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Northern Lights Awards gala will salute top women in aviation, aerospace

The Northern Lights Award Foundation (NLAF) will be awarding the seven winners of its 2015 aviation and aerospace awards on Saturday, October 3. More than 200 aviation and aerospace professionals will gather on this evening to honour these exceptional women at the Annual Gala Awards Dinner and Ceremony at Toscana Banquet and Conference Centre in Toronto.


September 15, 2015
By Northern Lights Award Foundation

Tickets to the Gala Awards Dinner and Ceremony can be purchased by visiting the Northern Lights Award Foundation website.

The fun-­‐filled evening includes past honouree stories, a new twist to entertainment, displays and information on our sponsors and partners, and motivational stories from this year’s keynote speaker, 2013 award winner, Maryse Carmichael, former Commander of the Snowbirds.

More about the 2015 winners:

Pioneer Award — Dawn Bartsch, has had her commercial licence since the 1950’s and is endorsed for night flying, instrument flying, seaplanes and instructors rating. She was among the first female pilots to be hired by an airline and flew around the world trips to Russia, Vietnam, South America in 1996 and won a bronze medal for the 1997 World Air Games long distance race. Also participated in the London to Sydney event, then crossing the Pacific to Hawaii and home.

Flight Operations/Maintenance Award — Judy Cameron, the first 777 Captain in Canada and the first female pilot hired by Air Canada, Canada’s largest airline, on April 10, 1978 at the age of 23; the first woman to graduate from Selkirk College’s Aviation Technology Program in 1975.

Government/Military Award — Sgt. Andreena Clifford, Aerospace Control Operator for the Royal Canadian Air Force and a veteran of the aerial campaign over Afghanistan flying aboard the Airborne Warning and Control Systems aircraft (AWACS); providing tactical air picture for Operation Impact and numerous other domestic operations.

Education Award — Jill Oakes, Doctor at the University of Manitoba studying the relationships between people and the environment, and teaches aviation geography. Published more than 100 publications, and she is helping women get their pilot’s certification on a donated Cessna 150.

Rising Star Award 1 — Claire Lemiski, currently a pilot on Bombardier’s Q400 corporate shuttle; commercial pilot and active member of the First Canadian Chapter of The Ninety-­‐Nines; playing a leadership role with the Montreal Ninety-­‐Nines, and member of Women in Aviation’s Upper Canada Chapter. Pilot for the deHavilland Employee flying club at Downsview.

Rising Star Award 2 — Erin Grant, Lieutenant in the RCAF Reserves and a Glider Standards Pilot; Class IV Instructor at Seneca; flies Dash-­‐8’s and successful female Seneca Jazz Cadet. Currently working towards her ATPL.