Achievement Awards

Recognition Awards


Achievement Awards

Recognition Awards

Cathy Casey was the recipient of the 2021 NSCDA Lifetime Achievement Award, an award given to a member of the NSCDA who has made a long and notable contribution to career development in Nova Scotia.

Workshops and Best Practices

Cathy has a 25+ year history in the field of career development, starting with People Plus Consulting, where she developed and delivered employment-related workshops. She was instrumental in developing and managing Job Junction, a career resource centre in Halifax. As the Chair of the Career Resource Centres Manager’s Group for eight years, Cathy believed in sharing best practices and enhancing consistency in employment service delivery in the province.


While still with People Plus, Cathy was seconded by Labour and Advanced Education (LAE) to provide subject matter advice in the design and development of Labour Market Programs Support System) (LaMPSS) for case management. LaMPSS is a standard system and set of business processes developed to focus on the administration of labour market programs and services for four provincial partners. From there, Cathy became part of the Nova Scotia Works (NSW) transformation team to provide subject matter advice for the launch of NSW in 2016.


Cathy was involved with NSCDA since its inception. She started as a volunteer, then a Board member, and then formally joined the NSCDA as a staff member in 2018 as a Career Development Advisor. Cathy continued to liaise with LAE on several projects in this role, including NSW implementation, Youth Employability Skills, Employer Engagement, and more.

Cathy always valued the excellent working relationships she had over the years with her colleagues in the NSW centres and LAE. She felt so fortunate to have had the privilege to work with such a wonderful group of professionals.

Grassroots Mentor

After working inside the home for 20 years doing volunteer work such as teaching nursery school art classes, Betsy Payne realized she wanted to use her skills to give back to the community. She took a small business entrepreneurial course that created Fairchild Educational Services, offering assessment and remedial sessions for school-aged children. This led to the completion of her Adult Education Diploma from StFX University.
In 1996, the Job Resource Centre opened in Windsor. Betsy was employed as a Trainer and focused on mentoring people in job searching. The centre joined with Open for Business and moved to a larger facility called the Enterprise Centre of Hants County. It was with this centre that Betsy helped formulate the 4E Service Delivery Model: employment, education, entrepreneurship, and economic development.

Portfolio Development

She was one of the first, outside the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Centre, trained to deliver Portfolio Development. She became a Certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator MBTI (Level 2) facilitator, delivered the Strong Interest Inventory, Train the Trainer, Appreciative Inquiry, and was a counsellor for the self-employed.

Job Search Equation

Betsy’s Emotional intelligence training led to her interest in psychology and how to make people aware of the power of words and attitudes and how to reframe these into positives. Betsy patented her “Job Search Equation.” It means that what people really want, regardless of age, is employment that provides connection, community, money, stimulation, learning and meaning.

Compassion Fatigue

When the economy experienced a downturn in 2008, Betsy started learning about the stresses that affect people and researching compassion fatigue. She wanted to stay in the profession but wanted to find a way to help career practitioners maintain their balance while effectively helping the unemployed. Since then, Betsy has continued to be a strong advocate for awareness and training about compassion fatigue.
Betsy had many heroes that influenced her work, Lynn Bezanson of CCDF (Canadian Career Development Foundation); Nick Corcidilis, Ask the Headhunter; Lea Brovadani, Emotional Intelligence; Francois Mathieu, Compassion Fatigue; Judy MacKay, Job Junction; and the NSCDA’s Cathy Casey.


In terms of professional development, Betsy has always been the voice for the value of professional networking and continuous learning. She attended the first NSCDA conference in Shearwater and has strongly supported professional certification, sitting on focus groups to develop the program and tools. Betsy was the second career practitioner to gain her CCDP designation, and the second practitioner to become a certified Assessor as part of the first group of assessors in the NSCDA Competency Assessment training.

Mental Health Champions

Betsy was the impetus for the NSCDA’s interest and work in mental health. The creation of the Mental Health Champions initiative started when she asked in 2009, “Is it just me? 80% of my clients disclose mental health issues, and I am not sure I am equipped to deal with this. What can we do?”

Training Through Learner’s Eyes

After retiring from the Job Resource Centre in 2015, Betsy continued to work as an Assessor for the NSCDA’s Certification program, helped the NSCDA develop and deliver services for older workers and travelled the province delivering compassion fatigue workshops. She helped the NSCDA frame training through learners’ eyes and continues to inspire us with her connection with people.

When asked why she did it, Betsy says she always wanted to encourage people to say yes to themselves. Say yes to their dreams and find a process that will lead them forward. That’s what career development is, isn’t it?

Laurie Edwards and Clarence DeSchiffart were both presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the NSCDA’s 2017 Conference. Their contributions are too numerous to list, but they are recognized as the founders of the NSCDA.


In 1998 Laurie and Clarence initiated the working group to establish the NSCDA — making Nova Scotia the second province in Canada to have such an organization.


As the NSCDA continued to grow, Clarence and Laurie served on an assessment consulting team that shaped the current use of a competency-based approach to achieving the Certified Career Development Practitioner designation and both are recognized as experts in competency assessment and standardized practice.


  • Career in Gear (CIG), an online career management tool that takes people through a career decision-making process using games focusing on identity, interests, values, skills, labour market information, and the exploration of education and training programs available at the NSCC.
    Parents as Career Coaches project has been commended by career development leaders across the country.
    Skills Canada Nova Scotia; Techsploration — a program that assists girls in Grade 9 to explore occupations in skilled trades, technology, and applied sciences.
    The NS Vocational Mobile Career Service; Project NOVA.
  • Establishing the first Canada Career Week.
  • The establishment of the NSCC’s African Canadian Transition Program — the first Africentric post-secondary academic upgrading / career exploration program in Canada.
  • The Blueprint Project, Canada’s national learning outcome framework of the competencies necessary to improve and prosper in both career and life. This program has influenced similar competency projects in Australia and Saudi Arabia.


The NSCDA Board of Directors and those who support the organization and career development in Nova Scotia believe it’s important to recognize outstanding contributions in the field. These contributions may be in the form of:

  • an innovation;
  • volunteer service to the NSCDA or other areas of career development within the province;
  • the development of new knowledge; or
  • developing ways to improve professional practice.

When the Board first discussed offering a lifetime achievement award, a list of eligibility requirements was made that candidates for nomination must have demonstrated over a significant period of time. These included:

  • an established history of distinguished service in the field of career development, with the bulk of that service occurring in Nova Scotia;
  • having made a lasting contribution to career development practice;
  • exhibiting leadership and inspiring others in the field;
  • positively influencing career development on a provincial level and possibly on a national and/or international level.

In addition, nominees must have:

  • made a positive impact on the career development field at a provincial, and possibly a national or international level;
  • at least 20 years of sustained service to career development;
  • earned recognition by other industry, training, education, funder or employer groups;
  • the respect of professional peers;
  • general acknowledgment as having reached a pinnacle of the profession;
  • demonstrated, over an extended period, a contribution which has included either research, industry achievement, professional leadership and/or service to the career development community in Nova Scotia;
  • personal integrity.