Canada’s most powerful women win honours

Canada’s Most Powerful Women
The Deputy Minister of National Defence Jody Thomas and Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Major-General Frances Allen were recently recognized on the 2019 list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women. Photo: National Defence

National Defence

The Deputy Minister of National Defence Jody Thomas and Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Major-General Frances Allen were recently recognized on the 2019 list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women.

The awards, presented by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN), honour high-achieving female leaders in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors who are advocates for change and empower others through their actions and accomplishments.

Deputy Minister Thomas has been charting her own path from a young age. Born into a naval family, she joined the naval reserves at age 17 and was among the first women to serve in a ship in the Canadian Navy. She started her career as an accountant and has been a public servant for more than 30 years in security and defence portfolios of increasing complexity, including as the first woman to serve as Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard. She has been a military spouse, and is the proud mother of two adult children. The DM is also a passionate advocate for mental health, and is active in her role as the Defence Team Mental Health Co-Champion.

Major-General Allen’s trailblazing 35-year career has focused on communications, network and cyber operations, commanding and leading the development of CAF cyber capabilities at all levels. She has been the first woman more than once in several key leadership positions, including Director General Defence Security, Director General Cyberspace, Director General of Information Management Operations and in her current role as Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. MGen Allen is the proud mother of a son, Nicholas. In addition to leading important and positive institutional change across Defence, she is also a believer that participation in sport contributes to military leadership and esprit de corps.