Meet Me at the PMFRC

Meet Me at the PMFRC


Introducing Frances Priest

Frances is our Deployment Support Coordinator, her office is located at our North Side location. If you are a military member, you may meet Frances at one of your deployment DAGs. She is here to support military families and their loved ones through all of the stages of deployment, and to make sure that your family is well prepared for whatever challenges may arise.

Name: Frances Priest 
Position: Deployment Support Coordinator

(Image Source: PMFRC)

Tell us more about your role at the PMFRC and the programs that you are involved in.
I provide information to CAF members and their families about the programs and services that are available.  I also provide resources and support to meet a family’s needs before, during and after a work-related separation. Our goal is to enhance the member’s ability to be ready for duty.

How long have you worked for the PMFRC?
I have been at the PMFRC for 13 years now. I started part-time as the informal child care supervisor, and then moved to deployment.

Work related separation is a balancing act, we can all do it, we just have to find our way!

Tell me about your background (experience, education, etc.).
I am a francophone; I learned to thrive in an English community by attending an English University, being a part of a high -level competition rowing team and by speaking English with my husband. I am also a mother of two: Nolan (age 7) and Alexa (age 3).

My work experience is quite varied.  I was a head coach for a swim team and a Residence and Conference Manager. I coordinated the Success by Six Progarm in Vanier (just outside Ottawa) working with multicultural and low-income families and I worked at a Francophone woman’s shelter before joining the PMFRC. I enjoy working for non-profit organizations and problem-solving with families about how to develop resiliency skills. I thrive seeing families learn to adapt and be successful in their community.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Management Certificate from Algonquin College. I am also certified to teach programs such as Personality Dimensions, Road to Mental Readiness, Kids Have Stress Too, Positive Discipline, Inter-Com (conflict resolution skills) and Critical Incident Management, to name a few.

What can people expect to see when they first meet you?
I’m a problem solver and listener and I am always happy to connect families with resources in the community.

They can definitely expect to see a friendly smile and openness to support them through their deployment journey.

What is your favorite part about working for the PMFRC?
I am often taken aback from how lucky I am to meet our Canadian Armed Force’s resilient and strong families. I enjoy seeing how creative they can be, making the military lifestyle fit for them.  I have been fortunate to make some life-long connections.

What is your greatest accomplishment or proudest moment working for the PMFRC?
I meet with a lot of families.  I am always so proud when I reconnect with one at the end of a deployment and hear about how they have managed to make their deployment a positive experience.

My greatest accomplishment has been creating the following resources:

Work-Related Separation workshops for civilians:  Work-related separations are not unique to military families. Specialized engineers, oil sand workers, specialized welders, truckers, construction workers and bankers all travel a lot for their careers, and their families don’t have access to the many services that the military has to offer, such as coping information and support. With the assistance of the PEI FRC, we created Work Related Separation workshops that are tailored to civilian families and community resource centres.

Op Family Readiness:  The OP Family Readiness binder was created to help military families organize their documents and vital information. Each section includes important information, reminders and checklists about: legal matters, medical information, home maintenance issues, banking, insurance and much more. Once completed, it is our hope that this tool ensures Canadian Forces loved ones are ready for any emergencies that may occur when their member is deployed.

Where are you from and what brought you to Petawawa? How long have you lived here?
I am a francophone from Northern Ontario (Hearst).  I have a lot of personal experience moving to different towns for University, to compete for a spot on the national rowing team and for new jobs.  I moved to Haley Station in 2003 (near Logos Land) to be with my spouse.  I commute 45 minutes each day to Petawawa.

What advice do you have for families transitioning to Petawawa?
Reach out, ask and get out there…. There are so many services, programs and activities to support the military lifestyle.

Build your support network : this is your “family” while you’re here.

Dare to ASK and TRY new things and you will gain knowledge.

I find that in our community of Renfrew County people are generous, helpful and so willing to lend a hand.

What is your favorite thing about living in the area? What is your favorite thing to do in the winter? The summer?
I love the Petawawa gym facilities, beaches and trails.

My favorite things involve being in nature: cross country skiing, running and walking in our wooded trails with my children and our dog, as well as snowmobiling and ATV excursions.

 Leave us with a few words of wisdom -- what is your favorite quote?
 Work related separation is a balancing act, we can all do it, we just have to find our way!