Women of Inspiration

Nominees & Finalists

Celebrating 150 Women of Inspiration who inspire others to greatness! Congratulations to our #WOI2017 nominees! You have inspired someone to nominate you for the impact you make in the lives of others, the community and around the globe!

Our nominees are invited to complete a nomination package by June 15, 2017, and plan to attend #WOI2017 on Saturday, September 30, 2017, to be eligible for our #WOI2017 Awards.

Crystal Phillips - Women of Inspiration

Crystal Phillips

Branch out Foundation - Executive Director & Co-Founder

Crystal took a personal challenging of being diagnosed with MS at a young age of 19, while she was in the mists of her Olympic quest, she is now in pursuit of an even bigger podium in helping so many. Crystal's drive and passion is that neuroCAM research will help make the future a little brighter for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians living with neurological disorders. The Branch Out Foundation which she started, and now leads with an amazing team...has already raised and funded over 2 million dollars in neuroCAM research.
After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 19, Crystal, an Olympic speed skating hopeful, was determined to find a natural way to help her body heal. Her drive has led her to help develop an academic field of study now known as neuroCAM, which is funded exclusively by her charity, the Branch Out Foundation.
Back in 2005, only months after learning she was an early hopeful for the 2010 Olympics speed skating team, Crystal got another piece of news that would change her life.
At 19 years old, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a condition that causes irreversible deterioration of the nervous system. She was told she would probably never skate again. “[Prior to my diagnosis,] I felt extremely resilient and somewhat unstoppable,” she says.
With the determination of an elite athlete and after several months of therapy, Phillips found the strength to tie up her skates and start competing again, until she had a major relapse in 2006 and then again in 2009. After years of drug therapy with harsh side effects and little to no impact on her unpredictable disease, Phillips decided to take a more natural approach by focusing on nutrition, herbal medicine, massage, some acupuncture, chiropractic and neurofeedback training.
“Not only did I feel better, but it made sense to me,” she says. In the five years she has been off of conventional treatments, Phillips, now 29, has not relapsed. “I realized that there were a few gaps in the system: a lack of high-quality research, awareness and credibility for some of the more natural approaches to healing the nervous system,” she says.
To fill those gaps, Phillips, along with co-founder Graham Daw, started the Branch Out Neurological Foundation in 2010 with the goal of funding a new field of study they called neuroCAM (neuroscience plus Complementary and Alternative Modality). Branch Out is operated by Phillips and more than 50 dedicated volunteers who raise money exclusively through fundraising events like a major bike tour and snowshoe tour. This past June, the foundation hit its first million-dollar fundraising milestone and is currently funding 38 students’ neuroCAM research at universities, mostly in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
While Phillips didn’t set out to be a rebel in the medical world, she is making changes. “It’s more a matter of working with the current medical system so there’s research in all the areas of therapy and medicine,” she says.
Phillips hopes the neuroCAM research will help make the future a little brighter for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians living with neurological disorders.
“To this day, I never picture myself in a wheelchair,” says Phillips. “I don’t believe that will be my future.” Instead, she envisions a future where, within the next 10 years, Calgary is home to a world-renowned neuroCAM research centre.
(Taken from article "Top 40 under 40 recipient's" by Nicole Halloran.

Tasha Giroux - Women of Inspiration

Tasha Giroux

RBC - Regional Vice President, Commercial Financial Services Alberta & Territories

As Regional Vice President for Commercial Financial Services in Alberta & Territories, Tasha leads a team of professionals providing multifaceted financial services and superior advice for commercial clients.
Through diverse industry specialization, RBC’s commercial financial service professionals deliver a differentiated client experience. They provide a complete range of services to meet each client’s specific needs, from sophisticated cash and treasury management services to all forms of credit solutions.
After 24 years with RBC, Tasha brings in-depth experience and understanding of financial services, business management and performance, and superior client service. She’s held a range of leadership roles, most recently as Regional Operating Officer for RBC’s Alberta and Territories market. Tasha was intricately involved in the development of the bank’s global diversity strategy and social media policy. She was instrumental in developing a dynamic mentorship program in Alberta and the Territories.
Tasha holds an MBA from Dalhousie University, a Certificate in Human Resources Management from the University of Winnipeg and her Personal Financial Planner designation. She is an active community volunteer and has served on the Board of the YWCA of Calgary and the Alberta Advisory Committee for We Day. Outside of work, Tasha enjoys many sporting activities and spending time with her husband and two children Zachary, 19 and Mackenzie, 15.
Tasha cares so deeply about the work she does here at RBC. She always puts in 110% effort and works very long hours - basically to ensure she affords time to everyone else - giving them her undivided attention.

Irene Besse - Women of Inspiration

Irene Besse

Irene Besse Keyboards - Founder

Irene just turned 75-years-old. Here's a bit of an article on "The Calgary Herald" about Irene:
"After almost four decades in the piano business, the 75-year-old is now dancing to a new tune, several tunes in fact. She’s a competitor in a local Dancing with the Stars fundraiser, mentor to a young piano prodigy, a board member with Calgary Civic Orchestra and is contemplating a new dating business for older adults.
'Retirement is not for me,' she said. 'I just have too much energy and can’t stay still for long. My passion is that everybody should have music.'
And Besse has done her best to make that come true. In addition to selling pianos, she’s donated instruments to non-profit organizations like the Alberta Children’s Hospital. She even gave a $100,000 Steinway concert grand to a Calgary prodigy named Jan Lisiecki, who now tours the world as an acclaimed pianist.
But along with fame and glory, the longtime businesswoman and philanthropist has endured her share of heartbreak. Her store flooded in 2010, destroying more than a million dollars worth of instruments. About six months later, her husband Tom died. She had back surgery and went through painful rehabilitation due to nerve damage in her arm. In early 2015 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and, almost exactly a year ago, her family home burned down.
'The last five to seven years have been horrendous,' she said.
'Music has been my healer. It’s kept me from completely going over the edge. It’s the constant in my life, the very best gift.'
Irene is Calgary's original trailblazer for women entrepreneurs, an active philanthropist (a little known fact: Irene collects blankets, sheets, towels, linens from local hotels on a weekly basis... brings them home to launder/bleach so they are like new again... then delivers to local shelters including the Dream Centre and Inn from the Cold. The Delta and Hotel Arts are amongst the contributing hotels). Irene is also a breast cancer survivor. She attributes her healthy lifestyle and positive influences including close friends, family, and of course MUSIC as her inspiration. At age 75, she is still looking for new entrepreneurial opportunities and is working on a speaking tour.

Lisa Costello - Women of Inspiration

Lisa Costello

Neal’s Yard Remedies - CEO

Lisa, CEO of Neal’s Yard Remedies, has always been passionate about health and wellness and environmental sustainability. After graduating from the University of Calgary in 2006 and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with EY in Calgary in 2009, she relocated to London, England, where she continued her career providing leadership, strategic and operational insights to multinational and small and medium-sized entities on four continents.
In 2013, Lisa dove into the entrepreneurship world by combining her diverse business experience with her passions by bringing Neal’s Yard Remedies to Canada. Since then, Lisa has a flagship retail storefront, an e-commerce business and a wholesale distribution business spanning nation-wide.
When Lisa is not busy running Neal’s Yard Remedies and volunteering in the community, she enjoys running, cycling, snowboarding and discovering the world. She has travelled to 80 countries to date with plans to reach 100 by the time she turns 50. Lisa also believes in lifelong learning and is pursuing interior decorating and feng shui certificates. You can often find her hunting for treasures in one of Calgary’s many locally owned fashion and home décor boutiques.

Mary Ann Chichak - Women of Inspiration

Mary Ann Chichak

Town of White Court - Mayor

Mary Ann has made an impact on everyone that she meets. She is a strong advocate for her community and has created a community that people want to live in. Supporting families and industry workers she has been able to create a balanced lifestyle in the North. Mary Ann is active in Municipal politics in her role as Mayor and on the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.
Whitecourt Mayor Maryann Chichak is a long-term resident of Northern Alberta, and has a wealth of experience in the realm of municipal government, business management, and the banking industry. Mayor Chichak also worked in the oil and gas industry for 18 years; 11 of which were spent acting as both owner and manager of an industrial radiography company. She proudly holds the position as the first woman to be elected Mayor of Whitecourt, a role that she has taken on with great enthusiasm, interest, and heart. In addition to her leadership role on Town Council, Maryann represents the area of Towns West on the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association Board of Directors, and is also the Vice President – Towns on the AUMA Executive. She also represents Alberta on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Board of Directors.

Nora Molina - Women of Inspiration

Nora Molina

BroadView Communications Group | Ignitech Solutions Inc. | University of Calgary - Partner | Founder | Manager Career Services

Nora's career has been spent in some form of higher learning, delivering services, managing programs and partnerships that help others to achieve their own personal and professional goals. This includes working with new immigrants over the past 20 years as they have sought to have their education, credentials, and experience recognized in Canada. She has affected the lives of many in this regard, during my time at SAIT, Athabasca University, CGA Alberta, Bow Valley College.
Nora is a Partner with BroadView Communications Group, a boutique style firm working with organizations to align their people, services and communications with the overall organizational strategy. Nora is also a founder of a new non-profit startup, Ignitech Solutions Inc., formed in 2016 with a mission to “end technology poverty in the non-profit sector.”
As the former Executive Director of the Human Resources Institute of Alberta, Nora was instrumental in designing a new business model that led to the acquisition of six independent HR associations. During her 10 years with CGA Alberta, Nora managed several education partnerships to deliver degree programs to CGA Students. While at CGA she worked closely with IT to introduce several technology solutions that changed the way people worked and helped to support the organization through unprecedented periods of growth.
Nora holds an MBA in Human Resources & Organizational Dynamics from the Haskayne School of Business and a BA in Communications Studies and currently teaches part-time at Bow Valley College. She is an active volunteer having served on a number of non-profit boards including the University of Calgary Alumni Association and Highbanks Society, an organization providing housing and educational support to young mothers.

Nola Peacock - Women of Inspiration

Nola Peacock

Confident Happy Kids & Nola Peacock - Founder & CEO

Nola is an author, keynote speaker, intuitive parenting coach and the founder of Confident Happy Kids & Parents Programs. She is passionate about empowering families, teachers, mentors, etc. to help children and teens to gain confidence, improve communication and have better emotional control.
As a former pediatric oncology nurse, she appreciates how precious time with our children is. Nola has witnessed how so many families struggle to have harmony in their homes and she truly wants to make parenting easier and more fun so that families can create joyful memories together.
Her business, Confident Happy Kids, works with families to build strong connections, open the lines of communication and develop strategies to deal with life’s stressors.
Having witnessed too many kids who struggle with anxiety, depression and high levels of stress, Nola has made it her mission to equip parents and children with tools to help. Nola has seen the direct correlation of a parent’s confidence in a child and how this produces confidence, resiliency and success. Using a holistic approach, she works with parents - and other influential adults - to walk children through challenging times, one step at a time.
In her newly published book, "Honouring Our Kids", Nola leverages her experience as an intuitive family coach and consultant, who guides and supports families to build strong connections, reduce conflict, learn to respect each other and make everyday family life easier and more fun. Nola shares how she has empowered children, teens, and parents to increase the joy, love, and laughter in their lives through a simple, step by step system.
Nola has recently founded the Parents Resource Centre to connect families with resources, programs and support. Every day with a child is a precious gift. The Parent Resource Centre is committed to educating and supporting families so that every family member thrives.

Karen Klassen - Women of Inspiration

Karen Klassen

Women Embracing Brillance - Owner

Karen is the Owner of Women Embracing Brilliance. She is dedicated to empowering women to expand their capacity to receive more love, wellness and prosperity. Karen is also an inspirational speaker, a Certified Facilitator, and a Breakthrough Coach. She is an Amazon Bestselling author of Living in the Freedom Frequency and the "I AM a Brilliant Woman" book series. For the past 15 years, she has empowered couples, individuals, and business owners to cultivate their brilliance and live the life they dream of from the inside out. From welfare to owning a six figure coaching and seminar company, from drug and alcohol addiction to empowerment, from disease to optimal health, and from abusive relationships to now being with her beloved Alan. Karen shares how anyone, no matter what they have done, not done or who they are, can spiral up and experience freedom, peace of mind and live a beautiful life.
Karen was the President of Klassen Family Inc, and creator of the game GeTalking - sold internationally as fun and highly effective communication tool for families and students. She is the author the Amazon Bestseller - "Living in the Freedom Frequency", she is the creator of the International Best Seller "I AM a Brilliant Woman" Book Series, she is the founder of the Purse Angel Project - filling purses during the holiday season across Canada for women in need. She is an Inspirational Speaker, a Certified Facilitator and a Breakthrough Coach.

Wendy Bélanger - Women of Inspiration

Wendy Bélanger

Influence Salon - Owner

Wendy is someone who inspires so many. She is a leader and educator. Always pushing us to be the best that we can be both personally and professionally. She opened influence to make a difference in the hair industry to build stylist's up in an environment filled with education and respect. She has built an amazing team of talented stylist along with travelling all over North America inspiring so many thru the love of hair and life. She teaches us about balance being a single mother and building an empire. All with the ability to stay humble. Wendy is addicted to bettering herself and everyone around her always raising the bar spiritually, mentally, physically, financially.
If you were to ask Wendy where her success stems from she will tell you, “It’s the ability to fall on your face 1,000 times and be willing to pick yourself up, even when you think you can’t”. This sense of humility has made Wendy one of the most sought after and respected stylists in the industry. Her “live on purpose” attitude paired with her strong commitment and talent in her craft translates into everything she pursues.
Wendy and her work have been featured on radio, television as well as several commercial and trade magazines. A winner of the Canadian Hairdresser Awards, Alberta Hairstylist of the year, styling hair for The Oscars, The Emmy’s, NYC Fashion Week and backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Wendy travels globally as Pureology’s International Artistic Director. This position gives her the opportunity to create upcoming trends, share her experience as a successful salon owner of several locations, Stylist, and Artist, which leaves salon professionals finding her relatable and grounded.
When not traveling internationally you can find Wendy either Facilitating in NYC at the Redken Exchange or training her own team at her studio Influence Salon in Calgary, Canada while servicing her own exclusive clientele.

Phoebe Fung - Women of Inspiration

Phoebe Fung

Phoebe@vinroom.com - Founder & Owner of Vin Room

With a background in Finance working in the energy sector, Phoebe is at the forefront of Calgary's wine scene by opening the city's first wine bar in 2009, introducing the Enomastic wine system that keeps wine fresh longer. Phoebe is an industry leader and has forged the first of many things in YYC including medical coverage for her employees pets, relaxations from the city to have a dog friendly patios at her Vin Room West and Mission, along with the first local business to be chosen as one of the new restaurants in the YYC International Airport - beating hundreds of applicants!
Phoebe goes out of her way every day to build community and support entrepreneurs in various industries. She gives of her time mentoring, speaking on panels and giving back to her community. A true indication of her selflessness is seeing Phoebe out at several restaurants supporting her industry where many would consider this competition, she embraces all.

Rosina Wellmann - Women of Inspiration

Rosina Wellmann

Family Constellations - Facilitator at Family Constellations, Health and Healing

Rosina has been a facilitator in this work for 10 years. She has trained locally, in the U.S. and internationally. Rosina brings a rich depth to this work with often profound and instant results. Rosina lives in Calgary and holds regular workshops and offers private counselling.
The work that Rosina does touches us on a deep soul and energy level often healing past traumas and wounds, and leading to a transformation in our lives and the lives of those around us. Family Constellations is a unique, phenomenological approach that explores these hidden dynamics that keep us from living authentic lives.
Rosina helps people every day.
"Unresolved issues from the past may cause the heart to shut down. If left unattended, this disruption in the flow of loves carries across generations, ripples into the shadows of the family landscape, often emerging as an illness, emotional difficulties, and broken relationships. This work deepens the respect for the mystery of life." -Rosina Wellmann
Rosina also teaches Facilitator Training in Family & Systemic Constellations.

Christina Marlett - Women of Inspiration

Christina Marlett

Courageous Self-Care - Founder

Christina, BKin, BMT, believes that women have the power to change the world, but first, they must address the fact that they need to take charge of their own lives, starting with self-care.
She teaches busy, overwhelmed, stressed-out leaders that self-care is not simply about luxurious acts of pampering, but that it’s a real necessity if a woman truly wants to step into her greatness. Through her coaching, tropical retreats and online programs, Christina helps women move into Courageous Self-Care so that they can change their lives from the inside out.
Christina is an International Speaker who has shared the stage with Michael Beckwith, Marci Shimoff, Lynne Twist and Jean Houston. She is also a #1 International Best-Selling Author, a Master Facilitator, a Certified Embodiment Coach and the Founder of Courageous Self-Care.
Christina started her professional career as a teacher and a very successful teacher at that. She comes from a long line of teachers. As such, entrepreneurial life has been a steep learning curve that she has faced head on with the bruises to show for her efforts. She has built and pursued this path while running a busy household as a mother and wife who truly lives the family first mentality that so many claim but cannot back up with their actions. Early on in her journey, she walked away from the idea of finding Balance in her life and courageously took a breath and accepted harmony. A simple shift that has implications that would help her live the tenants and principles she teachers.
Christina's impact started over a decade ago when she knew that how she was living was not sustainable or the path to the joy and vibrancy she was being called to live. She spent years studying, reflecting, learning, failing and succeeding in how she showed up every day. As her business evolved and shifted, with every stage she was breathing life back into her clients and audiences with her vulnerability, honesty, and stories. Even more significantly is her ability to read and adjust her methods of delivery to consolidate the connection between the mind, spirit and the often-neglected intuition of the body. Her training as a teacher and her ability to alter her processes and teaching to pin point the issue of an individual or group leaves her clients with the sense of having life breathed back into their existence. She changes lives quickly and holds space so others can see and heal their deficiencies and sends them out with tools and strategies to reach for the next evolutionary step... the courage to keep taking the next breath. On her journey, she has done what she can to support her fellow entrepreneurs, volunteering at their events, support their launches, taking on mentors at no cost to give a leg up to others. She is in the space to show up and serve where she can and when she is called to teach, support, hold space or heal.

Carla Young - Women of Inspiration

Carla Young

MOMeo Magazine.com - Founder, Editor & Publisher

For Carla, the decision to start her own business was never a matter of if, but a question when. So it was no surprise when she left the corporate world and launched her copywriting agency. But little did she know that while building her business on a virtual work-at-home model, she was laying the foundation for her future role as a leader and inspiration to other mothers. Like many new mothers, everything changed for Carla when she gave birth to her daughter. Not only was she learning how to be a mom, but she was learning the delicate art of balancing work and family.
Stress and lack of sleep left her exhausted and overwhelmed. Something had to give and it wasn’t going to be her sanity. Determined to find the balance she needed, Carla built systems and processes to simplify both her work demands and family life. She started by getting organized to the extreme. She then turned her attention to developing much-needed support mechanisms, using the right combination of people, systems and processes and technology to get more done in less time.
After mom friends started asking how they too could enjoy her lifestyle, Carla saw an opportunity to help other moms start successful work-at-home businesses that fulfilled their need for creativity and their desire to stay connected to their families.
MOMeo Magazine.com is that resource for moms, designed to support moms at work, at home and at play.

Carol Sadler - Women of Inspiration

Carol Sadler

Achen Henderson LLP - US / Cross Border Tax Partner

Carol is a U of A Business grad, with Distinction. She is an alumna of Deloitte Calgary and was the founder of Sadler Tax Advisors Chartered Accountants, which she has operated since before 2000. She merged that firm with Achen Henderson LLP just under two years ago, for the opportunity to work with younger CPA's in a dynamic business model. Carol is involved in the martial arts, particularly encouraging girls to take up and advance in the sport. She has served her community and profession in numerous organizations, including the Calgary Girls Choir, the CPA Canada Work Life Committee, the CPA Alberta Tax Round Table, and the Entrepreneurial CPA's of Calgary.
Carol has shown a commitment to providing women with families opportunities to achieve work-life balance, to support their families while pursuing a professional career. Over many years Carol has encouraged women to open their own consulting firms. She has been involved in her profession, the CPA profession, serving on multiple bodies and has mentored younger women and men in the CPA profession. She loves sharing her knowledge of the tax world both by teaching and informally. Carol supports and promotes women competing in the martial arts - particularly women in the "veteran" classes of over age 42. Where she has a passion, she shares it and promotes women within it.

Lara Murphy - Women of Inspiration

Lara Murphy

Ryan Murphy Construction - Co-Founder

It is not typical for two women to be working on a construction site, but that is the unusual scenario where Lara Murphy and Karen Ryan met in Banff, Alberta. After several conversations and a few joint projects that year, they decided to form Ryan Murphy Construction Inc. in 2008, with their home base in Calgary, Alberta.
Lara’s first job in Calgary was with a development company as a project manager. Once she had networked enough trades into her database, she decided to branch out on her own and take on some renovation projects. It was on a retail construction project in Banff that Lara met her future business partner Karen Ryan, with whom she co-founded Ryan Murphy Construction Inc. in 2008.
Throughout her university career in the Maritimes, Lara owned a painting business that expanded to maintenance and renovations for homes and yachts. She found herself more of an entrepreneur than a student of history and political science. During and after university, Lara was a competitive soccer player, and she travelled around Europe for a few years before settling back in Canada as a business owner.
Upon returning to New Brunswick, Lara started to buy and renovate old homes and apartments. Having just graduated university, she didn’t have much money to pay contractors and trades to come in and do the work, so she made it her mandate to learn how to do it herself. She did well and people noticed. Her first project became her showpiece and those who visited asked her to take on projects in their own spaces. Her business grew until she moved west in 2005.
Each year the business has been operating, its growth has doubled, and Ryan Murphy Construction Inc. is on target to do the same this year. Lara Murphy and Karen Ryan have created a business in a male-dominated industry. They are successful entrepreneurs, are active in their community and share their experience with other aspiring entrepreneurs

Cara Wolf - Women of Inspiration

Cara Wolf

Ammolite Strategies Inc. - CEO

Cara is the CEO of Ammolite Strategies, an advisory firm specializing in new venture commercialization primarily in the STEM industries. With over 25 years of executive leadership, Cara has consulted for over 300 companies including Fortune 500 companies such as EnCana and BDC to entrepreneurial start-up operations including three of her own.
Cara holds a B.Comm. in Marketing, an MBA in Corporate Finance and Entrepreneurship from the Haskayne School of Business and an Executive Certified Management Consultant designation. She has sourced and advised on millions of dollars of financings, and has won numerous awards provincially and nationally for her strategic planning initiatives and guest lectures regularly on the topics of innovation, entrepreneurship and female empowerment.
She has mentored over 100 companies at the start-up stage via NEXT Google for Entrepreneurs and frequently judges technology start-up competitions. Cara has extensive experience serving on the Advisory Board and Director level for many organizations including serving as an Executive Director with the Calgary Council of Advanced Technologies, which was funded by the Status of Women Canada. She is a mentor with the Status of Women Alberta and the Arlene Dickinson's District Venture IBM Accelerator. Cara also sits on the ENV Advisory Board for the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Haskayne School of Business, the SPARX Innovation Theatre Advisory Board at the GPS, and is the CEO and Director for Thunderbird GreenTech, CEO and Director for Nu-Worx Innovations and has personally consulted for over 300 companies ranging from Fortune 500 to entrepreneurial technology start-ups. She was formally a Director with the Canadian Council of Advanced Technologies and KNOVO Program Chair whose mandate was to increase recruitment, advancement, and retention of women in the IT sector funded by the Status of Women Canada. Ammolite Strategies Inc. is a boutique incubator focused on commercialization of B2B market-ready technologies.

Marija Pavkovic Tovissi - Women of Inspiration

Marija Pavkovic Tovissi

MaKami College - CEO

Marija is a serial entrepreneur who lives her life by Walt Disney's quote "If you can dream it, you can do it". She started MaKami College at a very young age and being naive proved to be an asset for her. As a child of newcomers to Canada who barely spoke English, she witnessed first hand how difficult it was for people coming to Canada to succeed. She plotted to change this as she did not agree with the statement many colleges boasted that only half of all students would graduate. She set out to make this better by starting her own college that prided themselves not only a high graduation rate but also high job placement rates for her students. Since then, she has launched countless businesses, business networking groups, charitable organizations and is involved in giving back opportunities.
She is a serial entrepreneur whose main passion is leaving the world a better place than what she found it. She is passionate about helping make generational impacts in helping make people's lives better. She also does not take no for an answer. If Marija has the will, she will find a way to make what she wants to happen. She has surprised so many people as to what she has planned to do, and has achieved.
Marija has helped people looking for bettering their lives through the programs available at her school. MaKami College also provides resources to help all students succeed, regardless of any barriers they may have. Free ESL is provided to people whose first language is not English. The college also helps people who may have learning disabilities such as dyslexia or physical disabilities such as vision or hearing. Marija does not discriminate, she helps make an impact in everyone's live.
She has won countless awards including Avenues Top 40 Under 40, Calgary, Chatelaine’s top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada, and Business in Calgary Leadership Award.

Alicia Bjarnason - Women of Inspiration

Alicia Bjarnason

AWSN Work Re-engagement Program - President of AWSN & Program Manager of AWSN Work Re-engagement Program

Alicia discovered AWSN through her desire to talk with other women who were struggling with outdated human resources in many companies impacting her professional geology career. She was, and is, full of ideas on how things need to improve to advance women, not just keep them, in STEM careers. Within a few months of her joining AWSN, she stepped into the VP role, then just as quickly, into the co-President’s role.
Alongside her activities for AWSN, she has been a board member of the APEGA WinAPEGA (Women in APEGA), Canadian Society of Professional Geologists Conference Session Chair - Diversity in the workforce, and is a volunteer of the year award recipient. She also volunteers for programs that affect her children: The Kimmett Cup supporting Children's Wish Foundation, and Marion Carson Elementary School.
She is a woman with enormous drive and desire to fix an issue that is having additional impact on women given the current economic climate in Alberta.
Alicia is a Senior Geologist with 15 years experience within the Oil and Gas sector. She is the President of AWSN and is the lead for the Women in APEGA Program Subcommittee. Currently, Alicia is working on an MA from the University of Calgary Geography Department, studying Corporate Culture.

June Round - Women of Inspiration

June Round

June Round Thai Therapy & Namaste World Music Festival - Thai Therapist, Mother & Humanitarian

June entered the fashion industry in 1979 as a clothing designer at Simon Chang in Montreal before becoming an international fashion model. Her modelling career spanned 15 years, working with top designers such as Versace and Calvin Klein, on the runways of Toronto, New York, Paris and Tokyo alongside other top models like Christie Brinkley and Linda Evangelista and has graced the covers of magazines such as Allure.
Looking for a career change, June studied Thai Therapy in Thailand for two years and has practised Traditional Thai Massage every since, for over 2-decades, a journey that has also seen her study with the Dalai Lama, in 2012. June founded the Australian School of Traditional Thai Massage and its Canadian counterpart and continues to teach and practice Thai Massage to this day. June also operates a travelling healing clinic which provides holistic therapies such as massage, reflexology, acupuncture and chirodontics to performers at concert venues. June has worked with artists such as Aerosmith, Katy Perry, Bob Dylan Band and Olivia Newton-John. Combining her love of performance, music and healing, June created Namaste World Music Festival which was launched in Calgary in 2015.
June is the mother of a downs syndrome child. June's son Hank was born in Melbourne, Australia. When doctors revealed that Hank had downs syndrome, in her words, "I believed Good had given me an angel, as I still do". June was suffering a marriage of abuse, and it escalated after her son's birth until she escaped with her son back to Canada. Following that, June began 15 years of finding her son the best education and programs and has fought tirelessly for his inclusion as a single mom. According to June, "Hank is amazing and I'm so proud to know him let alone be his parent. Don't know what I've done to deserve this person as my son, but it must have been something great."
She is not the type of woman to offer a little bit of help here and there. June goes out of her way to adopt people, welcome them in her home, and help them, care for them, and love them. She has been the family to those who didn't have one, and has opened her arms to as many people as she is able.

Jackie McAtee - Women of Inspiration

Jackie McAtee

Mayfair - VP Marketing & Customer Experience

Jackie is fresh, inspiring and likes to 'get things done'. She possesses a unique combination of skills - that of strategic thinking and operational execution. Her academic capability is a rare find in the travel and hospitality industry, as is her ability to see beyond tradition and ceremony. Jackie will dare to challenge the status quo because she recognizes and accepts that risk is an inherent part of any thriving business. Her success lies in the fact that she can deliver the rewards that are often associated with such.
Jackie joined Adam Legge at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce in 2011 and set about establishing a new brand platform for the organization to connect businesses across Calgary and deliver a membership experience that refreshed the organization. She was behind the development, execution, and delivery of the 'Hell or High Water' t-shirt campaign for the Calgary Stampede, having joined the organization three weeks before the 2013 southern Alberta floods. What amounted to the single most significant brand campaign in the organization's history.
At Mayfair Diagnostics, Jackie worked to establish a fresh vision, develop a strong and differentiated brand positioning and elevate the patient experience. With creativity, passion and award-winning know-how, Jackie supports service orientated organizations improve their guest experience through innovation, engagement, and empowerment.

Meghan Reid - Women of Inspiration

Meghan Reid

Canada Career Counselling, Leadership Success Group - Practice Lead, Registered Psychologist, Radio Host & Associate

Meghan is a Registered Psychologist, specializing in career and workplace psychology. She co-owns Canada Career Counselling, a firm of psychologists, career coaches, and academic advisors, and leads the Toronto office of the practice. She also hosts a weekly radio show, Career Cravings, which airs internationally.
Throughout her career, Meghan has supported hundreds of individuals who were unhappy, unfulfilled or confused about their careers. Meghan works with both students and adults in various stages of career and life transitions. She works collaboratively with her clients to explore their interests, values, personality, and strengths, to conduct effective career research, and to make informed career-related decisions. In doing so, she aims to assist her clients in improving their self-awareness and self-efficacy in order to attain their career goals. In addition to her career psychology practice, Meghan provides personal counselling/therapy, helping clients build resiliency, and improve their lives. Her focus includes enhancing self-esteem, self-compassion and confidence, increasing effective communication and boundary setting, navigating relationships and interpersonal concerns, and improving self-management skills.
Meghan also holds an Associate position with Leadership Success Group, where she specializes in leadership assessment and development strategies, career planning and decision-making, and organizational culture. She sat on the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Committee (of Alberta) for three years and is an Associate with Emergenetics International, a brain-based psychometric assessment tool used to enhance leadership and team effectiveness, communication, and alignment within organizations.

Karen McGregor - Women of Inspiration

Karen McGregor

Speaker Success Formula - Founder

Karen is a bestselling author, international speaker, coach, trainer and the founder & CEO of the Speaker Success Formula. Her company helps entrepreneurs create, structure and deliver compelling presentations to monetize their expertise and launch successful speaking businesses. Using her Speaker Success Formula, Karen attracts a wide range of clients from Olympic athletes, health experts, elite artists, and musicians to coaches, financial advisors, real estate experts, bestselling and aspiring authors.
Karen is a premier monetization specialist dedicated to helping conscious entrepreneurs spread their messages, sell their products/services and transition into successful speakers. As a speaker sharing the stage with Deepak Chopra, Loral Langemeier, Brendon Burchard, Marci Schimoff and others, Karen knows how to inspire and educate entrepreneurs to navigate through speaking business uncertainties to arrive at success.

Jordan Guildford - Women of Inspiration

Jordan Guildford

Gems for Gems - President & Founder

Jordan is one of those ladies truly looking to unite woman to benefit the group and not the individual. In 2015, Jordan organized the grassroots of Gems for Gems by organizing their first jewelry drive for the underprivileged women of Calgary at Christmas. This has since grown to an association of women who hold multiple events and activities throughout the year to raise awareness, funds and the overall lives of Calgary's women in need.
Jordan is a certified Life Coach, studied science psychology at SMU with a focus on early childhood development and biological psychology, and founder of Gems for Gems. She is a hard working mother of two who was inspired to be a part of this group to create a network around her where women support each other and grow side by side.

Sophie Serafino - Women of Inspiration

Sophie Serafino

Sophie Serafino - Violinist

Sophie Serafino, a Canada-based Australian instrumental world artist with classical and pop influences, is not only incredibly talented but has been a fountain of knowledge and support to anyone she comes in contact with. As a recording artist and mom of two, life can really get the best of you. With all that she has endured over the many chapters of her life.
Sophie has enriched the lives of anyone that comes into her life by not only supporting their efforts of raising awareness for such causes as the children's hospital and the heart stroke foundation but by teaching them what she has learned over the years in the business and arts industry.
After discovering a unique world music classical crossover fusion through her studies and her travels, British-Australian and now, local Canadian violinist Sophie Serafino has performed across the globe.

Sarah McLachlan - Women of Inspiration

Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan - Musician

Sarah is a is a Canadian musician, singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist. Known for her emotional ballads and mezzo-soprano vocal range, as of 2009, she has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. A pioneer in the world of Canadian female singers and has gone on to give back through her School of Music and charity work with the ASPCA.
Sarah McLachlan funds an outreach program in Vancouver that provides music education for inner city children. In 2007, the provincial government announced $500,000 in funding for the outreach program. Originating at the "Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach", this program evolved into the Sarah McLachlan School of Music. This program provided children with high-quality music instruction in guitar, piano, percussion, and choir.
In 2011 McLachlan opened the Sarah McLachlan School of Music in Vancouver, a free music school for at-risk youth. The School of Music provides group and private lessons to hundreds of young people every year. It is their goal that through music education, students will develop a love of the arts and have greater self-esteem.
On May 25, 2016, the Sarah McLachlan School of Music expanded to Edmonton, Alberta, opening in Rundle Elementary School and Eastglen High School. The music school contains the same initiative as the Vancouver school.
Sarah also supports the ASPCA by appearing in advertisements. She filmed a two-minute advertisement for the organization which featured her song "Angel". The advertisement's imagery of shelter animals mixed with the soundtrack and McLachlan's simple appeal for donations has raised $30 million for the ASPCA since it began to air in 2006.

Lisa Mundell - Women of Inspiration

Lisa Mundell

PMA-Brethour Townly - President - Western Canada

Lisa is the mother of a blended family of six, grandmother, professional speaker, two-time cancer survivor, BOSS Chicks Mentor and Advisor for Canadian Business Chicks, and Transformational Weekend keynote speaker. Lisa is a modern day “wonder-woman”- a woman true to her word and who believes everything is possible with focus, passion and hard work. Lisa is a respected business woman and role model to both men and women with her exemplary work ethic, genuine desire to help give back to help others achieve success and love for her family.
When Lisa believes in your vision, she is the person that will help and support you at all levels expecting nothing in return. Lisa is a passionate woman who loves business, seeing challenges as gifts, and a woman who always makes time help mentor and support other women succeed.

Carol Howes - Women of Inspiration

Carol Howes

Enform - Vice President, Communications & PetroLMI

As Vice President of Communications and the PetroLMI (Petroleum Labour Market Information) division of Enform, Carol is responsible for stakeholder relations, brand, and communications management. She is also responsible for providing leadership and strategic oversight in all aspects of management and operation for the PetroLMI division.
Among Carol’s main priorities at PetroLMI, is to increase the division’s focus on its mandate. She believes that collaboration with industry, government, educators and training agencies is the best way to support and advance the development of a sustainable, skilled and productive workforce in the oil and gas sector.
Carol began as a journalist with the Calgary Herald, where she was a business writer and columnist. Following this, as Calgary Business Correspondent for the National Post, she specialized in reporting and analysis of the energy industry, as well as technology and transportation. Following a 20-year career as a journalist, Carol moved to corporate communications, firstly to serve as communications advisor to the Calgary Health Region’s Board of Directors and as a business advisor, developing new consumer-based health and wellness products and services for the healthcare industry.
Over the years, Carol has served as a guest radio and television commentator and as a freelance business magazine writer.
She is an honours graduate of the Canadian Securities Course and recently completed an Executive Development Course – Mini- MBA program with McGill University.
Carol, a mother of two, currently serves on the Board of Directors of Lougheed House and is Co-Chair of the Development Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Hospice Calgary and serves as Chair of the Marketing and Communications Committee. Carol is a past member of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Calgary Committee.

Toni Nicole - Women of Inspiration

Toni Nicole

Toni Nicole Photography - Founder & Owner

Toni is a portrait photographer. To her, portrait photography gives Toni the honour to photograph individuals at their best. Because time is so precious, Toni sees the opportunity of capturing people's moments in a photograph a privilege, because those documented moments will be passed down from generation to generation.
Thanks to her beloved grandmother, Toni the courage to leave a toxic marriage and to go back to school full-time as a single mother of three to complete her studies at ACAD. Today, she's a Bachelor of Design in Photography.
Her 5-year vision is beautiful: To be a photographer for the UN as a photographer, and having a solo art show that emulates powerful and influential women.
She is an example of courage, dedication, strength, and love for and of life.

Shauna Walker - Women of Inspiration

Shauna Walker

The Spa Ritual - Owner

Shauna, an avid spa goer and inspiration behind The Spa Ritual, is passionate about the guest experience and is an advocate for healthy lifestyles. The culmination of Shauna’s vision to create a refined spa experience, inspired by the gracious hospitality experienced during her travels to South East Asia, is The Spa Ritual, a quality day spa located in NW Calgary. Shauna has instilled her passions into her creation, carefully cultivating The Spa Ritual program, which honors and respects each guest, inviting him or her on a person path to rejuvenation. As Spa Director of The Spa Ritual, Shauna mentors and inspires her team of professionals to make a difference in the life of each guest – by planting a tiny seed of self-rejuvenation as the cornerstone to wellness during every spa experience. Following lessons learned from her own life experiences, Shauna deeply believes in the vital need of “taking time out” to reset and renew the process of our bodies and minds. Shauna has a heart felt the desire to work with women in providing a support system they may never have had. She believes this is often the first step needed to begin the healing journey, to be included and to have a safe place to belong.

Chandra Crawford - Women of Inspiration

Chandra Crawford

Fast and Female - President & Founder

At the Turin 2006 Olympic Winter Games, Chandra won the gold medal in the free sprint and, on March 27, 2014, she announced her retirement to focus on running “Fast and Female”, her organization dedicated to the empowerment of girls through sport.
The story of Fast and Female, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2005 by Chandra and led in the US by Kikkan Randall, is a story about three girls who influenced a movement. Their mission is to change the culture around girls in sports, and pursue a mission of keeping girls healthy, happy and active in sports through their teens by introducing them to inspiring athlete role models.
At the age of ten, Emily told her babysitter, Chandra, that she wasn’t happy being a girl because girls don’t get to do fun things like skateboarding and instead have to worry about their appearance all the time. When Chandra’s younger sister Rosanna was a teenager, the alternative to spending weekends at ski races was the unhealthy and risk-laden party scene you’d find in any small town. The value of sport for teens is crystal clear. 4x Olympian Sara Renner gave great advice like, “I eat to be strong, not to be skinny,” and encouraged Chandra to dream big and try for the Olympics.

Audrey Mascarenhas - Women of Inspiration

Audrey Mascarenhas

Questor Technology Inc. - President & CEO

Audrey has worked in energy for over 30 years with Gulf Canada Resources Ltd. and Questor Technology Inc. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Master’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Calgary. Audrey served as a distinguished lecturer with the Society of Petroleum Engineers. She is a member of the Schulich Industry Engineering Advisory Council and an appointee to Alberta Government Small Medium Enterprise Export Council. Audrey was the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 Prairies Award for Cleantech and Environmental Services and received a national citation for Values-Based Innovation. She was chosen by Business in Calgary as a 2014 Leaders of Tomorrow. Audrey is a fellow of the Energy Futures Lab, and Questor was recently recognized by the Cleantech Innovation Exchange (CIX) as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Cleantech Canadian Companies.

Justine Barber - Women of Inspiration

Justine Barber

Poppy Barley - Co-Founder

In January 2012, Justine was vacationing in Bali and came across a great pair of boots—a classic rider style with a dark brown top. Sadly, they were not available in her size. Justine conceived the idea of bringing the art of custom boots to anyone with access to a measuring tape and the internet. This is how Poppy Barley was born.
She’s got a Masters in War Studies from the University of Kent in Belgium, and multiple certifications in urban planning and development. When Justine is not leading product development for our custom boots and shoes she’s powering through books on a weekly basis (mostly non-fiction), running or playing soccer, taking her dog, Quinn, for walks, spending time with her husband, and being a Big Sister.

Tanya Koshowski - Women of Inspiration

Tanya Koshowski

Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids - Executive Director

BB4CK works in partnership with Calgary schools to make and deliver free healthy lunches for students who would otherwise go hungry. Their mission is to connect and inspire people to take meaningful action to feed and care for kids.
Tanya is the Executive Director of this program. she joined Brown Bagging in 2009 and became Executive Director in 2012. If you need a reference point to the impact that Brown Bagging makes, they feed 3000 kids every day across the city in 200 schools.
“My involvement in BB4CK gives me an amazing purpose to wake up for every morning. It’s a privilege to work with everyday heroes who make a difference, and to have the opportunity to empower kids’ lives by ensuring they are fed — helping them to be the best they can be.” -Tanya Koshowski

Marcela Mandeville - Women of Inspiration

Marcela Mandeville

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs - Chief Executive Officer at Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

Marcela has explored the world of business through a globally-focused business undergraduate degree, designation as a Certified International Trade Professional and more than fifteen years of global experience developing and implementing business strategies.
Marcela’s business experience in Canada and abroad led her to Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in 2008. As Chief Operating Officer, she developed programs to support access to local and international business opportunities for women entrepreneurs. After leaving AWE in August 2013 Marcela resumed her role as CEO of her own business consulting firm, Bright Idea International and completed her MBA studies at the University of Alberta. In July 2015, Marcela returned to AWE to work with an amazing team after time spent leading her own business, volunteering and travelling.

Melissa Gunning - Women of Inspiration

Melissa Gunning

Wean Green - CEO & Founder Wean Green

When Melissa had her two daughters, everything changed. The urge to provide a safe and eco-friendly environment for her kids had her seeking baby food containers free of bisphenol A (BPA), a common chemical in plastic that is banned from baby bottles due to its links to cancer, obesity and infertility. Glass baby food containers seemed to be the logical alternative to plastic, so Gunning assumed the product already existed — but she soon realized glass food containers aren’t that easy to come by, so she decided to make her own.
Initially, the containers were just for Melissa. However, her hobby soon attracted the attention of friends, family and local retailers. She dubbed her product Wean Cubes and started selling them in 2010. They ended up on the shelves at Community Natural Foods and within a year were being sold by more than 200 shops and organic retailers worldwide.

Cassie Hawrysh - Women of Inspiration

Cassie Hawrysh

Athlete, Influencer, Content Curator, Host & Speaker

An only child born to Ray and Kathy Hawrysh, Cassie was raised in the Brandon, Manitoba. A French immersion student from K-12, Cassie went on to graduate with distinction from the University of Regina - School of Journalism in 2007 with her BA in Journalism.
Athletically, Cassie is a former varsity volleyball and track and field athlete – turned Skeletor.
After one season as a varsity volleyball player for the University of Windsor Lancers (Windsor, Ont.) she transferred out west and pursued a career in track and field, competing as a heptathlete and relay team member for the University of Regina Cougars. There she would be named a 4X All-Canadian and Team Captain in her senior year. Cassie ran for two more years competitively post-university; focusing solely on 400m Hurdles.
A spur of the moment move to Calgary in 2009 launched her skeleton career and Cassie spent the first few months convincing herself that sliding head-first at 140km/h wasn’t a crazy idea. As it turns out, it was a little crazy – but she loved it and somehow, it felt entirely natural. With numerous podium finishes, the 2013/14 Canadian Championship title, two World Cup medals and being named the 2014 Olympic-Alternate Cassie knows exactly what it takes to achieve big goals in the pursuit of passion, and aims to inspire everyone around her to relentlessly push towards their greatness!

Shannon Loutitt - Women of Inspiration

Shannon Loutitt

International Indigenous Speakers Bureau - CEO & Founder

For years we, Claire Belanger-Parker and Shannon Loutitt, had dreamt of creating a community that would build connections and understanding between the indigenous world and the world at large. Knowing that given the opportunity, all people working and understanding together could change our world for the better. After following our hearts and considering our combined skills, we developed a magical partnership and the International Indigenous Speakers Bureau was born.
The International Indigenous Speakers Bureau-IISB provides an opportunity to open doors for talented experienced or, emerging speakers and knowledge-keepers to reach world stages, an opportunity for them to share their unique perspectives, solutions, and world views. Their mission is to help Indigenous speakers and knowledge-keepers share their gifts on a global stage, give audiences an opportunity to access the wealth of indigenous knowledge and perspectives, and bring together a world of unlimited possibilities.

Anne Corpuz-Bacalso - Women of Inspiration

Anne Corpuz-Bacalso

Anne B Accessories - CEO, Founder & Designer

Anne is a truly wonderful woman - creative, passionate and beautiful inside and out. She is not only outstanding jewellery designer - but a mother of five, entrepreneur and role model for many. Always positive. Always smiling!
Anne has immersed herself in the Fashion Industry for over 15 years. She has always loved designing fashion accessories and her collections greatly reflect that. Women can express their own unique styles through her tasteful, sophisticated creations to fit into any occasion.
Anne is one classy, passionate designer with a mission: To help less fortunate people back in her home country, Philippines and contributing employment opportunities in Canada.
"Giving back opportunities and providing jobs to many skilled craftsmen and supporting them in their endeavor to enhance productivity and quality has become a very significant part of my social mission…" - Anne Corpuz-Bacalso

Katherine Emberly - Women of Inspiration

Katherine Emberly

Shaw Communications - Senior Vice President Marketing

Katherine is an experienced Senior Vice President Marketing with over a decade in the telecommunications industry. In addition to a broad marketing skill set, she also has experience as an executive leading Operations, Strategic Planning, Corporate Communications and Public Relations.
Katherine is an authentic leader in her organization who provides mentorship and opportunities for women to advance in their career.

Kathy Tuccaro - Women of Inspiration

Kathy Tuccaro

Kathy Tuccaro: Big Dream - Author & Speaker

Kathy drives one of the biggest trucks in the world: a 400 tonne 797F Caterpillar Truck as well as a 208,000-litre water truck up in the Alberta Oil Sands. After overcoming a lifetime of trauma, Kathy took her dreams into her own hands. Her unbelievable journey from the ground inspires those around her to go for your dreams, no matter where you're coming from.
Kathy's story of how Dreaming Big can change your life now inspires people to make the necessary changes in their own lives to improve their self-worth.
She is passionate about personal growth and believes that anyone can change their circumstances and overcome their obstacles if they truly desire to do so. Kathy believes surviving is easy; it's living your own "truth" that is difficult. In addition to being a motivational speaker and Author, Kathy has her Nursing Diploma and worked on Surgical/Medical/Geriatrics units for 13 years. Kathy is also a certified Occupational Health & Safety Officer and works full time as a Heavy Equipment Operator.
Kathy's endless source of love, humility and compassion for the hurting and still struggling is a remarkable trait of her leadership abilities.

Adora Nwofor - Women of Inspiration

Adora Nwofor

Activist, Comedian & Speaker

Adora is a former anthropology student, is a black, 6’1 comedian who has coined her style of humour. She’s funny, engaging feminist and fashionista. Adora was still a student when a friend signed her up for a comedy show. Since then she’s used it as a platform, not to purposefully be controversial, but to share her point of view, and encourage others to do the same.
Adora lead the crowd of 3,000 women, men, children at the Calgary Women's March. She is a proud mother, gives back to the community and an advocate for women's rights.
"Standing over six feet tall, Adora Nwofor, a comedian and feminist activist, is a self-professed “giant” with a personality to match.", from "Adora Nwofor," at avenuecalgary.com

Megan Szanik - Women of Inspiration

Megan Szanik

espy - Owner of espy experience & Canadian Fashion Xperience

Megan is the owner, visionary, creator, and proprietor of espy. Epsy is located in Calgary, as well as The Canadian Fashion Xperience in Banff.
She has literally lived every fashionista’s dream. From all over Canada, to New York, to Amsterdam, to L.A., to China – the list could go on – Megan has worked in all the fashion hot spots.
Megan grew up in Prince George, B.C. She moved to Edmonton for school and studied business at the University of Alberta. While in school, Megan assisted with buying at a store and really honed her natural sales talent. Graduation brought her to Calgary where she doubled the sales of Aluminum Planet in a year as a sales associate. After so much success so early, Megan knew where her career was headed – Montreal!
She created her own consulting company, Clothes Therapy, as well as a clothing company, Spoken Clothing. During this time, she traveled the world researching the industry in Europe, learning about clothing production in China, and looking for lines to distribute in North America.
Around 2009, Megan had a vision for a store: A store that would sell affordable designs from across the continent and the world and with professional fashion stylists who understood different body types, were sensitive to trends, understood how to properly work with people, and most of all, how to fit clients in clothing that would change their outlook and boost their confidence, no matter what size.
After only 2 years of being open, Megan was able to expand into a space three times the size of her first store, in the summer of 2011.
Megan, and espy, are committed to the Calgary community by participating in creative fundraising initiatives that combine fashion and giving back in a few very cheeky ways. With yearly events such as #nakedespy and #bikiniespy, espy has been able to raise thousands of dollars for organizations like the Prostate Cancer Center and Special Olympics Calgary.

Lea Romanowski - Women of Inspiration

Lea Romanowski

Designing on the Edge Inc. - Owner, Lead Designer

Floral artist and designer, Lea, has always been a creative force continuously transforming ordinary things into striking design. During her 30+ year career in the floral industry, she has made an art out of pushing the boundaries of design. In 2000, Lea founded Designing on the Edge and began her full range of services including structural floral art and small to large scale event design and decor.
Thinking out of the box is too limiting for Lea, so she prefers to build the box. Her extensive skill set of carpentry, painting, metal work, electrical, and sharp design sense inspired Lea's nickname of MacGyver. She is the "fixer" of all things visual and is guided by the principle that no task is impossible, you just might need to build the solution...literally!
Believing in education Lea became involved with Flowers Canada in the late 90’s after receiving her Canadian Accredited Floral Designation. She was then inducted into the American Institute of Floral Design in 2003, the following year into the Canadian Academy of Floral Art. Her work has been featured in Canadian Florist, Floriology, and Canadian Special Event Magazines.
For the past twelve years, Lea has been an instructor for the Floral Design Program at The Mount Royal University. As a pioneer of floral design, she offers her students knowledge and guidance on the importance of executing an idea flawlessly.

Lauren Bagliore - Women of Inspiration

Lauren Bagliore

Lauren Bagliore Inc. - Creative Director of Lauren Bagliore Inc. + Co-Owner at Lauren Bagliore Concept Shop

A New York native, Lauren graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology and immediately began to work with a slew of exceptional fashion brands where she honed skills that prepared her to launch her own brand. Upon graduation, Vivienne Westwood chose Lauren to travel to London and work at her UK fashion house. After a few years, she returned to New York and worked for Zac Posen, Libertine and Tod’s as well as freelance work as a buyer and a stylist.
Lauren, the New York-raised designer, has opened her first Calgary store. She is best known for her Japanese-influenced women’s wear, most of which can be worn in multiple ways. Take for example her extremely popular Desiree Convertible “Endless” Dress. It transforms from a tunic to a halter, to a one-shoulder dress, to a tube dress to a skirt and more, taking it from day to evening and firmly cementing it as a wardrobe must-have.
It is with this sensibility that Lauren continues to break new ground in the fashion world.

Kendall Barber - Women of Inspiration

Kendall Barber

Poppy Barley Inc. - Co-Founder

At a custom boot shop in Bali, sisters Justine and Kendall launched Poppy Barley in 2012. They travelled from their home in Edmonton, Canada to the city of León, Mexico in search of a leather shoe factory that prioritized its people and could offer flexibility in sizing and inventory through small-batch manufacturing. Poppy Barley became the first company in North America to offer custom fashion boots online.
Poppy Barley screens its factories for positive working conditions, including fair Wages and Benefits, Worker’s Rights and Freedoms, Health and Safety, and Training and Opportunity. Together, Kendall and co-founder sister Justine are building a fashion empire fueled for everyday people by everyday people.
Kendall is an experienced marketer happiest in an entrepreneurial environment where ideas are powered by passion, results, adventure and strong coffee.

Barb Stegemann - Women of Inspiration

Barb Stegemann

The 7 Virtues - CEO

Barb was born in Montreal, Quebec and holds degrees in Sociology and Journalism from the University of King’s College. She built her own boutique PR firm and created innovative, award-winning campaigns that garnered private sector and government funding and won numerous marketing awards from the Economic Developers’ Association of Canada while living in British Columbia. Barb is the first woman from Atlantic Canada to have successfully pitched and landed a venture capital deal on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. She was nominated as one of Chatelaine’s Women of the Year, Entrepreneur category 2011, nominated for the Manning Innovation Award 2011 and received the Women Innovator’s Award 2011 from the US State Department for the Economy of Canada.
She is one of the few Women in Canada to have been made an Honorary Colonel for the Royal Canadian Air Force and is the first female to receive this honour for her base, 14 Wing Greenwood. The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc. is a Canadian company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The 7 Virtues believes in flexing the buying power to empower families in countries that are rebuilding. Barb is the author of the best-selling book, “The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen.”

Jocelyn Flanagan - Women of Inspiration

Jocelyn Flanagan

e=mc2 Event Management Inc. - Founder & CEO

Jocelyn is the Founder and CEO of e=mc2 Events and is also an idea initiator, a strategic wizard and a choreographer of things that matter. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Toronto and has achieved the highest level of industry certification as a Certified Special Event Professional. Jocelyn is a founder of International Live Events Association (ILEA) Canada and, as past Chair has served as the Canadian representative on the International Relations Committee of ILEA. She is a two-time winner of the Canadian Event Producer of the Year Award and was presented the “Spirit of the Industry Award” at the Canadian Special Events Industry Awards in 2015.
Jocelyn believes we can change lives through live event experiences and she relishes any opportunity to promote the industry in front of any crowd that will listen.
Founded in 2001, e=mc2 Events has grown to be one of the leading event design, production and conference management companies in Canada with 30 full-time employees in Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary.
She is actively involved in every aspect of the company from business development and event design to stage production. With an innovative vision and a “can do” attitude, Jocelyn loves strategizing with clients about how to achieve their objectives and then bringing it to life in new and unique ways.
When she is not playing squash, skiing, biking, running, golfing or anything that involves a car full of sports gear, she likes to spend her spare time volunteering at various organizations. She is currently is on the Advisory Committee for MusiCounts.

Marie Josee Lamothe - Women of Inspiration

Marie-Josée Lamothe

Google Canada - Managing Director, Branding (Canada) & Managing Director, Quebec

Marie-Josée has been Managing Director at Google Canada since 2014, leading Branding and the Consumer Products industry, while also overlooking business development in Quebec. In this role, Mme Lamothe helps brands harness the best of the web to help them grow in Canada and Internationally. A 20 year veteran of the competitive world of Consumer Product Marketing, she is best noted for her expertise in International Branding.
Prior to joining Google Canada, Marie-Josée held various roles during her 12 years at L’Oréal from International Marketing Director, in France to Vice-President and General Manager luxury brands in Canada, and in 2010, as CMO and CCO in Canada where her main mandate was to leverage the strengths of digital to help L’Oréal’s 33 beauty brands compete.
Marie-Josée has a Baccalaureate degree with Honors in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Montreal. She lives in Montreal and is a proud mom of 3, and is actively involved in Canadian organizations that promote solidarity such as the Board of the Foundation of the Women Center of Montreal, The Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation, Women Tech Start-ups, and many more.
In 2016, she was recognized by the University of Montreal and received an Honorary Diploma from the University of Montreal for her contribution to the advancement of our society. She was also recognized in 2017 by the Boardlist as Canada's Top 10 Canadian women in tech, by InfoPresse as 2015’s Personality of the year. Both in 2013 and 2012 Marie Josee was among Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, as per the Financial Post and WXN, as well she was recognized as Canada’s Marketers of the Year by Strategy magazine. In 2013, Social Media Magazine named her one of the Top 100 CMO's on Twitter and Forbes Magazine recognized her as a 2014 Top Marketing Minds To Follow.
Marie-Josée is highly involved in Community work, firmly believes in diversity in all its form (gender, cultural, age, ..) and has based her career on these values. She is known for her authenticity and is a woman who is redefining what female leadership in Canadian business (and beyond) looks like.

Angie Shilliday - Women of Inspiration

Angie Shilliday

goodwill.ab.ca - Miss Canada 2014

Angie is a feminine force of unbridled energy. Married with two active teenage boys, Angie was born and raised in Calgary. As Mrs. Canada 2014, Angie travelled the globe and took to the world stage raising people’s consciousness to important issues and causes. Her passion for positive change has led her to be a Global and Local Ambassador for Habitat for Humanity and the Alberta Ambassador for the David Foster Foundation “Be A Donor Save A Life” Program. At home, she is on a mission to create awareness surrounding drug and alcohol addiction through her volunteer work at 1835 Recovery House-Calgary Addiction and Recovery Center. She co-created and stars in the TV series, “Crowns of Construction” where she displays her skills as a handy-woman and her passion for her community by renovating a run-down four-plex into a much-needed Women’s Treatment Facility. Angie is also proud to welcome visitors and guests to her native city on behalf of Tourism Calgary and greatly appreciates the time she spends mentoring today’s youth.
Angie is a volunteer with Tourism Calgary and various other charities and social events. She is changing a life for real: Angie is going for surgery to save her friend's life by donating her kidney.

Michele Cameron - Women of Inspiration

Michele Cameron

michele cameron - Olympian

Michelle is a born and raised Calgarian and grew up in a family of 10 children. She learned about team work, being resourceful and always finding a way very early on. She over came being a very sickly child and her extreme fear of the water to realized her dream and competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics winning an Olympic Gold Medal in Synchronized Swimming.
She has a very keen Entrepreneurial Spirit. Her company “Gold Medal Inspirations”- mission is to Inspire All to Embrace their Full potential. Michelle speaks openly and honestly about overcoming challenges, digging deep and sharing tangible success tools. She has been sharing her message and inspiring companies and organizations to step into their Greatness locally and around the world for over 20 years.
Michelle is a six-time World Champion and swam on the Canadian team for over ten years. She became the first ever Albertan to win a Summer Olympic Gold Medal and was inducted into Alberta and Canadian Halls of Fame and International Aquatic Sports Hall of Fame. She was also awarded the Prestige’s Order of Canada.
Michelle also maximized her Olympic experience by working as Assistant Chief du Mission for the World Aquatic Games in Perth Australia in 1991 as well as Athlete Services Officer in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic in which she was in charge of Headquarters for our Canadian Athletes.
She has been on the board of directors for many companies and organizations including; Rogers Broadcasting National-also chaired the Calgary Division 12 yrs, Canadian Coaching Association, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Special Olympics, Parks Foundation, and Canadian Olympian Alumni.
Michelle is very active in her community and has supported numerous non-profit and charitable organizations over the years, even starting a foundation initiated by her children called “A Gift of Love”-based on their belief that “if we just share what we have, there should be no one without.” She has dedicated thousands of hours and helped raise awareness and millions of dollars for both charities and businesses including just under $50 million this past year as Michelle was the Co-Chair of the 2008 United Way Campaign.

Liz Borger - Women of Inspiration

Liz Borger

Mona Lion Apparel - CEO

Liz moved to Calgary from Red Deer to attend UofC and graduated with her BComm in 1996. She worked as a consultant for WRD Borger Construction until 2011. Liz decided to make a career change and entered the EMBA program, graduating in 2014. Philanthropy has always been important to her and her family. She was on the Fashion with Compassion committee with Breast Cancer Supportive Care for 6 years and chaired this committee the last two years she served. Liz is currently on the Candy Cane Gala Committee for the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation. Most recently, as the CEO of Mona Lion Apparel Liz has supported women in business while helping women get active by feeling comfortable in beautiful, well-fitting technical sportswear.
Liz has been focused on philanthropy her entire life. She makes me strive to be a better person and has been an inspiration in turning personal hardship into compassion for others. She has worked tirelessly for the good of others. From volunteering with Breastfeeding Cancer Supportive Care to working with the Alberta Children's Hospital, she is passionate about helping others. She is an avid supporter and fundraiser for the Carya Sirius Girls program, which helps at-risk girls stay in school and supports their postsecondary education.

Leona deVinne - Women of Inspiration

Leona deVinne

Joy Socks - Chief Joy Injector & Coach

Leona started Joy Socks as a way to bring happiness to anyone in need with the simplest of things: Fun socks! Recently, she has started the Jr. Joy Socks Ambassador Program, a leadership program to inspire today's youth.
Leona, Chief Joy Injector at Accendo Consulting and Sock Broker at Joy Socks, knows what it is to have a seemingly successful life but at the same time be unfulfilled. After recently being diagnosed with three brain tumours she’s realized even more the preciousness of life and that joy is the fuel we need to keep moving on the tough days and to continually pursue a life of meaning and purpose.
Joy is found in the simplest of moments and also experienced when one lives from a deeply rooted place of living on purpose. In her professional life, as a coach and consultant, she is committed to helping people design lives and businesses from that rich place.
She’s not one to hold back. Leona is known for her bold approach, quick wit combined with her deep desire to help people both personally and professionally live lives that light them up and have an impact. She provides coaching and consulting services as well as custom designed workshops and speaks on a variety of topics.
In her spare time, Leona honours her love for goofy socks, which she calls ‘Joy Socks’. She started giving them away for fun and to people that were struggling; to give them a reason to smile, knowing that they mattered and to be grounded in the moment. After starting an online sock store, where she gives the profits to charity, she now collects new goofy socks and money to purchase fun socks to give to various charities where people could use a glimpse of joy, to lighten their load, amidst their struggles. People have cried upon receiving their joy socks…the response has been overwhelming.
Recently, Leona has decided to increase her joy spreading efforts by starting the Joy Foundation where she eventually hopes to help others by providing the means for them to get an education, start a business, and pay for healthcare bills, etc. where they might not otherwise have the means.

Stephanie Hoeppner - Women of Inspiration

Stephanie Hoeppner

Life Science Forensics - Founder & Executive Managing Director

Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Science and an MBA. She is currently working on a Ph.D. in Medical Public Health – Epidemiology. Stephanie began her career as a junior analyst, working her way up to regional manager for large, multi-national chemistry companies. She brings over two decades worth of laboratory experience, including business development, communication, management, and consulting to Life Science Forensics, being a strong female leader in her career.
Her passion and enthusiasm for chemistry and public health are what motivated her to start Life Science Forensics, a joint venture project with the Canadian environmental laboratory Paracel Laboratories. Together, Paracel and Life Science Forensics are merging environmental toxicology, environmental medicine, and environmental reclamation.
Stephanie is the mother of an autistic child and this is what brought out her passion in her life and business.
Stephanie’s goals for herself are to be a super mom for autistic children and has plans to develop a biomarker screening for autism. She wants to help parents and children navigate this difficult path. This isn’t just something Stephanie says; She has an active plan with a 3 stage approach: Helping kids and parents with nutritional guidance, helping those same kids and parents with access to the nutritional items and information needed.
She has managed to take something negative in her life and turn it into a positive, by way of helping others and researching a future path to prevent others from having to deal with this (Or at least mitigate or manage the negative symptoms).

Naomi Pereira - Women of Inspiration

Naomi Pereira

Jobjar Solutions INC - CEO

Naomi came from Venezuela to Calgary as a teenager when she was 18 years old. At a very young age after graduation at SAIT she followed her entrepreneurial passion and started her new company, Pedini Calgary. She has been able to keep Pedini Calgary running successfully regardless of the difficult economic situation in Alberta. Naomi poses a rare combination of design creativity and business savvy: Naomi is always ready to provide clever, efficient solutions.
Naomi's entrepreneurialism has been recognized by a nomination for an Award by Alberta Women Entrepreneurs in 2016 and also the 21st Immigrants of Distinction Award 2017. I also admire her new business enterprise JobJar™. Her new business enterprise JobJar™ is expected to have a great social impact in Calgary by giving job opportunities for thousands of unemployed professionals in Calgary while solving thousands of homeowners’ issues around their houses. JobJar™ was selected also in 2016 by the Calgary ATB Financial Business Accelerator program and Naomi is currently participating in this program. Besides these entrepreneurial accomplishments, Naomi has also demonstrated a very strong volunteering spirit. During 7 years, Naomi held an Executive position in the National Kitchen & Bath Association. In her role, she contributed to creating multiple professional development opportunities for the Calgary Construction Professionals and Designers. Naomi is currently 33 years old, originally from Venezuela and very grateful to be a Canadian Immigrant.

Shawna Morning Bull - Women of Inspiration

Shawna Morning Bull

Community Futures Treaty 7 - Manager Business Development

Shawna is a member of the Piikani First Nation located in southern Alberta. She has been involved in Aboriginal Economic Development for 20 years beginning in 1997, where she graduated from Lethbridge College and had started at Peace Hills Trust – Calgary Branch. Since April 2010 she has been employed as the Manager Business Development at Community Futures Treaty Seven (CFT7) in Calgary Alberta. In this capacity, Shawna is responsible for the overall direction, evaluation, and operations of the various development initiatives which the Community Futures Treaty Seven is currently involved in or wishes to pursue.
Prior to CFT7, she was a Business Loans Manager with Alberta Indian Investment Corporation and a Business Support Officer with Indian Business Corporation. Shawna is also a Board member for Piikani Resource Development Corporation Board of Directors, an entity operating on the Piikani Nation to develop, design and implement projects, programs, and services for the benefit of her First Nations economy.
As of November 1, 2013, Shawna is the Alberta Board Member for the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO), Cando is a national Aboriginal organization involved in community economic development. An organization that builds capacity, which strengthens Aboriginal economies by providing programs and services to Economic Development Officers. Shawna also sits on the Indigenous Opportunities Committee with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce where she was apart of the inaugural Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2014.

Shelley Billinghurst - Women of Inspiration

Shelley Billinghurst

Hire Value Inc. - People & Culture Expert

Shelley is a leader in her field of recruitment and has the business acumen, confidence, and skills to handle complex HR issues for small business. She loves recruitment and all the technology surrounding it. Shelley is Data Analytic Junkie and an expert understanding of what the numbers tell us and knowing what to pay attention to.
She sees patterns in people, their work, how they perform, then arranging everyone to move in the same direction.

Kita Waleska Eserve - Women of Inspiration

Kita Waleska Eserve

Metrik Marketing - Entrepreneur

Kita is an amazing business woman and mom. Her involvement in Calgary's communities is also very commendable. She volunteers on the communications committee for the EO Accelerator, assists with non-profit organizations such as Money Mentors, CARE Society's Foundation of Me Programs, Heritage Park and other family friendly facilities and festivals. Kita is the co-founder of a successful Women's Entrepreneur group that supports women in their entrepreneurial journey. Giving them a platform to speak at and to collaborate and gain ideas for their business. Through her efforts and extensive knowledge and experience in online advertising, she has helped other entrepreneurial women turn their businesses in successful ventures that have in turn employed countless other women. She is constantly volunteering her time for great causes and is a great example of having to achieve the balance between being a mom and successful entrepreneur.
She has B.Sc.in Mathematics with a minor in Spanish Language & Literature. She has taken her mathematical background and applied to the ever changing field of online advertising. Kita is an absolute expert in her field when it comes to getting the best results out of online advertising. Her experience is extensive and has helped many organizations around Calgary, San Francisco, and Asia. She has worked in the industry for over 12 years with both agencies & directly with clients. Her unique background has enabled her to achieve impressive results for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start up business. Kita has a solid understanding of interactive marketing and has a passion for results.

Kim Orlesky - Women of Inspiration

Kim Orlesky

Change Your Results! - Leading Sales Coach

A two-time author, international speaker, podcast host, and The Leading Sales Coach for entrepreneurs and sales professionals, Kim was named Most Inspirational Bloggers of 2015 by Success Magazine, and she is named one of the most influential sales leaders by LeadFuze. Kim's experience to inspire more women to take action and ask for the sale has allowed her to be invited to speak at events featuring Brené Brown and Michelle Obama.
She is a contributing writer for Success.com and SalesPop!, and is asked to contribute to various publications in Calgary and across North America. Kim has been interviewed by amazing sales leaders, including Grant Cardone and Jeffrey Gitomer, for her unique perspective on putting the relationship first in the sales cycle, which creates even bigger sales success.
After 9 years in corporate sales, Kim hit a pivotal moment in her life in 2014 when she decided to courageously do what she always wanted, even if that meant alone. Kim travelled 17 countries and 4 continents solo. Kim’s courageousness to quit her life and backpack solo around the world inspired her to use her mastery in sales to help sales professionals and entrepreneurs make communication shifts that lead to stronger relationships and more revenue.
Kim is an amazing woman that has made massive strides in a field that has predominantly been held by men. Her hard work allowed her to become top of her field and her inspiring story of going out alone continues to prove that women can do anything they want. Kim is truly passionate about helping entrepreneurs build their business, and continues to push people out of their comfort zone, ensuring they are connecting with their clients in a way that is authentic and meaningful.
When Kim is not coaching, recording new videos, and writing articles, she gives her time to charities such as the Calgary Drop In Centre and Feed The Hungry.

Elise Russell - Women of Inspiration

Elise Russell

Pony Friday - Creative Director

Elise is a quick-witted creative director and writer known for her award-winning work, attention to detail and sass. Her work has been sifted out by D&AD, Cannes, The One Show, Communication Arts, ADCC, Applied Arts, CMYK, Coupe, Marketing Awards, Media Innovation Awards and Telly Awards.
Often called candid, blunt and ballsy, Elise is a woman of action who prefers a cut-to-the-chase approach. She hates meetings and people that talk in circles, so she told traditional agency life to take a hike and launched Pony Friday: a hybrid creative marketing boutique and motivational lifestyle brand.
She is currently devoting her energy, enthusiasm, and leadership to Pony Friday by collaborating with like-minded creatives to produce bold communication and fun merch. Elise describes it as the only job she hasn’t wanted to quit. She is determined to live life on her own terms and set an example for others do the same.
Elise is making hard choices every day that are leading her on a path very few have the guts to take. One that requires her to continually push herself out of her comfort zone. She is changing how people view work and life and what it means to behave boldly.

Dafne Canales Lees - Women of Inspiration

Dafne Canales Lees

Spartan Spark Inc. - Founder

Dafne is a visionary: her software company is a disruptor in the marketing industry and she has had the guts and the passion for taking her company, Spartan Spark, for achieving amazing things in such a short period of time. Dafne's software is a unique end-to-end online marketing solution that's built with an algorithm that allows her website platform to change as the internet changes. That make sure that her subscribers are never using outdated technology (their websites are always relevant on the search engines) and that they get the most leads out of their online efforts through automated marketing and data analysis.
Dafne's unique approach to marketing strategy has helped dozens of manufacturing and technical companies "find their unique voice, and tell their story." She teaches that everything in marketing should be data-driven, and in using her unique marketing software, Dafne can drill down and be super "geeky" about her marketing, yet extremely creative and that gets amazing results for her clients.
Her expertise is growing businesses. Sure, she’s got an MBA from the University of Calgary’s Haskyne School of Business, but what sets her apart from others is her uncanny ability to take a company and transform it into a bigger and better company. She can weave this kind of magic through her entrepreneurial experience and her thorough understanding of software such as the one she helped create: Spartan Spark.
Her current project to help entrepreneurs is called the "Hearts & Heels Entrepreneur Project." Dafne realized that the key to having a successful business is to find that balance of health, personal time, family (the hearts) and learning how to grow your business in a fun way (the heels) and is a collaboration that teaches step-by-step marketing strategy (all of Dafne's secrets essentially -which she's constantly sharing one-on-one anyways!) and personal development. Some of the non-profits she's currently on the board of CARE Society, EO Accelerator, Arabia Adorned Dance & Culture Foundation. She has also volunteered her time and expertise to create large scale projects for Together for Chile (Chile Earthquake 2010), Calgary Strong (Alberta Floods 2013) Alberta Community Futures and Global Fest (2003-2017).
Rumor has it that she gets two hours of sleep per night and takes all three meals at once just to save time.

Catherine Lubitz - Women of Inspiration

Catherine Lubitz

Art of Skin - Owner & Operations Manager

Catherine is the mother of a cancer survivor, mom of two boys, Pituitary Brain Tumor survivor, and the Operations Manager of a large and growing business.
She started her career path in the field of esthetics and quickly discovered that specializing in skin was the most rewarding and ultimately, her passion.
Initially, Catherine managed a small family owned media, where the owner became like family to her. that's when she was introduced to energy work and became a Reiki practitioner. Catherine was able to help people both on the inside and outside.
After 2005, Catherine became a clinical educator for a Cosmeceutical skincare line, and a national educator for one of the largest laser manufacturers in North America, while still working in dermatology. In 2011, she married and moved out to Canmore, AB. He is a dermatologist and had a practice based out of the Canmore General Hospital, while Catherine had continued to be a clinical laser educator even after leaving the industry. Over the next few years, she did clinical educating, business work for her husband's practice and we welcomed their second son.
By 2014, they decided to expand his practice and open Art of SKIN Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in Canmore. Catherine became full-time Chief Operations Officer and Cosmetic Consultant. While working full time to help build a business, raising two very energetic boys and ensuring that her marriage stayed healthy, Catherine had begun to feel very fatigued. I suddenly began experiencing different physical changes that didn’t seem right. The exhaustion was unbelievable and I decided to seek medical intervention.
In September of 2016, Catherine was diagnosed with Acromegaly. Acromegaly is a very rare disease that is caused by a pituitary tumour. The tumour increased levels of growth hormone and insulin growth, factors that caused her physical changes and extreme fatigue. She was told my options were to take medication, undergo radiation or have surgery to try and remove the tumour. If she chose not to treat the tumour, Catherine was looking at a future where I would be high risk for colon cancer, breast cancer, diabetes and more. She took a note from how her son had beaten Leukaemia and went for the cure. Less than 8 weeks later Catherine was being prepped for neurosurgery to have the tumour removed. It is now 8 months later and she is in remission and back at work; busier than ever.

Leslie Pajak - Women of Inspiration

Leslie Pajak

Fresh Coat Painting Ltd. - Owner & President

Leslie is the youngest of four, born and raised in Red Deer, Alberta. At the young are of 17 she became a single mother to a wonderful little girl. At the age of 24, she moved to Calgary to start an apprenticeship in painting and decorating at SAIT. Three years later completed the program and gained her ticket. After working four years with an on-site painting company she found herself in a new position at a cabinet shop running the finishing department and mastered her craft in specialised wood finishing for the next 5 years.
With a painting ticket under her belt and 10 years of well-rounded painting experience, she took the leap into self-employment in 2008. She leased a warehouse bay for the next 5 years, where she had her full-size spray booth. Her goal was to be able to purchase her own warehouse space after the 5-year lease was up.. and she succeeded. She purchased two warehouse bays. Currently, Leslie works out of her new space that she purchased in 2014. Her hard work and skill level has continued to grow her business over the past 10 years, and every year is more successful than the last.
At the age of 39, she has raised a successful daughter (now 21) who is currently at College in Toronto studying Dental Hygiene. Leslie has shown her family, friends and her daughter that hard work and dedication can bring success in many ways.

Christina Pilarski - Women of Inspiration

Christina Pilarski

CIPR Communications Inc - Founder & Chief Strategist

Christina Founder and Chief Strategist at the communications firm, CIPR Communications. She has been a high performer her whole life and she has not let anything slow her down. Ten years ago when she was in university, Christina was a pedestrian walking to public transit when she was seriously injured in an accident with a car. She suffered a very badly broken leg and now has a metal rod in her leg. Despite this injury, she managed to finish her undergraduate honours degree without delay and immediately moved onto obtain her Masters in Communications.
She had an award winning career and great job in the oil and gas sector, but in recent years she decided to start her own business and start a family. Most people do the opposite of this - they hang on to their high-paying job to take advantage of maternity leave and have a year off to raise their child. This just isn't who Christina is. As a "mompreneur" she has thrived in both motherhood and business. Christina somehow does an amazing job at being a mom and still manages to impress every client with her talents as a communicator and strategist. Her work ethic is second to none and her drive is remarkable.
Christina has 10 years of professional communications experience specializing in strategic communications and digital engagement. Her belief is that stakeholder engagement and effective communications are really about establishing relationships, telling stories and creating messages that connect companies in a personal way with their key audiences. She believes in the power of meaningful relationships and strategic engagement both online and offline; her passion surrounding engagement has solidified her role as a leader within the communications industry.
In 2014, Christina was awarded the Emerging Leader Award from the Young Women in Energy for my role in engaging the public directly with a polarizing industry in new ways. Her award winning work on campaigns like Canada’s Energy Citizens and the Oil and Gas Canada digital program through the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers sets her a part as a communications trailblazer.
Christina’s background includes developing and executing campaigns, managing projects and helping to establish strong online brands for a variety of organizations representing different industries and sectors including energy, government and elected officials, commercial real estate, non-profit and professional services. Christina has developed strong networks across the province in multiple industries through her work that can be leveraged for her clients.

Sarah King - Women of Inspiration

Sarah King

King Wealth Inc. & Richardson GMP - President & Estate Planning Specialist

Sarah is radiating with energy which she pours into her wealth management company, "King Wealth", into cycling and into philanthropic activities. She's especially passionate about encouraging more woman to get into cycling. She hosts weekly woman rides and has been recently selected (1 of 5 across Canada) to be the Specialized (big bike brand) Woman's rep. Through her work connection and passion for cycling, she has also biked across Canada (twice!), raising over $150K for Kids Cancer. Sarah is now the chair of the Branch Out Foundation Bike Tour for neurological research.
Sarah is president at King Wealth Inc., Estate Planning Specialist at Richardson GMP, and Chair at Branch Out Bike Tour.
She has given confidence to hundreds of woman through her biking programs. She helps them overcome their fears and push their limits to reach their weight loss goals, fitness goals, career goals and fundraising goals.

Kristi Beunder - Women of Inspiration

Kristi Beunder

CivicWorks Planning + Design Inc. - Founder and Principal of CivicWorks Planning + Design Inc.

Kristi is an established business woman, selfless employer, and mother, who always goes out of her way to ensure everyone around her has the opportunity to succeed and reach their fullest potential. She is a registered professional planner with more than 24 years experience of urban and rural land use planning. Kristi holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Design from the University of Calgary and is an active participant in the Canadian Institute of Planners. She has been a qualified expert witness at the Municipal Government Board, the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board and the Court of Queen’s Bench. In 2005, Kristi was awarded an Alberta Centennial Medal for outstanding contribution to her community.
Kristi has been the project manager and lead planner for numerous complex land development projects. She brings an unparalleled level of expertise, insight, and sensitivity to each project. As a founder of an award-winning planning and design firm, Kristi is continually striving to mentor and educate new planners and members of the development industry. She always lived in rural and suburban areas of introduced, where she was introduced to horses and the sport of Show Jumping, which she and her two daughters became passionately involved in.
She is an active member of the show jumping community and takes time out of her busy work life to support her daughters in pursuit of the sport. Kristi's eldest daughter reached the upper echelons of the sport through Kristi’s unwavering support and encouragement. Kristi was also President of Jump Alberta from 2012-2014, an organization dedicated to the bettering of the sport of show jumping in Alberta demonstrating her fierce commitment to provide support to those around her. Kristi has fostered a belief in her two daughters that they should strive to be as thoughtful, powerful and determined in their pursuits as she is.

Suzanne West - Women of Inspiration

Suzanne West

Imaginea Energy Corp - Founder & CEO

Suzanne is a courageous visionary leader who is an incredible example of how one person's passion, dedication, and perseverance to the future of our planet and the next generations can create a better world and transform an industry - the oil and gas industry.
She was born in southern Alberta, spent much of her childhood living around the globe, graduated from the faculty of engineering at the University of Calgary and currently resides in Calgary as the CEO and Founder of Imaginea Energy.
As a young engineer from humble roots, Suzanne began her career working with a major oil and gas company where she learned that the traditional hierarchal organizational model doesn't allow individuals or corporations to rise to their full potential. As a result, she broke out on her own, started her first oil and gas company and since then has had numerous successful companies. Her latest venture and greatest passion is Imaginea Energy.
Imaginea stands for "Imagine a new way of doing things" and has a bold vision of becoming the world's first producer of Clean Hydrocarbons. This would be oil and gas that is produced without emissions, pollution or the use of fresh water. Its basis is a vision that honours people, planet, and profit and focuses on "and" solutions.
Suzanne touches the lives of every person she meets.
As a leader in the oil and gas industry, she has inspired many of her colleagues to challenge their traditional thinking and "step up" to the plate to create a new industry - one that is better for people, planet and profits.
As a Calgarian and philanthropist, Suzanne has inspired many to make a difference in our community. Her yearly birthday/stair walking fundraiser for Inn from the Cold has raised significant awareness about the plight of homeless families in our city and rallied many individuals.
As a business mentor, Suzanne inspires people of all generations to be the best that they can be. She has a very holistic view of the work environment and encourages everyone she meets to find out what they are passionate about.

Maureen Dobranski - Women of Inspiration

Maureen Dobranski

Solutions for Change - Public Speaker

Maureen has an incredible story with respect to her passion for helping people with their finances. When she started Solutions for Change, Maureen started doing speaking that help people change behaviors that are inhibiting them. She has since started running women's retreats that continue to help and inspire women to live their dreams.
Maureen is all about results: Most keynote speakers simply speak to the audience. A few speakers also teach audiences. Maureen does all that and more. She helps your team understand WHY it’s important to adjust their attitudes, challenge their mindsets and create a new outlook!
She is a speaker, author, and workplace challenge expert. Maureen creates energy through her interactive performances and humor. She excites the audience with new ideas, mindsets, attitudes and solutions that will challenge them to think differently, even in today’s challenging environment.
Even though since 2008, Maureen's prime focus is her speaking career and her retreats, her integrity and caring will never be forgotten in one of the most stressful times in my life. Also, she has gone on to do so many incredible things in this heart work of hers and has inspired many in their finances, and now in their well-being through That is Solutions for Change and her Dream your Dreams Retreat.

Dr. Laura Hambley - Women of Inspiration

Dr. Laura Hambley

Work EvOHlution - President, Owner, PhD. Registered Psychologist

Dr. Laura is a young, bright and ambitious woman -- she is the owner of three successful businesses in support of those working to develop their careers and strengthen their leadership abilities. She is dedicated to helping her clients and staff fulfill their potential, and is always there to support her staff and businesses. Laura has headed multiple research projects in support of women, including the publication of a maternity transition guide for employers and employees (available on Amazon or free for download) and research into virtual workplaces through her company Work EvOHlution. Alongside her roles as mentor, boss, researcher, and entrepreneur, she manages to be a supermom to three small kids!
Dr. Laura Hambley is a Registered Psychologist who has been providing career counselling to people of all ages since 2001. She was trained as a career counsellor through her Master’s degree in Applied Psychology at the University of Calgary. During that time she worked with university students at the University of Calgary Counselling and Student Development Centre, where she also ran career planning workshops. Laura has also offered career planning to numerous high school students and young adults, as well as people in mid-career transitions. She has done numerous career assessments with an outplacement firm (Toombs KWA), working with professionals of all levels transitioning between jobs and careers.
Dr. Laura always makes time to support and mentor people in her lives and finds ways to give back to the community by volunteering time and resources from her businesses. She prioritizes making services available to those in need through partnerships with non-profit organizations and offering a limited number of pro-Bono openings to clients in need. She encourages those on her team to take the lead, and helps them find opportunities to shine!

Trish Josephs - Women of Inspiration

Trish Josephs

Imaginea Energy - Business Development Strategist

Trish Josephs is a native Calgarian and a key member of the strategic business development team at Imaginea Energy Corp. She is also involved in the development of ImagineaXL – the Imaginea technology accelerator. Trish is responsible for developing relationships and partnerships with cleantech companies, Indigenous communities, governments, technology accelerators and educational institutions. Both professionally and personally, Trish has spent considerable time working with Indigenous communities from Treaty 6, 7, & 8 in the areas of economic development, education, youth and entrepreneurial mentorship. Being a biologist with a masters degree in Education, Trish has a personal connection to the environment and is passionate about building long-term collaborative relationships and partnerships with Indigenous communities. She believes that honouring Mother Earth and recognizing the environmental expertise of these communities is paramount to achieving an economically viable and sustainable future for everyone.
Imaginea Energy is a Calgary based, conventional oil and gas company, that is anything but conventional. Led by CEO Suzanne West, and an unrelenting commitment to honour planet, people and profit, Suzanne and her team are leading the clean energy revolution on the global stage. Imaginea is on a mission to be the first oil and gas company in the world to produce clean hydrocarbons (zero emissions, zero pollution, and zero fresh water usage). Clean hydrocarbons will become the foundational building blocks of Canada’s clean energy regenerative ecosystem and will be instrumental in creating sustainable communities of the future.
Trish has for years been an advocate for First Nations - she has volunteered for years as Vice Chair for Indian Village at the Stampede - no easy task! She spends an enormous amount of time fostering honest authentic relationships with many First Nations groups.

Ary Wall - Women of Inspiration

Ary Wall

Mona Lion Apparel Inc. - Vice President

Ary started her athletic journey as a dancer when she was 8 years old. Being a larger size than other dancers in her age bracket, she grew up designing and sewing her own costumes.
Mona Lion started as an EMBA entrepreneur class project. Ary lost her hiking pants and could not find pants in her size that had technical fabric. She, and her business partner, decided to do something about this problem and created a business that catered to designing athletic wear that women sized 10-28 could feel good in.
Today Ary is a hiker (with pants that fit!), a business owner, and puts women's empowerment at the forefront of everything she does.
Giving back is very important to Ary. Ary is part of the Ladies of the EMBA (a group of 12 women who completed their EMBA together). These ladies fundraise a significant amount of money each year to support Carya's Sirius Girls Program. This program helps at-risk girls in grades 10 & 11 achieve their post-secondary dreams.
Ary has made an impact on others by helping to clothe women sizes 10-28 in high quality, beautiful athletic wear. All women have the opportunity to look and feel amazing while doing the activities they love.

Alina Martin - Women of Inspiration

Alina Martin

Danatec Educational Services - President & COO

Alina is an ambitious and driven entrepreneur with strong leadership, strategy, and business development skills. For the past eight years, she has been the President & CEO of Danatec Educational Services building and growing this business from a traditional safety company into a market-leading safety technology company. In 2015, she sold Danatec to Yardstick Software Inc., and actively stayed on as a shareholder and is now growing both businesses alongside her new partners. Yardstick is a Testing and Training company specialized in delivering technology and solutions to regulated industries. 
Alina is passionate about business, especially women in business. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), is an active member of SHEeo, which specializes in different funding models for female entrepreneurs and is a member of the Women’s Presidents Organization (WPO). 
When not focused on building businesses she can be found cooking up a storm with her daughter in her kitchen, reading, writing, or doing her favorite pastime, travelling.

Debbie Bolton - Women of Inspiration

Debbie Bolton

Norwex - Global Chief Sales Office and Co-Founder

Debbie is a fearless leader, a change-maker on a global level, and a visionary. At the same time, she is a loving mother, a beloved friend to many and a devoted wife. Debbie demonstrates incredible leadership by adhering to her core values in her business and in her personal life. She makes a difference on all levels; in her personal, professional and spiritual life. Debbie has a huge heart that she shares generously with anyone who crosses her path.
Debbie co-founded the company Norwex, whose Mission is to improve the quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes. This is done by creating Safe Havens in every home they touch as they help families live more sustainably and safer from the effects of harmful chemicals.
Her vision has helped to dramatically reduce toxic products in homes through cleaning and personal care products. Millions of lives have been improved because of Debbie's dedication, persistence, and love for humanity.
Debbie leads sales operations in the U.S for Norwex. She is also responsible for bringing Norwex to Canada in 1999. With 28 years of experience in the home party industry, Debbie won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Business to Consumer Division in the Canadian Prairie Region in 2008. Passionate about showing Consultants how to become successful entrepreneurs, Debbie is committed to helping people achieve their true destinies and making the planet a better, healthier place to live.

Chelsey Duvauld - Women of Inspiration

Chelsey Duvauld

Gypsiella - Co-founder and Chair

Chelsey works tirelessly to create a community that supports and lifts women creating their own path by starting or running their own businesses. She believes women should have an environment that is not of judgement and fully supportive to empower them to grow their business to align with their vision.
She is authentic, passionate although subtle, supportive and thoughtful. She is a loving Mom of two young boys and the Graphic Designer and owner of Chelsey Design. Along with her husband Aron, they moved to Crossfield, Alberta where they enjoy the community they have become a part of. Chelsey thrives outdoors and is discovering her inner urban farmer with her greenhouse full of tomatoes, growing some over a pound last season.
Chelsey saw a need in the community and took steps to fulfill it. Together with Co-founder Linn Delzer, they created Gypsiella, an organization that promotes and provides an avenue to network with a support system for women starting and developing their own businesses. She has successfully turned this vision into a registered non-profit with a growing member base, without loosing her vision of a warm supportive environment. Yearly, four “Jumpstarts” are coordinated with interesting speakers that engage members to Jumpstart their business.

Dahlia ElShafie-Mostafa - Women of Inspiration

Dahlia ElShafie-Mostafa

CLICK Coaching & Counselling Inc. - President & CEO

Dahlia is an Award Winning Professional Certified Master Life Coach, Counsellor & Trainer with 15 years of experience. She holds four coaching degrees from Canada & USA. Dahlia is a Ph.D. Fellow in Leadership, Policy, and Change with a focus in Counselling Psychology. She is a writer, a motivational public speaker, a leadership consultant, and a humanitarian as well. She travelled the world, succeeded to build bridges across different cultures, embraced humanity and charity and became a voice of change and empowerment for so many around the world. Dahlia Is Fluent in English, French, and Arabic and regularly appears on CBC and CTV.
She is the Founder, President & CEO of CLICK Coaching & Counselling Inc., and works hand-in-hand with husbands, wives, children, and community members using a coaching and counselling approach that is tailored to their needs, backgrounds, cultures, morals and ethics to help them make their dreams real and revive their relationships while improving their well-being, balance, and development. Her vision is to help individuals around the world, to bring out the best in them, and help them create a fulfilling way of living; and her mission is to enrich the quality of marriages and family life while promoting the development of children into happy, secure, self-sufficient, emotionally robust adults; ones who are capable of becoming respectful constructive citizens.
Dahlia is a vivid success story of a cosmopolitan Canadian herself. She has a relentless passion about education, learning, and teaching others. She holds to her credit prestigious degrees, certificates, national and international awards, and honours from all over the world. Relying on her education, practice, knowledge, and experience. The way she embraces peace and humanity and the way she listens to others without any judgement makes her an exemplary woman of inspiration with exceptional achievements in Calgary, Canada and across North America. For so many, adults and youth, men and women, Dahlia is a role model of Joy, Inspiration, Love, and an icon of Success and Achievements.
Community Service plays an important role in Dahlia's life. It is one of her main values. No wonder she was recently the winner of the 2017 Canadian Immigrants of Distinction award in Community Service as well as the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award. Moreover, the Governor General of Canada awarded her with the Sovereign Medal for Volunteers this year to crown her 30 years of volunteering that started when she was 9 years old despite her disability.

Debora Deb Bergeson - Canadian Business Chicks

Deborah (Deb) Bergeson

Calgary Fire Department - Captain

Deb is the first female Captain of the Calgary Fire Department. Working in a male dominated environment, she has persevered and trail-blazed a career as a professional fire fighter. She is a natural leader in all areas; always respectful of others and leading by example, no matter their backgrounds. She has a lifetime of achievements including winning gold at the 2000 Senior Canadian Championship in Luge.
Deb is an inspirational role model; world class athlete; hard working and humble leader. She truly cares and puts her life on the line every time she goes to work. Deb goes the extra mile in everything she does and is respected by all that work along side her in all areas of life.

Carrie Paxson - Wo

Carrie Paxson

Beauty Gram / Carrie's Closet - Owner

Carrie loves all things ecommerce and operates two Shopify online stores, as well as an Ebay store where she has earned PowerSeller status.
She is the founder of Carrie's Closet, an online, funky ladies apparel business. She has been showing customers a consistent experience of integrity on the internet since January 2013, and takes pride in her customer service and no hassle returns.
In October 2015, she acquired BeautyGram.com where she delivers luxe hot pink gift baskets anywhere in North America.
Her passion is supporting other small businesses, and she walks the talk by running a free meetup for e-commerce that she runs monthly. Further, in her sourcing efforts for Beautygram, she partners primarily with businesses that are Canadian, with strong social messaging, so that she can offer another selling channel and online champion for their businesses. More recently, she applied to be a mentor for online selling to help small businesses looking for mentorship with online selling. Last but not least, her mandate is to "not say no" to any charitable cause. She donates certificates and products constantly through her companies to anyone who asks, because she knows how hard it is to fundraise and the importance of giving back. Personally, she has raised over $40,000 through third-party fundraisers for the Canadian Liver Foundation.
Carrie is married with two step daughters, and if you ask her to describe herself she will say: "I am a wife, pet lover, mamas girl, treasure hunter, snacker and am obsessed with E-commerce."
She has raised over $40,000 for the Canadian Liver Foundation. She has done this through countless hours of dedication, hard work and a passion for the cause.

Milena Radakovic - Women of Inspiration

Milena Radakovic

Nexus Exhibits - President

Before becoming president at Nexus, Milena spent 20 years in Sales & Marketing which gave her the necessary building blocks to begin her journey with the Nexus team. She takes pride in promoting women in leadership and you can see this passion go into every aspect of what she does. Her drive and persistence allow her to deliver exceptional customer service and results to all of her clients. When she isn't working hard at Nexus or promoting women through her philanthropic efforts you can find her cheering on her two daughters on the soccer field.
Her skills do not end with her office work. She also projects a warm, cheerful attitude to our clients. Milena has resolved conflicts and handled other difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact. In the community, she goes out of her way to help people in need by organizing charity drives each December and singing with the city choir. She loves people, works hard, and always tries to lift the spirits of those around her. I believe these characteristics represent all that is good in our company and I am pleased to nominate her as a Women who Inspires me to Greatness.

Evelina Mannarino - Women of Inspiration

Evelina Mannarino

Evelina Developments Inc - President and CEO

Evelina Mannarino making great strides in a traditionally male-dominated industry. She’s a real estate developer, a property manager, a wife, a mother of two, and a role model for any woman who wonders if they truly can go after their dreams of starting their own company, or any woman who thinks that they must choose between having a successful professional and family life. She amazes by how she’s managed to break into the industry and create an award-winning brand, while at the same time juggling family life. Many women (and men) will also be inspired by Evelina's drive, tenacity, and her passion for what she does, and maybe learn a thing or two about the real estate and construction industries.
Through her businesses, Evelina has impacted may lives through the creation of jobs, the re-imaging of her neighbourhood of McCauley, and being an inspiration for women.
Evelina builds homes, but by custom building each and every one, she literally builds the dreams of the future homeowner. There is an incredible amount of care and detail which goes into each any every project to ensure that they are one-of-a-kind, and built to last a lifetime. There is no greater joy than seeing a dream become a reality, nothing with more lasting impact, and Evelina goes to great lengths to ensure that he is achieved in every project. Evelina has made it her duty to be a key part of the revitalization of this neighbourhood by building unique luxury homes there.
She’s a good role model and inspiration to women because she has faced and is successfully hurling the challenge of traditional societal views that a woman’s place is at home with her family. When she started out, she was not supported to work full time, as her family thought she should stay at home with her children, and not work at all. She has proven that she can successfully juggle both, and now she she vehemently encourages other young women to go after their dreams, and have the same opportunities as men.

Patricia McLeod - Women of Inspiration

Patricia McLeod

Western Financial Group - Associate General Counsel

Patricia McLeod, Q.C. is a lawyer and corporate director with over 23 years of in-house legal experience in regulated and deregulated companies and private practice law firms. Patricia is proficient in the areas of corporate/commercial, compliance and securities law, corporate strategy, privacy, ethics, sustainability and social responsibility and corporate governance.
She is currently the Associate General Counsel for Western Financial Group, and previously held the roles of General Counsel and Vice President and Compliance Officer for regulated and deregulated financial services and utility companies in Alberta.
Patricia has an impressive resume but it doesn’t capture her real accomplishments. Her real accomplishments are reflected in the lives of those she impacts. In the corporate arena, Patricia promotes the advancement of women in the workplace by being a strong, successful woman in an executive position; by mentoring and spotlighting women in her organizations; and by demonstrating that you can do all of that and also significantly contribute to your community. In both her formal and informal volunteer work, Patricia regularly and significantly impacts the lives of those in need – YWCA, NeighbourLink, Soup Sisters, etc; the lives of those who benefit from a more vibrant community – Calgary Film, cSpace Projects, Alberta Order of Excellence; and the lives of those who desire a stronger business community – Alberta Innovates, Calgary Co-op.

Lisa von Sturmer - Women of Inspiration

Lisa von Sturmer

Growing City - CEO

Lisa is an inspiring young entrepreneur who has built a one-of-a-kind business that strives to make the earth a better place. She has also been highly involved in causes supporting gender equality and, women in leadership, and is a wonderful role model for all women out there who are committed to making a difference and, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.
Lisa started her career in television working in professional sports for an MMA fight show and other various creative agencies as an editor, Lisa von Sturmer realized that she wanted to spend her life doing something positive that had a tangible impact on the community. In 2010, she quit her successful editing career, founded Growing City and never looked back. Now an award-winning entrepreneur and official CBC Dragons’ Den Slayer and “Game Changer”, Lisa von Sturmer has founded and co-founded two companies in the past 4 years. She recently presented her first TedxTalk on social entrepreneurship, is the current Canadian Global Ambassador for International Women's Entrepreneurship Day and is an active advocate for youth entrepreneurship.
Lisa is also a member of the Leadership Committee for the Canadian Delegation of the G20 Youth Entrepreneurship Summit where delegates from each G20 nation come together in tandem with the G20 to create policies governments can implement to encourage entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment.
Passionate about entrepreneurship as a means to creating a fulfilling life path, Lisa spends time speaking to youth groups and students on how to create businesses they love and shares the lessons she’s learned along the way.

Allison Lane - Women of Inspiration

Allison Lane

Out of Our Heads - Owner

Allison is a comedian and motivational speaker and has touched lives worldwide with her documentary and keynote speech of her journey going through cancer as a single girl going through chemo in her early thirties. Her documentary earned her appearances on talk shows and keynote speeches to motivate and inspire with her choice to make a difference with her journey using laughter (which is her field) and to inspire others to do the same.
Ally is a mentor, trusted advisor, and ambassador for all women in business. She gives back generously to all that approach her for charitable support and I have had the honor of having her emcee two of my galas for Canadian Liver Foundation. She is an authentic gal, full of heart and edgy and funny, who downplays how impactful her contribution is to this community.

Suzy Rounce - Women of Inspiration

Suzy Rounce

Switchback Creative - Owner, Creative Director, Graphic Designer

Susy Rounce is the owner, creative director and graphic designer of Switchback Creative. By her own words: "I can’t imagine doing anything else."
To her, being a visual communicator allows Susy to research and get to know companies intimately from both a strategic and creative perspective. Her 15 years of experience working with small businesses, home developers, executives, and local arts and culture organizations has taught her a lot about what matters to business owners and how to create the biggest impact based on their goals.
She cares so much about her clients! The work she delivers is filled with care and consideration. Susy leaves no stone unturned when it comes to accommodating and helping the needs of others.

Erin O'Neill - Women of Inspiration

Erin O'Neill

Nourished Babe - Chief Advocate

Erin is responsible for strategic vision of nourished babe and oversees operations and product development. Erin’s deep execution capabilities and adaptability contribute to her successes managing scale projects.

She is a dynamic relationship manager with adept skills in driving complex projects forward. She is an experienced national strategic relations manager in technology. Her former roles include responsibility as the manager for the first-ever integrated activation platform between Apple Inc. and a major Canadian telecommunications company. She also has experience in finance where she was instrumental in a keystone funding project.

Erin holds a business degree in marketing & communications from McMaster University. Dedicated mom to son Matthew and pup Kona, Erin can usually be found trekking around the scenic North Shore of Vancouver in pursuit of partners and opportunities for nourished babe, somehow creating 30 hours of productivity out of only 24 hours (to the perpetual bewilderment of + support by hubby, Tyler).

Michelle Berg - Women of Inspiration

Michelle Berg

Elevated HR Solutions - Leading Lady

Michelle Berg is the CEO and Leading Lady of Elevated, an outsourced HR provider committed to building exceptional employee experiences servicing over 50 companies across North America. She was named the Entrepreneur of the Year by Notable Awards in 2015 and recipient of Business in Calgary 20 Top Leaders Award in 2016. In addition, Michelle and her team won the top HR team in Alberta in 2016 from the Human Resources Institute of Alberta. Michelle has her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Manitoba and received the Chartered Professional in Human Resources designation in 2005. She comes to the table with over 15 years of experience in Human Resources and is known as a resident disruptor in Calgary when it comes to HR practices – she is even responsible for bringing Disrupt HR to Calgary and travels across Canada and the US to speak on culture and leadership regularly. Additionally, Michelle is a proud Board Member of Meticulon, an organization dedicated to placing adults living on the autism spectrum in quality assurance and software positions.

Lisa Makin - Women of Inspiration

Lisa Makin

A Fairytale Beginning Ltd. - Owner

Lisa started by managing her husband's air conditioning/ furnace business before buying into her first daycare. Within a very short time she managed to buy up the other two daycare's in Fort Saskatchewan virtually monopolizing the market. Not being satisfied with that, she is entertaining a move into local politics.

Pina Romolo - Women of Inspiration

Pina Romolo

Piccola Cucina - President

Pina Romolo is the Co-Founder and President & CEO of Piccola Cucina Inc., a company she shares with her mother. Piccola Cucina is an Italian specialty food manufacturer specializing in almond based creations that are free from gluten, dairy, grains, soy, corn & yeast. Products are also low in sodium, vegetarian and Kosher certified. Established in 2009 and headquartered in Winnipeg; Piccola Cucina’s products are now available across Western Canada and parts of Ontario.
Pina started her career with the Italian Chamber of Commerce in MB, and has held various managerial roles across different industries in Corporate Canada but has always been an entrepreneur and foodie at heart. This entrepreneurial spirit propelled her into her current role of chief strategist & business developer, specialty food producer, brand creator, marketer & manager of Piccola Cucina.
Under Pina’s leadership, Piccola Cucina was a finalist in the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce’s small business award in 2015, was listed in Food in Canada magazine’s Top 10 Food and Beverage Companies to watch in Canada in 2015 and in 2016 was one of the 12 businesses selected from more than 700 applications to take part in the second cohort of District Ventures, Arlene Dickenson’s Business Accelerator.
She is Vice Chair of the Board for Food and Beverage Manitoba, Member of the International Business Steering/Advisory Committee with Red River College, Member of the Canadian Health Food Association and an active contributor to the food industry in Manitoba. She lives in Winnipeg with her husband David, and 2 children, Giuliano and Olivia.

Janice Larocque - Women of Inspiration

Janice Larocque

Spirit Staffing & Consulting Inc. - President

Janice started Spirit Staffing in 1998 with a plan to become one of western Canada's most friendly and premier staffing agencies. We’ve reached that goal and are now recognized as Western Canada’s First Choice Employment Agency, providing staffing solutions across Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Spirit Staffing offers administrative and professional recruitment services for small to large multi-national corporations across various industries, not-for-profit organizations, and the public sector. Our placement specialists are some of the best in industry and will work with you to find high quality, experienced employees.

Her agency has been widely recognized by the following organizations for its contribution to the staffing industry, as well as supporting communities and people with equal opportunities. Here are some: RBC Women of Influence, CANDO. Calgary Chamber of Commerce, CAMSC - Small Business of the Year, Alberta Chamber of Commerce, Global TV - Women of Distinction (Business), Calgary Chamber of Commerce – Small Business Owner, The Minister’s Award for Excellence, Métis Nation of Alberta, Esquao Award, The Ivan Ahenakew Award, Métis Entrepreneurial Leadership Award.

Gina Marie Hunter - Women of Inspiration

Gina Marie Hunter

NuRise - Virtual Entrepreneur and Business Mentor

Gina is a wife, happily married for 7 years to Funtaine Hunter, she is a mom to 6 beautiful children, self-made virtual entrepreneur & business mentor in the Health & Wellness industry.

Beverley DeSantis

Tourism Kamloops - CEO

As Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Beverley leads and supports the Tourism Kamloops team. She is responsible for providing leadership to position the organization at the forefront of the industry as a leading travel destination and ensure the organization's mission, values and objectives are aligned to support revenue, profitability and growth. Beverley works closely with the community and industry stakeholders to leverage tourism industry relationships, and is responsible for the reputation of both the destination and the organisation; ultimately driving economic prosperity through tourism for the city of Kamloops.

Beverley’s favorite places in Kamloops (so far): Riverside Park, Victoria Street, Tranquille Avenue North Shore and of course all the local wineries, micro breweries and amazing restaurants. As a new resident, she “simply loves all the great spaces Kamloops has to offer”!

Michelle Andrishak - Women of Inspiration

Michelle Andrishak

Rural Alberta Business Centre Rocky Mountain House - Business Coach and Connector

Michelle is an enthusiastic and competent business coach, mentor and connector inspired to assist people make their business dreams a reality by providing entrepreneurs support and guidance through one on one consultations, and workshop/seminar development. Michelle developed WOW!, A networking and connecting program that promotes connections and empowers entrepreneurs in 8 rural communities across Alberta.

That's not all! This adventurous, faith filled & fun-loving Aussie can also be found out hiking in the beautiful Rockies, trying out something that will push her beyond her comfort zone (recently: singing lessons), and she loves a good coffee, laugh, and glass of wine with friends and spending quality time with her amazing family.

Deanna Burgart - Women of Inspiration

Deanna Burgart

Indigenous Engineering Inclusion Inc. - COO, Indigineer

Deanna studied for her P.Eng at SAIT, and Lakehead University. She has worked in the Engineering field for over 17 years, holding such titles as: Pipeline and Process EIT, Manager Pipeline Sustainability and Business Development, Supervisor Risk Management, Manger Pipeline Field Operations, and Program Manager (volunteer) of Alberta Women in Science Network.

Kimberly Ducherer

Kimberly Ducherer

Farm Wife Style - Owner & Designer

With the launching of FWS in 2015, she has inspired many others to start their own businesses and give back to their communities. In the fall of 2016 at her new collection launch, she raised $3500 with the help of one of her local boutique retailers and all the proceeds were donated to the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton. She is passionate, dedicated, and her bubbly personality is contagious in a group setting leaving others feeling motivated and inspired.

Lisa Tant - Women of Inspiration

Lisa Tant

Lisa Tant - ‎Creative Communications at Lisatant.com

award-winning editor, writer and media personality – recognized as one of Canada’s leading experts on fashion, beauty and style. she was editor-in-chief and associate publisher (from 2010) of FLARE, Canada’s bestselling fashion magazine, from 2004 to 2012. She'd also travelled the world attending top fashion shows, and interviewing design talents such as Karl Lagerfeld and Marc Jacobs, as well as leading celebrities including Madonna and Beyoncé. She is a popular guest on TV programs such as CTV Morning Live, Breakfast Television, The Marilyn Denis Show, eTalk and ET Canada. Prior to joining FLARE, she was the executive editor at Chatelaine, and also the publisher of Hello! Canada, the country’s fastest-growing magazine and a top seller on Canadian newsstands, in 2012.
She joined Holt Renfrew in November 2012 as Vice President, Fashion Editor, a role created for me at Canada’s leading luxury retailer. In April 2014, I was named Vice President, Exclusive Services, a newly created department dedicated to business development of high value customers across Canada. Until September 2016, she was one of the key voices in promoting Holt Renfrew to media and customers nationally.
She is on the advisory boards for CAFA (also as a judge); the FAC (Fashion Action Council); and Friends of the Design Exchange (Toronto). In September 2016, she was awarded a 2016 Industry Originator Award by Vancouver Fashion Week: “recognizing the leaders of the Vancouver fashion industry who have contributed to the advancement of the local market.”

Raman Kapoor

Dilwalk Foundation - President

DIL Walk is an acronym for Do It for Life (DIL) and is more than just a walk. DIL Walk is about Wellness, Access, Linkages and Knowledge (WALK). Co-created by Dr. Anmol Kapoor, Cardiologist and Raman Kapoor, Registered Dietitian, DIL Walk is a way of life.

This primary prevention approach targets individuals before they have a heart attack by providing access to resources (medical, community, print resources, testing and self-management), further lessening the burden on the health care system. Numerous research studies have shown that prevention is more cost effective than chronic disease management.

DIL Walk can be seen as a catalyst to generate awareness about heart disease. It helps to create linkages by having community organizations set up booths, and share knowledge. It focuses on access by abolishing language barriers and bringing local physicians and health professionals to the participants. Participants have an opportunity to attend a wide variety of classes in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and English ranging in topics such as High Blood Pressure, Physical Activity, High Cholesterol, Obesity, Sleep Apnea, Diabetes, and Stress Management. In addition, participants have their blood pressure checked, blood sugar checked, waist circumference measured, as well complete an activity and sleep apnea screen. This information is entered into a personal passport for the participant to take home. It is encouraged that participants show the passport to their physicians to further help them self-manage their health, and promote wellness.

Adedoyin Omotara - Women of Inspiration

Adedoyin Omotara

Adoniaabeauty Inc. - Founder, Adoniaabeauty

My name is Adedoyin Omotara, born in England to Nigerian parents. I have worked professionally in five different continents, an experience which taught me that beauty is as individual as it is unique.
My business, Adoniaa is a celebration of this uniqueness in women. Adoniaa includes a self-esteem enhancement component as well as an innovative line of empowering cosmetics, each one named after positive affirmations such as I am worthy, I am Authentic,I am Valuable. I am also available as a Professional makeup artist and confidence accelerator to guide you to unmask your own beauty and revel in your exquisite self.
Adoniaa… we are much, much more than just makeup. My goal through Adoniaa is to validate and inspire women of all ages to first recognize, and then come to glory in “who they really are”, through self-esteem enhancement mentoring, as well as my selection of top quality makeup products designed to unmask your exquisite individuality.

Wendy Going

TimberTech Truss - General Manager-Calgary / Managing Partner

Wendy is an extraordinary woman & leader in the male dominated 'home building' industry. She leads by example with the rare combination of strategy, integrity, humility and presence. Her ability to make others feel valued, respected, and integral to the vision, is as awe-inspiring as her passion for customer service. All evident in Timbertech winning BILD's coveted 'Partner of the Year' award. Rare is a company in this economy who is at capacity due to the 'experience' she and her team create

Lynn MacDonald

Empowerment Inc. - Head Empowerment Warrior

Lynn has been an inspiration to women as an outstanding member of the Calgary Police Service for over 20 years. She has been teaching Personal Safety & Self-Defense to people from small children, to survivors of abuse, groups of differently-abled kids and to the elderly. She served as the LGBT Community Liaison for CPS for 5 years and in that time committed herself fully to creating positive relationships and connections between the CPS and the LGBT Community.

Kimberley Van Vliet - Women of Inspiration

Kimberley Van Vliet

WaVv - WāVv - Founder & CEO

Kim uses her passion, vision, and expertise to mentor and support women in business through organizations such as Rotary and Women In Defence & Security, and has often been asked to speak in support of STEM initiatives across the country.

Kathy Carry

MNP LLP - Partner

Kathy Carry is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Principal Partner at MNP Accounting and Consulting firm. She has been practicing in her professional for over 30 years and has gained the respect and confidence from her clients, her peers and those who mentor under her.

Judy Fairburn - Women of Inspiration

Judy Fairburn

Chair of the board of directors - Alberta Innovates

Judy is an incredible role model and leader in Canada. She is the Chair of Alberta Innovates, a recently consolidated Alberta crown corporation of 4 pre-existing companies. She is also EVP of Cenovus, providing leadership of Cenovus' Zero Emission Aspiration, focused innovation strategy/governance and development of cross-sector partnerships of strategic importance. Judy was a co-founder of COSIA, Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) & past Chair, Shareholder Steering Committee

Hanna Cree

Common Good Linens - Founder & Chair of the Board

Hanna is the co-founder of CMNGD (pronounced COMMONGOOD) which is a transitional employment model, providing people living in our homeless shelters on the job experience and mentoring, at a living wage, through a linen laundry service tailored for the hospitality industry. She is a leader in the social enterprise space. Hanna is also the Social Entrepreneurship Specialist at ATB

Tea Cuk - Women of Inspiration

Tea Cuk

Tea Cuk - Entrepreneur

Tea Cuk is more than ‘just a fitness coach.’ Tea has come from a family of hardship and left behind a secure job to make it as an entrepreneur empowering women and enhancing the lives of others through nutrition, fitness, and teaching us to love our own bodies and find our strength.

Tea encourages her fitness team to support and empower other women. Twice a year she offers a up a contest where women can be nominated for a FREE fitness and meal plan and coaching with herself. The process encourages women to support and recognize other women who deserve the opportunity of being a sponsored athlete. Tea looks for a driven individual, motivated to succeed, someone who gives 110% in effort and has an athlete mentality, a friendly team player with an eagerness to share their competitor journey!

Tessa Lerbekmo-Joyes - Women of Inspiration

Tessa Lerbekmo-Joyes

StandOut Publications - Owner & CEO

Tessa Lerbekmo-Joyes was born a healthy young girl, but early on, her family learned that she was legally deaf. Learning American Sign Language (ASL) and lip reading, after graduating, Tessa realized that her disability was the cause of much difficulty in finding a career in her area of expertise. Although she struggled with building a successful publication in years past, she soon started to develop a team that shared the same mindset as her. Although Tessa is able to read lips and pick up on the environment she was in, this became a huge learning curve for the team members, themselves. Through patience, acknowledgement and a change to the “normal” communication patterns of the general public, the team pulled together in creating something beautiful.

Though a young journalistic foundation, StandOut Publications has an extensive following and readers from across Canada and on its’ social media platforms, and they’re bringing Canada and it’s 150th years of democratic freedom into each issue.

Sophia Fairweather

StartUpBySophia - Founder

In spite of being only 8-years-old, Ms. Sophia Fairweather is nominated for the WOI2017 award in recognition of her outstanding leadership and tireless efforts to overcome adversity of women in business and STEM, turning that success into a tool for addressing and raising awareness about issues of STEM in our community by creating a program called “Leading By Example.” In 2016, Sophia’s efforts allowed six organizations to provide role modelling to their struggling youth, reaching 2800 youths in Alberta, and over 30000+ Internationally. All of which has led her to start impacting Economic policy for Innovation and STEM by advising to both the Economic Development teams of the EU and UN. Her leadership has also allowed her to be successful and winning the Alberta's Leader of Tomorrow Award 2017, Venture Prize Winner 2017, Manning Innovation Award 2017 (Alberta), and ATB BoostR Business prize 2016.

Lisa Kloberdanz - Women of Inspiration

Lisa Kloberdanz

Kloberdanz - Owner

Lisa Kloberdanz has embarked on her journey with an amazing positive spirit and never lets anything bring her down. It’s natural for those who know Lisa, and everything she has been through, to be in awe at how she has handled herself and the positivity she exudes. Lisa is always there for her family foremost over anything; as a business owner she is always there to give a helping hand in any form without any hidden agenda.

Katherine Kowalchuk - Women of Inspiration

Katherine Kowalchuk

Wam Healing Centre - Owner

Katherine Kowalchuk created WAM Healing Centre to provide an alternative to the current divorce process. Katherine is being nominated for her perseverance and vision in creating this organization. She has developed a unique and much needed alternative to the regular approach to divorce and separation. Katherine’s courage to approach this field in a new and innovative way challenges the status quo will provide benefits to many.

Anna Nesterova - Women of Inspiration

Anna Nesterova

DuPoy Synthesis - Professional – DuPoy Synthesis

Anna Nesterovais being nominated for her amazing accomplishments and attitude towards challenges of being a self-made business woman in Canada, who is also an immigrant. Anna’s optimism towards life is truly infectious. On a daily basis, Anna encourages others to pursue happiness; whether that take the form of an open-minded listener over a cup of coffee, or hosting fundraiser such as Bowling for Brains. She is always someone you can rely on to be there for people in her life.

Dr. Monea - Women of Inspiration

Dr. Monea

Eye Health Centres - Owner

Dr. Monea is most deserving of this recognition. Having achieved the pinnacle of success in her chosen field Dr. Monea has turned her sights on showcasing and promoting artists and designers whose work might not otherwise be seen. Dr. Monea makes a decision every day to meet the world on her terms. She has won numerous awards, Leadership for the city of Calgary to name one. Also, Dr. Monea has been recognized by the Professional Optometrists of Alberta for her work.

Tanya Geisler

Tanya Geisler Coaching - Founder & Leadership Coach

Tanya Geisler’s life is dedicated to helping women answer their dreams or callings. She has endless commitment and heart to ensuring women step into the starring roles they are meant to do! She has developed a methodology called Step Into Your Starring Role to help women overcome their Imposter Complex and find the courage to really take the steps needed. I know because she changed my life. She helped me believe in myself so I could make real change.

Susan Robinson Burns, Q.C.

Miles Davidson LLP - Lawyer, Partner

Susan Burns has a passion for the law and her dedication to mentoring up and coming women lawyers. Susan is one of the top bankruptcy and insolvency lawyers in the city, and is known lovingly as the “Queen of Bankruptcy”. However, it is her compassion and desire to assist others that she is worthy of a Women of Inspiration award.

Dana Goldstein

Chickflicks - CEO

Through Dana Goldstein’s free DIY Video Challenges, she makes a tremendous contribution to many women’s businesses, helping them get comfortable with using their smartphone to create video content in their businesses.

Shannon Collins - Women of Inspiration

Shannon Collins

Chair Flair - CEO

Shannon Collins has created wedding décor business called Chair Flair. Shannon is huge pillar to the wedding industry and event community by donating time and décor for many events including charity organizations. Employing many young women to learn the fundamentals and pride in providing a service to people that look for that wow factor on their event.