2018 Alumni Award Recipients

John Webster, Gertie Guerin Visionary Award

John Webster is the President & CEO of Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) in Vancouver, BC. During his time at ACCESS he has developed and managed an Aboriginal House of Learning called “Essential Skills for Aboriginal Futures” (ESAF). This unique approach involves working with employers to fill their employment needs and by developing an Essential Skills building approach for a set time prior to our learners receiving an interview. He also helped negotiate a 5-year funding agreement with the Province of BC to deliver the Bladerunners program designed to assist at-risk youth to enter the labour force. ACCESS has been delivering Bladerunners for the Province since 2002.

John formerly worked with the Canadian Executive Services Overseas (CESO) where he managed a roster of over 450 professional volunteers who registered to provide services to developing countries and Aboriginal organizations in Canada. Before that, John worked for the Southwest Aboriginal Training and Employment Society. As the Executive Director of the Society, he worked in close collaboration with HRDC to deliver employment and training programs to Aboriginal peoples within the Vancouver/Sunshine Coast area.

John has also been the principal owner of Painted Stone & Associates Learning Systems, which was created to address the growing need for consultation services in the area of good governance in managing non-profit organizations as well as Literacy and Essential Skills curriculum development.


Freda Ens, Chief Joe Mathias Leadership Award

Freda Ens has over 28 years’ experience in the victim services, social justice, and criminal justice sectors leading, developing, and managing outreach and support initiatives for Aboriginal communities, vulnerable groups and individual victims of crime.  She has extensive experience working collaboratively with Aboriginal communities, victims of crime, non-profit organizations, justice system personnel, and various levels of government.

During her impactful career, Freda has attended the Assembly of First Nations Justice Summits, the National Roundtables on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls, and the Family Gathering as a participant and health support.  She has also provided ongoing support to family members of the Missing and Murdered Women cases throughout the Public Inquiry; continues to work together with RCMP E-PANA investigators to provide information, support, and follow up to family members.

Freda also provides victim supports at First Nations Courts in New Westminster and North Vancouver.  She has also provided expertise, advice and ongoing support to provincial community-based initiatives including Healing the Circle aimed at identifying best practices for culturally competent service delivery and crime prevention initiatives.


Allyson Fraser, Wanda Bolton Community Service Award

Allyson Fraser is the Executive Assistant for the Musqueam Legal/Taxation Department and holds a Paralegal Certification from Capilano University; Budget Based Tax Rate Setting Certification from the First Nations Tax Administrators' Institute and a Property Tax Policy Certification from Simon Fraser University.  Allyson has a commendable history in working with First Nations, Aboriginal organizations and the Federal Government. Her areas of expertise also include Land Management and Indian Registry Reporting.

Allyson has worked as a Regional Technician on the Aboriginal Lands Advisory Board and has also served on several Committees of Council (ie: Housing, Education, Employment & Training, Lands, Public Works and Self-Governance. She is a tireless advocate for the rights of her people, often ensuring that community receive fair treatment and that they are always afforded the respect they deserve.

Allyson is a member of the Grant and Point family and takes pride in the Culture and Traditions of the Musqueam people.  She has two children and two grandchildren.  Allyson has also opened her home over the years to serve as a foster parent to many children, ensuring that our children always remain in the community.  Allyson has also been elected Councillor since December 2001 and has served six consecutive two-year terms.  


Lyle Dixon, George Manuel Educational Excellence Award

Lyle Dixon graduated Kumsheen secondary school in Lytton B.C. in 1985. He enrolled at the Native Education, then Center, now College (NEC), in 1989 for the Criminology program that was affiliated with Douglas College, New Westminster, now the Aboriginal Justice Program. On completing the two-year diploma at Douglas College in the mid 1990's, he worked as a loss prevention officer in Vancouver and Burnaby. Lyle was later hired with a halfway house and enjoyed that work for several years.

Lyle wanted to broaden his horizon so he enrolled back at NEC in the Family and Community Counseling (FCC Certificate and FCC Diploma) program where he learned a great deal in this program. Upon completing the FCC Diploma Lyle secured work as a mental health worker for a couple of years. In the meantime he was taking some courses at Langara College in the Aboriginal Studies program (ABST), it was during this time he was accepted into the University of Victoria in the Bachelor of Social work- Indigenous Specialization (BSW-IS). The second practicum he had from UVic was with the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of BC (NCCABC) who then went on to hire him as a Native Courtworker in the Vancouver Provincial Court located at 222 Main St.

Seven years later Lyle started the Master of Social worker at UVic but transferred to Wilfrid Laurier University located in Kitchener Ontario where he graduated from in the fall of 2014.


Jeanine Petel, 2017 Academic Achievement Award

Jeanine Petel was born in Sechelt, BC. She later moved to Kamloops and has for the past 20 years decided to call the lower mainland home. Growing up and during most of her youth, she didn't have much direction. She was however blessed with certain people who came into her life and helped guide her to become her best self.

Along the journey to adulthood and having the experiences she did, Jeanine decided she wanted to be part of shaping young minds. After doing some research she came across NEC!

“NEC has given me so many amazing opportunities and along the way I was able to see my full capability, giving me confidence to find my true self. I am a very humble person and don’t always know my worth but everyone has been so uplifting and encouraging.  I am so lucky and grateful to be in a job where people respect and encourage me on the daily. There is always so many new things to learn and different ways I want to grow and I know in my heart that I have found an amazing place to help achieve all of my dreams!”