The recipient of the Excellence in the Not-for-Profit Sector Award is an extraordinary woman who has dedicated her life to creating a safer and more inclusive community, all while leading a non-profit organization that is making a profound difference in the lives of women, families, and communities across the Niagara Region. It is with great honor and immense pride that we announce Nicole Regehr as winner in this category.
Nicole Regehr’s journey as the Executive Director of Gillian’s Place, a non-profit organization specializing in providing shelter and support services for survivors of gender-based violence, reflects her unwavering commitment, talent, and integrity. Appointed to her current role in 2021, Nicole’s nearly 14-year tenure with Gillian’s Place and her extensive experience in leadership, strategy, and communications within the gender-based violence sector were instrumental in navigating organizational change and rebranding the organization into a more inclusive and welcoming space for all individuals affected by gender-based violence.
Gillian’s Place provides emergency shelter, second-stage supportive housing, and essential support services to survivors of gender-based violence in an inclusive, trauma-informed, and harm-reductive environment. The organization’s commitment is to provide complete, wrap-around, compassionate care for survivors throughout their journeys to independence.
Under Nicole’s leadership, Gillian’s Place has expanded its outreach, enhanced its services, and developed innovative programs to support survivors and their families. She has worked tirelessly to build strategic partnerships with government agencies, local businesses, and community organizations, creating a comprehensive support network for those affected by gender-based violence. Her profound understanding of the complexities of gender-based violence is unwavering in her commitment to raising awareness and finding solutions.
Nicole’s tireless dedication to the cause has earned her recognition as a prominent figure in the fight to end gender-based violence and abuse. She is a sought-after speaker, advocate, and expert in the field, consistently striving to create a world where everyone can live free from the fear of abuse.
In the fall of 2021, Gillian’s Place was awarded a grant from Women and Gender Equality Canada to develop a training program for journalists and students of journalism to report responsibly on gender-based violence and gendered issues. Nicole’s commitment to educating and raising awareness on this pervasive issue is exemplified by this endeavor, as it aims to promote gender equality and diversity in news media content, enhance the capacity of news media to address gender-based violence responsibly, and increase the representation of women and gender-diverse individuals as experts and leaders in news media.
Nicole has publicly pledged her unwavering commitment to ending gender-based violence. This pledge includes standing with survivors, raising awareness, promoting prevention, challenging systems of oppression, fostering inclusivity, forging partnerships, and never giving up in the fight against gender-based violence. Her dedication to our community and the shared mission is steadfast and unwavering.
In her work at Gillian’s Place, Nicole has faced various challenges, including the staff hiring and retention landscape, particularly during the pandemic. Like many social service organizations, Gillian’s Place had to adapt to the changing environment and staff needs. Nicole recognized the importance of setting her organization apart by providing staff incentives and wellness initiatives to ensure job satisfaction, understanding that they couldn’t compete monetarily in a job-seeker’s market.
One of the notable initiatives was the introduction of a Manager of Quality & Engagement role at Gillian’s Place. This manager focuses on staff training and wellness, and their programs and initiatives have significantly contributed to a healthy, vibrant staff. Addressing the critical issue of vicarious trauma and burnout among staff, Gillian’s Place established relationships with local psychotherapy and counseling agencies to provide trauma-informed counseling, workshops, and group sessions for staff. These efforts are crucial in supporting the resilience and well-being of the team.
These commitments to her team, her services, and her organization are all part of Nicole’s commitment to creating a safer and more inclusive community. Her tireless dedication to ending gender-based violence and abuse has made her a prominent figure in the field, and her work is making a profound difference in the lives of survivors and their families.
Nicole, we honor your commitment, your dedication, and the positive change you bring to the Niagara Region. Thank you for your exceptional leadership and your contributions to our community. Congratulations on receiving the Excellence in the Not-for-Profit Sector Award.