The Northern Lights Award Foundation held its fourth annual gala dinner and award ceremony on this past weekend. Each year, the national not-for-profit foundation recognizes the outstanding achievements of Canadian women in aviation and aerospace.
Georgian Bay Airways co-owner, operations manager and chief pilot Nicole Saulnier was honoured with the Northern Lights Award Foundation for business this past weekend.
The Foundation’s award program, called the Elsie MacGill Northern Lights (EMNL) Award, is named after aviation pioneer and human rights advocate Elsie Gregory MacGill, who, amongst many accomplishments, was pivotal in the design and production of the Hawker Hurricane in Canada during the Second World War.
Recently expanded, the program now honours women in the categories of Flight Operations/Maintenance, Government, Business and Rising Star.
Jacquie Perrin, CBC News Network host, regaled the gala’s 130 attendees with anecdotes about this year’s four award winners, namely: Regina (Gina) Jordan, retired flight instructor and missionary pilot - Flight Operations/Maintenance Award; Mary Ellen Pauli, helicopter pilot for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources - Government Award; Nicole Saulnier, co-owner, chief pilot and operations manager of Georgian Bay Airways - Business Award; and Bombardier Flight Test Engineer, Erika Kangas - Rising Star Award.
The evening’s keynote speaker, Lorna Marsden, President emerita and professor at York University in Toronto, spoke fondly of her memories of MacGill. Said Marsden, “Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Northern Lights Award. What a wonderful impressive group you are, giving us hope for the future.”
Marsden, whose diverse background includes being a Canadian Senator for eight and a half years, had the privilege of working alongside MacGill on the Ontario Committee on the Status of Women in the 1970s.
Joy Parker Blackwood, vice president and director of business development and event production for the Northern Lights Award Foundation said, “This year’s winners have all been working hard to achieve their successes over the years because of their passions for what they do, not for the recognition they might receive. That is merely the icing, humbly and gratefully accepted.”
Parker Blackwood added, “Now they are forever part of our Wall of Fame and can proudly go back home and to work with the knowledge that they are part of something very special and unique. They are role models for the next exceptional achievers in Canada’s aviation and aerospace industries.”
The Northern Lights Award Foundation is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to recognize outstanding Canadian women in the aviation or aerospace industry. The Foundation’s national award program, The Elsie MacGill Northern Lights Award, is the pinnacle aviation and aerospace award that recognizes, promotes and inspires past, present and future generations of Canadian women in the industry.
Established in 2009, the annual award program honours up to four women each year in the categories of Flight Operations/Maintenance; Government; Business; and Rising Star.