2017 Award Recipients

At the College’s 2018 Spring Conference & AGM, we recognized the outstanding contributions of social workers in our province.

Congratulations to all of 2017 award recipients!


Wendy Keen
CASW National Social Work Month Distinguished Service Award

The College’s Council recently awarded Wendy Keen with the 2017 CASW Distinguished Service Award. Wendy was recognized at the recent 2018 Spring Conference & AGM.

Throughout her years of service, she demonstrated the best of social work practice. Her empathy, pursuit of social justice and dedication to social work lead Wendy to many parts of Canada, where she brought her talents for organizing and engaging organizations.  Wendy was the Executive Director of a women’s shelter and in 2009 retired from the Department of Community Services as a District Manager.

Wendy was also the Executive Director of Family and Children Services for several years, where she demonstrated leadership in the support to families in the community. She’s contributed to the College since 1982 and has served on College Council and the Board of Examiners. She works tirelessly to promote the profession and helps ensure that the profession continuously works to demonstrate strong ethical standards.

Wendy is very deserving of this award and Council is very privileged to award it to her for her outstanding service to the profession. Congratulations Wendy!

CASW Distinguished Service Award

The CASW National Social Work Month Distinguished Service Award is given yearly by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) on the occasion of the National Social Work Month, to an individual or group of individuals selected from their membership by each CASW member organization.


  1. The nominee is to be a Registered Social Worker who is a member in good standing, or a working group of members in Good Standing.
  2. The nominee or working group has made a substantial and unique contribution to the field of Social Work in the province of Nova Scotia and, therefore, contributed to Social Work in Canada through:
    1. demonstrating such qualities as compassion, leadership, creativity, initiative and high ethical standards.
    2. furthering social work in the area of direct practice, program/service development, community organization, social action, research, teaching or writing.
  3. The Nominee has served as a member of the Council of the NSCSW or has acted in a position of responsibility for the College.

Coleen Flynn
Diane Kays Memorial Award

Coleen Flynn (right) accepting her award.

Coleen Flynn is a Social Work Clinician with Children’s Intensive Services (CIS), Mental Health and Addictions Program at the IWK Health Centre. Coleen’s value to the CIS Team as well as clients and families we serve, is immense.

She has a non-judgemental and accepting approach and this is felt by the parents she continually advocates for within in our system. Coleen always finds the strengths which lie within the parents and within the parent-child relationship and uses a strength-based approach to help the parent and child make progress in their relationship and daily functioning.

Over the years, Coleen has contributed in many capacities and has spent years in the specific care of women, developing  “The Mother’s Mental Health toolkit” and co-facilitating the Collaborative Problem-Solving Parenting Group.

Coleen has also been instrumental to the growth of teams at the IWK in Team Lead capacity. She demonstrates ethical practice continually in all that she does. As a supervisor and mentor for students enrolled in the Dalhousie University Social Work degree programs, she encourages critical thinking and reflection on social work practice.

She has a significant influence on clients, families, team members and students with her clinical skills, advocacy, leadership, ethics, system improvement and education. She is an outstanding candidate for this award as Coleen shows us the compassion and desire to build capacity that was so clear and evident in Diane Kays for whom this award was created. Congratulations Coleen!

Diane Kays Memorial Award

A plaque awarded annually by the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers to a social worker who demonstrates:

  • Exceptional professional and ethical standards in dealing with clients, colleagues and the community;
  • A particular interest in working with and for women, violence against women, and who provides ongoing work in this area;
  • A critical analysis and the use of this analysis to inform the practice of social work;
  • A passion for social justice, standing with those who are marginalized and vulnerable in our society;
  • A genuine regard and respect for others and whose dedication and competence is clearly reflected in the practice of social work.

Lynn Billard
David William Connors Award

Lynn Billard (right) accepting her award with Catherine Kehoe (left).

“As a former candidate under her supervision, I can profess that my own passion for working with teens and their families that are living with mental illness and addiction was sparked by her example,” says nominator Andrea Weyman-Hickman.

As a clinician working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Lynn repeatedly showed her strong commitment to the Social Work value of building competence in professional practice. Lynn’s passion and quest for ethical, competent, respectful, and utmost confidential service to clients was a catalyst for my own goals in social work practice.

Lynn worked together with her nominator Andrea Weyman-Hickman with teens and their families on the Intensive Community Based Treatment Team. She speaks of those she services with such respect and dignity.

During this time her colleagues without exception watched her uphold all six social work values: Respect for Inherent Dignity and Worth of Persons, Pursuit of Social Justice, Service to Humanity, Integrity of Professional Practice, Confidentiality in Professional Practice and Competence in Professional Practice.

This is who she is, in the word.

Lynn has continued throughout her career to demonstrate the same passion and enthusiasm working with youth, families and improving services to them. Lynn provides her clients, candidates and colleagues with education and mentorship.

She spent much of her life devoted to her family, and the families in our community while being a religious person and a committed professional social worker. Lynn has all of the attributes that the David William Connors Memorial Award stands for. Congratulations Lynn!

David William Connors Award

The David William Connors Award, in memory of David’s gentle manner and care for others. It is awarded annually to a frontline social worker who has shown the following attributes:

  • Has demonstrated a desire to go beyond the call of duty to meet client’s needs;
  • Has shown respect, caring, empathy and dignity in all aspects of his/her work;
  • Has displayed, through direct practice, a basic belief in each human being’s personal worth and ability; and
  • Has endeavored to bring about lasting change for those in hardship, particularly youth

Lana MacLean
Ron Stratford Memorial Award

Lana MacLean (left)

Lana MacLean is one of the most important leaders in Nova Scotia, and increasingly across Canada, in developing models for the provision of social and culturally competent assessments of African Nova Scotian clients involved in the criminal justice system in particular and as well in the family court system.

Lana’s detailed and comprehensive assessments have drawn the attention of judges and lawyers in the province, increasingly interested in how cultural assessment can serve the needs of marginalized and racialized groups.

She has not only been actively involved in leading the progress of clinical assessments for the court, but is also the chair of the African United Baptist Association social action committee, and in that capacity is a powerful advocate for justice issues inside the church, and in the Association’s outreach work.

Lana is actively involved in public advocacy for clients involved in the child protection system by articulating the challenges in current service delivery, again with particular attention to the issues faced by Black families.

Lana has raised the bar in so many ways, and deserves to be honoured, and stand as a model for new social workers joining our field. Congratulations Lana!

Ron Stratford Memorial Award

This award is in memory of Ron Stratford, a dedicated social worker committed to a holistic perspective emphasizing prevention and community development and is awarded annually to a resident of Nova Scotia who:

  • Through volunteer efforts makes a significant contribution to a preventative or community-based social service program; or
  • Is involved in research surrounding a preventive or community-based social service program; or
  • Makes an outstanding contribution to establishing and/or sustaining a self-help group; or
  • Functions as a consistent and strong advocate for expanded preventive or community-based social service programs 

Nancy Wright
Ken Belanger Memorial Award

Nancy Wright currently works at the IWK Health Centre with the Community Mental & Addictions program. Her nominator, Lisa Dauphinee-Muise, notes that she is one of the most caring, thoughtful, knowledgeable and skilled clinical social workers, dedicated to her clients and particularly dedicated to trans youth. She is a strong advocate LGBTQ community and diligently and humbly supports and advocates for the youth to learn the skills they need to help improve their mental health and well-being.

In 2008 Nancy and Dr. Suzanne Zinck (child psychiatrist at IWK) formed the Transgender Health Clinic to address the needs of trans-gendered youth providing service to youth experiencing gender dysphoria and more.Nancy is now committed to building capacity amongst her peers by developing and providing training to ensure resources will continue to exist for trans youth.

Nancy has spent her career as a significant clinician, an ally for transgendered youth and leader in securing training for those who follow in social work. The Ken Belanger Memorial Award accurately recognizes Nancy’s commitment to this often disenfranchised community.

Congratulations Nancy!

Ken Belanger Memorial Award

Ken was a member of the NSCSW (then association) for many years and showed courage in being out as a gay man in the social service and social work communities, and in speaking out about different forms of oppression and exploitation.  He worked to educate social workers about heterosexuality and the realities and needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons. Ken gave his time and skills to community groups and organizations. This award in memory of Ken is awarded biennially to a Registered Social Worker who has demonstrated the following in his/her practice:

  • Has demonstrated an explicit and unfailing commitment to pursuing social justice and to challenging oppression in its many forms;
  • Is recognized by the social work community as practicing social work with a high level of caring, responsibility, integrity and ethical standards;
  • Has broken new ground working for, and on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons; and/or
  • Has demonstrated a particular concern for gay and lesbian youth