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 health care 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 was 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 the fall of 2022. 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.