Captain Nichola Goddard was the first female Canadian soldier to die in a combat role, while serving in Afghanistan. She was killed at age 26 during an ambush west of Kandahar city on May 17, 2006.

Her legacy of leadership, strength and courage was celebrated in Toronto this week at a fundraising event organized by True Patriot Love and hosted by Bennett Jones. More than 160 people attended and over $55,000 was raised for the Captain Nichola Goddard Fund.

An extraordinary panel of women who are redefining leadership in the Canadian Armed Forces shared their insights—that all organizations can benefit from—in developing women leaders. Colonel (Ret) Kerry Vance moderated the panel of:

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Eleanor Taylor, MSM, CD
  • Major Jaime Phillips, MMM, CD
  • Lieutenant (N) Jenn Martin, CD

Here are the highlights of what they said:

Overcoming Biases and Earning Respect in Male-dominated Organizations

Leverage who you are as a person:  You can be true to yourself as a female and succeed. Be proud of your strengths as a person. You can be proud that you care about people; it's a leadership quality.

Being the first can be a great opportunity:  You might find yourself with people who have little experience working with women. But someone else's surprise can be your advantage. Always keep in mind that being first means you have the responsibility to do a good job.

Overcome your own bias:  You may find the biggest bias you have is your own—your thoughts that you might not be an effective leader because you are a female. But persevere and keep working hard. Your success as a leader will overcome that bias.

Stepping Out of your Comfort Zone to Advance your Career

Take stretch assignments:  Don't be afraid to take on challenges you have never done before. Being put in charge in demanding and unfamiliar situations and working through the pressure can make you a much better leader.

Doing something unexpected:  Being far out of your element can end up being the best experience you will ever have. It can challenge you, create opportunities you could not have seen coming, and have you work with people that will make you grow as a leader.

Genuine mentorship:  This can make such a difference in developing leaders and the Canadian Armed Forces is tremendous at this. Being paired with Veterans in an organization—who respect your role and support your growth—is the kind of true mentorship that creates the next generation of leaders.

Bennett Jones is a long-time supporter of True Patriot Love. The Captain Nichola Goddard Fund provides national funding to directly benefit community programs to support servicewomen, female Veterans, and their families.