Ladies and gentlemen, MAC executive and Council Members,
It is my pleasure today to introduce to you the 2003 MAC Berry Medalist, Ms. Gina LeCheminant. Gina actually graduated from the University of British Columbia a few short years ago, thus it is only fitting that she be honoured here today, back at her alma mater. After graduating from UBC, Gina worked in the private sector and then moved onto the Geological Survey of Canada in 1981, where she occupied various roles from mineralogist to uranium deposit geologist, before becoming the research manager of the GSC mineralogical and geochemical laboratories.
Gina is being honoured here today for her unselfish service to the MAC as a member of Council and Executive over an extended time-period; in fact, she served as Councilor and Secretary for 13 years. In these roles, Gina brought to MAC council meetings an important continuity and historical legacy of the organization that proved on many occasions to be a tremendous asset, the modern vernacular for this is corporate memory, as our current president Norm Halden likes to remind us! Of particular note, however, is that Gina, perhaps unknowingly, performed
a role during the mid-1990s that deserves special recognition and it is for this that she has been singled out as the 2003 Berry Medalist. From discussions with several of her contemporaries who shared the round table with Gina at MAC meetings, the unanimous consensus was that Gina is blessed with an unquavering spirit, and was known to provide gentle prods on issues that she took to heart. In many cases, these issues were somewhat contentious for the reason that they involved change, a term that some on council evidently preferred to have fossilized rather than embrace, or so I have been told. However, Gina realized that the 1990s were a time of change and that MAC, unlike the dinosaurs, did have a choice of how to embrace some of this change. Of particular relevance were the changes in how business was being done, which was something pretty foreign to the mineralogists and academics of the time. As it turns out, this foresight was to a large extent responsible for making MAC the financially healthy organization that it is today. Thus, some might say, in hindsight, that Gina was a visionary.
Part of Gina\'s vision was that MAC required a business plan to address operations of the organization in order to not only ensure, but to guarantee a healthy and secure financial future, which is where we find MAC today. In fact, Gina continues to sit as Executive Secretary to the MAC Foundation, which she was so instrumental in establishing. It is perhaps fitting, therefore, that today sitting with Gina and enjoying this luncheon is living testament to Gina\'s vision, as we have with us two of the brightest, young scientists around who are also being honoured by MAC and, who, we expect will represent the future of this organization. It is because of the healthy finances of the association, of which Gina contributed so much towards, that the organization is now able to provide financial support to such deserving, young and promising individuals.
Where as bigger and wealthier organizations provide such visionaries with stock options, big bonuses, use of their private jets and lavish retreats, we hope that the Berry Medal for 2003 will be accepted by Gina as a suitable proxy for her worthy services. It carries with it our deepest gratitude for her efforts in guaranteeing a bright future for the Mineralogical Association of Canada and those that are part of it. Please join me in congratulating Gina and showing our appreciation for her efforts to the society.