Municipal Trailblazers is FCM’s spotlight on exceptional leaders, professionals and individuals who are making outstanding contributions to Canadian communities. Read about our winners below.
Do you know of a local leader who is making a real difference in their community?
First elected to Brampton City Council in 2018, Rowena Santos was recently honored as Municipal World’s Women of Influence in Local Government. Her tireless work in Brampton, ON has included setting up the municipality’s first Women’s Empowerment Group for city staff, and a Women’s Advisory Committee. Councillor Santos has served on FCM’s anti-racism and equity committee since its inception. Having recently moderated a crucial discussion on the need for a new Municipal Growth Framework during a recent FCM Board of Directors meeting, she remains a committed and collaboration-focused community leader.
In her role as Acting Manager of Environment & Sustainability at the city of Charlottetown PEI, Jessia Corkum-Gorrill has been at the heart of that city’s response to post-tropical storm Fiona. Jessika worked to mobilize a major tree clean-up and recovery effort, then engaged the community in processing this major loss to the city’s urban environment. Jessika has been leading the way forward with ambitious replanting plans centered around the city’s long-term environmental goals and priorities. Her leadership at this difficult time has been much-appreciated in the Charlottetown community.
Lanie Hurdle has been the Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Kingston, ON since 2019, having been Commissioner of Community Services for eight years prior to that. A dedicated, solutions-focused public servant, the impact of ongoing mental health and addiction issues prompted her, with council approval, to lead the drive for Ontario's first municipal 'integrated care hub'—combining harm reduction and support services to help transition people from addiction to recovery. This model has since been used in other major Ontario cities. As the city’s first female CAO, she helped led the city through the challenging pandemic period, while actively promoting respect and dignity for the city’s municipal officials.
Amber Hoffus is a community organizer based in Porcupine Plain, SK. In addition to operating a long-standing local business, she has been instrumental in supporting on-the-ground projects that improve quality of life for her community, including the construction of a new playground, overseeing the replacement of a much-needed community pool, and covering fundraising for the operation of the town’s winter arena. A recipient of the 2022 Insurance Brokers Association of Saskatchewan (IBAS) Community Leadership Award, Amber Hoffus is a much-appreciated local figure who contributes actively to the town’s ongoing community activities and seasonal events.
Françoise Asselin, a dedicated municipal councillor in Saint-Luc-de-Vincennes, QC, is currently serving her fourth term and has been contributing to her community for over 15 years. Her deep-rooted involvement in her community, particularly in her role in seniors’ issues, has allowed the emergence of new family policies and the Municipalité amie des aînés recognition. As a proactive member of the Board of Directors of the Centre d'action bénévole de la Moraine, she helped develop a local Meals-on-Wheel program to help address the nutritional needs of vulnerable people. Françoise has also been a driving force behind establishing a local food solidarity cooperative. Beyond her civic contributions, her commitment to heritage preservation is evident in her role as owner of a Bed & Breakfast in the parish’s former presbytery.
As one of the longest serving members on Council in Whitehorse history, Dan Boyd has been a champion for improving municipal services for decades. His deep commitment to the community is evident in his role as an invaluable resource, providing key insights and guidance to both new members of the council and city staff. Most recently, he spearheaded Whitehorse's initiative to reform and modernize permitting processes, showcasing a forward-thinking approach, dedicated to ensuring the city’s continued growth. His legacy as a mentor, champion and catalyst for positive change is felt across Whitehorse and has helped shape the city’s trajectory for the better.
First elected in 2002, Duane has served three terms on Selkirk, MB’s council, during which he led the historic establishment of the city’s public transit system. Since 2014, Duane has provided administrative leadership to the community as CAO and has supported efforts that have made Selkirk a frontrunner in climate action, environmental stewardship and asset management in the province, with the city being recognized with a CNAM award in Asset Management Innovation. Duane’s leadership and resourcefulness has extended to projects and bodies beyond Selkirk, and he has made a truly positive impact on the community he serves.
Since her election as Mayor of Lac-Tremblant Nord, QC in 2017, Kimberly has made a major contribution to protecting areas rich in biodiversity around this small community in the Laurentian Mountains. This includes working with the Society for Nature and Parks (SNAP Québec) towards securing a protected ecological area covering local woodland and ultimately towards obtaining official protected area status. With the region home to several endangered species and reliant on tourism and activities closely related with the rich natural environment, the work done by Kimberly alongside her team and other members of the community will help ensure the preservation of biodiversity in this special region for generations to come.
First elected as mayor of Saint-Quentin, NB in 2014, Mayor Somers has been at the forefront of efforts to improve quality of life for residents of this municipality in historic Restigouche County. Having been a long-time advocate for better ambulance services, she has supported youth-focused programs and the opening of the landmark Palais Centre-Ville cultural venue. Additionally, Mayor Somers has been a strong supporter of securing municipality’s long-term interests, including adopting better asset management practices and a climate change action program. Mayor Somers has also focused on attracting new arrivals and workers to better support economic development and help local firms thrive in this part of New Brunswick.
Jennifer is Director of Sustainability for the Township of Georgian Bay, ON. Since she joined the team in 2010, she has made a massive contribution to socio-economic development and community inclusion in this picturesque community on the shores of Lake Huron. Her achievements include securing funding to better develop the Port of Honey Harbour, which serves as a regional gateway to the unique Georgian Bay Islands National Park. Jennifer has been at the heart of forward-thinking policies on plastic use, electric vehicle recharging facilities and support for diverse local food producers and businesses. Jennifer has helped strengthen relationships with Indigenous leaders, including with the Georgian Bay Métis Council to better represent the area’s rich Indigenous history.
As Director of Corporate Services for the city of Salmon Arm, Sue Wood has played a vital role in Human Resource management in this growing lakeside community. By adopting a fresh approach built on collaboration, she has helped strengthen relations between the city and its employees, while working to extend better training, mentorship and upskilling opportunities to city staff. With over six years of service for the city, she has become a trusted and effective colleague, an ally to city councilors and administrators, and a professional that tirelessly helps city employees do their very best work. Her contributions and dedication has made a real difference to her municipal colleagues in this dynamic and developing city in BC’s interior.
As mayor of the municipality of Saint-Thuribe, Jacques Delisle has provided committed and creative leadership for this community located rolling countryside of Quebec’s Capitale-Nationale region. The municipality has spread its wings with new ventures in the past year, with its historic church reopening to host a landmark exhibition of works by famed artist Jean Paul Riopelle, while also making strides in improving its digital footprint to stimulate visitors and improve communication with residents. These are just some of the latest initiatives supported by Mayor Delisle, who has provided over a decade of dedicated service and helped deliver vital new infrastructure assets in this small but future-focused community.
Mike Yargeau was elected as mayor of the small, western Alberta town of Penhold 2017, becoming one of the province’s youngest mayors. Since then, he has led the community he grew up in with passion and patience. His steady leadership has won praise from his municipal colleagues and he was awarded the Alberta Municipalities Award of Excellence in 2022. His commitment to communication is especially evident during council meetings, when he provides Q&A sessions to further community engagement. Mayor Yargeau helps organize a regular charity mini-marathon and is a regular at seasonal community events around Penhold. He remains focused on continuing to expand recreational and commercial development in the municipality over the coming years.
Frédéric Broué was elected mayor of the town of St. Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts in 2021, a picturesque community nestled in the Laurentian mountains north of Montreal. First being elected as a councillor in 2017, since being elected mayor he has identified fostering a strong relationship between municipal staff and residents as being vital. During his tenure, the town has moved forward with significant new sporting and recreation facilities and adopting a master plan for its extensive hiking trails. As the community felt the impact of flooding and extreme weather this past year, Mayor Broué was on the frontlines, leading with creativity and commitment. This includes his collaboration with other Quebec mayors and adding his voice to that concentrated push on housing, infrastructure, climate and public transit by signing the Call for Mayors in Action.