Captain Nichola Goddard Award – Laureate Announcement 2023

Captain Nichola Goddard Award Laureate

The Captain Nichola Goddard Leadership Award was created to recognize and honour a young Canadian innovator and trailblazer who has made an inspiring early or mid-career contribution to Canadian security and defence.

The award is about remembering the leadership qualities of Nichola Goddard, her character and her vibrant spirit and is intended to celebrate Canadians who live and succeed by the same values that Nichola demonstrated such as inclusivity, commitment, courage, and valour within our defence and security community including; Canadian Armed Forces, academia and industry.

Master Sailor (ret'd) Antoine Lavoie

Antoine Lavoie was born and raised in Kamouraska, a small hamlet on the south shore of the St. St. Lawrence River in Quebec. In 2009, at the age of 18, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces. He began his career as a communications research operator in Kingston where he completed his trade courses. In 2013, he was posted to Ottawa at CFS Leitrim where he served as a morse code operator until 2015. He decided to change his career path and was accepted to attend the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s medical laboratory science program. He graduated with a diploma in medical laboratory science with distinction in 2018 and was subsequently posted to CFB Edmonton, Canadian Armed Forces Health Services Centre Edmonton. In 2019, he was promoted to the rank of Master Sailor, where he continued to demonstrate his strong commitment to quality patient care. In 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Antoine led the development of a COVID-19 testing centre from the ground up at the National Defence Medical Centred in Ottawa, where he created the necessary infrastructure required to support COVID-19 testing for military personnel. At the height of the pandemic, he also supported the roll-out of large scale COVID-19 testing at the Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) in Suffield.

In addition to his leadership during the pandemic, Antoine was instrumental in leading the establishment of a new Defence Advisory Group, Defence Team Pride Advisory Organization (DTPAO) Edmonton, which led to many firsts for CFB Edmonton. As the military co-chair of the DTPAO he flew the first pride flag at the CAF Health Services Centre Edmonton, advocated for the creation of a rainbow crosswalk and led the first ever pride parade on a Canadian Forces base in Canada. He continuously pushed for changes in the healthcare system to improve the delivery of culturally safe and inclusive care to members of the LGBTQ2+ community. His visionary leadership and advocacy garnered significant traction amongst his peers and senior military leadership. After 14 years of dedicated service and to support his partner, Dr. Patrick Chiu’s career in Edmonton, he decided to release and become an entrepreneur. Antoine is now the Founder and CEO of Delavoye Chocolate Maker, a bean-to-bar boutique factory in Edmonton, where he continues to embody his values of diversity, community, and equality in his business ventures.

Antoine hopes that his contributions will create long lasting culture change in the CAF – one where every member feels safe, included, respected. It is his belief that a strong military will only be possible when every single member is treated with respect and dignity.

Captain Nichola Goddard

Captain Nichola Kathleen Sarah Goddard, MSM (May 2, 1980 – May 17, 2006) was the first female Canadian combat soldier to make the ultimate sacrifice in combat, and the 16th Canadian soldier killed in Canadian operations in Afghanistan.  Since her passing 17 years ago. Nichola has become Canada’s daughter and a permanent symbol of courage in the face adversity. 

Born to British and Canadian school teachers in Madang, Papua New Guinea, Goddard spent most of her childhood in various locations, including Black Lake and Lac la Ronge, Saskatchewan. Her hobbies included cross-country skiing and running, and she had competed in biathlon events. She led a local Scout troop with her fiancé (later husband), Jason Beam, while they were officer cadets at the Royal Military College in Kingston.

Captain Goddard was serving with the 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery of PPCLI as a forward observation officer.  During a firefight in the Panjwaye District. It was part of a joint two-day operation between Canadian and Afghan troops, to secure Kandahar’s outskirts after a rumor of Taliban preparations to launch an assault on the city. As troops were moving into a mosque to capture 15 alleged Taliban members, several dozen hidden militants began firing from neighbouring houses. As a crew commander, Goddard was standing half-exposed in her LAV III, which was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades early in the battle.

The battle lasted most of the day on the 17th and into the night and ended shortly after an American B-1 Lancer dropped a 500lbs bomb. In the end, the two-day operation saw Goddard, an Afghan National Army soldier, and 40 Taliban killed, as well as approximately 20 Taliban captured, which early reports mistakenly said could have included Mullah Dadullah.

Selection Committee Chair

LGen Christine Whitecross (Ret’d)
Former Commander of Military Personnel Command


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