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Captain Diana Prénoveau

Captain Diana Prénoveau has been serving in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for 15 years and counting. Initially drawn to the opportunities and adventure it offered, she is now focused on using her leadership skills to make the military a more welcoming place for women.

Ottawa, Ontario

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Afghanistan

Joined

2006

Postings

  • Liaison and Protocol Officer (2015)
  • 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (current)

Deployments

  • Qatar (2014)

Born in Hong Kong, Diana Prénoveau moved to Vancouver with her family when she was six. In her first year of high school, they moved again, this time to Ottawa. A chance conversation at her new school first sparked Prénoveau’s interest in the military, when one of her classmates shared that as a cadet, she had gotten her glider license before she could even drive. It wasn’t long before Prénoveau also joined the Air Cadets.

“In my last year of high school, when I was making decisions about what I was going to do, I was enamored by the opportunities and adventures and the values of being part of the CAF.”

Three years later, while others her age were enjoying their last summer before university, Prénoveau left for basic training in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu the day after her graduation. That fall, she began studying at the Royal Military College (RMC). “In my last year of high school, when I was making decisions about what I was going to do, I was enamored by the opportunities and adventures and the values of being part of the CAF,” she says.

During her final year at RMC in 2010, she was assigned a career as an Aerospace Control Officer. From there, she completed training first at CFB Bagotville, then at the military’s air-traffic control school in Cornwall, and finally at the Canadian Air Defence Sector in North Bay.

In 2014, her career really took flight. She was deployed to Qatar for six months with the US Air Force’s 71st Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, where she provided command and control of the skies over Afghanistan. While pulling 12-hour shifts in a no-fail environment was extremely demanding, it remains the highlight of her career.

"The analogy I use to describe my job is that it's like playing three-dimensional Tetris. You're trying to get planes in the right place, while maintaining a safe distance, and in the fastest way possible."

“It is truly one of the best things about being in the military, you get a very different experience with each assignment."

Shortly after returning to Canada, Prénoveau was posted to Ottawa to work as a Liaison and Protocol Officer, where she used her diplomatic skills to build relationships with foreign defence attachés. "This new assignment was completely different from my previous job,” she says. “It is truly one of the best things about being in the military, you get a very different experience with each assignment."

In this role, Prénoveau helped organize regular hockey games between defence attachés. As a sports fan, she recognizes the power of sports in bringing people together and breaking down barriers. "The Defence Attaché Hockey Team is more than just sport. It's amazing to see what happens when people take off their uniforms and ranks. It’s friendship through sport."

Diana running in Qatar at the base where she worked as an air traffic controller.

Diana running in Qatar at the base where she worked as an air traffic controller.

While in Ottawa, Prénoveau earned her Executive MBA, which led her to become a logistics officer specialized in human resources. She is now the Adjutant at the 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron at CFB Valcartier.

"I learned a lot about myself and thought I could contribute more through people interactions – in relationship building more so than ‘de-conflicting’ airspace through radio or chat," she says.

As a woman in the military, Prénoveau admits that she has had very few role models, something that only became problematic when she wanted to start a family. “Having a family and trying to plan your maternity leave and career is a real challenge in the CAF.”

Prénoveau believes we need more women in leadership positions to normalize being a mother while having a career. “One of the things that I have always been interested in doing in human resources is to try to help fix some of the problems, policy and culture within the CAF that makes recruiting and retaining women more difficult,” she says.

With courage, loyalty and integrity, Diana Prénoveau has left her mark. She is one of our Canadian Veterans. Discover more stories.


Where they served


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