May 2015

One new fellow has joined the ranks of the Canadian Evaluation Society Fellowship.

Mrs. Natalie Kishchuk. Here is a transcript of her introduction and acceptance speech.

Introduction speech by Shelley Borys

Je suis extrêmement ravie de vous présenter ma chère amie et collègue, le docteur Natalie Kishchuk.

Natalie is our newest fellow and has been a pillar of the Canadian evaluation community for more than 25 years, advancing the field through her teaching, mentoring, advocacy and significant contributions to the ongoing work of the Canadian Evaluation Society. She is not only deserving of this honour, I think she actually defines what it means to be a CES Fellow. She is, as one of her nomination supporters described her, the perfect evaluator.

Natalie has presented workshops and/or papers at most CES annual conferences as well as Societé québécoise d'évaluation de programme (SQEP) events, generously sharing her knowledge and wisdom with countless evaluators. She has also published numerous articles, contributing to the advancement of our field. Throughout her career, she has devoted considerable time, energy and skill to advancing the interests of the CES. A very visible and current example is co-chairing this fantastic conference. It is noteworthy that this is the second time she has taken on this very demanding role, having also done so in 2000. She also has been heavily involved in the Canadian Evaluation Society Educational Fund, serving in many different roles including Chair and now as a key member of the scholarship committee. She also has been a prominent and active member of the SQEP.

Natalie has been a passionate and consistent advocate for ensuring evaluation is accessible to all. From her early work on the development of the CES Ethical Guidelines through to her considerable contributions as a member of the CES Credentialing Board, she has reminded us to consider the full range of evaluators, to ensure none are left out as the profession moves forward.

Her participatory, empowerment and capacity-building approach to evaluation work with not-for-profit organizations has earned her a solid reputation as a trusted evaluation resource with the interests of her clients, and their program participants, always at top of mind. She always works hard to ensure that all stakeholders are respectfully consulted and their voices heard, even when that isn’t easy. As one of her supporters put it: “being able to speak truth to kings, all the while ensuring that those who are vulnerable and marginalized are respected, is one of Natalie’s unique qualities.”

The naming of Natalie as a CES Fellow seems so obvious that a couple people suggested that all that would be needed for her nomination would be to simply write her name on a piece of paper and submit it. Her reputation and contributions are so significant, impressive and long-standing that they really do speak for themselves. On top of that, Natalie is possibly the most well-liked evaluator in Canada!

It is with great pleasure that I welcome Dr. Natalie Kishchuk to the Fellowship of the CES.

Acceptance speech

I am truly honored to receive this recognition. Thank you so much to the many fabulous colleagues who wrote really lovely, and wildly exaggerated, letters of support for my nomination. They reminded of how old I am and how far we go back on so many initiatives! And a special thanks to my special colleagues: Shelley Borys, Benoît Gauthier and Simon Roy, a constant source of learning and support.

I also have to thank my family: first of all my parents Boris and Marie Kishchuk, who, as my brother Paul, here today as well can attest, brought us all up in the spirit of community service. Now in their 80’s, they are still giving to their communities. I also thank my husband Marc Berwald, here today, and my amazing daughters Anastasia – also here today – and Marieke, who couldn’t be – for support and keeping me grounded and especially humble.

And since I have the mike for a minute still: the theme of this conference is Evaluation for the World we Want. (I love this theme and take no credit for it – we had an amazing conference organizing team who produced it). This has made me think about the world I want: the world I want to be contributing to as an evaluator.

Has it ever happened to you, that you did an evaluation interview with someone, and at the end, they thanked you? Really genuinely thanked you for asking them questions, like you gave them something?

This has happened to me in many situations over the year – in interviewing users of injection drugs in needle exchange program; it’s also happened to me with middle managers in the federal government, high school teachers, daycare workers, citizens using municipal parks, staff in community agencies…

What I hear behind those thank yous is often an experience, sometimes a lifetime of experience, of “disses”: disrespect, disdain, disregard, disapproval, dismissal…

I feel that one of our most important responsibilities as evaluators is to really listen, really hear, and act in the ways that we best know how – through rigorous analysis and effective communication – to take away those “disses”. What I want, as an evaluator, is a world where no one thanks me ever for interviewing them ever again.

Thank you again for this honor.