Alison Smith joined the Canadian Ski Patrol in 2001. It was her belief that the CSP needed young leaders which led to her involvement at the zone level and culminated in her being elected to the board of directors in 2015. During her time on the board, Alison was focused on engaging younger members and providing them with opportunities to grow as leaders within the CSP. Her focus lives on in the Alison Smith Memorial Leadership Award, which was established to celebrate young members who show leadership by taking on new challenges, and displaying the initiative to grow as a leader within the CSP.
Marielle Flottat is a positive role model as a young woman in a senior and critical position within Calgary Zone. She has embraced learning opportunities within the CSP as a first aid instructor, an on -snow instructor, a member of the critical incident stress management (CISM) team, and patrol leader. In each position she has held she had strived to practice her leadership skills.
When first becoming a patrol leader Marielle adopted a mentor. This gave her the opportunity to improve and fine tune her leadership skills. She took what she learned and has paid it forward by providing positive encouragement to the younger members of the patrol. She took the time to listen, talk and learn from past patrol leaders and asked them to act as advisors.
Marielle has engaged young patrollers by providing them with opportunities for involvement and personally encourages them to take on specific roles such as assistant patrol leader and instructor roles, and CISM training.
Social media and technology are her friends and she uses them to communicate regularly to connect with the younger members. During a returners weekend she surveyed members using cell phones to respond to questions, engaging everyone and providing immediate results to her questions.
Recognizing the diverse needs young patrollers have that differ from those of experienced patrollers she organizes an in-town session for young patrollers to review operational procedures. Surveys indicated that less experienced patrollers lack confidence. To increase confidence and competency, Marielle organizes first aid and toboggan practice sessions during patrol days conducted by senior patrollers who provide mentorship and those mentors have been vetted as positive role models.
With Marielle’s encouragement, there are more young patrollers not only joining the CSP but also joining the zone executive and zone committees. The growth in the instructor corps is almost entirely young patrollers, and in the 2018 CISM training course at least 50 per cent of the class was young patrollers.
Marielle brings professionalism to everything she undertakes: business plans, lesson plans and learning outcomes, documented objectives, polished presentations, extensive use of data for analysis. Marielle is goal oriented, focused and serious about any task she undertakes. She is professional and direct.
Like Alison, Marielle is an engineer and an effective project manager and like Alison, Marielle is systematic in the processes she employs. She has brought this discipline to the CSP. Both women identify gaps and issues, brainstorm possible solutions, develop business plans, implement, measure outcomes, and report results. She has assisted in streamlining zone meetings by advocating and modelling time-management activities.
Marielle is a deserving recipient of the Alison Smith Memorial Leadership Award which was presented at this year’s Altitude conference in Toronto in June.
Marielle Flottat (l) with Life Member No. 44 Elizabeth Oldfield. (Photo by Greg McCormick)