The leadership and legacy of Captain Nichola Goddard
Captain Nichola Goddard was known as “a forceful and secure commander whose troops were extremely loyal.” That is the very definition of a true leader.
It was therefore a great honour for me to be national chair of the True Patriot Love Captain Nichola Goddard Leadership Series, which highlights women role models in the Canadian Armed Forces and raises funds for the Captain Nichola Goddard Fund.
The fund supports national community programs that help servicewomen, Veteran women and their families manage the realities and challenges of a career in the military. It is a lasting legacy of Nichola, who was the first Canadian women soldier to die in a combat role.
Bennett Jones is a founding partner of the Leadership Series and event host in our offices across Canada. We’ve held two in Toronto and the next ones are in Calgary on March 9 and Vancouver on March 10 – fittingly close to International Women’s Day.
Our firm has a deep connection to True Patriot Love as pro bono counsel and a deeply personal connection to Captain Goddard through our colleague Katherine Rusk, Nichola’s sister.
I’ve been involved with True Patriot Love for over six years and it’s been an incredibly meaningful experience. I was a member of the foundation’s signature expedition in 2016 to Vinson Massif – the highest peak in Antarctica and one of the world’s Seven Summits. Eight ill and injured soldiers and 17 Canadian business leaders took part.
The expedition was one of the hardest but also one of the best experiences of my life. It was so affirming to come together powerfully as a team.
I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in Canadian Leaders at Sea (CLaS) hosted by the Royal Canadian Navy. My involvement with True Patriot Love and CLaS have given me insights into the capabilities of military members and Veterans in military settings and civilian life, such as project management, leadership and technology roles, to name only a handful.
On International Women’s Day 2020, the inspiring examples of leadership by women in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are ones to celebrate. At the Leadership Series in Toronto last October, I moderated panel discussions with women leaders from the CAF. They spoke candidly about their career challenges and triumphs – and how all organizations can benefit from developing women leaders. Their insights included:
- The resilience and agility of women in leadership.
- Overcoming biases and earning respect in male-dominated organizations.
- Stepping out of your comfort zone to advance your career.
- Using women’s leadership to demonstrate Canadian values.
International Women’s Day is also a time to celebrate the legacy of Captain Nichola Goddard. Her strength and courage are examples to all Canadians – and one to be proudly shared with the world. It’s a privilege to participate through the Captain Nichola Goddard Fund and True Patriot Love.
To read more stories like Claire’s, click here.
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