A commitment to safety and saving lives

Leanne Nielsen is the first one to admit she was a timid little kid, too intimidated to stand in front of anyone.


That kid is gone, replaced by a confident, capable and effective leader, whose commitment to safety is making a huge difference within and outside Syncrude.

“If I can do it, anybody can do it,” says Leanne, a Training Specialist with Syncrude’s Emergency Services. “I was a shy little kid. Now I can get up in front of an audience and do what I have to do. It’s possible.”

She has been with Syncrude for more than 17 years as a member of the Emergency Services. Six years ago, she became a trainer of other firefighters, paramedics, and volunteers. In that role, she’s able to lead not just by showing the ropes to the inexperienced but also by being a role model for others.

As Syncrude observes Women’s History Month, it celebrates employees such as Leanne, who continues to make a mark within the organization. Leanne’s commitment and excellence in providing training on emergency services contributes to maintaining and upholding Syncrude’s commitment to safety.

“I love it,” says Leanne about being a training specialist.

The biggest thing that I enjoy doing with training is seeing solid results at the end. Taking someone who may be new to it or maybe inexperienced and seeing them gain that knowledge and apply it. That’s just gratifying to see.

– leanne nielsen

As a trainer, she’s contributed to the skills of Syncrude’s 50 full-time fire specialists and emergency services personnel, almost 160 volunteers, and hundreds of others within the organization. She’s also involved in helping train emergency services of area partners such as the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Suncor, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

While having the ability to train others with lifesaving skills is a huge feat for anyone, Leanne isn’t one to boast about her achievements. She’d rather talk about it on a personal level.


“Being able to teach what I know needs to be taught and being able to do that effectively, as a trainer, that’s my big personal achievement. Knowing that I can teach somebody something that they will remember, and use, and it’s going to be helpful to them and others at the end of the day, is what makes me motivated.”

Raised in Forestburg, Alberta, Leanne now calls Fort McMurray home. She trained at Lakeland College before working for Syncrude in 2003. Since then, she has gained numerous certifications to become a training specialist.

In 1992, the Government of Canada deemed October “Women’s History Month.” The month-long celebration recognizes the outstanding achievements of women throughout Canada’s history. As part of this celebration, Syncrude is recognizing some of its outstanding employees throughout the month.

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