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Achieve Your Goals

Martine Guay first joined the CAF as a Reservist before proudly becoming the first female Regimental Sergeant Major at the Canadian Special Operation Forces Headquarters. She’s become a leader for other women, showing that it’s possible to earn high-ranking positions within CAF.

When you want something, you just go after it... Nothing is impossible

Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Martine Guay

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Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Martine Guay

Transcript

(MG) It's too easy to quit any job. Challenge, opportunity, when you want something, you just go after it.

I didn't know I was gonna be a chief in the Special Forces, to be honest.

I joined the CAF in 1985 as a reservist. After being in the reserve for all summer, I kind of fell in love with the teamwork, the hard work, being outside all the time.
To be the first woman RSM at CANSOFCOM headquarters is a big accomplishment for me.

I took this as a great time for me to be a leader for the other women that's gonna follow me so they know it's possible to be a chief warrant officer in those organizations that are usually more men than women.

Yes?

(Woman) Good morning, chief.

(MG) Good morning.

(Woman) Do you have a minute for me?

(MG) Yes. Please, come in.
How are you doing?

My big job is to look after people, their morale and welfare.

Well, today, it's our annual sports day, CANSOFCOM annual sports day. Usually, it's to welcome all the new members.

I believe in physical fitness every day. If you fit, you feel great, it's easy on the mental health to get the same way.

A team building is very strong here. Even though you don't know the person who just arrived, this kind of day, will, right away, it makes them a team. I want them to get out of the office and their workspace and come out and play.

Get in the game, allez-y! Right in! Go, go, go!

When I was attached with the CSOR, one of our mandate was to go and help the Jamaicans Special Forces to deal with maintaining their equipment, accountability of the equipment.

This is where you need to be strong in the front of another country. They were surprised there was a woman that was there the whole day. But one thing we have to remember: it is not about being a woman or being a man, it's about being able to deliver what the commander wants you to do. And if you can do that, a woman has a place everywhere in the CAF.

You need to always remember as a leader: "Can I do it?" Don't ask something that you cannot do. If I ask them to do ten pushups, I will be able to do ten pushups. I will ask something, but I can do it.

You've got to take care of yourself physically and mentally.

If you can find a balance between military and your own life, it's easier to go through all those 33 years.

The satisfaction in my career is to be able to reach the small percentage of women who are the Chief.

33 years later, I'm still in shape and I am still passionate with the army. Being with CANSOFCOM brought me so many good things and I have to admit, it's the best time in my career.

Nothing is impossible.

Exceed Expectations

Meet Captain Jennifer Bass, an Air Combat Systems Officer working at 415 Squadron in Greenwood, Nova Scotia. When she’s not working on Canada’s long-range patrol aircraft, The Aurora, she can be found pursuing her passion for oil painting and studying for her Master of Arts degree.

There is nothing physically that I am unable to do that somebody else can.

Captain Jennifer Bass, Air Combat Systems Officer

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Captain Jennifer Bass, Air Combat Systems Officer

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Well, there's a lot of stereotypes that come with what type of things you'll be good at. And, I mean, I have an art background, so when it comes to charts and spatial awareness, I already have a lot of background that lends itself toward that.

And I was always excellent in math. So, that helps as well because so much of our job depends on doing math quickly or doing dead reckoning or just checking the numbers make sense when you're flying somewhere.

So, all of that is a skill that I've been learning for years and then gone to more school and courses in my military career in order to work on that. And that just has to do with the fact that my brain is very good at that.

I'm Captain Jennifer Bass. I am an Air Combat Systems Officer and I currently work at 415 Squadron in Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

Before I joined the CAF, and actually, I still am an oil painter. I also used to do book arts as well for my undergrad degree. After that, I went to Acadia Divinity College and I have a Master of Arts in Theology specializing in Hebrew Bible and I'm currently doing a Master of Arts in études canadiennes and that is through the Université de Saint-Boniface in Winnipeg.

The Aurora is Canada's long-range patrol aircraft and our speciality is anti-submarine warfare.

We'll do our patrols on either side of the country, of course, mostly over ocean, but it's also totally able to go overland. So, we took it to Kuweit based on its surveillance abilities.

We'll do generally very long flights in order to collect information. We can do everything from fishing patrols to Arctic sovereignty to drug interdiction with the plane.

So, I have definitely encountered sexism in my job.

Though, not as much from people in the military as people outside of the military who thinks that we couldn't possibly do what we are doing.

A lot of them would be like: "Oh, you can't possibly... You're not strong enough."

We have the same physical requirements. We go to the gym, we do everything. There is nothing physically that I am unable to do that somebody else can.

Or one of the other ones is just that you're too emotional. Which is also ridiculous because my job is not based on emotion in any way, shape or form.

Well, I would say for women who are looking at joining, definitely keep up all of your math and your science jobs. This is really going to be extremely valuable. You might not think it, be it really, really will be. It will make everything so much easier and give you a lot more opportunities as you get older and start looking at what careers you want to do.

It's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be interesting, it's gonna be difficult. There's going to be people who think it's silly or get angry or don't like what you're doing, but it's very rewarding.

Care for your job

Corporal Melissa Miller is a cook at the Canadian Forces Base in Comox, British Colombia and cooks almost 10 million meals every year, providing morale for the military.

You need to care – you need to put the love into food ‘cause if you don’t put the love, people can taste the difference.

Corporal Melissa Miller

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Corporal Melissa Miller

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I’m Corporal Melissa Miller from Calgary, Alberta. I’m a cook posted to CFB Comox.

Being a cook in the military is never the same day twice. One day you could be cooking out in the field, the next day you could be doing a VIP dinner or a mess function and you’re putting out 5-star food for people vs. the mass production of a buffet line.

Seeing all of the happy troops that are full and ready to go back out into the field is great. We provide the morale for the military. We feed everybody.

I love cooking for huge amounts of people. I’m actually terrible at cooking for two. There’s leftovers in my fridge for days.

Not everybody can cook a meal for 500 people and say “I cooked that.” You know, that’s a skill that is definitely very cool and I know my parents are in awe when I cook Christmas dinner and it takes me an hour-and-a-half and they’re like: “We start the turkey at 5 AM – why are you putting yours in now?” It’s just what I know how to do.

Definitely, there’s challenges there. You’re going to learn all different aspects of cooking – from some butchery, you’re going to learn how to bake, you’re going to learn how to make salads, sauces. And you have to learn how to make it taste good, too.

I decided to join the Canadian Forces because it looked like a great adventure. My husband had been in the military for about 9 years – he was always away on adventures so I wanted to get in on that action.

You need to care – you need to put the love into food ‘cause if you don’t put the love, people can taste the difference. And I know that sounds crazy, but you can taste the difference in food that’s been prepared by somebody that loves their job and loves what they do vs. somebody that’s just doing it because they need a paycheque.

Ready to Go

As a Materials Technician, Private Samantha McPhee, currently serving in Petawawa, Ontario, is considered a fabricator in the Canadian Armed forces: she has the skills to repair or fabricate items so that land-based equipment can perform to its optimum level. But, she is a soldier first and trains hard to be prepared for anything.

My favorite part of being in the military and being a Mat Tech is that we get to exercise every morning. And when you come to work, you feel refreshed and ready to go

Private Samantha McPhee

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Private Samantha McPhee

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I’m Private Samantha McPhee, from Metcalfe, Ontario, a Materials Technician posted to 2 Service Battalion, in Petawawa, Ontario.

My favourite part of being in the military and being a Mat Tech is that we get to exercise every morning. And when you come to work, you feel refreshed and ready to go. So, you’re all excited and you’re in a good mood, and then you get to work on projects that are a lot of fun also. You get to do new things every day.

We go from working with a sewing machine, hand sewing, all the way to air carbon arc gouging.

And then another day we’re out testing gasmasks, making sure that the seals are right. Repairing them, making sure that they fit. Then we can be out in the field and actually being a soldier. So, we can be digging trenches, ruck marches, runs.

Everyone welcomes you in, you’re like a big family. It doesn’t matter who you are, everything’s always just fun and when it’s time to be serious, we buckle down a little bit.

So far, I’ve been on one major exercise for 80 days in Wainwright, Alberta. I got to work hands- on every day inside a tent. It was my favourite part of being in the military so far.

That fire keeps getting stronger

Sgt Karen Nightingale is a Flight Steward with 437 Squadron in CFB Trenton and serves the Prime Minister and his wife on the aircraft. She also does charity work and is into bodybuilding.

You are only going to get out of it what you put into it. I have taken that to the max

Sgt Karen Nightingale, Flight Steward

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Captain Jennifer Bass, Air Combat Systems Officer

Transcript

I'm a small town person. I used to live... I kind of lived in my car and couch surfed and now, I serve the prime minister of Canada.

My name is Sgt Karen Nightingale, I'm a Flight Steward with 437 Squadron in CFB Trenton.

When I joined the Forces, a fire was kind of lit under me. That fire keeps getting stronger and I don't see any point in stopping. It’s made me proud to be Canadian and be proud of me.

I had a lot of potential, but not a lot of direction. I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, I just never knew what that was.

When I found the Forces, that was really where my life began.

The charity work that I do and, you know, all the other things that I get involved with, that comes from the Forces. I think without the military instilling that confidence in me, maybe that stuff wouldn't have happened.

I feel it's really important to get involved in your community. We have to meld into a different community every 4-5 years.

You're only going to get out of it what you put into it. I've taken that to the max.

Da Bomb Girls is really just a group of girls who love to dress up as 50's pin-up models and to raise money for animal welfare.

The DJing is something that's super fun and I get to act like, you know, a different person and dress up like an 80's rock star and show up and everybody thinks it's hilarious.

Bodybuilding is such a challenge for me. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and, like, I can look back on that and say: "I did that."

Being an army cook for as long as I've been an army cook... I've always been a part of a front-line unit and it's been a wild ride the whole way through.

I needed a little bit of a change of pace. And Flight Steward was something that was always kind of in my sight, but I never really started thinking about it until about a 9-10 year mark. I applied, I got in right away and it's been a whirlwind ever since.

Serving the prime minister and his wife on the aircraft, I think I've been in like 30 countries in the last two years, there's a wide range of excitement. All those experiences are second to none.

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CAF provides the skills training, mentorship and support to uplift its members in achieving their career goals. No matter if you’re starting or advancing in your career, we provide flexible, ongoing training opportunities to help you develop transferable and marketable skills.

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Canada is a world leader in terms of the proportion of women in its military and the areas in which they can serve. When you join the Canadian Armed Forces, you join a community that values and promotes inclusivity, diversity, teamwork and lifelong friendships.

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We’ve taken considerable steps to improve work-life balance for our members, with added assistance for families such as Emergency Child Care, Family Care Assistance and the Family Care Plan. Whether you’re pursuing a part-time or full-time career, the CAF is here to help you make time spent with family and friends a priority.

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We invest in our members by providing paid education and financial support while earning a certificate, diploma or degree. While pursuing your studies debt-free, you can rest assured that a job will be waiting for you upon graduation.

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