Finalists Meet our 2017 Women of Inspiration Finalists
Celebrating 150 Women of Inspiration who inspire others to greatness! Congratulations to our #WOI2017 finalists! You have inspired someone to nominate you for the impact you make in the lives of others, the community and around the globe! And now you are one of our 2017 Women of Inspiration finalists.
Catherine Brownlee Inc - Connecting People Globally - President and CEO of CBI International
Catherine is a connector, a head-hunter, a passionate leader, speaker, volunteer and best-selling author. Life as a leader in the business community is busy enough, but Catherine always finds time to help and serve others. Catherine is Co-Chairman of the Rotary Tom Jackson Stay in School initiative and herself a dedicated and successful mentor in the program for many years. She spends her spare time as a Rotarian connecting with leaders in all Rotary Clubs, expanding her network and building relationships.
She is the President and CEO of CBI, where she brings over 30 years’ experience in executive search and development, marketing strategies and networking around the globe, across all sectors. Her database of over 75,000 contacts demonstrates her capacity to motivate, build and achieve results. Her passion for connecting people and organizations, while nurturing objectives and maintaining focus, is her forte. She was recognized by her peers for this with an award for being among the top five Women of Influence in Calgary and a Paul Harris Award through the Rotary Club of Calgary.
Catherine developed and regularly presents the popular seminar, “How to get the job of your dreams.” She co-authored the book "Want to Work in Oil and Gas?" The book reveals strategies for finding great jobs in Calgary and was recognized as the number one book in Calgary within a few months of its release.
Calgary Sports and Entertainment - Catering Supervisor
Kim is employed by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Group as a Catering Supervisor. She is a busy mother of three active children. She supports many causes as requested but her main efforts belong to Kids Cancer Care, Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity, Samaritans Purse. Kim is always ready to step up for a cause.
Kim has a passion for volunteering and giving back to the community that she lives in. She encourages others to begin volunteering and sets an example for her children. She has a huge heart and is always ready to step forward and assist with whatever cause comes her way. She gives back every day in some way by words and actions. Kim has started a Facebook group called "Heart to Heart" where she posts her volunteering opportunities. Kim does all the organizing and background work and all people have to do is show up and join her.
Town of White Court - Mayor
Maryann 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ammolite Strategies Inc. - CEO
Cara Wolf is the CEO of Nu-Worx Innovations. With over 25 years of executive leadership, Cara has advised over 300 companies ranging from multi-national Fortune 500 companies to entrepreneurial start-up operations including 3 of her own; one of which was a software development firm. Cara has created over 100 gainful employment opportunities for Albertans. She holds a BComm in Marketing, an MBA in Corporate Finance and Entrepreneurship and a Certified Management Consultant designation. She has sourced and advised on millions of dollars of financings. She lead the Consulting Management Practice for the Business Development Bank of Canada in Calgary and supervised 1000 companies in her portfolio. She won numerous awards provincially and nationally for her strategic planning initiatives and guest lectures regularly on the topics of innovation, entrepreneurship and female leadership. She has mentored over 100 companies at the start-up stage and frequently judges technology innovation pitch competitions. Her industry service includes coaching and mentorship at local, provincial and national levels. She currently serves as an Executive Director with Thunderbird Greentech Inc., Advisory Board Member Hunter Centre ENV and Advisory Board Member SPARX Innovation Theatre Global Petroleum Show. Past Board positions include Calgary Council of Advanced Technologies, Westpower Equipment, TMAC and Blackfoot Hockey Association. She mentors and speaks regularly for NEXT Google for Entrepreneurs, UCalgary, Innovate Calgary, MRU, SAIT, ATB-X, Alberta Status of Women and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 - 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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
Inspiring Possibilities/Gold Medal Inspirations/Super-Fly Adaptive Apparel - Olympic Gold Medalist, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist
Michelle grew up in a blended family of 10 children. She learned about teamwork, 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 go on to realized her dream and competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics winning an Olympic Gold Medal in Synchronized Swimming. She became the 1st Albertan to ever win an Olympic Gold Medal in a Summer Olympic games and was inducted into Alberta and Canada’s Sports Halls of Fame, The Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and International Aquatic Sports Hall of Fame. Michelle was also awarded the prestigious Order of Canada as well as both the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals in recognition of her continued work and contribution to the community.
Michelle continues to support the value of sport – from hosting the Michelle Cameron Invitational for over 25 years with swimmers from across Canada … to Assistant Chief du Mission for the World Aquatic Games in Perth Australia in1991 and Athlete Services Officer in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic in which she was in charge of Headquarters for our Canadian Athletes. She continues to be involved with the Olympic movement and to support upcoming athletes to this day, right down to the grass root level with organizations like Kids Sport, Right to Play and Special Olympics.
Michelle has a keen Entrepreneurial Spirit. Her company “Gold Medal Inspirations”- mission is to Inspire All to embrace their full potential. She speaks openly and honestly about over coming 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’s passion project right now is Super–Fly Adaptive Apparel, a company started by her parents at the ages of 75 and 77…helping those with limited mobility.
She has been on the board of directors for many companies and organizations including; Rogers Broadcasting, Canadian Coaching Association, Upstart Council of Champions, Special Olympics, Parks Foundation, and Canadian Olympian Alumni, Canada Sports Hall of Fame, Founding Council Member of the WSA – a global association of women speakers.
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 - “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 when Michelle was the Co-Chair of the 2008 United Way Campaign.
Married over 25 years to fellow Olympian and Volleyball player Al Coulter and is most proud of being the mother of four very active wonderful children.
Joy Socks - Chief Joy Injector & Coach
Leona started Joy Socks after her son had a brain tumour removed and people were commenting in the hospital on her goofy socks and saying they wished they had a pair. Three weeks later she started to gift wrap goofy socks and donate them to charities and hospitals. People called them Joy 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 being diagnosed with half a dozen brain and spinal tumours she’s realized even more the preciousness of life and that joy is the fuel we need to keep moving 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.
Leona is known for her bold approach, quick wit combined with her 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 spreads joy by giving away thousands of Joy Socks to people in charities, shelters and hospitals across Calgary and Alberta. She believes that a random act of kindness in an unexpected fun gift, like JoySocks can bring a smile to a person’s face and help them find a spark of joy. People have worn them for three weeks straight, washing them in the hospital sink at night because they give them that wee bit of courage to keep moving forward and you can’t help but to smile when you see them. People have cried upon receiving their joy socks…the response has been overwhelming.
Leona is planning to increase her joy spreading efforts by starting the Joy Foundation where she 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Work EvOHlution - President, Owner, PhD. Registered Psychologist
Dr. Laura is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, a mother of three and a serial entrepreneur based in Calgary, Alberta. She is a sought-after authority and thought leader on workplace psychology in Canada and she speaks, writes, and is regularly interviewed by the media on topics related to workplace mobility/flexibility, career and leadership trends. Above all else, she is a leader and mentor who is passionate about making a difference in people’s lives.
Dr. Laura holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Calgary, where her research focused on distributed leadership and teamwork. 2003, Dr. Laura has published extensively on the critical success factors for effectively leading distributed teams, including co-authoring book on the topic (Growing the Virtual Workplace, 2008), and multiple presentations at international conferences. Her newest co-founded venture, Work EvOHlution, provides innovative assessment and development support for mobile or geographically distributed workers, leaders, and teams. Work EvOHlution was recognized as one of the 50 most innovative new organizations in Alberta, and continues to develop cutting edge tools organizations around the world. The newly developed assessment Distributed Worker Profiler was most recently profiled in Scientific American magazine.
Dr. Laura is the founder of Calgary Career Counselling and Canada Career Counselling, which helps Canadians choose and navigate their careers. She is also the founding partner and owner of The Leadership Success Group (2009), which specializes in the development of leadership, teams, and culture in organizations. Since 2009, Dr. Laura has served as an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of Calgary, where she teaches and supervises students at the undergraduate and Master’s levels. She released a psychological thriller last year, Losing Cadence, which is gaining traction worldwide and her dream is for it to become a Hollywood movie. She hopes to inspire others to make time for their passions amidst busy lives.
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.
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.
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 losing her vision of a warm supportive environment. Yearly, four “Jumpstarts” are coordinated with interesting speakers that engage members to Jumpstart their business.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Indigenous Engineering Inclusion Inc. - COO, Indigineer
Deanna is a self-proclaimed "Indigeneer," dynamic speaker, mentor, instructor and facilitator as well as an engineer and technologist. She has worked in technical and non-technical roles in oil, gas and pipeline operations and projects in Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan for many years. She has also spent many years developing her contract teaching experience and has developed oil, gas and pipeline curricula including an international assignment in Kazakhstan. An adoptee from the Fond du Lac First Nation in Northern Saskatchewan, born in Alberta, Deanna spent her formative years in Singapore.
Deanna demonstrates her commitment to inclusion by introducing science and technology as a potential career path to young women and Indigenous youth. As the President of Indigenous Engineering Inclusion Inc., Deanna has founded her company based on principles of sustainability, mentoring and inclusion of Indigenous perspectives. She openly speaks on her challenges in reconnecting with her Indigenous roots, navigating her own mental wellness, and lifting others on their personal and professional journeys.
At home, she is a mother of three, first time grandma, and is fully supported by her husband, Jonathan. She is rejuvenated at karaoke and was classically trained in piano and voice.
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.
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.
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.
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
WaVv - WāVv - Founder & CEO
Kimberley founded WāVv over nine years ago to follow in her family’s legacy of service to Canada through Aerospace, Defence and Security. As a third generation Van Vliet she specifically is uniquely positioned from the civilian side ensuring that the best technology, research, and innovation is provided to the women and men in our armed forces. WāVv was created to diligently engage in securing those vital elements.
Global efforts require global partners which is why the business linkage of the Energy sector is valued. Recognized as one of the top five Canadian influential women in Defence, Kimberley has enabled the alignment of the two sectors. Solutions and innovative technology requirements in both sectors are remarkably similar. WāVv facilitates the cross sector acquisition of solutions and services. Coordinating with three critical partners Government, Industry, and Private Sector, securing innovative solutions while supporting research and development continue to ensure the right solution is provided.
Kimberley is the founder and creator of CONVERGX™ - the first conference of it’s kind bringing together both the Energy and Aerospace, Defence & Security industries together. The purpose is to discuss opportunities, technologies, problems, solutions and opportunities that both industries and those that affect and are affected by them have.
As a result of all her work, Kimberley and her team at WaVv have now been asked to work closely with NATO on a variety of projects, and has been asked to sit on the NATO Industrial Advisory Group.
Her work continues beyond her current efforts in a variety of philanthropic endeavours and associations such as, AIAC’s Technology and Innovations Committee (reporting directly to the Minister of Industry for the Government of Canada), Sits on both the Training and Government relations committees for IPAC, Calgary Stampede – Innovations Team, Women in Defence & Security (WiDS) – Director - Western Canada, Rotary International, Alberta Aviation – Director Aerospace, among others.
Kimberley received her Bachelors Degree at University of Alberta, a four year old son and makes Calgary her home.
Kimberley is an active board member or association member that includes:
Industrial Participants Association of Canada (IPAC)
Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC)
Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI)
Canadian Energy Executives Association (CEEA)
Global Offsets and Countertrade Association (GOCA)
Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.