The Conference of Defence Associations and the CDA Institute, in partnership with Vanguard magazine, are proud to announce the ‘Captain Nichola Goddard Game Changer Award’. This announcement was made during the reception and dinner at the CDA Institute’s 19th Graduate Student Symposium held at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario on October 13.

Richard Jones, Group Publisher of Vanguard, who joined Tony Battista, Chief Executive Officer of the CDA and the CDA Institute, in making the announcement said, “Vanguard magazine is very pleased to partner with the CDA and the CDA Institute on this innovative Game Changer award program. Recognizing achievement and acts of valor have always been near and dear to Vanguard’s mission. It is part of our commitment to serving our community.”

Vanguard, the CDA and the CDA Institute have had a history of working together. In fact, Vanguard’s inception actually originated in the late 1980s with the CDA Institute whose mandate is to promote informed public debate on national security and defence issues. As part of its extensive annual program and mandate, the CDA Institute hosts the Graduate Student Symposium, an annual seminar that brings together Canada’s best and brightest young minds to present papers on security and defence issues.

The original Vanguard Game Changer program was an editorial initiative that was introduced earlier this year to celebrate and highlight innovators and trailblazers who have made a significant contribution to the security and defence industry. “We were looking for something new and fresh to build and further recognize individual success within our community,” Jones went to add. This resulted in the term “game changer” which really resonated well within the community and led to the birth of the game changers series in Vanguard.

Over the past weeks, Vanguard, the CDA and the CDA Institute met to further their partnership and one of the items that came out of the collaboration was to take the game changer program to the next level. After discussions with Tony Battista, the idea to expand the game changer series to include an award component was realized. After looking at a few heroes to honour through this program and several brain-storming sessions with the CDA and CDA Institute staff, the name of Captain Nichola Goddard was selected for her bravery and for being a game changer on the battlefield. Steps were taken to obtain approval from the Goddard family, leading to the announcement during the dinner.

Captain Nichola Goddard became the first Canadian woman to be killed in combat operations during a military operation against the Taliban forces near Kandahar in Afghanistan in May 2006. She was on active duty during a joint two-day operation between the Canadian and Afghan troops, to secure Kandahar’s outskirts. During the operation as they were drawing close to a mosque to capture Taliban members, several dozen hidden militants began firing from neighbouring houses. Goddard, who was crew commander, was standing half-exposed in her LAV III when the armoured vehicle was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades early in the battle.

The Captain Nichola Goddard Game Changer Award is about the recognition and remembrance of Goddard’s vibrant spirit and bravery and the celebration of other “game changers” like her who aspire to live by Canadian values of leadership, innovation, perseverance and courage.

“The type of person she was and her leadership is making a difference,” said Dr. Tim Goddard, professor and coordinator of graduate programs at the University of PEI and father of Nicola, during his keynote address at the CDA Institute 19th Graduate Student Symposium dinner ceremony. Dr. Goddard went on to add that what we can learn from his daughter is, “simply doing your job and doing it to the best that you can, listening and not just talking, questioning but not second guessing.”

“This project will truly move what was once an editorial recognition program into something that has become much bigger and certainly more relevant to the security and defence community and to all Canadians,” Jones said. “It’s something that we at Vanguard are very proud to be part of, an award in the honour of Captain Nicola Goddard who bravely served our country and was killed in battle in 2006 in Afghanistan.”

As part of the CDA, the CDA Institute and Vanguard’s respective mandates to serve the security and defence community, “we will be announcing more programs and content support over the next few months. We’d like to acknowledge and thank the CDA and the CDA Institute for all of their hard work and efforts in expanding the game changer program and in bringing it to a higher level of recognition.”

“On behalf of all members, staff, supporters, contributors and volunteers of the Conference of Defence Associations and the CDA Institute, I wish to congratulate Vanguard Magazine in conceiving the original ‘Game Changer’ program and for partnering with us, as we elevate the program to the annually awarded pinnacle recognition in the name of the Captain Nichola Goddard Game Changer Award. This is a testament to real collaboration in recognizing younger Canadians who truly make a difference in the realm of Security and Defence”, said Tony Battista, CEO of CDA and the CDA Institute during the dinner.

“While there is much work to be done over the coming months to finalize the nomination process and selection criteria, there is no doubt that at the next Graduate Student Symposium to be held on October 12, 2017 we will present the first CDA and CDA Institute Captain Nichola Goddard Game Changer Award, in partnership with Vanguard to a Canadian Game Changer,” Battista added.