Awards showcase some of C-K’s best

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Dr. Margery Holman, Dr. April Rietdyk, Lori Marshall, Christine Baribeau, Jann Wickett and Meagan King have been named the May Court Club of Chatham’s Women of Excellence for 2024.

By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Long-time special education teacher Jann Wickett says that “when you can – you should.”

The retired educator, named as one of the six May Court Club of Chatham’s 2024 Women of Excellence award winners, said the adage sums up her philosophy towards work and life. Her many achievements have garnered her the nod for the community and volunteerism award.

“It’s about putting my money where my mouth is,” Wickett told The Voice at a recent gathering where the winners were announced. “Some people don’t have the opportunity, or privilege, to help, but if we’re in position do so, that’s what we should do.”

Wickett is in good company among a group of remarkable women. The list of winners for WOE 2024 showcases some of Chatham-Kent’s most enduring and influential female leaders. Included in this year’s lineup are Lori Marshall, Dr. April Rietdyk, Christine Baribeau, Dr. Margery Holman and Meagan King, the youngest woman to be honoured.

When interviewed by The Voice, a common theme emerged among the award winners, similar to the sentiment expressed by Wickett. All said they were honoured and humbled by the recognition.

Rietdyk, who recently retired from her post as leader of the municipality’s community human services division, said she was very honoured to receive the award in the business and professions category.

“It’s almost weird,” the public health expert said. “I was just doing my job. I worked with a great team to try and make Chatham-Kent better.”

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance president and CEO Lori Marshall, who received the health, science and technology award, emphasized that “what you do matters,” noting there’s no greater calling than working towards making things better for all.

King, winner of the young woman of excellence award, said she is honoured to be acknowledged among the prestigious group. The Ursuline College Chatham graduate, now studying film and television at Humber College, said receiving the award gives her inspiration.

The WOE award winners will be officially recognized at a dinner at the Chatham Portuguese Club April 26. Tickets are currently available by contacting 519-352-2710.

The winners:

The WOE 2024 Arts and Culture Award goes to Chatham-Kent Secondary School teacher Christine Baribeau, who is well known in the community for her patronage and contribution to the visual, literary and performing arts. She has inspired many students and citizens to develop a love of music.

A public high school teacher since 2001, beginning in Tilbury, Baribeau started a choir and concert band at C.K.S.S. She’s also directed a total of nine student musicals at the Capitol Theatre.

Ridgetown native Dr. Margery Holman, retired after 42 years as an educator at the University of Windsor, has been named as winner of the WOE 2024 Education and Training Award. Holman is known for utilizing sport to facilitate equity and positive change, specializing in teaching courses such as principles of coaching and ethics, including graduate and under-graduate courses. Holman created and taught a landmark course on gender in sport and physical activity and founded the school’s employment equity office on campus and developed the university’s first sexual harassment policy.

Former UCC student Meagan King, the Young Woman of Excellence Award winner, is well known for her dedicated support to her high school, earning her the School Superlative award as chosen by her peers in Grade 12. She helped mentor Grade 9 students and completed some 770 hours of community service earning her the Lieutenant Governor Community Award.

Now studying film and television at Humber College, King served as a stage manager at UCC plays. She was also active in the media club, filming and photographing events for school publications.

The WOE Health, Science and Technology Award goes to Lori Marshall, current CEO of the CKHA. Marshall, who has held various leadership roles in healthcare administration around the province, has 39 years experience in the field. A registered pharmacist, Marshall is known for demonstrating effective leadership through many challenges facing health care that included navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic and the hospital’s recent cyber security attack.

Dr. April Rietyk, former general manager of health and human services for Chatham-Kent, won the Business and Professions Award. She has 39 years’ experience in the field of public health. She started her career as a public health nurse with the Health Unit in 1985, eventually becoming the supervisor the CKPH’s infant and family health team. She went on to become the director of CKPH from 2009 to 2015 and moved up the role of general manager in 2015 until February of this year.

2024 WOE Community and Volunteerism Award winner Jann Wickett is a former Lambton Kent District School Board special education teacher and has also taught business at St. Clair College.

Along with her husband, Wickett is the co-sponsor of the Dr. Jack Parry Scholarship Award for the top male and female athletes within Chatham-Kent schools. She is a member of various executive boards at St. Andrews Residence and is director-at-large of Chatham-Kent Community Foundation. Wickett has taken on numerous roles sitting on various boards, including the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Foundation and Chatham-Kent Community Living.

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