Mirabelli-Glossop Award for Distinquished Contribution

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The Mirabelli-Glossop Award for Distinguished Contribution is presented in recognition of exceptional and sustained contributions to the work of the Vanier Institute of the Family. To be recognized, contributions must be made in-kind and serve to enhance the Institute’s commitment to better understanding and supporting the central importance of Canada’s families, in all of their diversity.


Colonel Russell Mann was awarded this distinction in 2013 for his outstanding contributions and commitment to the Military Families in Canada initiative. The Military Families in Canada initiative is a collaborative partnership between the Military Family Services Program and the Vanier Institute of the Family. This initiative serves to increase the availability and accessibility of services and supports to military families across Canada and to educate and inform the greater community about military life.

The Vanier Institute of the Family is delighted to be honouring Colonel Mann with this award for his distinguished contribution to the Military Families in Canada initiative. The Institute has a long history with military families, who are valued members of Canadian society, and is proud to be working with Colonel Mann and his team on this important initiative.
Nora Spinks, CEO, Vanier Institute of the Family

Colonel R.B. (Russ) Mann is the Director of Quality of Life/Military Family Services for the Canadian Armed Forces. Upon graduating from the Royal Military College in Kingston in 1983, Colonel Mann began his service with the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he coordinated administration and logistics for tactical helicopter operations. He deployed on international operations twice as officer commanding the National Support Element with the Multinational Force and Observers in Egypt and with the United Nations Observer Group in Central America. He had the privilege of serving as a Commanding Officer of the 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters. As 3 Wing Administration Officer Bagotville, Quebec, he coordinated administrative and financial services to Canadian Armed Forces personneland their families. In Joint Operations, Colonel Mann supported domestic and international relief operations. With his American colleagues, he served through 9/11 as a Movements Officer and Watch Chief with the Strategic Mobility Division of Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii. With NATO, Colonel Mann served as Executive Assistant to the first Canadian Deputy Commander of Joint Force Command Naples, Italy.

As a Director of Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS), Colonel Mann revived a Quality of Life capacity and merged it with Military Family Services and Dependant Education Management to meet the needs of today’s Canadian military family. Although services remain important, engagement with the Canadian community and with provincial governments are essential capabilities of the team that he now leads.

Drs. Janet Fast and Donna Lero were awarded this distinction in 2012 for their outstanding contributions as lead researchers on the Caregiving & Work project, in partnership with the Institute. Through a series of interviews, round table discussions and a national survey of senior HR executives, the Caregiving & Work project works with employers and managers across private, public and non-profit/voluntary sectors to identify best practices within their workplace and to support further innovations that will benefit both employers and employed caregivers.

The Vanier Institute of the Family is delighted to be honouring these two women with such a distinction. With an aging population, a growing number of employees are providing some form of care to family, neighbours or friends. It is essential that employers are equipped with the knowledge, tools and resources to best support employed caregivers.

Nora Spinks, CEO, Vanier Institute of the Family
Dr. Janet Fast is a professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta. Her participation in the Caregiving & Work project reflects her deep commitment to better understanding the varied and hidden costs associated with adult caregiving. Dr. Fast is currently co-leading an international, multidisciplinary team investigating the juxtaposition of costs and contributions of adults with chronic illness and disability.

Dr. Donna Lero is the inaugural holder of the Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work, and leads the research agenda on Workplace Policies and Family Supports at the Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being at the University of Guelph, where she also teaches courses in child development and family-related social policy. Dr. Lero’s leadership in the field of child care, work and family dates back to 1988, when she
served as Director of the Canadian National
Child Care Study.