Commissionaire Raina Neville
Retired Master Warrant Officer, 2004, 29 years of service
Decorations and Awards
Canadian Forces Decoration
Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal
UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observation Force) Medal (2 tours) Golan Heights
Commandant’s Shield for Excellence
Skill at Arms Trophy
Commander’s Commendation - from Commanding Officer CFB Gagetown
Certificate of Achievement: Rear-Admiral Gardam to Cmre Site CWO
Site Manager, DND MARLANT Halifax
Chief Warrant Officer, DND MARLANT Halifax Evidence Custodian
"Commissionaires is a true melting pot of skill sets acquired in the service careers of its veterans and made greater by the excellent training provided by this wonderful employer. Repurposing these valuable qualifications for the greater benefit of the Canadian public is a unique and exciting opportunity for Commissionaires."
To say that Raina Neville has enjoyed a groundbreaking career is to say the very least. Indeed, together with standards of excellence, breaking new ground has been a theme that has followed Raina throughout her career in both the Military Police and Commissionaires. Starting in basic training, she was awarded the Commandant’s Shield of Excellence and the Skill at Arms Trophy. While a remarkable accomplishment for anyone, in 1974 it was also the first time either award was accorded to a woman. When Raina applied for the Military Police shortly thereafter, she was told it wasn’t open to women. Days later, the trade opened and Raina entered as one of its first women.
In the Military Police, Raina found both her future husband and significant opportunity to develop and advance. Working undercover in special operations as one of the first females in the Security Branch was highly rewarding— though she’s naturally scant on the details. Back-to-back tours of duty in the Golan Heights on the fractious border between Syria and Israel presented new challenges in her role as the first female Sergeant Major. Gender-based bias within factions of the multinational platoon and arising from the cultural mores of the Syrian people initially put her in a difficult position. However, Raina’s unquestionable leadership skills and diplomacy allowed her to vault the gender barrier and secure the mutual respect needed to accomplish the mission.
In 2004, Raina retired from the Military Police, immediately followed her husband’s lead into Commissionaires and found what she calls her ‘ideal second career’. Starting as Evidence Custodian, a position for which she was uniquely well-qualified as a result of her military training, she was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer and then to Site Manager for DND Maritime Command Atlantic at CFB Halifax—a position responsible for 44 sites and over 200 people. Yet another female first!
Not only does Raina continue to work closely with old colleagues at DND but she has found within Commissionaires a group of highly capable and invested professionals with whom she can aspire to excellence. Following the Canadian Navy Centennial International Fleet Review, Rear-Admiral David Gardam awarded her with a Certificate of Achievement for ‘exceptional organizational and leadership acumen’ and ‘flawless’ execution.
Raina has an understanding and easy manner, and is quick to share a moment of laughter. She is clearly comfortable in her own skin and thankful for the unfailing support of her husband even through the years of unaccompanied postings. Being a woman with considerable responsibility and clout in a traditional bastion of male authority has not been without its challenges and she is sensitive to the subject of equitable treatment. Raina retains close ties to the military both on and off the job while volunteering at the veterans’ hospital in Halifax.
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