Women of Inspiration

Event Details & Tickets

Celebrating 2018 Women of Inspiration Awards

Join us for our premier #WOI 2018 Awards Gala on Thursday, September 20, 2018, as we celebrate Women of Inspiration who lead by example, empower those around them, make an impact in her community, and inspires women in  Canada and around the globe.  Don’t miss joining our public event as we recognize 12 Women of Inspiration Award Categories. Inspirational Keynote speaker, Barbara Stegemann will share her story.

About Women of Inspiration

Founder, and CEO of Canadian Business Chicks, Monica Kretschmer created Women of Inspiration as a legacy event to honor a woman who inspired her to greatness. A Woman of Inspiration is an extraordinary woman who leads by example, lives on purpose and inspires others to be more and do more. She is a modern-day hero, game changer, mover and shaker and role model who leads by example with courage, confidence, commitment and integrity, empowers those around her, and makes an impact in her community and around the globe. This year we are awarding women in 12 Categories who are leading by example.

We will award Woman of Inspiration Awards in 12 #WOI2018 Award Categories: Advocate and Catalyst for Change; Lifetime Achievement; Game Changer, Millennial Star – Rising Star; Difference Maker, Authentic Leader, Cultural Ambassador, Trailblazer, Mompreneur, Boss Chick – Mentor, Unsung Hero (Police, RCMP, Firefighters, Military), and Power Partners. See Category Descriptions.

Women of Inspiration are nominated from all stages of business and life representing all industries. Previous nominees have included women from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds: entrepreneurs, businesswomen, professionals, executives, scientists, arts and media, not-for-profits, journalists, thought leaders, authors, athletes, lawyers, doctors, musicians, advocates and women in public service from across Canada. Every woman has a story.

Women of Inspiration Awards is open to the public and offers an opportunity to rub shoulders with women who are groundbreakers and newsmakers. This event is about women celebrating women on a national scale. It’s about connecting. It’s about sponsors— men and women— from the Canadian business community voicing their support for the achievements of women. Watch VIDEO from last year!

Monica Kretschmer – Founder and CEO Canadian Business Chicks @cdnbizchicks

Monica is the Founder and CEO of Canadian Business Chicks, Women of Inspiration Awards, SupportHER elevating male business leaders who empower women in the workplace. And founder of The Nest Foundation empowering women to rebuild their lives for themselves and their children through mentorship, education and wellness. Monica is a native Calgarian and entrepreneur at heart with a passion for building authentic connections, empowering women and embraces life with courage, confidence, commitment and integrity. Monica’s mission is to inspire women to lead with a purpose and prosper in business and life.

Monica is an inspirational speaker, visionary, 2013 Alberta Flood Hero by the Premier of Alberta, 2017 Women Build Ambassador, Women of Influence Nominee, Master Connector, and Disruptor with an abundance of energy, and passion for making a difference in the lives of others. Monica has been featured on CTV, Global News, Alberta Primetime, Stand Out Publications, Conversational Currency, Sirius XM Radio Canada,QR770 News, Metro News, Calgary Herald and story of resiliency and hope in The Rising by Taylor Lambert. Monica stepped into her power as a woman and mother through adversity. She believes challenges are gifts and anything is possible with a positive mindset, supportive network, and belief in one’s abilities.

Since launching Canadian Business Chicks in May 2014, Monica has broken traditional barriers and silos by embracing collaboration and diversity. In four short years, Monica has built a recognizable brand across Canada and spearheaded partnerships with government agencies, non-profits, venture capitalists, and women’s organizations. In 2015, Monica launched Women of Inspiration Awards to recognize women across Canada who lead by example and inspire others to be more and do more. Monica’s big juicy vision is to grow Canadian Business Chicks nationally and Women of Inspiration globally.

Monica is a proud single mom to her young son, loves to travel, advocate for women and pay it forward in the community. Monica believes when women succeed families succeed. Every woman has a story, and together we can move mountains to make an impact in our local communities and around the globe.

Keynote Speaker:  Barbara Stegemann @The7Virtues

Barbara Stegemann
Top Game Changer CBC’s Dragons’ Den| CEO and Founder, The 7 Virtues

Barbara Stegemann’s entrepreneurial vision was formed after her best friend—a soldier—was severely wounded in Afghanistan. Understanding that supporting Afghanistan’s economy was key to building stability for its people, Stegemann created The 7 Virtues, a company that sources organic, fair trade essential oils from countries experiencing turmoil (such as Afghanistan, Haiti the Middle East and Rwanda).

Stegemann became known to millions of Canadians when she became the first woman from Atlantic Canada to land a venture-capital deal on the CBC TV show Dragons’ Den —for The 7 Virtues Beauty. She went on to become the “Top Game Changer” in the history of the popular reality show for creating her social enterprise.

Since then, Stegemann has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada; won the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the emerging Entrepreneur category for Atlantic Canada”; was ranked as one of Profit Guide magazine’s “Top 30 Cool and Fabulous Canadian Entrepreneurs”; and was also made the first female Honorary Colonel in the history of 14 Wing Greenwood base, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Stegemann is the author of the bestselling book, The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen, a book which has empowered women (and men) to launch companies, run for public office, and end bullying. Her compelling story of overcoming adversity through the power of stoic wisdom is the subject of the feature-length documentary Perfume War. The film tells Stegemann’s entrepreneurial story and has garnered many awards, including Best Humanitarian Film, Sedona Film Festival, Arizona; and the Vanguard award for cutting edge ideas at the Artemis Film Festival, Santa Monica, California.

She is a graduate of the Sephora Accelerate Cohort where she developed her new contemporary line. Her brand inspired the global beauty giant to create a new Clean & Conscious space in their USA stores. The 7 Virtues Peace Perfumes are hypoallergenic, cruelty-free and available at Sephora Canada and Sephora USA.

Stegemann earned degrees from the Universities of Dalhousie and King’s College in sociology and journalism and received an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from the University of New Brunswick.

Women of Inspiration Emcee: Michelle Morgan – CBC’s  Television Series HEARTLAND @MichelleMorgan_

2017 Women of Inspiration - Michelle Morgan

Michelle Morgan lives her life through her passions. Driven to tell the stories that inspire her, she has been acting since her youth, and has found new activities and causes she cares about along the way. When she’s not acting, she can be found fighting for women’s rights, or snowboarding and surfing with her family. Michelle will be back as Lou when season 10 of CBC’s “Heartland” premieres in the fall of 2016.

Michelle’s first appearance on the big screen was the lead role in George A. Romero’s DIARY OF THE DEAD (2007). Notable television appearances include the CW’s “Supernatural”, City’s “Package Deal”, SyFy’s “Stargate: Atlantis”, and Showtime’s “The L Word”. Currently, Michelle is starring as Lou Flemming on CBC’s “Heartland”, the story of a family dealing with the highs and the lows of running a horse rescue ranch set against the backdrop of Alberta’s stunning rocky mountain foothills.

Michelle is a passionate advocate for women’s rights and she has volunteered with Women’s Shelters across Canada for the past 15 years. In 2013 she became the “I Am Courage” Campaign ambassador for the Brenda Strafford Centre for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, and in 2015 she became the “My Homefront” campaign ambassador for Homefront, a Calgary based non-profit which serves victims of domestic abuse.

Women of Inspiration Emcee: Linda Olsen  – Global Calgary – News Anchor @Linda_Olsen

Linda is part of the team that recently won the 2018 RTDNA award for Canada’s Best Newscast. She was also part of the team that won Canada’s Best Newscast at the 2014 RTDNA awards.

Born and raised in Calgary, Linda graduated from SAIT Polytechnic in 1988 with Honours in Broadcast Journalism and started her career that same year at Global Saskatoon.

A proud alumnus of the highly regarded tech institute in Calgary, Linda is also a recipient of an Honorary Degree in Business Administration from SAIT in 2015.

Along with her role as senior news anchor on Global News at 5 and Global News Hour at 6, Linda was also host and producer for Global’s Woman of Vision series from its inception in Calgary in 1998. For 15 years, Linda highlighted the stories of inspirational women in the community.

In 2001, the Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA) nominated the Woman of Vision special as Best Public Affairs Program. In 2002, Linda received the AMPIA Award for Best Anchor and in 2003, she accepted the Best Host award for the Woman of Vision Special.

An advocate and champion for the community, Linda is an honourary board member of Believe in the Gold, a local charity aimed at raising awareness and supporting research for children with cancer in Calgary. She’s also on the volunteer communication committee of Calgary’s St. Mary’s University.

After decades working as a host and advocate for community and charitable events, Linda recently joined the board of the Calgary Children’s Foundation. She brings her knowledge of local groups and initiatives to the board which works to support children’s charities.
Linda joined Global Calgary in 1995. Over the past three decades, she has seen many changes and challenges in the news media but still feels strongly about how important it is for us to be informed and engaged in our community.

When she’s not working, Linda can be found out in the city, hosting a number of charity events or spending time with her three grown children who are her greatest joys.

” I think every woman can be a Woman of Inspiration! Sometimes it may just be in her own circle of family, friends or business associates, but when she faces every day with determination and overcomes so many challenges and just keeps on going, to me that is inspiring! I have had challenging days when I jump into a hot shower as a way to just take on the day, and I think about all the other women who do the same plus handle much more. Let us hold you up and celebrate you, as you inspire those around you! ”

VIP – Honorable Kathleen Ganley – Minister Justice and Solicitor General @KathleenGanley

Kathleen Ganley was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, representing the constituency of Calgary-Buffalo, on May 5, 2015. She currently serves as Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. On November 27, 2017, Ms Ganley was named Deputy Government House Leader.

Prior to serving with the Legislative Assembly, Ms Ganley worked with a private law firm as an associate, specializing in labour, employment and human rights law. Previous to this, she articled with the Provincial Court of Alberta from June 2011 to March 2012.
Before beginning her legal career, Ms Ganley spent a summer as a caseworker with student legal assistance and as a research assistant with RESOLVE Alberta, a research network focused on ending violence against women.

2018 Stampede First Nations Princess – Cieran Starlight @CalgaryStampedeIP

Cieran Starlight is a 21 year old Jingle Dress dancer from Tsuut’ina First Nation. She is currently attending Alberta College of Art & Design where she is studying to obtain her Bachelor of Fine Arts. She hopes to eventually complete her Masters of Fine Arts.

Starlight’s artwork has become her vessel for staying connected with Treaty 7 and First Nations culture. An all-around artist, she recently had paintings showcased in a local gallery in Calgary. Starlight is also an avid bead worker with special talent for beading, sewing and designing traditional regalia. She has always dreamed of being the Calgary Stampede Indian Princess and now hopes to inspire the younger generation, showing them that they can achieve anything they put their minds to0.

VIP SupportHER Lounge

Abbie Thurgood – Singer and Songwriter @AbbieThurgood

“Dedicated and passionate. One who empowers and truly inspires those that surround her. A Woman of Inspiration has asset goal and even though she many, at times, feel like she has no idea what she’s doing, she is always striving or growth and change, to be able to implement the steps to achieve success. A Woman of Inspiration is able to identify the importance of strength in numbers, bringing it back to empowering and inspiring others. Together we are limitless.

Abbie Thurgood is Canadian singer-songwriter hailing from Calgary AB, weaving between Rock, Blues and Soul she is a bluntly honest, powerhouse songstress. Abbie has ventured through North America, captivating every stage she comes across. She is an active member of the Calgary Music Scene, playing regular shows and supporting causes that are important to her through her artistry. Abbie has performed at Sled Island, Big Winter Classic, Calgary Folk Festival’s Blockheater, Interstellar Rodeo and can be caught at Edmonton’s Uptown Downtown Festival with her newest psychedelic heavy-rock project, Gone Cosmic.

Michelle Minke – Founder and Artistic Director, Cowtown Opera @MichelleMinke

A Woman of Inspiration contributes to her community, her industry, family, relationships and lifts others up in her leadership. A woman who seeks to juggle the many balls in the air as she pursues her passion. While being a leader, creates other leaders and inspires thought, change and love in her community and city.” ~ Michelle Minke – #WOI2018 Nominee

Pushing the boundaries of classical opera, Calgary Soprano Michelle Minke has made a career out of inspired disruption. Michelle’s recent debut album, Expect the Unexpected, confidently merges genres and invites creative collaborations across the musical spectrum and brings Michelle’s years of top training and international experience to new audiences. With her boundless vitality and powerful voice, Michelle performed throughout Europe and North America before returning to her hometown of Calgary where she was a headliner in the 2013 Grandstand Show and performed with Calgary Opera. As founder and artistic director of Calgary’s Cowtown Opera and the Cowtown Opera Summer Academy, Michelle’s heart felt excitement for contributing to the cultural identity of her city has earned her a place among arts champions. Michelle has been named as one of Calgary’s Top 40-Under-40 by Avenue Magazine, was a recipient of the Mayor’s Enbridge Emerging Artist Award and was recently named one of Alberta’s 25 Inspiring Artists by Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Upcoming performances include high profile private performances across Canada of “Carmen Remix”, an operatic collaboration with Hip Hop Artist, James Noble and the release of an operatic children’s album, “M.O.M- Minke’s Opera Music, the first Canadian operatic children’s album to be released in over 15 years. She is currently a voice coach, adjudicator, and judge throughout the country and teaches young professionals at the Mount Royal University Conservatory. Now, she is building a new platform coaching speakers and business professionals on how to make their presentations sing with performance and speaking techniques called MINKEINC and can be heard frequently on CBC as an unconventional panelist.


“A Woman of Inspiration is a woman who never gives up. When that woman has a dream, she never stops until she accomplishes that dream. That is my mom. She inspires me every day.” ~ Kaiya

For the last two years, Kaiya feels she has been able to dream with her eyes wide open. Thanks to her Grade 4 school music teacher, Kaiya began learning piano and taking voice lesson only two short years ago with Brian Farrell who has coached artists such as Paul Brandt, Lindsay Ell and Kiesza. With Brian’s mentorship, Kaiya’s love for music has reached a new level through her performances. Her big dream is to perform on Broadway. Kaiya loves to read books, take Karate classes, spend time with her little sister Gigi, her friends and her dog Octavia. She loves school especially the band program where she plays the trumpet and French Horn. As a member of the Science Club, she was thrilled to compete in the Calgary Youth Science Fair. Kaiya lives life to the fullest and looks forward to the adventures each day holds.

Chloe Shingoose @ChloeShingoose

An Woman of Inspiration to me is a woman that fills you with the urge to do something that creates a better world around us.” ~ Chloe

Chloe Shingoose is 14-years-old and in Grade 8. She loves to excel in everything that you put in front of her. She keeps herself very busy musically with vocal lessons, choir, piano and guitar. She has competed in local music festivals which then allowed her to compete at the Alberta Provincial Music Festival for the past several years.

Chloe has a passion for country music, but loves all genres and ages. She enjoys singing the national anthem at hockey games, rodeos, football games and numerous other events. This past year she was able to sing at the Ponoka Stampede on Canada Day which was a great follow up to performing at the Canadian Finals Rodeo a couple years ago, after she won an anthem singer contest through CFCW.

The icing on the cake is her chance friendship with W. Brett Wilson that has given her the opportunity to perform at his fundraisers with the most recent being the SoulMen60 event where she sang the national anthem and hit the stage with another great friend, Brett Kissel, to perform Trisha Yearwood’s – She’s in Love with the Boy. This was by far one of the most amazing things that she has done to this day. Hitting that stage just felt “right” and has given her a smile that one cannot hide. Their friendship, kindness and wisdom are something that will never be forgotten.

Chloe is also an athlete that enjoys every sport. Her hockey team just won provincials in March and now she is on to provincial softball. Somehow, with all of this going on, she still manages to keep her grades up and is always looking for the next adventure with stars in her eyes.



Women of Inspiration lead with purpose to inspire those around them to be more and do more! Join us Thursday, September 20 at the Calgary TELUS Convention Center as we celebrate women Women of Inspiration Awards.