Leadership Wood Buffalo logo

Leadership Wood Buffalo is designed to build leadership capacity in our community.

Annually, the Leadership Wood Buffalo (LWB) program accepts a new cohort of aspiring leaders with the goal of strengthening their existing leadership skills while supporting their growth as they discover and develop their unique leadership styles. Participants accepted into the program represent a variety of sectors and disciplines, and their individual skills and experiences create a unique environment for learning.

Through ongoing monthly Learning Days and Community Action Projects, the cohort creates connection and builds a strong foundation for leadership in our community.

Applications for the 2024/25 Cohort are now closed!

For more information or questions regarding the application process, please reach us at 587.674.2390

Stay tuned for the release of the 2024-2025 Leadership Wood Buffalo application, program details and scholarship opportunities!

Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

Interested in Applying to the Program?

Developing exceptional, impactful leaders does not happen overnight – it is a process we have fine-tuned over the years and requires a commitment from the applicant as well as a real desire to make a difference in Wood Buffalo.

Get added to our contact list for the next intake by filling out the form below:

Applications Open
Applications Close
Cohort Announced
Program Begins
Community Action Projects
Graduation
April
June
August
September
October to April
April

Interested applicants will undergo a selection process through a review committee that will select a diverse representation of emerging leaders who are looking to increase their understanding of our community, are actively engaged in leadership activities and demonstrate a commitment to increase their impact in Wood Buffalo.

Scholarship Opportunities

Sana Elache Memorial Community Leadership Scholarship

FuseSocial is honoured to offer the Sana Elache Memorial Community Leadership Scholarship as part of its commitment to growing and enhancing the capacity of the social profit sector within Wood Buffalo. Offered in memory of Sana Elache, the founding executive director of Leadership Wood Buffalo, this scholarship is available to support tuition of one community member interested in exploring and developing their leadership skills, both personally and at a community level.

Indigenous Scholarship

The Indigenous Scholarship prioritizes equitable access to the Leadership Wood Buffalo development opportunity for an Indigenous person, with ancestral land connection, by addressing barriers to attending and completing the Leadership Wood Buffalo program. This will include supporting program fees and the costs associated with traveling from a rural community in Wood Buffalo to attend learning days and other scheduled program outings.

*Must submit scholarship form with a general program application form.

Learn more about the program

View the completed Program Framework here.

For more information about the program or application process, please reach to us at leadershipwb@fusesocial.ca or by phone at 587.674.2390

Learn more about the program

Submit a Community Action Project Proposal

Are you a local social profit that has a great idea or need for project completed by a group of eager, aspiring leaders? We invite you to fill out a proposal for your project and we are happy to review it!

Request a Community Action Project 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Leadership Wood Buffalo program is open to individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those who are unemployed, stay-at-home parents, students, professionals, or anyone seeking to enhance personal and community skills.
  • You don’t have to be a leader to participate in the program. All you need is a heart for community development.
  • The program is about 8-months long. Because we understand that people have other commitments that requires time, we roll out all the dates for our events the moment application begins.
  • You do not need to be a volunteer to be considered for the program. The review and selection committee focuses on applicant’s readiness, motivation, and potential for growth rather than specific volunteering experiences.
  • LWB is designed to accommodate individuals with various commitments and schedules.
  • The LWB program focuses on all sectors and encompasses all aspects of community building.
  • The program costs $2850. Applying is free and payment is not required until you have been selected for the program.

Follow the 2023 / 2024 Participants' Journey!

Community Action Day

Play Video

Opening Retreat

Play Video

CAP Graduating Presentations

Play Video

1st Learning Day and Alumni Testimonies

Play Video

3rd Learning Day - Volunteerism and Harm Reduction

Play Video

5th Learning Day - Explore Systems Thinking

Play Video

Leadership Wood Buffalo is designed to build leadership capacity in our community.

Annually, the Leadership Wood Buffalo (LWB) program accepts a new cohort of aspiring leaders with the goal of strengthening their existing leadership skills while supporting their growth as they discover and develop their unique leadership styles. Participants accepted into the program represent a variety of sectors and disciplines, and their individual skills and experiences create a unique environment for learning.

Through ongoing monthly Learning Days and Community Action Projects, the cohort creates connection and builds a strong foundation for leadership in our community.

History

Leadership Wood Buffalo was created by Sana Elache, founding Executive Director, with the dream of encouraging, developing and growing emerging leaders into the social profit community. Since its inception in 2006, LWB has seen over 270 participants from various sectors in the community who are passionate about seeing our unique region thrive. Many participants have risen to high-level leadership positions, become municipal councillors, or contributed to significant community impact as board members. The ripple effect of intentional and strong leadership continues to impact our community in all sectors, today.

Leadership Wood Buffalo Inquiries

    Alumni Photos

    Testimonials

    "The program has significantly increased my confidence in my abilities and improved my perception of how others view me. As a result, it has encouraged me to apply for and accept opportunities that I would not have previously considered."
    "This program has more than met my expectations. I thought it was going to be like most training programs where you sit and learn about different theories and ideas and how you can apply them. This was so much more than that. Every learning day I walked away not only with new knowledge about community leadership in general but new knowledge about myself and the different things I have to offer both professionally and personally."
    "The biggest piece of knowledge I have taken away from the Leadership Wood Buffalo Program would be learning what my strengths are and how they are so immersed in my everyday life both at work and home."
    "Through this program I also gained some insight into things that I can do in my personal life to make me a more effective leader professionally. We discussed at length the concept of mindfulness and how it can be used within a workplace to help individuals develop effective teams."
    "I came to realize that as much as it is an asset to be all in when it comes to work, that taking the time to reflect, and recharge is important as well. Overall, this program really changed how I view myself as a leader and really helped me to develop and new way to leverage myself in order to make a difference within my community."
    "Overall, I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking to learn something new about themselves. The insight I’ve gained has helped me to become a more effective leader as well as a more well-rounded member of this community. It’s been the most amazing experience. I cannot begin to list all that I’ve gained from this program, it truly is a one-of-a-kind experience."
    "This has been an incredible journey of discovery. I have gained a deeper appreciation for all that Fort McMurray has going for it, and for all the unsung heroes in the background. Having met so many fantastic leaders from within the social profit sector, as a part of this learning experience has been very profound."
    "The growth I have experienced has been exponential. I have transitioned from thinking that leadership is something for others, to feeling like I can be one of those admirable people that inspires and fosters those around me!"
    "Partaking in leadership wood buffalo has helped me build a solid foundation of leadership capacity. I have taken lots of leadership workshops throughout my career at Alberta health Services, but none of them affected me to the same degree as this program. The most profound lesson I learned was the true value and meaning of trust within a team. When trust is cultivated and nurtured between team members magical things can happen!"
    "The most impactful event through the year was to learn how to balance when to lead and when to be led. Our Community Action Group had 6 people from very different backgrounds which made the whole process richer and sometimes challenging. We were very passionate and dedicated to improving how to access mental health resources in our region, and through the project we had the chance to learn a lot about the resources and the work that is already in place."
    "Leadership Wood Buffalo provided a space to explore my creativity through presentation. Living in the digital world, it became important to “think outside the box” even though much of the program was facilitated through online platforms. I recognize that my creativity is truly an asset, to be used in all areas of life but especially within my career."
    "The piece of knowledge I find has impacted me the most is the inner critic, especially hearing that everyone else has one. I find as a leader, I am lonely, and I am very hard on myself for mistakes that I make. It was a weight off my shoulders to hear that others feel the same way and that their inner critic tells them similar things. I find that simply being aware that the conversations I have in my head about not being good enough, or not being the best is all in my head."
    "I always feel so energized and refreshed after being able to speak honestly and openly and I leave feeling very understood and not alone. It’s a great learning community to be a part of."
    "I have a confidence that I never had before. I am now ok asking questions and not being the smartest person in the room. I am confident being wrong and it not shattering my ego. I am a stronger, more well-rounded leader because of the lessons I have learned during the year."

    Wood Buffalo's Heartwarming Gift of Time: Over 7,000 Volunteer Hours Pledged to Social Profit Organizations for 2024

    For those who made pledges, we are excited about the prospect of collaborating with you throughout 2024 to help you fulfill your campaign commitments. Our goal is to provide robust support, ensuring that you find meaningful opportunities within our community that resonate with your interests and align with the causes and organizations you passionately support. We believe that your commitment marks the beginning of a fulfilling volunteerism journey. 

    To assist you in fulfilling your campaign commitments, our team is pleased to offer quarterly check-ins on your pledge progress, timely notifications about upcoming opportunities and events, and personalized one-on-one support. At the Northstar Ford Wood Buffalo Volunteer Centre, we take pride in being your dedicated resource for volunteerism. Our user-friendly platform allows volunteers to create profiles, explore diverse opportunities, track their hours, learn about local organizations, and enjoy rewards through our WB Volunteer Rewards Program, generously sponsored by Suncor.  

    FuseSocial would like to extend a huge thank you to the Wood Buffalo community for your generous gifts of time; your commitment is a catalyst for positive change, and the social profit sector is grateful for your continued support. 

    Congratulations to our ​2021 Heart of Wood Buffalo Award Winners!

    Congratulations to the 2020 Recipients!

    COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD

    VOLUNTEER AWARD

    CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD

    EVERYDAY HERO AWARD

    YOUTH AWARD

    INDIGENOUS ADVOCATE AWARD

    SOCIAL PROSPERITY LEADERSHIP AWARD

    BOARD LEADERSHIP AWARD

    EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP AWARD

    NEWCOMER ENGAGEMENT AWARD

    Congratulations to the 2018 Recipients!

    The 2018 Heart of Wood Buffalo Awards was a fantastic collaboration with the ConvergenceYMM 2018 event. It was a great opportunity to start of celebrating all of the wonderful things going on this past year in the Social Profit Sector

    The following individuals have been recognized for their achievements which embody the spirit of community innovation, capacity building and leadership:

    Cliff Dimm – Board Leadership Award
    Michele Taylor & Joanne Angel-Andrusiv – Executive Leadership Award
    91.1 The Bridge/ King’s Kids Promotions – Community Impact Award
    Natalie Kemeny – Newcomer Engagement Award in Memory of Lyle Leboldus
    Elizabeth Wells – Volunteer Recognition Award in Honour of Bill Bloomfield
    SMS Equipment – Social Prosperity Leadership Award

    Sincerely, we thank you for your contribution to our community!

    Congratulations to the 2017 Recipients!

    This evening, the Heart of Wood Buffalo Awards Committee announced the winners of the 2017 Heart of Wood Buffalo Leadership Awards, presented by Suncor.

    The following individuals have been recognized for their achievements which embody the spirit of community innovation, capacity building and leadership:

    Norma Jean Atkinson – Board Leadership Award
    Tara Clarke – Executive Leadership Award
    McMurray Metis – Community Impact Award
    Barbara Weber – Newcomer Engagement Award in Memory of Lyle Leboldus
    Reno Laseur – Volunteer Recognition Award in Honour of Bill Bloomfield
    Nicole Greville – Social Prosperity Leadership Award

    “This past year has been a challenge for our community. However, we have seen our social profit sector step up tremendously to support our community. They have truly taken on a leadership role to ensure our community is as vibrant and healthy as possible.” says Amy Matthews, Vision Ideas Architect at FuseSocial. “It has been such an exciting evening celebrating excellence in the social profit sector.”

    Congratulations to the 2015 Recipients!

    The 2015 Heart of Wood Buffalo Leadership Awards are proudly presented by Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo and the Suncor Energy Foundation in collaboration with FuseSocial Wood Buffalo Society, the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association and The United Way of Fort McMurray. In addition, this year’s awards are sponsored by Suncor Energy, Syncrude, Shell, Hedco Group Inc., ATB Financial, Rogers Media (Country 93.3/Rock 97.9), RBC Financial, Northstar Lincoln Ford.

    Congratulations to all the winners, finalists, and nominees!

    Social Prosperity Leadership Award

    presented by Suncor Energy Foundation and sponsored by Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo

    Acuren

    Organization selected to receive the $5,000 is the Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School Robotics program.

    Executive Leadership Award

    presented by FuseSocial and sponsored by Syncrude Canada Ltd.

    Susanne Chaffey of Northern Lights Health Foundation

    Organization selected to receive the $5,000 is Northern Lights Health Foundation

    Community Impact Award

    presented by The United Way of Fort McMurray

    Northern Lights Health Foundation

    Organization selected to receive the $5,000 is Northern Lights Health Foundation

    Board Leadership Award

    presented by FuseSocial and sponsored by ATB Financial

    • Jennifer Best of Support Through Housing Team


    Organization selected to receive the $5,000 is Support Through Housing Team

    ​​ Volunteer Recognition Award in honour of Bill Bloomfield

    presented and sponsored by Shell

    Vilia Tosio

    ​Organization selected to receive the $5,000 is Wood Buffalo Midwifery Association

    Newcomer Engagement Award in memory of Lyle Leboldus

    presented by the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association and sponsored by Hedco Group Inc.

    Valerie O’Leary

    Organization selected to receive the $5,000 is Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) for Communities

    Congratulations to the 2016 Recipients!

    Heart Award Winners Announced

    (Fort McMurray, Alberta, May 18, 2016) – The Heart Awards Committee is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2016 Heart Awards.
    Even though we cannot be together for this celebration, we wanted to recognize and congratulate the exceptional work these individuals and groups contribute to the community of Wood Buffalo. The Heart Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the non- profit sector in the Region of Wood Buffalo in six categories.

    Board Leadership – Paul McWilliams
    Nominated by: Arianna Johnson

    This award recognizes exemplary leadership at the non-profit board level.


    Community Impact – Fort Chip Animal Rescue Society
    Nominated by: Jennifer Best

    This award recognizes the impact a non-profit organization has made in the broader community, resulting in clear and measurable change


    Executive Leadership – Chantal Beaver
    Nominated by: Alison Rinas

    This award recognizes exemplary leadership at the nonprofit senior leader level


    Newcomer Engagement – Suma Jose
    Nominated by: Alex Tarasenco

    This award celebrates people who are new to the region but quickly support non-profit organizations through their outstanding leadership, commitment and volunteer work. They have a passion for community involvement and are a tremendous advocate for the non-profit sector.


    Social Prosperity – Alan Roberts
    Nominated by: Rolando Inzunza

    This award recognizes significant contributions to the community including financial contributions, volunteer support and in-kind services targeted at helping one or more non-profit community organizations achieve greater sustainability.


    Volunteerism – Aiman Naeem
    Nominated by: Adrienne Norris

    This award celebrates people who invest in their communities and inspire others through their outstanding volunteer work.


    “Tonight we were supposed to have our awards ceremony and celebrate the commitment that so many make to the social profit sector in our Region” said Bonnah Carey, Chief Social Entrepreneur at FuseSocial and member of the Heart Awards Committee. “We wanted to announce the winners and appreciate all of these exemplary leaders who contribute in amazing ways to make Fort McMurray the best place in the world to call home,” said Carey. “During this difficult time celebrating these remarkable individuals has even more meaning.”

    A big thank you to our sponsors – Suncor, Syncrude, Hedco, ATB Financial, Shell Canada, RBC Royal Bank, and Fort McMurray United Way.

    Congrats to the 2014 Award Winners!

    The 2014 Winners


    Organizers of the 2014 Heart of Wood Buffalo Leadership Awards are very pleased to announce the 2014 Award Winners!

    The Awards were held on April 23rd at the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts at Holy Trinity High School , hosted by emcee Marty Giles and with keynote speaker, Liz Weaver.

    In addition to receiving a beautiful, hand crafted award sculpture, the Award Winners each received a $5,000 cash prize that they donated to the Wood Buffalo nonprofit community organization of their choice.

    Executive Leadership Award

    presented by FuseSocial and sponsored by Syncrude Canada Ltd.

    · Lynn Rhoddy, Stepping Stones Youth Homes

    · Two Organizations selected were the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association and the Francophone Association of Wood Buffalo, $2,500 each

    Social Prosperity Leadership Award

    presented by Suncor Energy Foundation and sponsored by Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo

    · Tervita Corporation

    · Organization selected to receive the $5,000 is the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association

    Volunteer Recognition Award in honour of Bill Bloomfield

    presented and sponsored by Shell

    · Rolando Inzunza

    · Organization selected to receive the $5,000 is YMCA Immigrant Settlement Services

    Community Impact Award

    presented by the United Way of Fort McMurray and sponsored by TOTAL E&P Canada

    · Santa’s Anonymous

    · Organization Selected to receive the $5,000 award was Santas Anonymous

    Newcomer Engagement Award in memory of Lyle Leboldus

    presented by the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association and sponsored by Hedco Group Inc.

    · Kevin Garbuio
    Organization selected to receive the $5,000 award was the Fort McMurray Football Association

    Board Leadership Award

    presented by FuseSocial and sponsored by ATB Financial

    · Ed Kamps, Multicultural Association

    · Organization selected to receive the $5,000 is Multicultural Association

    2013 Heart of Wood Buffalo Awards

    Fort McMurray, Alberta – May 23, 2013 Organizers of the 2013 Heart of Wood Buffalo Leadership Awards are very pleased
    to announce the 2013 Award Winners for the Heart of Wood Buffalo Leadership Awards.

    The Awards were held on May 23rd at the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts at Holy Trinity High School , hosted by emcees Amanda Propp and Sean Conroy and featured keynote speaker Dave Meslin.

    Feeling alone in RMWB?

    Thank you to Epic Productions for capturing some great stories as they got ready for the May 23 Heart of Wood Buffalo Leadership Awards. Click on the video to the right!

    Social Prosperity Leadership Award

    Andryia Browne
    Andryia Browne selected the Fort McMurray SPCA to receive her $5,000 prize. As owner of Fort McMurray Connect and Vizability Consulting Inc., Andryia plays an integral role in recognizing and sharing news of nonprofit organizations in Wood Buffalo. She is especially devoted to the Fort McMurray SPCA and has been a member of the Board for two years. Through her involvement with the SPCA, she has successfully created ‘petspeak’ adoption advertisements that have increased adoption rates, designed program cards to outline the programs and services offered by SPCA and created the gala fundraiser, Dancing the Stars Wood Buffalo. Her efforts have had a significant impact bringing positive change while inspiring others.

    Community Impact Award

    Fort McMurray Inner-City Homeless Health Promotion Project
    Two organizations were selected to split the $5,000 prize; the Centre of Hope and the Salvation Army. The Fort McMurray Inner-City Homeless Health Promotion Project builds exemplary partnerships and collectively makes positive impacts on access to appropriate healthcare and necessary support for vulnerable members of our community. The project contributes to what we are obligated as humans and a community

    – to care for each other, especially the most vulnerable ones. That is a vital component of a healthy community.

    Executive Leadership Award

    Roseanne Davidson
    Roseanne donated her $5,000 prize to the Fort McMurray Historical Society, Heritage Park Summer Camps Program. As the Executive Director of the Fort McMurray Historical Society, Roseann has witnessed the amazing growth of both Heritage Park and the Marine Park Museum. In her role she has had the opportunity to build dreams fueled by dedication, hard work and passion from staff, volunteers and the Fort McMurray Historical Society Board of Directors. Roseann is excited by the enthusiastic laughter and learning at school programs and summer camps. She has also had the opportunity to work with incredible community partners that invaluably support Fort McMurray Historical Society projects and programs. It is the diversity of this community that makes her position unique and rewarding.

    Board Leadership Award

    Hope Moffatt
    Hope Moffatt chose Children 1st Community Childcare Network Society to receive the $5,000 prize. Hope has
    been an early childhood and adult educator for most of her life and is one of the founding members of Children First. The Children First: Community Day Home Agency and the Children  First: Eagle Ridge Nest child care centre were built by community partners in response to the community’s need for increased child care services. Hope is grateful for the dedication of the Children First staff and Board of Directors. Children First’s mission is
    to “Put circles of support around children and families.” When they do that, they will be living their vision: “Children first, community success.”

    Newcomer Engagement Award in Memory of Lyle Leboldus

    D’Andre Wilson
    D’Andre chose Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and the Wood Buffalo Youth Science Foundation to split the $5,000 prize. D’Andre Wilson came to Fort McMurray in September 2011 on a temporary work placement and in April 2012 decided to make Fort McMurray her permanent home. Educated in chemical engineering, she always had a passion for promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to youth and decided to form the BrainSTEM Alliance, working with social profits and educational institutions in the area to do engineering outreach activities. So far she has worked with the Fort McMurray Public Library, Holy Trinity High School and Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta. She recently started her own handbag business called Ziri Bags
    & Accessories to raise funds for scholarships toward young women pursuing STEM fields.

    Volunteer Recognition Award in Honour of Bill Blomfield

    Nicole Park
    Nicole Park chose Fort McMurray Autism Support Group, Camp Kids First to receive the $5,000 prize.Nicole has proudly called Fort McMurray her home for 13 years. In 2008, Nicole started the Fort McMurray Autism Support Group for parents to meet monthly and support each other in raising a child or children with autism. This group is what Nicole is most proud of because like Margaret Montoya did for her when she received her son’s diagnosis she has been able to help other families with the journey of an autism diagnosis. Among her many accomplishments, in 2011 she founded Camp “Kids First”, the only outdoor recreation summer day camp in Fort McMurray to provide social and recreational opportunities for children with different needs. Currently Nicole volunteers with the Healing Hooves Therapeutic Horse Back Riding Project at Clearwater Horse Club and is the administration volunteer for the Fort McMurray Special Olympics. She was also integral in getting a special needs class added to
    the regular registration at the Norfort Gymnastics Club.

    2012 Heart of Wood Buffalo Awards

    FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA –June 6, 2012 Organizers of the 2012 Heart of Wood Buffalo Leadership Awards are very pleased to announce the 2012 Award Winners for the Heart of Wood Buffalo Leadership Awards.

    The Awards were held on June 6th at the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts at Holy Trinity High School, hosted by emcee Russell Thomas and keynote speaker Ian Hill. Watch Ian’s keynote presentation:

    And the Nominees are...

    Social Prosperity Leadership Award

    Christine Burton

    Chrisitne selected the Wood Buffalo Artists Forum to receive her $5,000 prize. A lawyer, Christine has made a big impression on a lot of people with the monthly free notary clinic she holds at the YMCA, where she helps immigrants and foreign workers complete essential paperwork. Given the number of documents that she notarizes annually, a YMCA coordinator points out that if clients paid for the same service at a legal practice, the price tag would be a whopping $90,000. Among her other achievements, Christine is also: A volunteer speaker, panel member and mentor for Leadership Wood Buffalo; founding member and director of the Wood Buffalo Artists Forum and the Wood Buffalo Immigrant Society; founding director of Arts Council Wood Buffalo, and founding member and president of both the Wood Buffalo Wellness Society-Mark Amy Addictions Treatment Centre and the HUB Family Resource Centre.

    Community Impact Award

    The Fort McMurray Food Bank Association


    The Food Bank received the $5,000 prize for winning the Community Impact Award. The Food Bank is fighting to end hunger in our region, providing for the shortterm distribution of food to people in need. Since it opened its doors in a warehouse in Gregoire in late 1982, it has been the liaison between the community and those who require assistance by seeking, receiving, and administering donations from individuals, groups and businesses, and disbursing those resources to the less fortunate. Last year, 1,015 adults and 976 children were supplied with food. Now located in a larger, more convenient downtown headquarters, the Food Bank also acts as an advocate for its clients and provides referral services to other agencies. As a former client turned volunteer says, the “Food Bank is about much more than just distributing food in our community to benefit those in need. It is a committed, community-minded organization that encourages, empowers and educates.”

    Executive Leadership Award

    Jill Sporidis

    Jill chose the Wood Buffalo chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society (Relay for Life) to receive the $5,000 prize. Jill won as the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Wood Buffalo Primary Care Network, which consists of interdisciplinary health professionals, family physicians, and pediatricians. With more than 12 years of progressive leadership experience, she has championed change, provided strategic direction, encouraged innovation and built relationships with stakeholders to open up new opportunities for growth – such as the recent relocation of the Primary Care clinic to Keyano College after it unexpectedly lost its leased space. As one colleague observes, in that case she turned a “potentially devastating situation” into a venture that “now promises to benefit both organizations.” Efficient and effective, blessed with a unique combination of critical and creative thinking, Jill managed to cut $1.17 million from the budget in the 2010/2011 fiscal year without any employee layoffs.

    Board Leadership Award

    Dan Fouts


    As the winner, Dan chose the Northern Lights Health Foundation to receive his $5,000 prize. He was elected to a two-year term in 2011 as Chairman of the Board of the Northern Lights Health Foundation, having served as a director since 2007. Among his many accomplishments, colleagues say that he has been instrumental in helping the board make the challenging transition over the past few years to a new policy governance model, and in redesigning the process used by Alberta Health Services to request grants from the foundation. Dan is also a member of the stakeholder relations sub-committee, which was previously the human resources sub-committee. President and general manager of Stony Valley Contracting, Dan explains that he became passionate about healthcare after watching his mother fight and eventually lose her battle with cancer. Giving back to the community, he says, “is what my Mom would have expected of me.”

    Newcomer Engagement Award in Memory of Lyle Leboldus


    The inaugural Newcomer Engagement Award was presented to Lyle’s daughter, Jeanette Leboldus, on her father’s behalf.


    Jeanette donated the $5,000 prize to the Fort McMurray Food Bank Association. Lyle moved to Fort McMurray in March 2011, immediately embracing the community and making it home. In the same spirit that he had avidly supported local non-profit groups and charities elsewhere, he joined the Board of Directors of the Fort McMurray Food Bank in June 2011, followed by the United Way Community Investment Committee. His legacy will live on.

    Volunteer Recognition Award in Honour of Bill Blomfield

    Alejandro (Alex) Bosch Sanchez


    Alex donated his $5,000 price to the United Way of Fort McMurray. He works as a caregiver and arrived arrived in Fort McMurray four years ago from Mexico. Having started volunteering when he was 10 years old, he was soon immersed in his new community – eventually becoming involved with 22 organizations, including the YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Air Cadets, Events Wood Buffalo, the Northern Lights Foundation and the HUB Family Resource Centre. Much of his focus has been on helping children and teens. Alex says that volunteering has made his life in Fort McMurray “delightful,” and he hopes that others will be inspired to lend a hand and make a difference.

    2011 Heart of Wood Buffalo Leadership Awards

    On June 21, 2011, Wood Buffalo celebrated excellence in our nonprofit sector with the first annual Heart of Wood Buffalo Leadership Awards.

    Congratulations to the 2011 Heart of Wood Buffalo Award Recipients:
    Marty & Dennine Giles, Philanthropy Award
    Wood Buffalo Housing & Development Corporation, Nonprofit Organization Award
    Christine Burton (The HUB Family Resource Centre), Board Leadership Award
    Laura Barnes (Fort McMurray Victim Services), Nonprofit Staff Award