2019 Winners: Lifetime Achievement Award

Recognizing the long-standing contribution of exceptional OMSSA members who have recently retired or who plan on retiring in the year that the award is given.


Beth Nowak

Director of Children's Services, Cochrane DDSAB

  • Manager/Director of Children's Services with the Cochrane DSSAB for the past 19 years and a strong advocate for quality, accessible and affordable child care

  • Participated / volunteered on CSN, as well as the planning committee for Children's Summit in January 2019 and a voting member.

  • Development of numerous new child care programs throughout the District, including programs operated by the Timmins YMCA, Garderie Clin D'oeil, Centre Educatif Rayon de Soleil

  • Instrumental in obtaining capital funding for expansion of child care centres in Hearst, Cochrane and as a partner with school boards in receiving capital funding for school-based child care programs

  • Worked with MCSS / MCYS as a Program Advisor from 1982 to 1999

  • Assisted the Timmins Friendship Centre in opening their Oppekehawaso Wekamik Daycare Centre under the Best Start Initiative



Gayle Montgomery

Circles Coordinator and National Recruiter for Circles Canada, County of Lambton

  • Over thirty-year career with the County she has participated in OMSSA's Employment and Income Network, Southwest Regional Employment roundtable working group and Regional Family Support working group, a speaker a various Leadership Symposiums, received OMSSAs Years of Service 20-year pin and is a voting member

  • Trained thousands of Human Services staff throughout Ontario delivering an inspiring and dynamic Bridges out of Poverty training, alongside presenting Circles (a transformative community collaborative to end poverty)

  • Due to her work, Circles Canada has initiatives in Lambton County, Wellington County, London, St. Thomas, Muskoka, Simcoe County, Sudbury, Kingston, Temiskaming First Nations & Mtis, Oxford County and has also solidified meaningful partnerships with Indigenous communities



Rick Williams

Former CAO, District of Muskoka

  • Former Commissioner of Community Services (now retired), Rick Williams is a change agent and educator, with leadership experience in human, health and social services at both regional and provincial levels

  • He began his career as a professor in Early Children Education at Loyalist College, before starting his tenure of work with the Provincial Government where he served as Director, Social Planning Supports and as Administrator, Prince Edward Heights

  • Rick left his work at the provincial level to follow his passion to work directly with communities through Municipal social and human services leadership roles

  • Rick has previously served as Board member and President, Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA) from 2005-2007 and a board member with the Ontario Non Profit LTC Association

  • His history of community leadership also includes time as Chair of the Belleville Transit Commission, Trustee with the Hastings County Board of Education, City Councillor for City of Belleville and President, Belleville District YMCA

  • Remained active in OMSSA through policy committees and other special initiatives i.e. Conducted preliminary research with OMSSA regarding the Southern Ontario Rural Caucus to enhance the Associations services in 2018