Distinguished Service Award 2023

Llwellyn Armstrong
Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award is awarded to a person who has made substantial contributions to the running or welfare of SSC, over a period of several years. A recipient of the Distinguished Service Award must be a member of the SSC.

Llwellyn Armstrong is the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Service Award from the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC). This award honours an individual who has played an important and substantial role in fostering the growth and success of the Canadian Statistical Sciences community through leadership in the SSC.

Llwellyn has been the statistician for the Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research (IWWR) within Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) for more than 25 years. She serves as a collaborative researcher who consults extensively with research and field staff, students, and external colleagues on research study design, sampling methodology, statistical analyses, and helps ensure the results of analyses are appropriately disseminated. She analyzes information for use in original scientific research and to inform decision-making. As the need arises, she also conducts research into the use of innovative biostatistical techniques. Her work is focused on various aspects of waterfowl distribution and population dynamics, impacts of wetland and grassland conservation programs, and modeling wetland ecosystems services. She is a STEM role model – contributing to saving Canada’s wetlands and to conservation success. Her expertise helps empower IWWR to be Canada’s leader in wetland conservation and her work helps us live in a greener, healthier world.

Llwellyn obtained her B. Sc. and M. Sc. in Statistics from the University of Manitoba and for six years was the primary consultant for the Statistical Advisory Service at the University of Manitoba.  On-campus assistance included serving as the statistical consultant for the George Weston Sensory Laboratory in the Department of Foods and Nutrition, and for the Manitoba Nursing Research Institute in the Faculty of Nursing.  Off-campus work included assisting with the development and presentation of workshops on Design of Experiments and Statistical Process Control.  Projects with several aerospace firms in Winnipeg involved the definition and monitoring of Measures of Performance.  Consulting advice was also offered to scientists at the Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada Brandon Centre, Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Freshwater Institute, and the Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research.  

She is a role model of a professional statistician both in her employment and in her work on behalf of SSC. She has been an SSC member since 1991 and served as Regional Representative for Manitoba-Saskatchewan-NWT-Nunavut (2012-2015). She has served or is serving on the following SSC Committees: Finance Committee (2015-2024), former editorial Board of Liaison, and former member of the Public Relations Committee, Publications Committee, and Office Committee.  She has also been a member of the Executive Committee of the SSC Regional Association - Statistical Association of Manitoba (SAM, 1991-2003) in the roles of Vice-President, Secretary, and Newsletter Editor.  Llwellyn was the SSC Executive Secretary 2015-2021. In these roles, Llwellyn has made substantial and ongoing contributions to the running and welfare of SSC. As Executive Secretary, Llwellyn went well beyond what was expected of this position. Her extensive knowledge of the SSC and her willingness to both manage her own role as Executive Secretary but also step in as needed to help with situations that were not directly her responsibility really stand out. In 2016 Llwellyn proposed changes to the format of Board meetings and implemented them in Spring 2017. Those changes were a marked improvement to the running of Board meetings. She produced orientation materials for SSC Board members and committee chairs, and initiated and organized an information and orientation session for newly elected Board members that continues to this day. At the end of her final term, she consolidated and drafted general policy and procedure materials for reference by future society officers. She also helped steer the SSC through several complex challenges, most notably the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing SSC to pivot rapidly to virtual Board meetings. She worked with multiple Treasurers during her tenure as Executive Secretary. During the time when the SSC worked to improve transparency and oversight of its financial processes, she scrutinized all SSC financial reporting documents and very actively participated in the audits as well as discussions for process improvements. Her attention to detail and to the financial workings of the Society was extremely important, especially when the SSC moved from paper to electronic transactions.  Llwellyn helped establish consistent financial processes and procedures, served as a signing officer, and participated comprehensively in annual financial audits and charity return preparation.  Her extensive suggestions led to improvements in tracking SSC finances and to real improvements in SSC operations. As Chair of the SSC ad-hoc Strategic Planning Committee (2012-2014; with John Brewster, Joel Dubin, Christian Léger, Peter Macdonald, Russell Steele, and Larry Weldon), she brought forth recommendations resulting in substantial ongoing improvements to SSC operations. One motion led to a massive modernization of the SSC website and to adoption of a modern membership management system; another motion led to fundraising campaigns and to funding of new initiatives. The other motions charged four committees (Public Relations, Membership, Accreditation Services, Program) with specific terms of reference. 

Llwellyn shares her home with her elderly mother and aunt and is very active in the community where, for more than 30 years, she has volunteered as a member of Winnipeg’s Ukrainian community, serving in a variety of capacities on choral, cultural, and faith-based Boards of Directors. She has also served as Treasurer for multiple annual fundraising dinners for Ducks Unlimited Canada.  

Shirley Mills was primarily responsible for preparing this material.

The citation for the award reads: 

"To Llwellyn Armstrong, for extensive contributions to the SSC during her term as Executive Secretary; for service to the SSC as Regional Representative for Manitoba-Saskatchewan-NWT-Nunavut, Chair of the ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee, and Vice-President and Newsletter Editor of the Statistical Association of Manitoba SSC regional association; for service o numerous SSC committees over the span of three decades; for a career dedicated to statistical consultancy at the University of Manitoba and the Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research (IWWR) within Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC); and for being a STEM role model as a professional statistician contributing to saving Canada’s wetlands and to conservation success."