Brenda Smith Leadership Award

“People want to know how much you care before they care how much you know”. James F Hind

Eligibility: The Brenda Smith Award is given to an exemplary hospice palliative care provider working or volunteering with individuals and families in the North Simcoe Muskoka Region. Individuals, in any care sector, are eligible for nomination.

History of the Award: Brenda Smith was a leader in our community. With the help of a core group, Brenda formed the initial structure for an End-Of-Life Network, and eventually, the NSMHPC Network became an incorporated organization, allowing for growth and sustainability.

Brenda demonstrated keen insight and extraordinary vision in planning for the future of hospice palliative care in our area, working tirelessly to promote excellent holistic care for all clients and the highest standard of hospice palliative care education for all levels of healthcare providers in this region. She had the ability to bring people at all levels of care together and build the relationships required to create change on both the large and small scale. She believed in the value of every member of the team, no matter what his or her title was. It did not matter to Brenda whether someone was a PSW at the bedside or the Executive Director of a large organization; she saw the potential in everyone. She encouraged everyone to make changes in their day-to-day actions, no matter how small they seemed, to improve hospice palliative care for the client and their family. She also had the ability to see how those small changes had the potential to multiply and grow into larger system changes. Her ability to build relationships across sectors in order to enhance the delivery of care was astonishing to those who knew her. One project in which this ability is well remembered is in how she initiated and chaired a regional group, which ultimately ended in a bright orange Do Not Resuscitate Form (DNR) used locally to allow those with a wish of no resuscitation to be honoured and die at home. This occurred three years before the province-wide initiative.

Those who knew and worked with Brenda often recall her great ability to sit with people and really listen to their concerns and ideas. Once she had a vision, she shared her vision in a way that made others commit skills and time to help make it happen. She was gifted with the ability to recognize their talents and could fuel their passion through the relationships she built. She could see skills and abilities in people that they themselves had not yet recognized. Her dedication and energy were contagious. Her leadership meant that she did not just advocate for change, but she worked tirelessly to facilitate that change.

Brenda was well known for her support and inspiration for fellow hospice palliative care providers. By listening to their challenges and encouraging ongoing professional growth and development, she empowered others to bring forward change and strive for excellence in the delivery of hospice palliative care. She saw the importance of both the art and science of hospice palliative care. Brenda recognized the importance of both personal and professional development and growth, for new graduates and experienced providers alike. Brenda was a wonderful mentor and teacher and found ways to share her knowledge, experience, wisdom and endless reserves of compassion in everything she did.

Brenda’s life was shortened by cancer and she died in June of 2008. Brenda continued to teach those around her through her cancer journey. She saw dying as simply a part of life’s journey and reminded her friends, family, and colleagues to continue to revel in the beauty and mystery of the little things of life.

We are honoured to present the Brenda Smith Leadership Award to recognize all that she did to advance hospice palliative care in this region. This award is given to honour her commitment, contributions, character, passion and drive. Brenda sent energy and momentum outwards like the ripples created when a pebble is thrown into a pond. The ripple effect of her great leadership and vision continues today to spread through this region and beyond to help build capacity and enhance quality of care.

Selection Process: This award honours Brenda’s passion, commitment and contributions to advancing hospice palliative care in this region. The successful nominee will embody the characteristics so well demonstrated by Brenda, no matter their role or job title.

The Award Committee will review all nominations received by the deadline and the decision will only be based upon the information provided within the nomination form. Subject to nominations received, this award will be presented in November 2023. The name of the award winner will be published on the NSMHPCN website and in other NSMHPCN publication materials unless notification is received otherwise from the winner.

**Please note that current NSMHPCN staff and Board Members, along with those who have held either role in the past 12 months, are exempt from nomination.  Current members of the Brenda Smith Leadership Award Committee are also exempt from nomination.  Current committee members: Laura Bates, Teneal Campbell, Carol Galbraith, Linda Johnston, Karen Kelly, Lynda Meeks, Trish Rawn, Whitney Vowels, and Sandra Winspear.

Nomination Process: An online, fillable nomination form is available through the following link:

There must be two (2) nominators to support each nominee.

Deadline: Nomination forms must be completed and received by 5:00 pm on Friday, September 22, 2023, for consideration.

Information Required:

  • Nominee information: name, title or role, phone number, email address, employer/agency, and mailing address.
  • Nominator #1 and #2 information: name, title or role, phone number, email address, relationship to Nominee, employer/agency, and mailing addresses.
  • Please answer all of the following questions about the nominee.  For each question, please provide a detailed description with specific examples about the way in which the nominee excels in each area.  The score for each question is dependent on the details and examples provided about the nominee.  The more evidence and examples provided for each question, the higher the potential score.  Insufficient detail or examples for each question will result in a lower score.  Responses should be limited to a maximum of 400 words for each question.  The maximum score possible for each answer is listed after each question.
    1. Describe how the nominee excels in providing or ensuring the provision of quality hospice palliative care to the client/patient and their chosen family. (Refers to care of the client/patient and family). Maximum score of 30.  ** Please refer to the following document from the Ontario Palliative Care Network regarding expected palliative care competencies: **
    2. Describe how the nominee demonstrates leadership in advancing and/or improving the provision of hospice palliative care (within the unit or team, organization, or region). Maximum score of 30.
    3. Describe how the nominee demonstrates the importance of lifelong learning and mentorship in the provision of quality hospice palliative care (for themselves, others, and system-wide). Maximum score of 30.
    4. Describe how the nominee works to support and/or empower other members of the hospice palliative care team. Maximum score of 30.
    5. Brenda sent energy and momentum outwards like the ripples created when a pebble is thrown into a pond. The ripple effect of her great leadership and vision continues today to spread through this region and beyond to help build capacity and enhance quality of care.

Please provide any other relevant information regarding how the nominee demonstrates the spirit and characteristics of Brenda as described in the Call for Nominations.  Maximum score of 10.

The nomination form is also available for viewing and download at If required, please call NSMHPCN @ 705-325-0505 to request a copy to be mailed to you.

If submitting by mail, fax, or email, please submit to:

Mail:    The Brenda Smith Leadership Award Committee


169 Front Street South

Orillia Ontario L3V 4S8

Fax:     (705) 325-7328

Email: or

Honoured Award Recipients

2023 – Madelyn Lye

2022 – Deborah Foxton

2021 – Not awarded due to COVID-19.

2020 – Debbie Kesheshian and Lisa Taylor

2019 – Kelly Hubbard

2018 – Rosamond Abbott

2017 – Kim Lattimore

2016 – Terri Yandt

2015 – Sandra Winspear

2014 – Carol Galbraith and Sylvia Styling

2013 – Norma Connolly

2012 – Maureen Johnstone

2011 – Mona Desroches