Women of Inspiration

Nominees Women of Inspiration Awards

Congratulations to our 2019 Women of Inspiration Nominees!

Thank you for submitting your Nominations. WOI2019 Nominations are now closed. Join us for Women of Inspiration Gala to celebrate the achievements of women making an impact across Canada.

2019 Women of Inspiration Awards Gala

Purchase your Tickets – Sponsor a Corporate Table (10) and General Tickets

October 3 – The Westin Calgary – Calgary, Alberta – Purchase Tickets

October 9 – Metro Toronto Convention Centre – Toronto, Ontario – Purchase Tickets

Awards | Dinner | Keynote | After Party *Black Tie

Women of Inspiration Awards Canada’s Premier Awards Gala recognizing women leading by example and inspiring those around them to be more and do more.

Women of Inspiration are entrepreneurs, professionals, thought leaders, visionaries, everyday heroes, game changers, movers and shakers and difference makers in our community. They are everyday heroes and inspirational leaders and catalysts from all walks of life making an impact locally, nationally and globally.

Take this opportunity to connect and be inspired by women who are leading by example. Whether you are a friend, colleague, sponsor or supporter, take this opportunity to celebrate you and be inspired to do more and be more.

Why Nominate?

When we elevate women (and men) in our network, community, and workplace we create role models for others to follow in their footsteps. When you support Women of Inspiration, you are taking action to embrace diversity and be a visible leader and champion of women. You are honoring them for their accomplishments, significant strides towards building their legacy and acknowledging their contribution personally and professionally. 23 Diverse Categories. 

We have recognized the importance to elevate men who SupportHER and champion for women. We are excited to announce 2019 Category Power Partners to acknowledge the male champions who empower women.

Nominations for next years Women of Inspiration will be opening January 1, 2020.


Evelyne Nyairo

Ellie Bianca - President and CEO Founder

Larry Goerzen

Rogers Communications Inc - President of Alberta & Prairies

Larry Goerzen is the President of Alberta & Prairies at Rogers Communications Inc and is a champion of women & diversity in the workplace. Rogers supports a regional strategy that accelerates growth to meet the local economy with the focus on people, particularly women, to act as catalysts for change. Under Larry's leadership, the Rogers Women's Network has formed, an internal network that connects like-minded employees to develop the experiences, relationships, and skill sets that empower us to navigate our careers on our own terms while giving back to the community we live in. As an excellent listener and with a kind nature, Larry gives us the courage and confidence to find our purpose and pay it forward. We are very fortunate to have Larry's leadership inspiring over 1,000+ local employees and making their voices heard at the executive table. He is a genuine team player, role model, and mentor. The Rogers Women's Network has only been in existence for less than a year but has already affected change for employees of Rogers locally, and none of it would be possible without his encouragement and advocacy, all done with his incredibly humble demeanor. We are thankful beyond words for his leadership in this initiative. and are proud to nominate him for the SupportHer Award.

Julie Boake

Awedity Creative Inc. - Owner

If you live in Okotoks you likely know Julie Boake of Awedity Creative Inc. Known for her creative side and helping businesses find their brand voice and online identity, she has designed and worked with a large number of local businesses (as well as international clients). She not only teaches them but empowers them and helps guide them to feeling confident online. She has become a pillar of the community, known for lifting up women in the area (managing the Okotoks and Area Women Entrepreneur group on Facebook) (also managing @thinkokotoks on Instagram) and connecting them with resources , she works with the Town of Okotoks, Community Futures, Bow Valley College and The Okotoks and District Chamber of Commerce providing free training to help business owners learn social media and branding and hosts her own learning sessions for charity purposes. She has been recognized for her innate ability to find opportunities to connect people, build relationships and lead. If there is a female business owner in Okotoks, she will likely know Julie because of the way Julie seeks to lift up others and provide resources and a sense of community for women, and men, in our business community.

Trudy Trinh

Trudy Trinh Signature Beauty - Owner/Artist

Trudy Trinh is a prominent microblading expert based in Toronto, Canada. Trudy’s reputation for crafting natural eyebrows designed to each person’s unique facial features is what distinguishes her from the crowd. Her professional and courteous manner combined with meticulous execution has amassed a growing population of satisfied return customers and requires new customers to book months ahead for her popular microblading sculptures.

Armineh Keshishian

IG Wealth Management - Financial Consultant

Armineh Keshishian is a leading professional in finance and relationships, a critical distinction because the two are so inseparable. As a Financial Consultant to multimillionaires and high net worth individuals, she uses her three professional designations of Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter,
and Registered Retirement Consultant, plus 30 years’ experience to best assist over a thousand clients through the years in achieving a synchronized plan. With Armineh, clients not only grow their wealth but enjoy more security, peace of mind and happiness in their relationships and life. Clients describe her
strong intuition, compassion, and professionalism as a key asset in providing effective personalized service and peace of mind. Ms. Keshishian’s practice is focused on wealth management, specializing in tax and estate issues. With Armineh prepare to experience harmony. In her parallel life to the world of finance Keshishian, the founder of Evolution Dance Theatre has created and produced a number of multidisciplinary dance theatre productions. She says “I strive to create cultural fusion through art. I am inspired by concepts of women’s empowerment, diversity, multiculturalism and breaking down archetypal traditions. My aim is to bring people and cultures together by focusing on our commonalities vs. our differences.

Laura Grant

Alberta Bike Swap - Founder

The Alberta Bike Swap, founded by Laura Grant and her husband Chris Grant, aims to provide a fun, safe, affordable and accessible alternative to buying or selling a bicycle. This non-profit organization disrupted the status quo by providing a novel approach and much-needed venue for the reuse of quality bikes. On one end, as a very intelligent analytic techie with a great passion for cycling, Laura was able to see what type of infrastructure and education Alberta needs from a technical perspective. On the other hand, Laura’s kindness and selflessness have caused a rippling effect to inspire many more to participate in and organize bike swaps locally and globally. They donated bikes and funded organizations like Women in Need Society (WINS) and Bicycles for Humanity to increase accessibility to ready-to-ride bikes in communities in need in Canada. Alberta Bike Swap envisions a sustainable future where Albertans are cycling more. The business model will continue to evolve to match what Albertans need. They will continue to fill the gap between the current knowledge of cycling safely, education and law enforcement, as well as providing the necessary infrastructure and skills training needed to achieve a green and healthy future.

Anne Sellmer

cōchu chocolatier - Owner/Chocolatier

Anne is a beautiful soul and truly an inspiration to me. She was a stay at home mom for many years but decided to follow her passion in chocolate. She shares her heart towards her craft and her company. She is kind and humble, even though she has won 48 awards for her chocolates nationally and internationally. We sing and dance at work because she believes that the chocolates taste better when we are happy. Chocolates and food are generally male dominated careers, but she shines and has taken her role at the top with grace. She is an inspiration to women enterprisers and to moms who want to go back to the work force. She is real and authentic, but strives for perfection in all that she does. I believe that she is an example of what can happen when you follow your hearts true desire. For me and for all the women who are building and growing a company. It’s hard work to balance family and a company but she gets up everyday to meet that challenge. She has made me believe that no matter where you are in life, you can always change your path towards happiness.

Diane Colley-Urquhart

City of Calgary - Ward 13 Councillor

Diane has been a powerful and exemplary leader and voice for women in Calgary with her 50 years working in public service, both as a Healthcare Professional and as an Elected City Official. As Chair of the Community and Protective Services Committee, and as Commissioner for the Alberta Human Right and Citizenship Commission, Diane has worked diligently with the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee and has advocated for the rights of Aboriginal people by building the important bridge between City Council and CAUAC. One of her main passions has always been working towards Truth and Reconciliation between the City and the Aboriginal community. Diane led the charge against sexual harassment and gender inequality in the Calgary Police Service as a Police Commissioner for years. She continued this fight in ensuring fair treatment within the City by being an integral part of the creation of the 'Integrity Commissioner' position. As one of the only 3 women in Calgary's Council, and one of the longest standing members with 19 years under her belt, Diane truly is an inspiration and role model to women of all ages.

Catherine Yuile

Edelman - Executive Vice President

Catherine is Executive Vice President, Insights and Analytics at Edelman, overseeing a national team of seventeen professionals (most of whom are women), who are driving significant business growth for the firm. Catherine volunteers as Edelman’s Global Women’s Equality Network (GWEN)’s leader in Toronto, championing a volunteer team of 16 women since 2016 to drive local initiatives in the office of 160 employees such as Lean in Circles, coffee/mentoring sessions, celebrations of International Women’s day, panels, and other events designed to support a culture that helps women lead and succeed. The team has also responded to opportunities to offer pro bono communications, media, and donations support to non-profit organizations such as Dress for Success, Girls20, and The Shoebox Project. Catherine also volunteers as a member of the global steering committee of GWEN where she developed corporate scorecards and KPIs to track progress of increasing the presence of female leadership at the firm, and launched a new global Instagram channel for Edelman GWEN to help profile Edelman’s women leaders in the market. Catherine mentors numerous women in the industry. In 2018, Catherine was recognized as a Financial Times & HERoes Champions of Business Top 10 Future Female Leader & Role Model.



Nadine is a force to be reckoned with in her personal and professional endeavors. She strives to maximize lasting impact through cross-sector collaboration. She is currently the lead of Accenture's National Pro Bono Practice - a practice that provides in-kind consulting services to charities and non-profits to Canada. Over four years she has built a practice that supports ~20 projects for different organizations annually with projects such as digital transformations, AI implementation, mergers and acquisitions and many more... all for the non-profit world! She prides herself on bringing the rigor and resources of the corporate world to mission-driven organizations. Further, she is a mentor and leader to a team of 15 (growing from a team of 2 in just 3 years). She has built a reputable practice within a large corporation and continues to drive a living strategy to meet the ever-changing needs of the non-profit sector. She spearheads innovative research and thought-leadership in the space and has forged a path for corporations to follow when they embark on meaningful social impact. Nadine is an inspiration in many rights. On a personal note, Nadine is the host of a new podcast called Neighbourhood SHEro.

Shirley Penner

Youth Singers of Calgary - Founder and CEO

Shirley Penner is the Founder and CEO of the Youth Singers of Calgary, and has been an incredibly inspiring leader of this organization since 1985. Starting with a small group of 26 students, over 34 dedicated years Shirley has turned the Youth Singers into a highly successful performing arts youth organization. Her philosophy is shaped by her lifetime of involvement and passion for the performing arts. Shirley has helped 4000+ young people in building their self-esteem and encouraging their talents and imaginations, while challenging each individual to pursue their hopes and dreams. Shirley’s team puts on 100+ performances a year, including two main stage shows at the Jubilee Auditorium that are incredible. Her programs not only include choral groups for children and youth but also for adults of all ages and persons with disabilities. The Youth Singers continue to win competitions all over the world, which is a testament to this excellent program and community. A true women of inspiration, Shirley’s lifetime of achievement and continued focus on each amazing Youth Singers of Calgary year is worth celebrating!

Kim Fitzpatrick

Jamieandkimfitpatrickfitness - Owner

I started following Kim because she was a natural leader. Then when she welcomed me to her group with open arms I was inspired by her genuine kindness, empathy and honesty. She is the real thing. She and her husband have built their business from the ground up. They have built an empire. They change the lives of women and men. They help make people see that healthy lives don’t have to be hard. They are true to their word. She recently launched another company Legacy and I’m positive it is going to go straight to the top. She is an inspiration to all who meet her. Recently she was invited by none other than Rachel Hollis to speak with her!!! Are you kidding me right now?? She reaches out to those in need and is there 110% for everyone who needs her. She gives it her all and gives back to the community. She is an woman who believes that we must inspire our other “sisters” and stop comparing ourselves. This is why I wish to nominate Kim. She is one in a million and we need more women like her in our world.

Sandy Pound

RBC - Regional Vice President, Integrated Markets

I saw Sandy Pound speak as a Panelist at The Nest Conference, and was struck by her story. Her personal resilience despite setbacks is inspiring. As she was not feeling supported by her previous company after an injury, she found a supportive environment at RBC. She has risen to the role of Regional Vice President, Integrated Markets, Royal Bank at RBC, and is now
responsible for Integrated Markets across 23 Retail branches in Calgary. She has been in the Financial Services industry for 30+ years and has held a variety of roles leading teams at regional and national levels across Canada in Retail Markets, Wealth Management, and Private Banking. Her comments on the panel showcased her inspiring life experiences, and a women who inspires others.
Sandy is an active volunteer in Calgary with a passion to support mental health issues and Canada’s youth. She is currently serving as Vice Chair on the board of Distress Centre Calgary, executive sponsor of RBC’s Employee Resource Group PRIDE and a mentor to several youths starting out in their careers through RBC’s Thrive and Career launch programs.

Sappho Hansen Smythe

Sappho - Vocalist & VR Visionary

SAPPHO HANSEN SMYTHE is the most successful totally unknown recording artist and performer in Canada today. Young, attractive, driven and in relative terms, pleasant and infinitely psychotic. She spends her days in the domain of virtual reality as a “go-to another world” tutor. The rest of her time SAPPHO is teaching humans of all genders to be virtuoso artists. Now that’s the first 60 hours a week, the next 40 are spent at her love and passion… making music, producing videos, building a career and becoming a bonified hologram. SAPPHO is a prolific songwriter who derives her spirit from abundant short stories, poems, and graphic art, beginning at the age of 4. Both father and mother are intense musical intellects and the obvious breeding ground for her tonal passion. She collaborates with production types on music and writes, directs, produces, acts, dances, designs, edits and directs her own multi-dimensional virtual reality music videos. For the past year, she has been working at The BEACH studios in Calgary creating a breakthrough project call TIME MACHINE. With her new album and a myriad of creative 3dimensional music videos, we expect to see her at the main innovator in the musical genre SCI-POP.

Marlo Brausse

Barre Body Studio - Owner

Marlo Brausse is the creator and owner of Barre Body Studio located in Calgary, Alberta. Marlo began teaching fitness classes, as a hobby, in 2009 and is a member of the Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association. After a rewarding career with the Government of Alberta, Marlo made a bold choice to leave her position as Asst. Chief Probation Officer to follow her dream of operating her own fitness studio. The first of its kind in Calgary, Marlo opened Barre Body Studio in January 2013 and has since grown from a community centre offering to two standalone studios. Marlo resides in Calgary, Alberta with husband, Russ, and their three children.

Arlene Seymour

Arthur J. Gallagher Canada Limited - Client Service Representative

Arlene is an inspiration just by her example. At 4 years of age her family was forced to flee from their home in Africa and make a new life in Canada. At age 12 her story was published in her novel "The Immigrant Child". She understood at a young age how adversity offers an opportunity to be our greatest self. At twenty she strives to be the voice of the future and discover ways to influence the world in a positive way. She believes she can make a difference by being the change she wants to see in the world.
Her strong Christian faith and family bonds coupled with a wisdom beyond her years have recently guided her through an unexpected challenge. Her husband of only a 3 years was recently diagnosed with a mental illness. Despite suggestions that she can start over and this does not need to affect her own future she has stood beside him and together they are forging the path of his recovery. She is a beacon of love and light in a world hungry for a renewal of vibrant human connection. This young woman’s example renews my own commitment to lead with Love.

Yosra Musa

Ministry of Finance - Demand Planner

Yosra is an award-winning supply chain expert that specializes in inventory management and logistics. She currently manages a multi-million dollar portfolio for one of the fastest growing Government of Ontario crown corporations. Yosra is dedicated to smashing gender and racial barriers in her field. In 2015, she was awarded the Lincoln M. Alexander Award by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor due to the strides she has made towards eliminating racism in her community. Yosra has a positive relationship with community leaders and uses every opportunity to share her personal and professional journey in Supply Chain Management. Yosra has been invited as a speaker to share her Supply Chain expertise and journey with Seneca College, McMaster University, Dufferin Peel Catholic School Board & York Region District School Board. Yosra is currently working to develop a series of online courses geared towards optimizing Supply Chain processes for small business owners. Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs and Yosra is looking to positively impact and help women who often face barriers due to anti-Black discrimination. Yosra has been awarded several awards for excellence in SCM and was recently named one of Canada's 100 Black Women to Watch.

Mary Fischer

Calgary Fire Department - Lieutenant

With vehemence, Mary Fischer has applied her inclusive and supportive approach to life to forever change the Calgary Fire Department and its members. Lieutenant Fischer has been a Calgary firefighter since 2002. As a trailblazer in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Mary has never strayed from being her authentic self. A former teacher, a passionate outdoor enthusiast, and community volunteer, Mary has established and served on countless committees within our City including those dedicated to mental health resilience, peer support, employee recruitment, performance standards, and technical training. Her dedication to making our communities better, to supporting under-represented populations, to providing enviable service, and to promoting kindness and humanity is leaving its mark on our society. Mary has a unique and honourable approach to blending intelligence with humility and humour, as well as merging the tough, strenuous, dirty, and traumatic work of firefighters with compassion and sensitivity. Daily, Mary inspires acts of courage, altruism, and positive change. Mary inspires SupportHER’s to expand their realms of influence. She fosters harmony. She leads by example. She is an extraordinary mentor and role model. Mary Fischer is making, and will continue to make, huge strides for equity as an Unsung Hero.

Sandra Challenger

WOW 1 DAY PAINTING! - Franchise Owner with WOW 1 DAY PAINTING!

A mother, grandmother, mentor and business owner, Sandra inspires those around her everyday with her ability to achieve balance while constantly giving back. As the owner and operator of WOW 1 DAY PAINTING in Barrie, Ontario, Sandra develops, mentors and leads an award winning team while finding time for her growing family and giving back to her community. Sandra takes the time to give back to the community she lives in, partnering with Run for the Cure, the Food Bank and a local women’s shelter. A cancer survivor, Sandra learned what she was really capable of and passes on this strength and tenacity to those around her. In true Sandra fashion, she credits her mentors and family with instilling her with the confidence to build a successful business and gives this back to her mentees and community by becoming their constant cheerleader and champion.

Katie Schaeffers

O2E Brands - Director, Creative Strategy

Katie brings a global view of the world to her daily life, strongly influenced by her early days as a student at Georgetown University and the London School of Economics, witnessing the rise of citizen journalism, blogs, and the very early stages of social media. Throughout her career Katie has worked with clients throughout North America and honed her craft as a storyteller, beginning a path of helping others tell their stories. She leveraged this skill as Executive Director of the Projecting Change Film Festival, curating a 10-day documentary film festival and speaker series, focused on how we can all have a stronger impact in the world. Katie’s true leadership superpower is enrolling people in projects and ideas, knowing that winning people's hearts is often more important than winning their minds. She helps people understand their unique role in a project or initiative to ensure they are fully bought in and in this way inspires action in her community locally and globally.

Theresa Rowsell

O2E Brands - Director, Business Solutions & Delivery

Theresa is a woman who leads from the heart, whether you connect for a moment at a bus stop or you’ve known her for 10 years - you feel valued, seen, connected. Her legacy statement sums up who she is - “I am light on my feet as I travel through life with my playful, caring and thoughtful spirit. I am a good friend, I work hard and have a no quit attitude when it comes to the people I love and commitments I make. I am present, connected and positive.” Despite being a busy executive, she is at any given moment mentoring 6+ people to achieve their goals, career pathing and balance. She is a founding member of Brands for Better, a community focused group of executives bringing together Vancouver's top brands, influencers, innovators and philanthropists to focus on the city’s most pressing needs, social or environmental. Theresa inspires through her true connections to people and community.

Debbie Burke-Benn

Ontario Public Service - Authentic Leader Award

It’s rare that you come across an authentic leader like Debbie Burke-Benn. An accomplished and humble leader, an inspiring mentor and a true advocate for gender parity and inclusive workplace – this is how I would describe Debbie Burke-Benn.
She is a values-based leader who has worked both in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors leading transformational change projects that have positively affected lives of many Ontarians and Canadians. While delivering outstanding business results, she focuses on people working with her - leading them with courage, confidence and integrity. She asks questions, listens and considers different opinions, which usually makes her team comfortable to share their honest opinion. As an inclusive leader, Debbie Burke-Benn mentors women, supports and provides opportunity to grow and empowers them to take leadership roles.

Carmen Vetian

Carmen A. Vetian Professional Corporation - Partner/Owner

Carmen is a local small business owner who wholeheartedly desires to achieve the best outcomes for her clients. She has overcome multiple adversities in her life all of which, most people would use as excuses to not strive to be better themselves, personally or professionally. Carmen has pushed herself and strives to better herself as well as the many people she comes in contact with on a daily basis. Since attaining her CPA designation and opening her own accounting practice, she never fell back on those possible excuses. In addition to running a bustling accounting practice, she encourages her employees to better themselves as employees and individuals, supporting their ambitions for additional training and/or education. In addition to the many meetings she has with current and potential clients, Carmen is active in many not-for-profit agencies in the Calgary area.
As an individual, Carmen may not see herself as an inspiration, which all the more reason she is. She has never been a person to boast about her accomplishments. This humility is one reason I feel many people are drawn to her in both her professional and personal relationships.

Prajwala Dixit

Diyas for Diversity - Founder & Director

Her Twitter summary says it all: “Mother. Wife. Engineer. Writer. Catalyst. Journalist & Columnist”. Prajwala packs it all in, deftly weaving her many skills to suit the challenges at hand. I am nominating her for your Millennial Leader Award based on the exceptional contributions she makes in challenging us to reflect deeply on what we think we know about cultures and society. In a period when accurate, insightful journalism about immigration and diversity isn’t readily found, Prajwala writes about her own lived experience as well as crafting clear-eyed renderings of the circumstances of others - international students, refugees, permanent residents - who’ve chosen to make Newfoundland and Labrador home ( see https://muckrack.com/prajwala-dixit ). In so doing, she’s building empathy and a new level of awareness around what it takes to truly embrace differences. Conscious of the need to foster understanding and a sense of belonging early in life, in 2018 she spent weeks hand-painting and selling diyas (clay oil lamps lit for Diwali) in order to raise funds for diverse children’s reading materials for our public libraries. Her Diyas for Diversity project raised in excess of $3K in its first year and Prajwala will most certainly exceed that in 2019.

Siobhan Calderbank

Intelex Technologies - Director, Learning and Development

Siobhan is one of the most inspiring and hard-working women I have ever met. At Intelex, Siobhan has partnered with the business to create and facilitate an unbelievable amount of learning programs and resources for all employees to develop their leadership skills, adapt to and lead change and has created strong and honest relationships with colleagues and direct reports. Siobhan’s mission is to help others and she continuously works on initiatives within Intelex and in different professional industries to help others embrace change, understand and set personal and professional goals, break down barriers and biases and, overall, improve the lives of those around her. She was the co-chair for Intelex’s Woman’s Network Club and now participates on the Advisory Board to raise awareness of diversity, inclusion and belonging initiatives. She does all of this on top of being Wonder Woman at home with a blended family of three young children. In the last couple months alone, Siobhan has taken her personal time to share her knowledge, passion and intoxicating enthusiasm for learning with other professional industries such as Women in Aerospace, Avanti Women, Project World Business Analyst World, and The Institute for Performance and Learning, as well as business owners.

Cynthia Hamilton Urquhart

Cynthia Hamilton Urquhart - Retired RCMP, Speaker, Writer

Cynthia was a police officer for 25 years. She us a warm, honest and real person who has dealt with great challenges, suffering from PTSD and anxiety since retiring from the RCMP. Instead of suffering in silence, she sought out help. As she worked through her challenges, she began opening up to the world around her about the sacrifices one must make to live an "extra-ordinary" life. She was recently selected by Legacy Place Society (legacyplacesociety.com) to speak at the annual First Responders Conference in Calgary on September 19th. I recently had the privilege of meeting Cynthia and we have become fast friends. She invited me to help her put together her talk for the event as well as videos and follow up support for the 1000 people she will be speaking to ON September 19th. As one of the first female RCMP officers in our country, Cynthia has helped pave the way for future generations of women who feel led to serve their communities and help make the world a better place. Many of Cynthia's stories are heart wrenching and saddening, but there is always a silver lining and by speaking up, she is spreading the message that we are only human - we are not made of steel. We do break and end up with scars, but we also have the ability to heal and adapt after experiencing trauma. Her message of purpose in living an extraordinary life will continue to spread as she is currently writing her first book.

Angie Ostojic

Angie Ostojic - Authentic Leader Award

From the moment I heard Angie speak at a women’s conference, something resonated with me. Not only was she inspiring but she was as motivating. You see, I was stuck. Stuck in life & in my career and I didn’t know how to get moving again. I connected with her & asked her to be my life coach. It was the best thing I ever did. Angie not only helped me but she helps countless others get unstuck. She is also a generous person giving back each year to the poor children in her native Philippines.

Alison Springer

Young Women of Power - Difference maker award

Alison inspires young women ages 12-18 to be their best selves. She inspires female greatness by building confidence of young women through conferences, workshops and mentor ship. Alison helps girls who struggle with self image isssues and helps them to build confidence.

Carrie Manitopyes

Grey Eagle Resort & Casino - Human Resources Manager

When Indigenous women are strong, the ripple effect on our families, our workplaces and communities are positively impacted. Carrie Manitopyes is that positive ripple, by being an inspirational Indigenous determined role model, she has achieved amazing things in her life. Choosing to go back to school as an adult learner, Carrie graduated with Human Resources Degree and in doing so, sought employment with the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino. Throughout her years at the Resort, Carrie has strived to provide a diverse workforce that reinforces positive strengths to hire and retain Indigenous employees. She has identified many uniquely indigenous employment barriers and by doing so increased the indigenous employment base to one in four employees out of 500+ are Indigenous. Carrie is a lifelong learner, most often engaged in learning and training opportunities, most recently graduating with a Conflict Resolution certificate that has benefited the organization immensely in solving many employment issues. Carrie is also an accomplished athlete, competing in numerous marathons, triathlons and most recently an 800 km pilgrimage across Spain. I am pleased to nominate Carrie as she is a catalyst for Indigenous women’s leadership and its importance to the success of our families, our workplaces and our communities.

Christy Lane

Vivametrica - Founder

Dr. Christy Lane is a mompreneur and exercise scientist who is changing the way people understand and manage their health using wearable devices and predictive analytics. She is the Founder of Vivametrica, a health analytics company in Calgary that uses artificial intelligence to uncover health risks. Currently as a Visiting Professor at Stanford University she is leading her field in the science of physical activity as it relates to preventing and managing mobility limiting disorders. In the fall she will become the Chair of Health and Physical Education at Mount Royal University where she hopes to foster the growth of new health and wellness leaders in Canada. Christy has won many international awards for her work in lifestyle medicine and the application of technology in health, and speaks often globally on these topics. She was awarded Calgary Top 40 Under 40 in 2018. Her support and mentorship of girls and women in STEM has had significant impacts on the careers and lives of her those who have worked with her. She is also passionate about helping fellow female entrepreneurs close the funding gap.

Rebecca McKillican

Well.ca - CEO

Rebecca McKillican is the CEO of Well.ca, a company she joined in 2012. Well.ca is a major Canadian online retailer that employs over 200 people in Guelph and Toronto. They are the largest purveyor of green and natural healthcare products and cosmetics. They have won numerous awards for their customer experience and e-commerce innovation. Before becoming part of the Well.ca team, Rebecca worked for the New York City-based private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts (KKR) within the retail and consumer group. While at KKR, Rebecca spent the majority of her time driving operational improvements across the firm’s portfolio companies. Rebecca has also worked at McKinsey & Company. Rebecca holds a B.A. from the Richard Ivey School of Business, a B.Eng in Electrical Engineering from Western University, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School where she was a Baker Scholar. In 2018 Rebecca was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. She is also a board member of the National Bank of Canada. She's a passionate online shopper, a mom to three young children, and she loves shopping for green & natural products at Well.ca to keep her family well.

Cara Wolf

Ammolite Analytics - Founder & CEO

Cara Wolf is the Founder and CEO of Ammolite Analytics, a custom platform development and advisory firm building next generation AI applications for high performance organizations. Cara is a recognized thought leader, published author and frequently speaks on panels on the topic of Artificial Intelligence and the impacts Machine Learning has on business profitability. She draws upon her 25 years of technical and economic expertise to lead multi-disciplinary teams to successful outcomes. Cara inspires and empowers women globally in AI and technological advances that are revolutionary. Cara has consulted for over 300 businesses including several Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial start-ups. She has sourced and advised on millions of dollars of technology venture financings and has extensive experience serving at the Advisory Board and Director level for many organizations. She is a past Executive Director of the Calgary Council of Advanced Technologies, is a SHEInnovator with UN Women, was awarded TECTERRA’s Woman of Impact and is UCalgary’s Distinguished Graduate for the Haskayne School of Business. As a serial entrepreneur Cara founded and exited two of her own firms started while attending UCalgary. Cara earned a BComm in Marketing, an MBA in Corporate Finance and Entrepreneurship and an Executive Certified Management Consultant designation. Cara's achievements and mentoring has inspired many and she continues to be an ambassador for many organizations and positive influence to many women including myself...

Lindsay Harle-Kadatz

The Write Harle - Owner

Lindsay is one of those people you can't help but love. She is ALWAYS taking time out of her busy schedule to lift other women up, mentor those who are still growing, and make those around her laugh if they're having a tough day. She does all of this while maintaining a successful copywriting and brand storytelling company. Her work is second to none, and is highly regarded for her ability to tell great stories through her writing.

Chantel Soumis

Stardust Creative LLC - Founder and Creative Director

As a millennial with multiple disabilities herself, Chantel Soumis does not "suffer" from them. Rather she thrives, serves as an accomplished example to others of all ages, and champions causes related to work accommodations for the differently-abled community. And she does so with an attitude and spirit that I find endlessly inspiring. Chantel Soumis a top LinkedIn Creator with over 30k organic followers acquired in one year. Chantel is also the Founder and Creative Director of Stardust Creative LLC, a brand agency focused on embracing differences through personal and corporate branding. She’s spoken at VidCon as one of the first LinkedIn video creators as well as at international conferences in LA, London, Dallas, and more. As an advocate for the differently-abled community, Chantel spreads awareness, hope, and inspiration to those around the world fighting for acceptance by sharing the hidden struggles of the differently-abled community. By administering an attitude of gratitude, Chantel has overcome severe obstacles and spends a substantial portion of her time coaching others to accept and believe in themselves, and to treat one another with dignity and value, recognizing we are all brothers and sisters of the same human race.

Faten Alshazly

WeUsThem Inc. - Chief Creative Officer

Faten is our creative lead here at WeUsThem but she is truly so much more than that. Under her guidance, our agency here on the East Coast has continuously set the trend for the standard of work in this industry. WeUsThem has brought home Davey and Webby awards, while Alshazly herself has been named to the Women's Executive Network (WXN) of Canada as one of the 100 most powerful women in our country. Faten is a force to be reckoned with in the fields of Arts and Communication, but also as a leader in the community as an influencer. Along with being our Chief Creative Officer, Faten has been known by many as a professor, business advisor, mentor, and a board member for business. She loves helping and giving guidance to the next generation of women within the STEM industries. Whether it is her working with various committees or actually bringing a mentee into the agency to see how the day-to-day goes. "There is no secret sauce. There is no superpower. It is about listening, collaborating, and being tenacious." Faten says that she would not be where she is now without the great mentors in her life. She is doing her best to give back to the community and show the generation of tomorrow where the light at the end of the tunnel is.

Eno Eka

Eny Consulting Inc - Principal Consultant

Eno is an exceptional woman, She has dedicated her time to serving others and paying it forward as a coach, mentor, teacher, trainer to hundreds of immigrants in her community. She has built a community of almost 500 people whom she mentors in getting their dream jobs and settling in Canada. She has helped lots of people get jobs through her coaching, mentorship and even referring them to companies for job offers.
She has inspired so many immigrant women here in Canada to believe in themselves and aim for the lives they truly deserve. She is a woman of inspiration to all!

Denise Alison

Denise Alison Social Media Strategist - Denise Alison Social Media Strategist

I am nominating Denise Alison for the Rural Leader Award and the Millenial Leader Award. Denise has created a thriving social media marketing company from the rural community of Clare. She didn't let geography be a barrier and saw it as an opportunity to practice what she preaches in terms of attracting clients with social media. Her business serves entrepreneurs throughout Canada to help them attract the right customers for their business by helping them get more consistent and confident in their social media content. Denise can sometimes be seen trading social media advice for wine or cookies. (FYI website is becoming denisealison.com soon).

Kendra Kincade

Elevate Aviation - President and Founder

Against all odds Kendra Kincade has risen from being a homeless preteen with a harrowing list of obstacles, to becoming Honorary Colonel of the RCAF 417 Helicopter Squadron and Founder of Elevate Aviation, Canada’s most prominent non-profit dedicated to helping women achieve their potential in aviation. Kendra has worked as an Air Traffic Controller for nearly 20 years and began her philanthropic journey through the Make-A-Wish foundation, where the smile she brought to a little girl’s face forever wrote itself into her heart. She then climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to fundraise for the Lois Hole Hospital, and founded her first non-profit, Changing Stories, undertaking projects such as building schools and playgrounds in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Upon recognizing the negligible female presence in the aviation industry, she founded Elevate Aviation. Elevate has formed partnerships with every major airline in Canada, as well as all the entities who are integral to them. Elevate boasts over 150 mentors nationwide, donates thousands every year to aviation students, and hosted behind-the-scenes tours of the industry for young women in 20 cities this year. The Elevate Aviation Learning Centre™ opened in March 2019, ignites passion for aviation through immersive experience. In 2016, Kendra was the Global Woman of Vision and won the NAV Canada Chairman’s Award. She is a 2019 SHEInnovator with GICC, a United Nations Women partner. Kendra is also a columnist for Wings and Helicopter magazines.

Marlenie Arana

Empowering Women - Leader in Innovation

If pressure is needed to produce a diamond, this diamond could not shine brighter than Marlenie. She inspires others to harness life's insurmountable pressure, so they too can forge their character into a diamonds that cuts through any form of glass ceiling. Like the most precious of jewels, Marlenie consistently proves she is unique and valuable, yet she still remains both humble and approachable to others, especially those who want to see this living gem for themselves.

Joan Kelley Walker

Joan Kelley Walker Collection - Humanitarian, Model, Actress, Writer, TV Personality

Joan Kelly Walker was inspired to combine her love of fashion, philanthropy and professional life to create something that could make a difference. Born in Wilcox, Saskatchewan and a mother of 2, she is committed to philanthropy and empowering women. Walker is involved in many humanitarian organizations and supports many causes. She began her career in fashion at 15 years old as a model for The Bay. Her vision grew and evolved into devising fashion pieces that evoke everyday. Walker launched a fashion line to empower women of all sizes to look and feel beautiful. Her collection is sold online at Walmart.ca giving back proceeds to support breakfast club Canada.

Robyn Woods (Henderson)

The Uncomplicated Family/ Teleroo World - CEO/Founder

Robyn Woods (Henderson) is, word for word, taking the road less traveled and ignoring the naysayers. As a co-parent of five children, two with disabilities, and founder of a successful western-Canadian disabilities services and technology company, she sees first-hand the quality of life that children and families living with disabilities can achieve when supported with personalized, readily accessible care. She is also acutely aware of the barriers they face achieving this type of care, including cost, accessing the right experts at the right times, language barriers, and much more. Robyn has responded as a hurricane force transforming disability service delivery with Teleroo™ World, a patented, evidence-informed, secure, and globally-relevant collaborative suite of technologies that can be used in health, education, the community, and the home to deliver personalized disability care. People have said she's biting off more than she can chew as a Registered Speech-language Pathologist single-handedly boot-strapping the funding for Teleroo™ World and taking it from concept to commercialization. They were wrong! Teleroo™ World is at work helping families achieve quality of life outcomes in half the time of traditional disability services and is being piloted in world-class locations, such as the Stollery Children's Hospital.

Jocelyn Flanagan

 e=mc² events - Founder & CEO

Jocelyn is Founder and CEO of e=mc2 events ~ an award-winning live experience company delivering world-class event and conference services to corporate, non-profit, and social clients globally. Jocelyn is committed to the advancement of the event industry and strives to give back through being a speaker at international conferences and mentoring students in the industry. She is the founder and past chair of International Live Events Association (ILEA) Canada and past and has served as the Canadian representative on the International Relations Committee of ILEA. In 2010, Jocelyn was selected by Avenue Magazine as one of Calgary’s Top 40 under 40, which celebrates Calgarians that excel in their industry and raise the profile of the city. Business in Calgary Magazine recognized Jocelyn as one of the Leaders of Tomorrow in 2011 for her contributions to the community through business initiatives and philanthropic activities.

Lindsey Penrose

The Penrose Group Inc - Founder & Managing Partner - The Penrose Group Inc

It is with great pleasure to nominate Ms Lindsey Penrose for either the Game Changer, the Authentic Leader or the Inspire Award, in recognition of her outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in building her company The Penrose Group Inc. This boutique investment bank is helping entrepreneurs exit their business with success by way of sale or merger. Lindsey has had The Penrose group for over 10 years and successfully sold many companies all over Canadian and the United States. She has been involved in several mergers and acquisitions throughout her time owning the Penrose group. Not only has Lindsey excelled in business but she is also an aviation enthusiast who loves to fly in her spare time. She is currently a private pilot flying small planes out of billy bishop airport, and she is working on her commercial licence and hopes to fly jets down the road. Lindsey went to Seneca College to study social work and business. She has donated countless hours and capital to help others. Lindsey has been involved in several charities and volunteers every year with the Basket Brigade Canada. She has personally delivered food baskets to deserving families during the holidays. Not only is Lindsey a woman of inspiration for her business, charitable and aviation efforts but she is also an amazing person inside and out. She prides herself in having a strong moral compass and is an extremely empathetic person, Lindsey hopes to one day have a scholarship program for women who want to get into aviation, She is adamant about this program not excluding women of any age or background. Please consider her for an award in a category that she would fit best in. I think the 2019 Game Changer Award, the Authentic Leader Award or the Inspire Award would apply.

Layna Segall

The Checker Transportation Group - Media Manager

As a single mother, she supports her family and at the same time educate herself so she can have a better future. After some years of trips around the world, the last 5 years she lives in Calgary. Through her organization, but also, from the groups that she supports (tourism Calgary, International, etc.); she tries to help people from other countries or provinces to established here. She is a Leader that accomplished to earn the respect and the love in a company that men are the majority. Her international experience and her personality are the biggest assets of her success.

Angel Guerra

Market Collective - Co-founder

Angel Guerra is the co-founder of Market Collective. She is passionate about community building through the arts, loves 5-cent candies and a good laugh, and enjoys 2-wheelin’ around. She also digs diggin' in the dirt.
Angel studied at the University of Calgary and completed a B.A in Communications, as well as the Masters of Teaching program. Through her education and experience, she combines her love for people, education, live music, art, accessible public space and entrepreneurship to contribute to the Market Collective.

Dr Liza Egbogah

Dr. Liza Shoes - Founder, CEO | BSc, DC, DOMP

Dr. Liza Egbogah is one of North America’s leading body and posture experts and the clinic director of the[fix], downtown Toronto’s boutique osteopathy, chiropractic and massage clinic. She is a prominent media expert, entrepreneur and manual osteopath to the stars. After spending over 10 years treating women with high heel related pain in Toronto’s financial district and celebrities in Hollywood, Dr. Liza questioned whether beauty really had to result in pain. Not being able to provide her stylish and fashion forward patients with suitable high heeled options, Dr. Liza decided to design her own revolutionary comfortable and functional pump.

Andrea Muir

Andrea Muir - Global Wellness Coach - President and CEO

Andrea Muir acts from a pure heart of service in everything she does - from putting heart and soul into her Zumba classes to her coaching and mentoring of clients in her health and wellness business. And she has done this despite battling with health challenges of her own and while raising two busy children. She has a strong entrepreneurial spirit which is totally underpinned by an unwavering desire to impact people’s lives in a positive way and an unshakeable belief in her capacity to do so. Andrea, to date, has helped hundreds of people to adopt a healthier lifestyle and continues to do so daily. Feedback from the spouse of a client says it all - “You’ve saved my wife’s life”.

Lourdes Juan

Soma Spas - CEO

Lourdes Juan is an Urban Planner and Calgary based entrepreneur. She is an alumna of the University of Calgary with a Masters in Environmental Design. She shares her time as the Director of Hive Developments, Soma Spa, and doing community work with non-profits she founded, the Leftovers Foundation and Moonlight Market Foundation. She is on the Board of Directors with Homespace, the Calgary Homeless Foundation and Calgary Planning Commission. Her work and career accomplishments have been awarded her as one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 in 2013, a cover feature in Business in Calgary Magazine in 2014, CBC's Top 10 Changemakers in 2017, L’Oreal Paris’ Women of Worth award in 2018 and as a Distinguished Graduate from the University of Calgary in 2018. She continues to be involved with community work and give back to her profession.

Sheila Musgrove

Tag Recruitment Group - Founder & Finder of Fabulousness

Sheila started TAG in April 2005 with a newly built IKEA desk, a shiny new laptop, a bargain website, some pretty plain business cards and a computer monitor as big as a fish tank, all in a little business center in the NE with blue carpet and pink chairs! Fast forward nearing 10 years later, TAG has grown into a thriving multi-million dollar organization with a strong reputation for finding stellar talent in a myriad of disciplines all from an uber funky office in the NE complete with a disco ball and a gong.

Anila Umar Lee Yuen

Centre for Newcomers - President and CEO

In her role as CEO for the Centre for Newcomers, Lee Yuen has helped new Canadians settle into the city, while also helping bring the organization out of debt. When she was 23, Anila Umar Lee Yuen received a Governor General’s award for her work with the Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth and the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, where she advocated for women and children’s rights. At the awards ceremony, the husband of another recipient brashly suggested that she had “peaked.” He couldn’t have been more wrong. Since then, Lee Yuen has received an Alberta Centennial Medallion for Community Service, volunteered with the Calgary Stampede‘s International Agriculture Committee and completed a degree in behavioral neuroscience.

Grace Yan

Coldwell Banker Commercial - Director Sales and Marketing

Grace Yan is your 5 star Agent. With over 15 years of Real estate Paralegal experience and as a former President of the Alberta Association of Professional Paralegals - She is a Notary Public and Commissioner for Oaths in and for the Province of Alberta. Grace has been Board of Directors for many Associations including past NAFTA Alberta Director for Alberta Association of Professional Paralegals. Much of what makes Grace an exceptional agent is her myriad of abilities in real estate listings, sales, master negotiator and paralegal background. Grace's success in this industry can be attributed to protecting her client’s interest and a strong referral base. She adheres to a strict regiment that is a blend of knowledge, experience, hard work, communication, loyal and dedicated service. She has also sold major restaurants, Hotel, businesses and closed many commercial leases. Having extensive international real estate experience, relocating clients all over the world from Asia, Europe and North America.

Sarah Hawco

Hawco Peters and Associates Inc. - Founding Partner

Sarah has an extraordinary wealth of legal and financial expertise that brings a 360-degree perspective to the dispute resolution process. She is a Chartered Accountant with a specialization in tax, as well as a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional, and holds a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. She is also a member of CPA Alberta, CIRP, ACFE and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Alberta. Prior to founding Hawco Peters, Sarah spent 13 years practicing insolvency and turnaround management at national and international firms. She also provided a wide range of consulting, specializing in due diligence, business reviews and viability assessments, corporate taxation, estate planning, restructuring, and alternative dispute resolution. Outside of her professional commitments, Sarah volunteers her time to teaching financial literacy at various schools and shelters.

Rhonda Head

RVH Event Planners - Professional Singer

Rhonda has received 13 nominations in total and won six international music awards since she began her music career in 2010. Rhonda has had the opportunity to perform in some of the most amazing venues – Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Centre, the Viper Room, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 5 Lands Walk Festival in NSW, Australia, and numerous other venues. Rhonda also recently released an autobiography called Mezzo-Soprano – Memoirs of a Rez Girl. It wasn’t always an easy road for Rhonda, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was 22 years old. Rhonda took a year off to recuperate from the 11.5-hour surgery. When she thought her life was back on course, she received devastating news again when she was 30 years old, that the tumour grew back. Once again, she took time off and took care of her health. Despite the setbacks and challenges, Rhonda continued to follow her passion for music.

Uyen Nguyen

Synaptic, Spinal Cord Injury and Neuro Rehabilitation Centre - Co-Founder & Executive Director

Recognizing a gap in rehabilitative services for people living with neurological conditions, Uyen co-founded Synaptic: Spinal Cord Injury and Neuro Rehabilitation Centre with forward thinking philanthropists and community partners in 2012. Created to impact change, Synaptic has raised over 2 million dollars to go towards progressive rehabilitation, advanced therapeutic technology and client centered programs in a cost recovery model of care. Excited by the possibilities in neuro science, Uyen is driven to create a platform for innovators, change makers and social visionaries to push the limits of rehabilitation and lead the industry in neuro supportive therapies.

Marnie Grundman

Marnie Grundman - Author and Advocate

Marnie Grundman is using her heartbreaking life experience to help de-stigmatize runaways and people experiencing homelessness. She began running away from home after her mother dropped her out of a 2-story window at the age of 5. After years of running, Marnie ended up living on the streets at the age of 13 where she was sexually assaulted and trafficked for labour. Marnie raised herself and found a way of the streets at the age of 14 1/2. At 53, she now shares her story of survival to help others.

Tracey Wood

Agents of Change - Co Founder & CEO

Tracey enjoys challenging the status quo and initiating broad, industry-wide change with a view to creating organizations that have a positive social impact. Her strengths lie in asking why and developing creative strategic solutions on a large scale. She thrives in an environment where she can stretch her leadership skills and unite her team around a common vision. It is a gift to watch others to bring your vision to reality. Leading a team that takes an idea and transforms an industry is a privilege she has had more than once. Each time the experience is extraordinary.

Jennifer Carlson

Baby Gourmet - Co-founder

Jennifer is the visionary behind Baby Gourmet, an organic baby food company specializing in nutritious and delicious food for babies and toddlers. Inspired by her 6-month-old daughter, she and her sister Jill launched the brand in 2006 at the Calgary Farmers Market. Today, Baby Gourmet has grown successfully with meals, snack and beverage products distributed in major retailers across North America and in China. She is the mother of two well-fed children, an innovator and inspirational speaker to entrepreneurs and busy mom’s. She has a passion for all things culinary and her first cookbook, “Growing up Gourmet’ hit shelves in spring of 2016.

Deb Milimaka Miles

Smart Technologies - EVP, Chief People Officer & Global Facilities

Debra Milimaka Miles joined SMART in May 2015 and is the EVP, Chief People Officer. She has more than 25 years of corporate management and consulting experience in the financial, retail and IT sectors. Over her career, Debra led high performance teams with national and international companies such as Scotiabank, BMO, and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Prior to joining SMART, Debra was with Loblaw, Canada’s largest retailer, where she led the global change team for one of the largest-ever SAP implementations. Debra has also managed teams in large organizations as well as built divisional HR teams from the ground up, while driving transformation in business cultures through leadership.

Amanda Hamilton

Amanda Hamilton Interior Design - Creative Director

Celebrated for her tenacious and vibrant persona, Amanda Hamilton’s bold and unconventional approach to design and business has made her one of the most sought after interior designers in Western Canada. With over a decade of experience, she has earned a diverse and extensive portfolio including custom residential homes, multi-family developments, restaurant, office and retail design. Committed to continual education and evolution through exploration, Amanda unearths inspiration from significant cultural and social influences like literature, art, music, film and fashion, which are all purposely woven into her work, providing depth to the design narrative. Intimately involved in the creative development and strategic planning of each project, Amanda pursues client inclusion throughout the design process to ensure spaces embody the values and capture the character of each client. She is the current chair of the World of Choices committee for Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta. Notable accolades include Avenue Magazine’s 2017 Top 40 Under 40 Award, Silver Stevie Women Entrepreneur of Canada Award in 2017, “One to Watch” in the 2013 Western Living Designer of the Year Awards, and recipient of the Mount Royal University Horizon Award in 2012. With an insatiable need for adventure, Amanda travels extensively, stumbling upon inspiration and a few glasses of Rose along the way.

Andrea Robertson

STARS Air Ambulance - CEO

Andrea Robertson believes in a very important motto: the more informed you are, the more you realize how little you know. She’s had a life-long commitment to learning ever since she was a young nurse, and that drive carried her through many academic achievements, from a Bachelor’s in Nursing, to a Master’s in Health-Care Administration, to an executive fellowship from Wharton University and Ivey School of Business, to an executive leadership program at Harvard. Her drive is a selfless one. These accolades, as well as her many past leadership roles at Alberta Health Services, Foothills Medical Centre and Alberta Children’s Hospital, were all intended to be in service to her community. For Andrea, there is no greater service than helping someone survive a critical illness or injury. Which is why, as president and CEO of STARS, she is right where she belongs. In this role she is responsible for the overall direction of our operations and works to build upon our external relationships with donors, governments and key partners. Strengthening these relationships is vital to our ability to provide the best-possible service our communities. Andrea’s commitment to continuing education and dedication to providing the best care possible has also leaded her to be an invaluable mentor to many entering the health care field. Formally, she is part of a mentorship program through the University of Calgary. Informally, she works with as many as five young, energetic leaders at any given time. For the students, the reward is Andrea’s wealth of experience and unyielding empathy for others. For Andrea, mentorship is just another opportunity to learn more about the world, through the eyes of her students. It’s through these relationships that Andrea sees education come to life. Andrea’s leadership and contributions to business and her community have been widely recognized, both as a member of the board of directors of both Bow Valley College and Calgary Airport Authority and one of WXN’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2015.

Tim Alison

Ignore the Naysayers - Founder and CEO, Screw the Naysayers Productions

The Naysayers laughed when I walked away from a six-figure income, moved to a tiny fishing village, and started my own company. They stopped laughing when my sales topped $10 million. On the Screw the Naysayers Podcast I interview guests from around the globe that have overcome adversity and broken free from a system that encouraged them to settle. We share inspiring stories and practical advice you can use to live the life you want.

Teresa Spinelli

Italian Centre Shop Ltd. - Owner

Born in Edmonton in 1961, Teresa grew up at the Italian Centre Shop, taking her first steps in the pasta aisle. By age 13, she was working in the store regularly as a cashier, never dreaming she would one day ascend to the Presidency of the company. With her vision of changing the business from a local grocery store to a major importer and distributor, the company has grown 8 times with 4 stores (located in Edmonton and Calgary), over 500 employees and sales exceeding 70 million.

Kavita Dogra

We Talk Women - Founder

A passionate, global citizen with the skills to inspire, engage and mobilize. Specialties: Social Media Strategy and Engagement, Communication Skills, Donor Relations, Customer Service, Community Event Planning and Public Speaking, Kavita was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick but spent much of her in a suburb of New Delhi in India where she was exposed to rampant poverty, social injustices and human rights violations. As a young child her mother worked for a local NGO that focused on education of children, HIV/AIDS awareness and vocational skills training aimed at creating strong, independent women. Her sense of civic duty, volunteering and advocating for a more just society were born out of her mother’s commitment to helping people. After a university professor connected Kavita to Human Rights Watch, she developed a keen interest in women’s rights. It was at the HRW Film Festival that she attended a viewing of the documentary “The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo”; this documentary had a profound impact on her and pushed her into action. In 2012, she founded an organization called We Talk Women; that works to raise awareness about local and global girls’ and women’s rights issues. She is passionate about many causes and has decided to dedicate much of her free time to the progress of each of them. Kavita believes that everyone needs to do their part in making the world a better place and mobilizes people to take meaningful action in their communities.

Brenda Beckedorf

Launch Strategic Group - Chief Growth Officer

Strategic business executive aiming to increase growth in companies by better sales strategies.
A passionate and driven leader responsible for developing a consultative sales approach and determining the metrics to support the strategy, and enabling teams to consistently deliver profitable net new revenue growth.
Exceptionally knowledgeable in determining the audience targeting, verticals and routes to differentiation from the competition by leveraging solution selling methodologies
Successful collaboration skills with internal business units and partners to influence the relevant solution portfolio and pricing in both mature and competitive landscapes.

Mylene Tu

FEM in STEM - Founder

Advocate of the concept of applying intrinsic motivation to all aspects of life. Mylene believes that one's passion and career path should merge in harmony without compromise. Currently she is working towards her Bachelor of Applied Science in Management Engineering at the University of Waterloo with a minor in Entrepreneurship. At the same time, she is a varsity athlete for the Waterloo Warriors track team.

Mylene founded FEM in STEM on April 2018 as a way for young women to support each other and find opportunities to thrive in science, technology, engineering, and math. What started off as an app idea, then a hub of online resources, to in-person outreach, FEM in STEM has grown into a social enterprise. Now FEM in STEM impacts high school and undergraduate females across Ontario through community outreach events, resources, collaborations with other STEM clubs/organizations and the Catalyst program which is Canada’s first personal and professional growth accelerator for young women.

Johanne Belanger

Mariott International - Vice President, Field Marketing, US & Canada

Johanne Bélanger is the Vice President, Field Marketing, US & Canada, Marriott International. She is a long-time industry builder, a multiple-award-winning business leader, an international speaker, a Chartered Accountant, and a tireless volunteer and mentor. Johanne Bélanger has been recognized by the Canadian National Exhibition Association as a Woman of Distinction (in 2016), by New York Moves Magazine as one of their top 25 Power Women and by Biz Bash as their Hall of Fame inductee (both in 2017), and – in 2018- by the MPI (Meeting Professionals International) with the Industry Influence Award and by Ryerson University with the G. Raymond Chang Outstanding Volunteer Award. Supporting and mentoring women in business is close to Johanne Bélanger’s heart. She co-founded Freeman Women’s Development, a program aimed at advancing women as leaders and at contributing to an environment where the best talent succeeds, as well as the networking group WITH IT! (Women in Tourism & Hospitality in Toronto). She is a charter member of the Women of InfoComm Network, a global community committed to supporting and empowering women in AV and technology.

Sabrina Rubli

Femme International - Founder, Executive Director

Sabrina is a dedicated advocate for women's empowerment and health rights. As Co-Founder and Executive Director of Femme International, Sabrina is working to promote women's health through education across East Africa, with a specific focus on menstrual health & hygiene. Sabrina is a Blogger for the Huffington Post, a TedX Speaker and an expert in the field of menstrual health education.

Monica Chocron

Bnei Akiva Schools of Toronto - Math and Physics Teacher, and Head of the Science Department

am nominating this woman for having shared with me the following personal account of why she loves what she does:
"Teaching is my passion, and teaching Physics allows me to promote deeper levels of thinking and understanding of the Physical world in my students. Being able to combine Physics concepts, with Mathematical work, and hands on activities is what allows my students to get a complete understanding that goes beyond the curriculum. This is one of the many reasons why, for 9 consecutive years, I have encouraged all my students to participate in the Shalheveth Freier Competition organized by The Weizmann Institute. In this competition, each of the teams of grade 11 and 12 students, must build a safe that can only be unlocked using Physics Principles. Each team tries to break into the other team’s safes and must explain the Physics behind their own safe to the judges. The winner of the Canadian Semi-Final Competition gets to go to The Final Competition in Israel. I am proud to say that my students have won the Semi-Finals 6 times, and the last 3 have been in consecutive years with only girls’ teams. This makes me especially proud, as these girls have demonstrated superb ability not only in their knowledge of Physics, but in team work, leadership, creativity, hands-on building and putting materials together, perseverance, and problem solving. I am also very proud that many of these girls end up pursuing careers in the Physics’ field. The feeling of empowerment, success and achievement that my female students get when they take part in this competition, which is dominated by boys’ teams, is beyond words and accompanies them for the rest of their life."

Jennifer Ladouceur

Women Leadership Nation, A Pozentivity Inc. Company - President and Founder

Jennifer is a serial entrepreneur dedicated to helping organizations close the Gender and Innovation Gaps. Women Leadership Nation™ works in male dominated industries to close the Gender Gap by working with enterprises that attract, develop, engage and retain women leaders. She has been featured as a keynote speaker in TedxVaughanWomen sharing her personal story and speaking on the topic of Finding Your Authentic Self. Her personal story is truly an inspiration. She is a mom of seven, successful business woman, and cancer survivor.

Luma Awad Qusus

Luma Awad Qusus - Founder and Designer

Raised amongst the distinctive Roman, Greek and Arabic heritages, Luma Qusus Awad brings the best of those worlds in her unique handmade pieces of Inamullumani Jewelry. This Jordanian- Canadian artist is a true lover of fine art in all its forms. Luma discovered her passion for jewelry design while living in Greece. A talented mother of three, Luma is inspired by the outstanding colors of the Mediterranean, the magic of the Jordanian deserts, the rich history of Europe and the beautiful souls she has met through her travels. Her unique collections and pieces are in high demand internationally by clients who recognize her exclusive and timeless taste. Luma combines precious metals, gemstones and mixed media to create pieces that echo stories of heritage in a new flare that guarantees a fashion statement. Luma’s collections have been showcased at international exhibitions, from Paris UNESCO Head Quarters to Athens, Dubai and Amman Design Week. A passionate humanitarian, Luma was one of the first artisans in Jordan to create a collection in support of cancer patients. Her current project helps bring awareness to the refugee crisis, and Luma continually looks for way to help inspire change by empowering women through income-generating projects. Welcome to the world of inamullumani.

Arjun Channa

The Westin Calgary - General Manager

Arjun Channa it the General Manager of Westin, Calgary. He is passionate about empowering women in business, provide them with a voice and create opportunities for them to have access to senior leadership roles. Arjun along with his team have launched a Global Pilot program to Advance women in Leadership for Marriott International. Arjun brings his extensive background in hotel operations, strong inter-personal skills as a servant leader with uncompromising character of excellence in service and a record of delivering superior performance in all aspects of the hotel operations. Arjun openly shares his knowledge over 25 Years Global experience spanning: Two hotel openings, in Algeria and United Arab Emirates combined with European, African, Far Eastern, Pacific, Caribbean (Task Force GM) & North American experiences; and one hotel conversion in South Asia. Arjun is a role models in his community, workplace and network as a champion for women and deserving this award.

Anaida Deti

DentalX - Ceo

Anaida immigrated to Canada from Albania 16 years ago with her husband. They had only a few hundred dollars with them and a big dream of building something theirs but not much else. She spoke no English and her school meant nothing here so she had to start everything from scratch. She worked seven days a week while going to school full time. After a few years of finishing school and getting her licence as a registered dental hygienist, she founded DentalX in 2013. DentalX started with only her, booking appointments in her car and seeing patients in the late afternoons or Sundays after she worked all day for other dental offices. Now she has about 12 staff members and an award winning dental office.
She founded Mission Kind (Kids In Need of Dentalcare), to help children aged 6-16 obtain much needed dental work at no charge. She is a coveted speaker at dental conventions and seminars. Her passion and dental expertise has garnered her media coverage on Rogers Daytime Television, Sirius XM Radio’s What She Said, GlobalTV, CTV, CP24, CTV NewsChannel, Newstalk1010 and more. She has been featured in the Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, Elevate Magazine, Parents Magazine, Focus Magazine and more. She is the dental blogger for Huffington Post, Thrive Global and Inside Toronto. Her blogs are usually featured on Oral Health Group website.
She loves to help the community. Every December our office offers free dental/dental hygiene services to people in need. In December 2017, we offered free services to 30 people from the Red Door Family Shelter. And not only that, we had a whole day planned for them, with lunch, a magic show, Santa made an appearance and gave the kids Christmas gifts and much more. This story was featured on Global News and Yahoo Canada to name a few. This December, we offered free services to teenager moms that cannot afford dental services. We had a whole day planned for them and their kids. She always comes up with great ideas to help the community and educate them on oral and dental health.

Dilesha Stelmach

Oui STEM Academy - Founder/CEO

She is incredible. Dilesha leads STEM revolutionary change. Through Oui STEM Academy conducts/facilitates STEM programs to promote equitable education.

Sharilyn Amy

Oceano Patagonia - Co-owner

Sharilyn Amy launched a humanitarian career in 1996 with the Canadian Red Cross. Working first in Southern Alberta, her career quickly expanded: a year later she began managing communications for Western Canada, and then not long after launched an international career in disaster response communications. Her international missions saw her work in the slums of Bangladesh, the flooded regions of China and Geneva, Switzerland to manage communications operations more globally. This time in humanitarian relief work forever changed her views on our personal social responsibility. Returning to Canada to raise her family, Sharilyn then worked nationally to help expand a child abuse prevention and anti-bullying program. She then established Go-To Group, a consultancy that focused on social enterprise development, research, strategic planning, thought leadership and facilitation in the non-profit and non-government sectors. She returned to school to complete her MBA in 2008, and from this experience expanded her client base and the number of other consultants employed in Go-To Group projects. Her goal was always to improve service delivery to the most vulnerable of our society in a way that supported their human dignity and challenged the ‘status quo’ of current assumptions in the sector. After 12 years of making an impact in the Calgary and Canadian NGO landscape, Sharilyn transitioned with her two children to Argentina. There she supported the establishment of a community economic development tourism project benefiting subsistence goat farming families in the Andes Mountains. Not long after, she developed and now runs an award-winning eco-hotel in the heart of Peninsula Valdés, a UNESCO World Heritage site and wildlife reserve. This boutique hotel, Océano Patagonia, was built with investments in the latest technology available to reduce its environmental footprint, and always with an eye to social sourcing that supports the economic development of small family business and local communities. Currently, in addition to commercializing the hotel, Sharilyn provides consulting and coaching support to women-led small business, from start up to business optimization.

Desiree Bombenon

SureCall - President, CEO & Chief Disruption Officer

Desiree has been an inspiration to me, personally and to so many other people over the years. She approaches culture and equality both in our workplace and beyond with a level of passion and enthusiasm that is absolutely contagious! Having won consecutive awards for over 25 years in everything from leadership to employee engagement and service excellence it is evident that her attitude garners results. She was named in the top 100 most powerful women in Canada 2016 & 2017 and won the Calgary Business Leaders award in 2018. Our company SureCall has doubled in size and revenue from 2017 – 2018 and is a recognized champion of culture and diversity. As a woman entrepreneur, she has served on several boards including being the first and still only female Canadian Regional Chair for Young Presidents Organization, a worldwide organization of CEO’s and Presidents. She is improving lives of women everywhere with her program - Hero Girls, which is a project she designed while at Harvard to foster gender equality and education for females in under-served communities. Hero Girls officially launched through HER International with its first group, on Oct 11th 2018 the day of the Girl.

Mike Giannoumis

Paysafe - SVP, IT

I am nominating Mike Giannoumis as a Power Partner as he is a true example of a SupportHER and someone who believes in Diversity and Inclusion and shows this on a daily basis with his support of the women leaders inside our business. Mike is always someone who is lifting those up around him, he goes above and beyond with every initiative he gets involved in (and that's most of them). From participating and leading several fundraising initiatives inside of Paysafe to paying for all the women in his business unit to attend Women in Technology conferences. Mike is an advocate for women in the tech space, he ensures they get a seat at the table and helps them find their voice. Mike has the biggest heart of anyone I know, he will drop everything to make time for you if you need advice, support, or just an ear to listen. Paysafe is lucky to have a leader like Mike within our organization, he is the perfect example of someone who believes in the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes and represents these beliefs daily.

Dana Tessier

Shopify - Director of Knowledge Management

Anyone who knows Dana would easily understand why she is being nominated as a Women of Inspiration. I had the pleasure of growing up professionally along side her and watching her as one of the youngest leaders in our organization, juggle a full time position as Manager of Knowledge Management and then Director of Operations while attending McGill and successfully graduating from their Library and Information Studies program. She changed the way our company managed information and content by implementing KM best practices, often going against the grain and needing to forge her own path, something she's continued to do as the Director of Knowledge Management at Shopify. She is an amazing thought leader, role model and human.

Dr. Gina Cherkowski

STEM Learning Lab Inc. - Founder and CEO

Dr. Cherkowski is an educational game changer on a mission to ensure all students have access to high quality STEM learning experiences so they are aptly prepared for our technology-driven, dynamic world. Dr. Cherkowski holds a PhD in Mathematics Education as well as in Culture Studies in Education. She has extensive experience in teaching and learning as a remediation specialist, a classroom teacher, and as a university professor for both undergraduate and graduate courses in education both in Canada and internationally. Gina believes that play, exploration and meaning are critical factors for learning for all students. Gina strongly advocates that all students require and deserve opportunities to participate in high-level, hands-on, engaging and meaningful learning experiences so they are able to meet the demands of the 21st Century. Gina and her team believe that STEM Education combined with Arts and Entrepreneurialism provide pivotal learning opportunities that equip children with the skills, tools and mindsets they need for the 21st Century.
Dr. Cherkowski understands that math is a gatekeeper for many students. As a social justice math educator and learning activist, Gina believes that all kids can and should be proficient in math as well as the other STEM fields and fights to make this a reality. Her current research explores teaching math conceptually using spatial temporal reasoning to facilitate a deep understanding of mathematics for diverse learners. Another area of interest is the development of visual spatial skills through interaction in highly engaging, hands-on STEM and STEAM projects like coding, robotics and Maker Education.

Lesley Rigg

University of Calgary - Dean, Faculty of Science

Lesley Rigg is an internationally recognized scholar with 20 years of experience in postsecondary education. Before coming to the University of Calgary, she was vice-president for research and innovation partnerships at Northern Illinois University (NIU). She was also the president of the Northern Illinois Research Foundation, which works to advance the educational research, public service and economic development mission of NIU.

Kyla Lee

Acumen Law Corporation - Partner

Kyla Lee is a leader in the Canadian legal community. Kyla founded the Canadian Impaired Driving Lawyers Association, to unite lawyers across Canada. She is the Canadian Ambassador to the DUI Defence Lawyers Associatio. Kyla is internationally known as a leader in her field. Kyla actively works to advance women in the legal profession. She mentors two articled students, and through the CBA and the WLF, and lectures to the Indigenous Legal Clinic. Kyla organized a women’s suit drive for female law students to try to offset the prohibitive cost of women’s suits. The event was so successful that it is now an annual event at UBC Law. Kyla is working on a Representation Matters project to increase visibility of women in the legal profession by placing visual representations of women in courthouses, and is advocating for free menstrual products in courthouse bathrooms. In addition to being a partner at Acumen Law, Kyla also founded Brazen Bull Creative marketing agency. Kyla hosts a weekly video series, which has recently secured Beverly McLachlin as a guest star, and a weekly podcast with important guests including the BC Attorney General and BC Solicitor General, MLAs, scholars, authors, and legal minds.

Sarah Leamon

Sarah Leamon Law Group - Founder / Senior Associate Lawyer

Sarah is a dedicated criminal defence lawyer, advocate and community volunteer. Born in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Sarah obtained an international education before ultimately settling in Vancouver, B,C. In addition to her Juris Doctor, Sarah has a Masters Degree in Womens' Studies from the University of British Columbia. Sarah was called to the Bar in B.C. in 2011, and called to the Bar in Alberta shortly thereafter. She practices in both provinces and has appeared in courts throughout the country. Her wide-recognized expertise in criminal law matters has caused her to be personally called on as a witness in the House of Commons and the Senate on five occasions to date. Sarah is regularly requested by the media to provide comment on a wide-variety fo legal, political and social matters and writes a regular opinion column for The Georgia Straight. Her writing also regularly appears in publications such as The Huffington Post, The Cannabis Life Network and The Her(b) Life. In her writing, Sarah regularly highlights issues that impact vulnerable, minority groups and deals with complex social, political and legal issues from a distinctly Canadian feminist perspective. In 2018, Sarah founded Sarah Leamon Law Group. Recognizing a distinct need for increased support and visibility of women and minorities in the criminal bar, Sarah exclusively employs women and visible minorities. She also offers mentorship to charities that support minorities groups and youth, such as SOAR Philanthropic Society, and helps high school students prepare for the Law Games Moot Trials in Victoria, B.C. every year. In 2017, Sarah founded the Womens' Association of Criminal Lawyers, which offers support, networking and educational opportunities for women in criminal law. In her spare time, Sarah volunteers as Board Chair as PACE Society in Vancouver's downtown East Side, providing front-line support services for survival sex-workers. Sarah also co-founded The Coven Club, which is a women's support and networking group for professionals and artists throughout Vancouver. Sarah is dedicated to the advancement of girls and women and to empowering those around her. In 2018, she was nominated as one of the "Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers" by Canadian Lawyer Magazine and in the same year she won Business in Vancouver's prestigious "Forty Under 40" Award. Sarah believes in social justice, equality and community awareness. She is dedicated to drawing attention to these issues while making the changes that are necessary to create a better tomorrow for the people of today. Sarah is a woman of inspiration.

Elfriede Holtkamp

Exile Holt Couture (School of Sewing and Design) - Founder

Elfriede Holtkamp is a tough, inspirational, empowering women throughout her life. She was born in Rumania. During ww11 Elfriede and family lost everything and became refugees twice. Bringing with them only a few items and the precious family sewing machine. Elfriede learnt under a master seamstress in Prussia. Finishing her apprenticeship she started her first business in Strasburg. The business helped the family get through the wartime though sometimes only receiving food was a method of payment. Food of course was scarce at the time and appreciated. They later realized friends they left behind in Rumania likely lost their lives. Elfriedes family were just allowed to return to Germany luckily at that time having German decent. After the war she set up a business once more creating one of a kind garments. In 1953 she married and immigrated to Canada to be closer to family which previously left for Canada. Where she once again set up her business from her home in Calgary. Her services in Calgary were commissioned by the Duchess of Kent, cousin to Queen Elizabeth 11, and the Duke as a western suit for the Calgary Stampede. Which the Duchess was later photographed and on the front of a magazine in Australia wearing. Elfriede works can be seen in the Calgary round up Center as you walk the concourse from the train to a concert or hockey game possibly. One client donated a piece from the 1950s to the Glenbow Museum as she considered it as part of Calgary’s heritage worth preserving. Many Calgary Stampede Princess and Queen garments have been designed and made my Elfriede. Her clients have even kept her such a secret as friends and colleagues asked where the clothes are made. One colleague even followed a client of Elfriede to her office home wanting to know how to get these clothes made for herself. Unfortunately, as years passed Elfriede took a fall eventually losing the ability to sew as she once did. Wanting to share her knowledge of couture sewing she created a school in Calgary of the craft, 11 years ago they opened the school. I am submitting this award as a student of the school. The course she made includes a substantial amount of garments and techniques and spans from a two to a 4 year full time program. Yet, as I learn we all see easily it could’ve went on another 3 years at least to get all the knowledge in. It takes at least 10000 hours of sewing to be a true master in sewing and I believe my fellow students would agree. We create more than 18 designs through just a two year course. We pattern draft by a method Elfriede created much of and mastered herself to pass on. Many other government regulated schools offering design courses create only a 3 piece suit on a year with a pre-made pattern given to them. This school is one of a kind on this continent. Unfortunately, we wait to be gifted by her presence since school started as our master couturier lives above our school. Her daughter Jutta Holtkamp took on her moms dream as Elfriede is unable to get around so well anymore. Jutta has created alongside her mom for many years. This much reminds me of my daughter under the table waiting for my attention as I sew for hours.
Elfriede was born in 1925. This award would be so wonderful for so many heartwarming reasons. She is such a inspiration to me as she is to many. This award is well deserving.

Rhonda Goldberg

Oh Naturals - CEO

“Do what you love and love what you do”. Rhonda Goldberg, is the founder of Oh! Naturals Flavoured Snacks Inc.– specializing in flavoured Banana chips and flavoured Sweet Potatoes. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, she is a branding expert who helps companies craft their brands and turning their visions into reality. All brands start with a story, says Rhonda, and her job is to help tell them. Over the years, she has pioneered many companies brands to market, and in the past 5 years, she decided to create her own product to give lend credence to what she does for others. To this end she developed a fruit and vegetable snack company called Oh! Naturals! She saw the need for a healthy, vegan, and naturally healthy snack food in the Canadian market, and within 24 months Oh! Naturals flavoured banana chips and flavoured Sweet Potato fries can be found in major national and international retail locations across Canada. In 2019 Oh! Naturals expanded their snacks into Japan, Korea and working on expansion into Europe. As a result of her successes, she has the honour of sitting on the board on the Health Advisory board at SAIT to help guide students towards a healthy future. Making a difference in people’s lives from both a business and customer perspective is what drives Rhonda forward. Regardless of where we are in life or business, she believes we all have three main things in common: we all want to be loved, appreciated and respected.

Michael Hyatt

BlueCat - Co-Founder

Michael Hyatt is the Co-Founder of BlueCat which was recognized March 27th, 2019 the Best Workplaces in Canada for Women 2019. As a a self-made millionaire by the age of 25, he is a mentor and investor in many start-ups, including the Rotman School of Business Creative Destruction Lab and The Founders Institute. He has built two highly successful tech firms valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, and is a recipient of the Top 40 Under 40™ award, while also a commentator on CBC News.
Outside of regular work, Michael chairs his family’s charitable foundation called The Hyatt Family Foundation, which invests in Canadian charities. So far they have focused on education and women’s charities. Michael recognizes that with cultural shifts in the digital economy over the past decade, women age 40 and over struggle to secure work and are unemployed for longer periods than younger women. While they typically have experience and knowledge valuable to organizations, unlike men, they often face age, as well as gender discrimination in the job search process. His clients, as well as their referral agencies, have spoken: they are facing age discrimination/ageism in their job search, which negatively impacts their confidence in their ability to land a job. Michael is leading the charge and is and advocate for change and raising awareness.

Julian Smit

J.D.Nevins - Owner

Julian is continuously supporting and advocating for women. He actively seeks out to obtain diverse perspectives and connects will all types of women to gain a better understanding of their talents in their respective industries, fostering a network culture that provides genuine and authentic support. He roots for women, has their backs, is encouraging and is supportive of their efforts. He is always available when I want to bounce ideas off him and is authentically in your corner. He is a constant reminder to never put limitations on our abilities and that we are capable of accomplishing anything we set our mind to. Julian encourages the women in his network by showing respect and enthusiasm and easily stepping aside letting these women take the lead and the spotlight.

Alicia Pereira

Children's Aid Society of Toronto - Director, Communications

When I saw the theme about embracing diversity and showcasing women who inspire others - I knew I had to quickly nominate my mentor, Alicia Pereira. 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. These are all things that Alicia both exudes and values as an emerging communications leader. Alicia Pereira joined the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto in January 2019. She is the former Head of Communications for the Ontario Human Rights Commission of Ontario. Prior to serving under the Attorney General of Ontario, Alicia was a Senior Manager for the award-winning International Development organization, World Vision International. She has her Bachelor’s degree from Ryerson University in Arts, majoring in Broadcast Journalism. Alicia began her television career working in the newsroom for CityTV and was frequently on CityNews where she was nominated for a Gemini award for an undercover investigative piece on illicit and foreign drugs. Alicia has traveled the world in her capacity with World Vision and in the summer of 2015, she summited Mt. Kilimanjaro with Canadian celebrities and media bloggers to raise awareness for child trafficking and child labour. A documentary was filmed of their journey and won an Indie Fest award, in 2016. Alicia has also co-produced a Sundance nominated-short film on the Rwandan Genocide and its child soldiers. Alicia has appeared before the United Nations, and sat on the United Nations Strong Women, Strong World Water Commitment team, to help bring clean drinking water to the world’s most vulnerable. She is a published author, having her work featured in countless magazines and daily papers. Most recently she authored a chapter in volume 4 of the book “Making it in High Heels” dedicated to her career in the charitable sector as a woman. Most recently, Alicia has been tackling issues of injustice and ensuring human rights are upheld through her advocacy work related to children and women’s issues, reconciliation, poverty and education. What strikes me the most is her unwavering ability to bring out inclusion for all - she transformed the OHRC into a place that truly valued people, never stepping on anyone's toes - rather working with them to bring out the best, always with a smile. She deserves to be honored for her humble spirit and is a total up and comer!

Maria Sofia

WinMagic - VP of Marketing and Sales North America

I met Maria about 4 years ago when I started working with her at WinMagic and since I have met her she has been a role model for all those around her. Maria has gone through many rough times during the few years I have known her but has managed to come through on the other side with a renewed excitement in making the world a better place. Maria works as the VP of Marketing and Sales for North America while at the same time working on a self-published book for children where children will have a fun way to learn about how much sugar they are consuming. If that weren't enough she then started using Instagram as a platform to help promote love, kindness, and inclusion. Maria truly leads by example on how we should all act to make this world a better place.

Sharon MacLean

Wold Gate Media - President

Sharon A.M. Mclean was publisher and owner of her own business and lifestyle magazine for over 20 years. MacLean sold her company at a time when traditional media outlets were going broke. MacLean’s expertise in public relations, business marketing strategy and social media are invaluable assets to help others sell their business. She understood what it takes to sell a business and has created a step by step tool to help others sell theirs - THE BIZ FIT KIT. The Global program inlcudes step by step online programs, personal coaching as well an EASY PACKAGE - THEY DO IT FOR YOU! Maclean's progrma is helping boomers across Canada get their business in shape to find the perfect buyer. MacLean, serves as an active board member with TechInvest Alberta and Gro Your Biz International.

Trish Ronan

ENJO Canada - President

As President of ENJO Canada, Trish Ronan inspires hundreds of small business owners, all with the same mission - to help Canadians rid their homes of harmful chemicals and to keep their family, and the earth, healthy. She works tirelessly with small business owners (predominantly women) to overcome their own fears and limits, gain confidence and skill, and make a difference in their local communities. Trish has also introduced and promoted the Helios Projekt to ENJO countries around the world, which is a project dedicated to building homes and bettering the lives of the extreme poor.

Shelly Elsliger

Linked-Express Coaching / Training - Authentic Leader

Shelly is one of the most inspirational women I know. She is known as a LinkedIn Super-Woman and is on the list of Globally Recognized LinkedIn Trainers. Her goal is to help build online confidence to find your voice and #besociallyfearless! Shelly has spread "LinkedIn Goodness" in well over 300 (workshops, talks, keynotes) for executive teams, entrepreneurs, students, & women leaders! Her passion is to empower women through her inspirational talks and her signature workshop "LinkedIn in High Heels: Rise Up and Lead Online ". Most recently, Shelly was a speaker at the RCWIB Women's Leadership Symposium 2019 celebrating their 10th year anniversary where she facilitated a workshop on "Owning your Space and your Personal Brand" to both celebrate and empower women! Shelly never stops working to empower and support women by leading by example. She is very deserving of this award.

Andrea Twizell

Designed4wealth - Life Insurance Advisor

Andrea started her career in the financial industry over 30 years ago and held a variety of positions with some of Canada’s most prominent players in the mortgage business. Andrea is a proven sales leader with talent selling quality and service over price. Comprehensive knowledge of financial products including banking, mortgages, investments and Life Insurance. Exceptional communicator with a consultative sales style, strong negotiation skills, and problem-solving abilities.
For the last 11 years, Andrea has balanced family life and my career, as a mother of 2 boys (young men now) and now raising them alone. Her priority is family first and seeing her boys grow up into young men and both have completed their post-secondary education has made her proud. The balance between work and family is not easy, finding and management takes discipline, dedication and a lot of hard work.
A strong work ethic and drive is a major key to her success in family and career.

Tracy Schmitt

Unstoppable Tracy - Inspire Award (Women with disabilities)

Tracy is one of the most inspiring women I know. She is a canadian para-olympic gold medal winner. An author, speaker and a coach. More importantly Tracy is a leader who inspires women and men around the world. When you are with Tracy you truly feel Limb-itless. She is a dear friend, colleague and powerhouse.

Sydney Cowling

SEEUniqueness - Inspire Award (Women with Disabilities)

Sydney is a beautiful young woman who has chosen to shine her light as a soul with Down Syndrome. I have known Sydney, and her mother Loree, for a number of years and have been inspired on a number of occasions by Sydney's ability to see the world and every person she meets as perfect just the way they are. My son travelled through Junior and Senior High Scool with Sydney, and was profoundly influenced and inspired by her. In preparation for an event I was hosting where Sydney was one of my guest speakers, I asked him, 'How would you describe Sydney?' His answer says it all.... 'Pure love mama, pure love'.
Sydney has faced adversity head on and overcome the odds. At the age of 3 she underwent intensive treatment for Leukaemia. Due to the days and months of isolation required she spent hours watching and memorizing musicals and movies of magic that sparked her love of being on stage. Sydney’s passion for singing has led her to participate in various Provincially recognized school choirs as well as different local venues and she brings sheer JOY to audiences wherever she performs. This young lady encapsulates everything the human race should be... sharing her truth, shining her light and touching hearts all along her way.
On World Down Syndrome Day, 2018, along with her friends, she decided to spread the message that being unique is beautiful! Her vision is to have 1 million people the world over share their UNIQUENESS and so was born her SEEUniqueness Campaign. I am very proud to say I am one of
'Sydney's Million'! Her powerful messages of acceptance, kindness, and seeing through the eyes of love has deeply impacted me as she does every audience she stand before.

Vanessa Vakharia

The Math Guru - Founder & CEO

Vanessa Vakharia is the founder and CEO of The Math Guru, a support system for youth experiencing stress or difficulty with math. Vanessa takes an innovative and holistic approach to math education and has built a business that provides kids with educational support, higher grades, and helps them build the confidence they need to find success in all areas of life.
Vanessa’s vision for a new approach to math education inspired her to write Math Hacks: Cool Tips + Less Stress = Better Marks in 2018. Last year, launched XAM Study Lounge, Toronto’s first pop-up study space. XAM invites high school students to de-stress and prepare for exams in a supportive environment. She also shares her philosophy of STEM education and best practices with educators across Canada and The United States and encourages others to understand how issues of mental health affect young students and create inclusive learning spaces. She helps those intimidated by math excel in STEM and access the opportunities it affords them.
Vanessa is a role model for female entrepreneurs, her growing team at The Math Guru, and the youth she mentors.

Brenda McWilson-Okorogba

Ephphatha Transformation Academy - STEMscholar Coordinator and Grant Writer

Brenda is a multiple award-winning Youth Education and Engagement Specialist, Scholarship Search Strategist, Grant Writer and a Community Builder. She is experienced in diverse sectors, self-paced education/heutagogy, facilitating youth programs focused on women and girls’ rights, community sustainability, cultural inclusion, mental health and strategic intervention coaching, effective storytelling workshops, life-changing journaling, team-building exercises, leadership training, and creative wisdom circles. Brenda manages two major projects - Momentswithbren Scholarship Series and Skills Training, and a Compassion Fund. She works to foster, inspire and create opportunities for youths and support initiatives focused on tackling systemic inequality on a global scale. She is an alumna of the Think Big Lead Now Program 2018 with YWCA Canada and a 2017 Active Citizens Social Enterprise fellow on social innovation and entrepreneurship organized by UNACanada and the British Council. Brenda currently serves as a youth ambassador in 4 international organizations. Throughout her experiences she got the opportunity travel and network which has helped be share ideas and skills.

Kaiya Gamble

Kaiya - Singer, Songwriter, Philanthropist, Social Entrepreneur

For several years Kaiya has been an inspiration to those around her. Her teachers have said she is “one of a kind”,a quiet leader who supports others to be their best selves. A top fundraiser at her school, she is also in the leadership program. She combined her love of arts with her desire to make change when she wrote and acted in a play for her entire school on their annual Pink Shirt day. In recognition of her hard work, Kaiya was chosen by her school to attend WE Day. In her personal time, she has spent summers raising funds for charitable organizations, most recently for the Tom Baker Cancer Centre’s Intensive Palliative Care Ward Musical Therapy Program. Her cheque presentation day was combined with homemade cookies and a music concert performed by Kaiya for the staff, patients, and their families. As a singer - songwriter in 2018 she graced the stage at the #WOI 2018 Gala, the Bella Theatre, and the Jack Singer Concert Hall. Kaiya has realized that music can heal, can inspire and can bring us together. Her hope is that through her music she will bring light to as many people as she can.

Rochelle Laflamme

EPIC Alliance - Co-Founder

Rochelle Laflemme is a dynamic woman from Saskatoon and co-owner of EPIC Alliance; a successful Real Estate fund that currently holds 30 million dollars in real estate acquisitions. When Rochelle sees an opportunity to grow professionally or personally, she seizes it. No task is beneath her and no obstacle is too great. She works as close to 24/7 as she can, and there’s a reason for it: Rochelle leads a life that she doesn’t want to vacate. Every day, she encounters new, exciting challenges. Every day, she gets to solve them in a strategic, creative way. In addition, Rochelle is in the process of attaining her electrical Journeyman certification from Saskatchewan Polytechnic. As a First Nations Woman in Saskatchewan, Rochelle aims to represent females and Aboriginal persons' on a global scale.

Christine Nielsen

Contrast Consulting and Coaching - Founder

With over 20 years of experience in transforming and driving a variety of businesses forward, Christine is a master coach and an expert at helping organizations and individuals achieve greater levels of performance and success. But more importantly, she is a wife, mother and a friend who is committed towards growing a meaningful and impactful consulting business on a global level. After taking a break from the corporate world to focus on her family of 3 young children, she was reminded of her passion for consulting and rejoined the working world as an entrepreneur, starting her own consulting business allowing her to grow a global empire while still making her home life and family her primary focus. Although Christine is travelling around the globe and juggling a busy work/life schedule, she always operates from a stand point of giving back. She is always offering support to other entrepreneurs and providing valuable connections and insights helping other people grow their businesses'. Although she has fiery red hair, she also has a heart of gold and deserves to be honoured and recognized.

Cassandra Nordell

William Standen Co. - CEO, Co-founder

Cassandra Nordell is a Canadian entrepreneur, designer, and a columnist. She is a driving force behind three thriving businesses in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
In 2016 Cassandra was named one of the TOP FEMALE Entrepreneurs in Canada on the W100 list, ranked by Profitand Canadian Business Magazine as well named a PROFIT 500 CEO for leading the 4th fastest growing company in Canada in consumer services and construction.

Cassandra’s leadership also steered William Standen Co. into a prestigious position amongst Canada’s top new-growth companies: the 48th slot on the 2013 PROFIT HOT 50ranking. Just 11% of the companies who were recognized in 2013 had female CEOs, and Cassandra is proud to be part of this small percentage. She was also named one of the NKBA’s “30 Under 30” exceptional young professionals in the kitchen and bath industry and asked to participate at the 2014 Kitchen & Bath Industry show in Las Vegas. Locally, Cassandra has been honoured with business leadership and entrepreneurial awards.

Monika Jazyk

Real Property Investments - Founder

Monika Jazyk, co-founder of Real Property Investments, author of ‘Real Estate Mistakes- Our Mistakes, Your Success‘ and mother of four cute kids. She is passionate about helping other people create wealth through real estate and alternative investments so they can reach their personal and financial goals. Monika has accumulated an impressive portfolio of single and multifamily units across Ontario and US, she is very surprised to have survived the real estate journey without any guidance. She shares her knowledge to help others avoid the mistakes that she has made, while providing guidance helping move others forward in their real estate journey.

Kris Yeo

#EFFTHESTIGMA Mvement - Founder

Kris Yeo is an international model, blogger, and mental health activist, founder of the #EFFTHESTIGMA movement. Along with modeling, fashion, travel and charitable work, Kristina’s a fierce advocate for body positivity. All this has jump-started her charitable work as a founder of #effthestigma, fighting the stigma around mental health and creating awareness. She has also started a social media movement that empowers women of all sizes to be confident with their bodies, and embracing and loving who they are.

Jamie Kramer

City of Windsor - Human Resources Assistant

As a Woman of Inspiration, Jamie Kramer, MA, CHRP embodies the criteria for the Millennial Leader Award. She works for the City of Windsor overseeing the implementation of the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative that aims to maintain an inclusive culture for those employed, or seeking employment, at the City. Jamie has been responsible for developing Employee Resource Groups along with innovative ideas including creating Blind Date with a (Diverse) Book to initiate conversations around diversity. In 2018, she received the Exceptional Customer Service Award (Rookie of the Year).

Jamie received her Master of Arts in 2017 from the University of Windsor, completing her thesis as a policy analysis of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 which received accolades for best presentation in 2017 and will be presented at the New England Political Science Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting.

Christma Nathali

Beauty Addicts Inc - Owner

Women empowerment on business, family, personal improvement and ethnicity culture.

Karen Sherbut

Safe Haven Foundation - President

Karen's childhood was coloured by a missing mom and an abusive father such that she ran away from home at 16. Determined to make something of herself, she rose through the world of fashion and modelling and on into the business world of marketing. At 37, she decided it was time to give back to girls in similar situations as herself, and has made it her life's work to inspire and encourage other young women to rise above their beginnings, get an education and make their lives better.. This is Karen of Safe Haven Foundation and she inspires me and her team of employees every day to make the world a little better for one young woman at a time.