The Captain Nichola Goddard 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.

Captain Nichola Goddard’s name was chosen for this award, because her leadership and courage in the face of adversity, changed how we as a country viewed women in combat roles.  Her willingness to lead with confidence and take the same risks as the other soldiers in combat made her the first Canadian female soldier to make the ultimate sacrifice in battle (in Afghanistan on 17 May 2006). She was not the first woman in combat for Canada, others made the same decision, but she was the first killed in action. This award pays tribute to the courage of all the men and women in combat who take the same risks, and honours all our fallen soldiers.

The Captain Nichola Goddard award is about remembering the leadership qualities of Nichola Goddard, her character and her vibrant spirit. 

The award is intended to celebrate men and women who break barriers every day, and who live and succeed by the same values that Nichola demonstrated: inclusivity, commitment, courage, and valour. 


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 14 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.

Canada’s Daughter: The story of Captain Nichola Goddard. 

The life Nichola and the legacy she has left with us is written in the words of her mother, Sally Goddard, in her tribute biography Canada’s Daughter: The Story of Captain Nichola Goddard.

The 2020-2021 Captain Nichola Goddard Leadership Award is made possible thanks to a generous personal donation by Tony Battista, IBM Canada Executive, Public Safety & National Defence. Tony is a friend of the Goddard family and founded the award while serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the CDA Institute, 2014-2017.



How to make your nomination

Honouree must be available to virtually attend the Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence held March 10-12, 2021.


Nominators are responsible for ensuring that the file is complete and that the information it contains is accurate and sufficient to allow the Award Selection Committee to fairly evaluate the nomination.  While the nomination file must be complete in itself, the CDA Institute and Award Selection Committee reserves the right to have the main facts in support of a nomination validated by an outside source, should they deem necessary.  Nominees will be informed by the secretariat that they have been nominated. Nominators will have the option to remain anonymous if they prefer. The nominator must provide correct contact information for their nominee in order for this person to be considered. This will be validated by this procedure to inform the nominee.  All submissions are considered in confidence by the CDA Institute and the Captain Nichola Goddard Award Selection Committee, and nominations will not be publicly disclosed. Nominations are accepted in both official languages. 

 Nominations are to contain the following;

  • Nomination Form – Click Here
  • Nomination letter (2 pages max)
  • Nominee’s Curriculum Vitae / biographical summary
  • Letters of support (optional)


Nomination and supporting letters should provide real examples and personal insight into the way the candidate is perceived by someone who has observed the candidate’s contributions to the advancement and support of Canada’s national security.

The letters should adequately highlight the nominee’s leadership and the exceptional nature of their performance.  Specifically, the letters need to describe the difference that the candidate’s contribution has made to Canada and our Canadian Armed Forces.


SUBMISSION METHODS: Please note electronic submissions are preferred

Mail:  Captain Nichola Goddard Leadership Award Selection Committee
          Conference of Defence Associations Institute
          900-75 Albert Street, Ottawa, ON, K1P 5E7



Have questions?
Please don’t hesitate to contact;
Jennifer Giguere
Director of Operations
819-665-4444 /613-236-9903


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