Marianne Simm speaking at podium

Living Leadership Award

The Living Leadership Award is presented annually to a Brescia employee or a work team who models exceptional commitment in fostering the spirit, mission, and values of Brescia University College by demonstrating creativity, innovation, and personal initiative in their work and life.

Nominations are now closed.


Past Award Recipients

Jennifer Coghlin

2018 | Jennifer Coghlin

When you think of key characteristics that represents a bold leader, humility is often a word that comes to mind. The 2018 Living Leadership Award recipient, Jennifer Coghlin, fully embodies this characteristic while leading her team and advising Brescia students.

As Brescia’s Associate Registrar of Student Success, Jen manages strategic student initiatives, which include academic advising and the over-all student experience. Regarded as a dedicated and compassionate leader on campus, Jen ensures student success is at the forefront of every decision and is acknowledged for giving outstanding support to each student she encounters.

“Jennifer is a compassionate and caring leader serving through example. She serves not only as a role model within her team but with all students, faculty and staff. As a resource bank of wisdom and knowledge, Jennifer is always reliable and available to step in and support as needed within the various areas she serves.”

Outside of her day-to-day responsibilities, Jen serves as the Vice-Chair of Brescia Council and plays a key role in supporting multiple programs and resources at Brescia, including but not limited to the Care Program, BE International and The Hive. In every program and initiative Jen is involved in, she makes it her mission to improve student life on campus.

Jen humbly accepts this award while noting, “I didn’t do this on my own. I work with incredible staff in the Registrar’s Office and everything we do is a team effort. This award is not a reflection of me, but a reflection of the people I work with every day.”

Colleen Aguilar

2017 | Colleen Aguilar

Compassionate, invigorating, student-centered and empowering. These powerful four words not only make up Brescia’s core attributes but they also represent the work and spirit of the 2017 Living Leadership Award recipient, Colleen Aguilar.

As Director of Communications and External Relations, Colleen works vigilantly to support and promote the bold work of the University through strong, comprehensive and consistent communications. In her daily tasks, Colleen successfully manages the institution’s communications and messaging, while working to support and achieve the strategic goals of her team and of the University’s Strategic Plan as a whole. One nominee spoke of Colleen’s work ethic, saying,

“In everything that Colleen does, she always strives to achieve the best and this spirit in contagious with everyone and everything she touches.”

Colleen is also an active member of many of Brescia’s committees, including the Academic Pavilion Working Group and sits as Chair of Brescia’s Centennial Committee. As one of many contributors to Brescia’s story, Colleen’s leadership on the Centennial Committee is admired by the team and by many colleagues across campus.

Further to her responsibilities in Communications, Colleen actively embodies Brescia’s student-centred mission, by always making time for the needs of the University’s students. Whether she is meeting with students to discuss school projects, their personal development or simply to provide a much-needed ear, she is always willing to drop whatever she is doing to help. Regarding her spirit of leadership and dedication to Brescia’s mission, one nominee said, “Colleen exemplifies the qualities of a true leader and embodies Brescia’s mission and values both on the job and in her day-to-day life.”

Courtney McDonald

2016 | Courtney McDonald

Courtney McDonald is someone who is known for her compassion, being student-centred and being willing to take chances, even when change can be difficult. As Manager of Student Life, Courtney puts our students at the heart of everything that she does while doing so through a strategic and innovative lens.

Courtney recognizes the ever-changing landscape of post-secondary education, and as a part of that understanding, she has recently taken on a leadership role with mental health and wellness initiatives as well as ensuring that as Canada’s only women’s University, we are committed to supporting our students through difficult circumstances by helping to lead the implementation of Brescia’s Sexual Violence Policy and related website and training resources that have now been adopted as part of Brescia’s culture.

In her day-to-day tasks, Courtney constantly manages issues on the front line in the Student Life Centre, while also remaining focussed on the larger work of the strategic goals facing her team and Brescia as an institution. A nominee of Courtney’s spoke to her work by saying, “She is progressive and loves to collaborate in any way that she can.”

Beyond the impact that she has made in her own portfolio, Courtney models true but humble leadership through her work with students, faculty, staff, community partners and with Western and the afilliated colleges. Her dedication to furthering Brescia’s commitment in being student-centred, while engaging the community in this initiative, is beyond measurable.

“Courtney is someone who reflects the brand attributes of Brescia by encouraging students and her team of staff to lead with wisdom, justice and compassion.”

Ingrid Christensen

2015 | Ingrid Christensen

Known as exceptionally knowledgeable, dependable and compassionate, Ingrid Christensen is the recipient of the 2015 Living Leadership Award. This award is presented annually to a faculty or staff member who fosters the spirit and mission of Brescia University by demonstrating creativity, innovation and personal initiative in her work and life. Ingrid was selected by a committee of her peers, assembled by the Director of Human Resources.

In her work as a Payroll & Benefits Officer, Ingrid works tirelessly to support the financial well-being of Brescia’s faculty, staff and student employees. Although her work is demanding – facing constant deadlines – she always takes time to make herself available to personally meet with every new employee to answer questions and walk them through the complex areas of payroll, benefits, pension, and terms and agreements relating to their employee group. One nominee praised her dedicated work-ethic saying, “In addition to her emotional commitment to Brescia’s people, Ingrid is extremely knowledgeable in her field and stays current in a constantly changing legislative environment to ensure that she provides the best service to Brescia’s workforce.”

Further to her responsibilities in the Business Office, Ingrid is incredibly active in the community. She is always giving back to the community through her time and through charitable outreach, including creating and providing professional-level baked goods for Brescia’s ‘Cake Baking’ contest, which raises thousands of dollars each year for United Way. A role model for working mothers, she is a consistent face of support within the school communities of her seven children and their extra-curricular activities. Regarding her dedication to Brescia and her community, one nominee said:

“Generous with her time, with her possessions, with her talents, Ingrid in her quiet way is profoundly impacting everyone around her and making their lives better in ways large and small.”

Paul Barker

2014 | Dr. Paul Barker

Dr. Paul Barker, a professor in the Division of Social Sciences, was awarded Brescia’s 2014 Living Leadership Award, which is given to those who show commitment to the mission, vision, and values of Brescia by demonstrating creativity, innovation, and personal initiative in work and life. It is no easy feat to receive the Living Leadership Award; however, Dr. Barker embodies many characteristics of a great leader, making him the well-deserved recipient of this annual award.

A selection committee headed by the Director of Human Resources carefully chooses the candidate from all submitted nominations. Dr. Barker received nominations from not only faculty, but also students and alumnae.

“Brescia is a richer place as a result of Dr. Barker’s dedication to teaching, his commitment to leadership, and his respectful engagement with colleagues.”

Whether it is on the topic of Canadian politics, public policy, or federal-provincial relations, Dr. Barker is always sure to engage his students, as highlighted by a nominator, who stated, “Dr. Barker’s true love for both teaching and what he teaches is absolutely contagious. His excitement made even the most boring theoretical learning fun and memorable.”

A true leader requires passion, patience, and perseverance, all of which Dr. Barker has demonstrated time and time again. By honouring Dr. Barker, Brescia hopes to not only highlight the importance of leadership, but also inspire others to become leaders themselves.

Sister Mary Francis

2013 | Sister Mary Francis

Sister Mary Frances, Dorschell (’63), a professor in the Division of Arts and Humanities, was deeply humbled and honoured when her name was announced as the winner of the 2013 Living Leadership Award. The award is given annually to a staff or faculty member, who fosters the spirit and mission of Brescia University by demonstrating creativity, innovation, and personal initiative in his or her work and/or life.

Individuals are nominated in November of each year and a selection committee, headed by the Director of Human Resources, chooses the candidate from the nominations put forth. One of Sister Mary Frances’s nominators had the following to say:

“There is no one that embodies the values and mission of Brescia more than Sister Mary Frances. In the Ursuline tradition, she has prepared her graduates to lead with wisdom, justice, and compassion.”

Sister Mary Frances was surprised to hear her name called by Principal Colleen Hanycz at the Christmas Luncheon, where she received the award, and said, “I wasn’t expecting it at all. I felt deeply honoured. It was a humbling experience. There are many people here at Brescia who are deserving of the award. I was quote touched by the nice things that people said.”

Sister Mary Frances spends much of her time interacting with students on an academic and personal level. She believes in considering the needs of others, specifically Brescia students, before her own needs. It is this quality that has allowed her to become such an integral part of the Brescia community where she supports students, faculty, and staff. She continues to live in Ursuline Hall today, which allows her to stay connected to the history of the University.

During the school year, when she’s not teaching French in the classroom, Sister Mary Frances can be found with a group of students, whether it is in The Mercato gathering for dinner, chatting by the fireplace, or discussing an academic matter. She is the epitome of a living leader inspiring all around her.

Library Staff

2012 | Library Staff

Brescia was thrilled to recognize not only one individual, but an entire team, who were honoured with the 2012 Living Leadership Award. The Beryl Ivey Library Staff are this years’ recipients. The team includes: Jim Mei; Kathleen Dahl; James Ripley; Dagmo Haji-Yusef; Adrienne Roode; Kate Norton; Dominique China; Alison Foster; Heather Campbell; Emma Swiatek; and Caroline Whippey. The award is given to a staff or faculty member each year for fostering the spirit and mission of Brescia University by demonstrating creativity, innovation, and personal initiative in her/his/their work and/or life. Individuals are nominated in November of each year and a selection committee, headed by Director of Human Resources, Jim Macdonald, chooses the candidate from the nominations put forth.

The nominations received for this group all spoke about how student-centred each individual on staff is when working at the Library desk and included comments such as, “The Beryl Ivey Library is truly a jewel in Brescia’s crown. They are student-centred, they serve with compassion, and their leadership is inspiring.”

The Beryl Ivey Library opened in 2007 and was Brescia’s most successful fundraising campaign to date, raising a total of $2,000,000.

Jim Mei, Director of Library Services, spoke about receiving the Living Leadership award, and says, “I must admit, that when we were presented with this wonderful award at the Christmas lunch, we were overwhelmed. But I was so proud of my team and that they were recognized in this way.”

Marianne Simm

2011 | Marianne Simm

Director of Student Affairs and Registrar, Marianne Simm, was the recipient of the 2011 Living Leadership Award at Brescia, which is awarded to a staff or faculty member each year for fostering the spirit and mission of Brescia University by demonstrating creativity, innovation, and personal initiative in her/his/their work and/or life. Individuals are nominated in November of each year and a selection committee, headed by Director of Human Resources, Jim Macdonald, chooses the candidate from the nominations put forth.

One nominee spoke about Marianne’s dedication to Brescia, and said, “Marianne is the driving force behind the astonishing pace with which we are moving forward with our strategic objectives.”

Marianne also played a key leadership role in leading the Student-Centred Focus element of the strategic plan, including leading Brescia through four consecutive years of application and enrolment increases.

Marianne continues to work tirelessly to bring Brescia to other parts of the world and has had a hand in building partnerships with WAYO University in Japan, strengthening relationships in China, and helping to launch the successful Girls LEAD camp in Barbados.

Another nominee said, “Marianne brings strategic creativity to everything she does and she is a quintessential team player. Many of our students want to work in the Registars Office after graduating from Brescia because of the admiration and respect they have for Marianne. Her enthusiasm is infectious.”

Kim Young-Milani

2010 | Kim Young-Milani

Kim Young Milani, director of The Circle Women’s Centre, took centre stage and the 2010 Living Leadership Award at Brescia University’s ninth annual Christmas lunch on December 22, 2010 to celebrate the season and to recognize dedicated Ursuline Sisters and employees.

“I was surprised and am honoured to receive this award. I have had the extraordinary experience of being mentored by many generous women during my time at Brescia. For 20 years, The Circle has been dedicated to practicing a co-creative, transformative and heart-led leadership, therefore receiving this award feels like an acknowledgement, not of myself as an individual, but of a long line of women engaged in mutual empowerment.”

Young Milani was selected for the Award by a committee of her peers assembled by Director of Human Resources Jim Macdonald. In addition to the recognition, she will enjoy a reserved parking space for the full year.