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Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta 9th Woman of Inspiration 2013-2014 Presented by Syncrude Announced

February 2014

(Fort McMurray) Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude are proud to announce the 9th nominee for the Women of Inspiration series 2013-2014:

Jo-Anne Packham

Jo-Anne Packham, the Executive Director of Mark Amy Treatment Centre, is someone who leads by example and believes  that no matter what life throws at you; you take it, learn from it and become a stronger person because of it. She is someone that puts her own needs aside for the betterment of the community, and has never expected anything back.

Jo-Anne has been involved in the human services field for several years, and has been able to use her experience helping those facing addiction. She has been able to create programming for individuals fighting against addiction  and has been able to help them find their purpose in life and become people who not only respect themselves but are respected within their communities.

Jo-Anne has shown leadership throughout the region by creating a difference. The Mark Amy Treatment Centre was suffering, it was with her passion and determination that she was able to turn the centre around. Jo-Anne has not  been afraid to step up and take a leadership role to help the community grow. Not only does she continuously strive to make it a positive atmosphere for the clients, but she also aspired to develop the centre and was able to successfully expand the program to help house many clients who had lost hope. With Jo-Anne’s dedication, this program has changed many people’s lives, and it has inspired the municipality to look at others ways of helping those who struggle within our community.

A strong Metis woman herself, Jo-Anne has always had a passion for the Aboriginal community. She started working at a young age with Aboriginal youth in Manitoba, and after many years of working with youth she expanded her skills and started working for National Native American Drug and Alcohol Program (NNADAP) in the Wood Buffalo region as an outpatient worker providing aboriginal clients a means to get treatment. This passion to help others inspired her to continue to grow her skills and strive to make a difference for this vunerable population. After years of dedication and hard work she moved into the Executive Director role at the Mark Amy Treatment Centre, She saw weaknesses in the way the Aboriginal community was being treated and decided to correct this.. After observing the high percentage of Aboriginals who suffered from homelessness, she expanded the Wood Buffalo Wellness Society and opened a program called Red Road Home  which was designed to help Aboriginal clients find housing in our community.

Jo-Anne is a great role model for women and girls, and inspires them to be strong, smart and bold. She has a strong personality and shows women that it is okay to be themselves and that they do not have to fit into a mold  created by others. She has been an agent for change based on her strong ability to stand up for what is right for the clients, and also by creating a healthy environment for everyone.. Given her drive and willingness for change, Jo-Anne has also had some struggles in her own life and has had to face some of her own obstacles. There are plenty of stereotypes around women, especially Aboriginal women who are in leading roles. Jo-Anne has managed to stay strong and dispel the stereotypes. She is able to turn the negative into the positive, and has let it motive her throughout  her career.

Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude will honour Jo-Anne and 11 other nominees, at the Women of Inspiration Celebration which will take place June 14th, 2014 at the Sawridge Hotel.

The Women of Inspiration is a partnership between Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude, with a goal to recognize women throughout the Wood Buffalo region who inspire others, break new ground or old barriers and help create change. The series also aims to show local girls positive role models who live right here.

To nominate a woman of inspiration, please visit our website at www.girlsincofnorthernalberta.org or contact the Girls Inc. office at 780-790-9236.

For more information, please contact:

Ann Dort-MacLean
Executive Director
Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta
Phone: 780-790-9236
Email: girlsinc@telus.net