaster Assistance (PDA) Responder. He is also involved with CRHNet’s Emerging Professionals Committee where he spearheaded the development of mentorship, friendship and support.

2nd place: Willow Weber
Willow is an undergraduate student in the Disaster and Emergency Management Program at York University. Under Willow’s leadership, her program’s student association hosted several training opportunities, speaker events and the first fully virtual Career Day for the program’s students. She was able to accomplish this while maintaining a high level of academic achievement and was the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence for her work on the adoption of wildfire mitigation measures. Outside of school, Willow is also a member of the Emerging Professionals Committee for CRHNet where she leads the Event and Professional Development project team.

3rd place: Jennifer Gates
Jennifer is a Disaster and Emergency Management student at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Since starting her degree in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has embraced learning new skills and leveraging development opportunities while balancing a busy family life and a career as a health and fitness professional. While enrolled in Disaster & Emergency Management courses from December 2020 to June 2022, she also assisted Alberta Health Services as a team lead responsible for sub-teams of COVID-19 case investigators. Her teachers at NAIT referred to her as “the epitome of the type of professional we need in this field of practice to lead the challenging work that still needs to be done.”

Marion Boon Mentorship Award

The Marion Boon Mentorship Award was established in 2020 to recognize exemplary mentorship and leadership in the field of disaster and emergency management. This award was created to acknowledge individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to supporting the development of emerging professionals through advocacy, collaboration, and the transparent sharing of learning, experiences, and ideas. It was named after Marion Boon.

Winner: Rachel Mouncey

Rachel is the Director of Emergency Management with Air Canada. Rachel began her journey with Air Canada in February 2020 and has been noticed for her impeccable work ethic and growth with the company. She has been dedicated to working with her colleagues through the arduous hours of COVID-19 response in the early stages of the pandemic, including during hours of laborious work with regulatory groups, guidance, contact tracing, and updating policies and procedures. Rachel embodies what it means to be a mentor and more. She has taught new team members about the world beyond the four components of preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery and has led by example and not from a position of hierarchy, but relatability, compassion, and empathy. On numerous occasions, she has demonstrated her passion for sharing knowledge with the new generation of emerging professionals.

Canadian Disaster Risk Management Volunteer Award

The Canadian Disaster Risk Management Volunteer Award is presented annually to nationally recognize extraordinary and exemplary volunteerism in the advancement of Canadian disaster risk management. This award is supported by CRHNet membership to encourage disaster risk management volunteerism and to profile exceptional contributions through volunteer work, volunteer initiatives, and volunteer programs. Up to three awards are granted annually.

Winner: Lilia (Lily) Yumagulova

Lily is the Program Director for the Preparing Our Home Program, an award winning Indigenous community resilience planning program and Editor-in-Chief of HazNet, where she has contributed to the growth and development of the magazine over the past seven years. Her dedication to HazNet over the last years has helped bringing Canada’s resilience story to life through her vision, transforming words, stories, and art into a reputable and quality publication that is highly regarded by the DEM community. When the world was reeling from the pandemic, Lily helped highlight the silver linings; and when we felt full of despair after cascading and compounding emergencies, Lily highlighted art as a form of resilience, bringing colour to our bleak days. Those who had the chance to collaborate with her praise her for her selfless nature and endless contributions to the field. She has been a mentor to many and her words have empower and uplift her peers in a way only a passionate leader can. Those lucky enough to work with her get to witness her expertise and compassion not only for emergency management and disaster risk reduction in Canada, but for the communities that we strive to serve.

T. Joseph Scanlon Lifetime Achievement Award

The CRHNet T. Joseph Scanlon Lifetime Achievement Award is the organization’s highest honour and is named after the late journalist, researcher, and professor T. Joseph Scanlon, for his lifetime contributions to disaster risk management. The award is presented annually to recognize the lifetime contributions and achievements of exemplary individuals to the enhancement of Canadian disaster safety. Eligibility for this award is open to all Canadians, and recognizes individual service to public safety through disaster management practice, research, education, and leadership.

Winner: Stephen (Steve) Carr

Steve’s contributions to Canadian public safety go back decades and commence with his service in the Canadian Armed Forces, beginning in 1990. Following his service, he brought his operational and leadership skills to the field of disaster and emergency management when he began his work with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) in 2011. Through the last decade, Steve has held many leadership positions through his time at AEMA, and currently leads the Field Operations team in the capacity of Director, Field Operations.

To summarize Steve’s accomplishments and contributions to the Canadian emergency management field is no small task. His work demonstrates his commitment to operationalizing best practice and continuous improvement, fostering innovative approaches to reduce disaster vulnerability. Some notable contributions of his career include his leadership in establishing a consistent incident management system throughout the province of Alberta, his work to support the development of the All-Hazards Incident Management Team program in the province, building regional response capacity and his development of the AEMA First Nations’ Field Operations initiative, which directly supports First Nations’ disaster resiliency at the community level through information sharing, collaboration, education, training and capacity building. However, more than the long list of tangible work Steve has led, developed, and championed over the years, his contributions to inspiring and empowering his fellow emergency management professionals shine most brightly. His leadership during some of the most significant responses Alberta has seen have set the bar for crisis leadership for his colleagues.

Do these recipients sound like someone you know? Nominate your friends, colleagues, and peers through the CRHNet Awards Program page on CRHNet.