Nominees Women of Inspiration Awards - Deadline to Nominate June 15, 2019
5th Annual Women of Inspiration AwardsCanada’s Premier Awards Gala recognizing women leading by example and inspiring those around them to be more and do more.
Women of Inspiration are entrepreneurs, professionals, thought leaders, visionaries, everyday heroes, game changers, movers and shakers and difference makers in our community. They are everyday heroes and inspirational leaders and catalysts from all walks of life making an impact locally, nationally and globally.
When we elevate women (and men) in our network, community and workplace we create role models for others to follow in their footsteps. When you support Women of Inspiration, you are taking action to embrace diversity and be a visible leader and champion of women. You are honoring them for their accomplishments, significant strides towards building their legacy and acknowledging their contribution personally and professionally.
Embrace Diversity – Nominate a Male Champion – Power Partner
We have recognized the importance to elevate men who SupportHER and champion for women. We are excited to announce 2019 Category Power Partners to acknowledge the male champions who empower women.
Take this opportunity to connect and be inspired by women who are leading by example. Whether you are a friend, colleague, sponsor or supporter, take this opportunity to celebrate you and be inspired to do more and be more.
2019 Women of Inspiration Awards Gala – Calgary, AB – October 3 and Toronto, ON – October 9
Nominate a Woman of Inspiration Click here to Nominate!
See our list of 23 Diverse Categories
Have you been nominated? Congratulations on your nomination. Please click here to complete your nomination package by June 24, 2019. Late entries will not be accepted.
Caravan Counselling - Psychotherapist, Trainer, Author, and Master coach
Giti Caravan has changed so many people's lives for better, she has been able to make rapid changes. She has been able to take people out from clinical depression in an amazingly fast way. she is an author, and she has been to treat stature in one session.
RBC - Regional Vice President, Integrated Markets
I saw Sandy Pound speak as a Panelist at The Nest Conference, and was struck by her story. Her personal resilience despite setbacks is inspiring. As she was not feeling supported by her previous company after an injury, she found a supportive environment at RBC. She has risen to the role of Regional Vice President, Integrated Markets, Royal Bank at RBC, and is now
responsible for Integrated Markets across 23 Retail branches in Calgary. She has been in the Financial Services industry for 30+ years and has held a variety of roles leading teams at regional and national levels across Canada in Retail Markets, Wealth Management, and Private Banking. Her comments on the panel showcased her inspiring life experiences, and a women who inspires others.
Sandy is an active volunteer in Calgary with a passion to support mental health issues and Canada’s youth. She is currently serving as Vice Chair on the board of Distress Centre Calgary, executive sponsor of RBC’s Employee Resource Group PRIDE and a mentor to several youths starting out in their careers through RBC’s Thrive and Career launch programs.
Youth Singers of Calgary - Founder and CEO
Shirley Penner is the Founder and CEO of the Youth Singers of Calgary, and has been an incredibly inspiring leader of this organization since 1985. Starting with a small group of 26 students, over 34 dedicated years Shirley has turned the Youth Singers into a highly successful performing arts youth organization. Her philosophy is shaped by her lifetime of involvement and passion for the performing arts. Shirley has helped 4000+ young people in building their self-esteem and encouraging their talents and imaginations, while challenging each individual to pursue their hopes and dreams. Shirley’s team puts on 100+ performances a year, including two main stage shows at the Jubilee Auditorium that are incredible. Her programs not only include choral groups for children and youth but also for adults of all ages and persons with disabilities. The Youth Singers continue to win competitions all over the world, which is a testament to this excellent program and community. A true women of inspiration, Shirley’s lifetime of achievement and continued focus on each amazing Youth Singers of Calgary year is worth celebrating!
BDO Canada LLP - Senior Consultant
I believe Priscilla is deserving of this prestigious award because of her life-long commitment and achievements in advocating and supporting women through their leadership development and career advancement in the business world by serving as a role model, through active mentorship and demonstrating strong leadership and commitment presenting her cause in many local and national conferences.
Priscilla believes that supporting women through their educational and professional paths is the road that will lead them to progress to leadership positions in the business world. In 2016-17, Priscilla founded and led Carleton Women in Business (CUWIB), a not-for-profit organization that seeks to empower women by bringing awareness to the discrepancies present in women’s rights, equality and social justice. She articulates issues in health, education and entrepreneurship in both public and private sectors as they relate to economic and social development. Today, Priscilla oversees the allocation of the budget and provides advisory services to the executive team as the Chair of board’s association. She is also well-versed in translating the company’s missions and goals into operating plans with clear benchmarks and annual objectives. Priscilla also oversees two additional not-for-profits as a board member. The first, OurWrite, strives to build, maintain and support female-centric schools and community centres. These centres focus on providing young girls in developing nations the opportunity to learn. Specifically, girls get the chance to build basic skills such as, reading, writing, and comprehension. In the future, these basic building blocks ensure their long-term employment and economic well-being. The second, United World Alliance, serves to facilitate the harmonious integration of immigrants into our multicultural society by fostering friendships between young people from here and elsewhere. UWA further believes that helping young immigrants to participate in recurring group activities, sportive or cultural, is an excellent way to foster their integration into our mores and into our way of life.
Priscilla is a very experienced facilitator, public speaker and thought leader. Her recent speaking experiences include being invited as a keynote speaker for CAPMUN Innovation Conference and for the UPS Women Leadership Development Program, being interviewed by the Minister of Small Business, Bardish Chagger, and the Facebook Policy team for the #SheMeansBusiness 24h Campaign, as well as being featured on a CTV newscast on behalf of a not-for-profit organization.
At a young age, Priscilla knew that she wanted to make a difference in the world around her. She has always motivated and encouraged people to STAND UP, individually or collectively in order to create solutions to counteract inequalities not only in the business world but in the every-day world where our experiences and our individual expressions shape the direction of the world and its citizens.
Priscilla graduated summa cum laude in 2017, earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Carleton University, Ottawa with a concentration in accounting. After working at MNP as a Consultant and being on the front line of the emerging industry of artificial intelligence for the business and practice development, Priscilla joined BDO Canada LLP as a Senior Consultant to provide enterprise risk management, information technology enhancement, business process improvement, and internal audit solutions for public and private enterprises. Priscilla has been working in the Consulting sphere while pursuing her CPA Ontario designation and CISA certification, and while overseeing three not-for-profits as a board member, as well as many conferences, either as an attendee or as an invited guest speaker.
skritswap - Founder & CEO
I am writing to provide enthusiastic support for Melissa Kargiannakis’, Founder & CEO of skritswap, nomination, and application to the Woman of Inspiration Award.
I only very recently met Melissa when I started working for skritswap in early April of 2019. In the short time that I have known her, Melissa has demonstrated strong leadership skills. She has fostered a strong system of support throughout the company as she leads by example and can constantly be heard asking what she can do to help us, which in turn encourages everyone else to strive to help each other as well. Melissa's constant words of encouragement have created a safe work environment where we feel mistakes aren't detrimental and can be overcome. She is mindful of our work-life balance, often encouraging us to take time off when we've been working more than usual.
Melissa has hired a diverse group of employees, with nearly 60% of our staff being female, almost 30% of which are both female and visual minorities. We also have a wide range of previous job experiences, ages, and educational backgrounds. She is mindful of ensuring that our employees with young children make it home at a reasonable hour, even if it means they have a shorter workday.
Melissa is an inspiration to us all. Being a CEO is difficult as is, but being a young, female, CEO, especially in the technology industry, adds multiple layers of difficulties to an already difficult job. However, Melissa continues to prove every day that being young and female is not an obstacle if you work hard, believe in yourself, and empower others to help you achieve your goals. Her professionalism and her ability to articulate in high-pressure situations is a joy to witness. Her drive, her passion, and her thoughtfulness have made working for skritswap an honor and a privilege that I look forward to every day.
Jaden Sterling Success Academy - SupportHER
I am nominating Jaden in the SUPPORT HER category - Jaden is a phenomenal advocate for women, his reasons deep-rooted in his upbringing. He is one of the most authentic beings I know - recognizing from an early age, despite his childhood struggles, that if he was going to be successful he needed an edge that most others didn’t think of, which was getting information from the most trusted source he knew. This source was already inside of him – his intuition.
Today, a modern-day alchemist, he is influencing and changing lives empowering others to have the Midas touch, learning how to access that special place inside themselves, so that they too can experience true success and live a life of freedom.
Community Now! Magazine - Publisher
I'm nominating the Founder, Publisher of Community Now! Magazine. From the moment we met her passion and commitment has been unwavering. Krista loves people and their stories. Community Now! The magazine focuses on Community, Education, Business & Innovation. Personally, as the Community Connector for We Are Calgary these elements are key in our city. Highlighting and bringing more awareness to how this is happening around us and the value of its contribution, needed more attention and she is bringing us the stories This improves day to day life, and our economy. She is grassroots with a focus to expand globally taking on content to expand in her first year of publication. It inspires me to continue to connect Calgary and learn more about the stories in our own backyard and how they contribute globally.
GuruShots - Owner / Founder
CPA/CMA, MBA who decided to Pursuit Happiness and become a poor photographer, to chase after his dream!
Maison Blu - House of Glam and Maison Blu Academy - Founder
Rola Muhieddine is the Founder of the sought-after Beauty brand Maison Blu - House of Glam, and Maison Blu
She's a Master Makeup Artist, an Educator, and wears the title of Leader to her growing team of industry
professionals under her umbrella of beauty divisions. Rola has nearly 20 years of makeup artistry experience and a
lifetime of growing up in the beauty industry. Her family has owned and operated several salons around the city and
across the globe from the time she was born. It comes as no surprise that Rola would grow to love and pursue a
similar path. Today, she describes the word "business" as a simple formula - whether you are selling an oil tank or a
lipstick, you succeed only when you listen to the demands of your client and offer great service in return; the rest sells
Maison Blu is "home" to Beauty Services, products and Education. Her team of beauty professionals offer an array of
services in-house true to Rola's vision and core values. Her Globally recognized signature artistry has given her a
strong social media platform and is the foundation for the brand's image and her Beauty Education Academy.
Her 10 year goal: taking Blu to new heights she says! There's no doubt this industry leader and mom of 3, with her
track record of slow and steady growth will be anything less.
Jamieandkimfitpatrickfitness - Authentic Leader Award
I started following Kim because she was a natural leader. Then when she welcomed me to her group with open arms I was inspired by her genuine kindness, empathy and honesty. She is the real thing. She and her husband have built their business from the ground up. They have built an empire. They change the lives of women and men. They help make people see that healthy lives don’t have to be hard. They are true to their word. She recently launched another company Legacy and I’m positive it is going to go straight to the top. She is an inspiration to all who meet her. Recently she was invited by none other than Rachel Hollis to speak with her!!! Are you kidding me right now?? She reaches out to those in need and is there 110% for everyone who needs her. She gives it her all and gives back to the community. She is an woman who believes that we must inspire our other “sisters” and stop comparing ourselves. This is why I wish to nominate Kim. She is one in a million and we need more women like her in our world.
skritswap - Founder and CEO
Dr. Jean Kim & Lilit Simonyan
Live Your Potential - Co-Founders
Live Your Potential (LYP) is a true SupportHER organization that changes lives of women in our communities. It was founded in 2016 by two immigrant women, Dr. Jean Kim & Lilit Simonyan, who shared the mission to educate, empower, and enable emerging women leaders to truly live their full potential. Through its signature Women’s Leadership Program as well as continued mentorship of Lilit and Jean, LYP has provided numerous women 1) the clarity to know who she is and what she has to offer 2) the confidence to be seen, be heard and to ask for what she deserves and 3) a community of like-minded women who are there to support and hold each other accountable. From creating a safe space that allows moms to bring their babies during the program to taking phone calls from program alumnae late at night to discuss their upcoming performance reviews, Jean and Lilit are dedicated mentors who go above and beyond to support the women of the LYP community. Under their genuine care and leadership, LYP has grown into a unique sisterhood of dozens of women who celebrate their worth, lead with confidence and impact, and also inspire others to do the same.
Shobha Music - Founder
Shobha is an award-winning singer, songwriter and recording artist based in Canada, and is one half of the writing/production team The Fourth Floor with producer/songwriter Rob Wells. Since debuting on the music scene in 2008 with her first album Work in Progress, Shobha’s music has been garnering attention from around the world. After signing a worldwide publishing deal with Sony/ATV, Shobha has been busy writing for many top artists. She has contributed to the soundtrack of Degrassi Next Class on Netflix with five new songs, including the main theme as both artist and songwriter.
Barre Body Studio - Owner
Q: WHAT'S YOUR WHY?
A: Connecting with others through movement and music.
Q: DESCRIBE YOUR CLASS STYLE?
A: Full body, mind strengthening, soul cleansing sweat session.
Q: WHAT DOES BEING A PART OF THE BBS TRIBE MEAN TO YOU?
A: Connection. Connecting with like-minded, strong individuals, is so empowering. Being part of the BBS Tribe fills me up from the inside out.
Exvera Communications Inc. - CEO
Brittany is not only a successful and passionate entrepreneur who has founded a great PR business, but she also puts a tremendous amount of her energy into supporting the community, especially women. She won BC Business top 30 under 30 and was also recognized by Langara College as an outstanding alumni. She founded TEDxGastownWomen and produced two sold-out conferences that each featured lineups of women speakers with important stories to be told about things like women in politics, menopause, choosing to be child-free and cultural gender challenges. She also regularly mentors and speaks for youth and women for organizations such as Young Women in Business and Her Campus. She leads by example and sits on the advisory boards of technology startups. Her PR firm works in the technology industry, which is very male-dominated. She has hired women to support her business and does what she can to help them flourish.
Leadership Windsor-Essex - United Way - Director of Leadership & Training/Director of Leadership Windsor-Essex
Sherrilynn Colley-Vegh is an award winning Leadership Consultant and Director of Leadership Development & Training, Director of Leadership Windsor-Essex at United Way. An entrepreneur, retired Principal and Chief Communications Officer with over 30 years’ experience as Educator, Administrator, Speaker and Community Leader. She developed/taught Leadership Programs and Administrator Qualification Programs for school boards, universities and International Baccalaureate Organization.
She is a Leadership Columnist for Biz X International Magazine, and a Leadership Consultant (Venture Success team) at WeTechAlliance Regional Technology Innovation Center. She has 4 degrees -Masters (Administrative Leadership) and studies music management at Detroit Institute of Music Education. Globally she has done missionary work, is the author of the “Imagine the Possibilities” series released in August (explore non-traditional female roles), wrote a youth advise column -international newspaper. Her passion is travelling (50 countries) for business, education, service -Founder/Chair 40 Leaders Under 40, Vice-Chair Build A Dream (movement to get girls into non-traditional roles), Rotary 1918, Women of Windsor in Business, Women’s Economic Forum, Women of Windsor and Women United. Awards -Athena Award -Windsor Essex Chamber of Commerce-Business Excellence Awards, 20 Women of Impact, Odette Community Leader, Leadership Windsor-Essex Alumni of Distinction, Women of Windsor 2018, Gloria Nane Award Journalism/Service.
Arthur J. Gallagher Canada Limited - Client Service Representative
Arlene is an inspiration just by her example. At 4 years of age her family was forced to flee from their home in Africa and make a new life in Canada. At age 12 her story was published in her novel "The Immigrant Child". She understood at a young age how adversity offers an opportunity to be our greatest self. At twenty she strives to be the voice of the future and discover ways to influence the world in a positive way. She believes she can make a difference by being the change she wants to see in the world.
Her strong Christian faith and family bonds coupled with a wisdom beyond her years have recently guided her through an unexpected challenge. Her husband of only a 3 years was recently diagnosed with a mental illness. Despite suggestions that she can start over and this does not need to affect her own future she has stood beside him and together they are forging the path of his recovery. She is a beacon of love and light in a world hungry for a renewal of vibrant human connection. This young woman’s example renews my own commitment to lead with Love.
Ministry of Finance - Demand Planner
Yosra is an award-winning supply chain expert that specializes in inventory management and logistics. She currently manages a multi-million dollar portfolio for one of the fastest growing Government of Ontario crown corporations. Yosra is dedicated to smashing gender and racial barriers in her field. In 2015, she was awarded the Lincoln M. Alexander Award by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor due to the strides she has made towards eliminating racism in her community. Yosra has a positive relationship with community leaders and uses every opportunity to share her personal and professional journey in Supply Chain Management. Yosra has been invited as a speaker to share her Supply Chain expertise and journey with Seneca College, McMaster University, Dufferin Peel Catholic School Board & York Region District School Board. Yosra is currently working to develop a series of online courses geared towards optimizing Supply Chain processes for small business owners. Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs and Yosra is looking to positively impact and help women who often face barriers due to anti-Black discrimination. Yosra has been awarded several awards for excellence in SCM and was recently named one of Canada's 100 Black Women to Watch.
Travel off the path - Global influencer award
Kashlee has it all “seemingly” she was a successful realtor, lived in an amazing home, drove an expensive car had crazy expensive clothes and lived a lavish lifestyle but something was missing from her life. She was young successful and had life in the Palm of her hand. Then it unravelled bit by bit. She dug her way out - met the man of her dreams and they ended up selling 90% of what they own and started traveling the world. She started a hobby travel blog which ended up becoming a business because she found a niche that people needed. Her honesty and down to earth attitude and light hearted approach to writing has made her a author of a best selling book. She now works for BOSSBABE in California but gets to travel the world and is a sought after by many travel companies for her uncanny skill for telling what the tourist needs to know. She is a force to be reckoned with. Plus she is willing to share with anyone and everyone and wants to give back.
Student - Honors Psychology Student
Nestled in the beauty of the boreal forest, in sub-arctic Quebec, lies the ancient village, Waskaganish. From this historic location is an outstanding young lady, Melissa Gilpin. She has an incredible story of resilience, determination, and courage. Melissa continues to move through her journey, transforming the tragic situations she has experienced in her short life. In the face of rare adversity, which included the loss of her beloved son, and followed by a severe and life threatening decline in her health which led to many interruptions of her pursuit of higher education, she refused to allow depression or negative influences to make her choices for her. With a positive attitude, Melissa worked very hard to redirect her life after each experience, choosing not to succumb to these tragedies but to get through each one. Melissa is able to use her exceptional inner strength to draw on these lessons in order to offer inspiration to others: one-to-one informal discussion or in front of an audience. She is passionate about mental health awareness and volunteering. In addition, she is interested in Indigenous issues -Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls, quality education, and clean drinking water for Indigenous children.
The Beach Audio - President/CEO
Lanny Williamson is the owner of The Beach Audio and one of the biggest supporters of Women in the arts I have ever seen. Whether he is mentoring a young female artist, a woman in film or me a voice over artist for the past 20 years and owner of She Devil Productions, this man is the man behind the women. I met Lanny 20 years ago, when I was just starting my voice over career and I wouldn't be the signature voice for Calgary Jewelry, Chatters Hair Salon, FYI Doctors etc. if it wasn't for him. And after being laid off from three different companies he encouraged me to start She Devil Productions and even provided me with free offices and use of his facilities for the past 8 years to make sure I was successful. This man has been a legend in Calgary and at 76 years old he is still mentoring, encouraging and standing by woman in the arts. He is my man of inspiration and I truly believe he should win this award.
Sincerely, Diana Ruff
Calgary Fire Department - Lieutenant
With vehemence, Mary Fischer has applied her inclusive and supportive approach to life to forever change the Calgary Fire Department and its members. Lieutenant Fischer has been a Calgary firefighter since 2002. As a trailblazer in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Mary has never strayed from being her authentic self. A former teacher, a passionate outdoor enthusiast, and community volunteer, Mary has established and served on countless committees within our City including those dedicated to mental health resilience, peer support, employee recruitment, performance standards, and technical training. Her dedication to making our communities better, to supporting under-represented populations, to providing enviable service, and to promoting kindness and humanity is leaving its mark on our society. Mary has a unique and honourable approach to blending intelligence with humility and humour, as well as merging the tough, strenuous, dirty, and traumatic work of firefighters with compassion and sensitivity. Daily, Mary inspires acts of courage, altruism, and positive change. Mary inspires SupportHER’s to expand their realms of influence. She fosters harmony. She leads by example. She is an extraordinary mentor and role model. Mary Fischer is making, and will continue to make, huge strides for equity as an Unsung Hero.
WOW 1 DAY PAINTING! - Franchise Owner with WOW 1 DAY PAINTING!
A mother, grandmother, mentor and business owner, Sandra inspires those around her everyday with her ability to achieve balance while constantly giving back. As the owner and operator of WOW 1 DAY PAINTING in Barrie, Ontario, Sandra develops, mentors and leads an award winning team while finding time for her growing family and giving back to her community. Sandra takes the time to give back to the community she lives in, partnering with Run for the Cure, the Food Bank and a local women’s shelter. A cancer survivor, Sandra learned what she was really capable of and passes on this strength and tenacity to those around her. In true Sandra fashion, she credits her mentors and family with instilling her with the confidence to build a successful business and gives this back to her mentees and community by becoming their constant cheerleader and champion.
O2E Brands - Director, Creative Strategy
Katie brings a global view of the world to her daily life, strongly influenced by her early days as a student at Georgetown University and the London School of Economics, witnessing the rise of citizen journalism, blogs, and the very early stages of social media. Throughout her career Katie has worked with clients throughout North America and honed her craft as a storyteller, beginning a path of helping others tell their stories. She leveraged this skill as Executive Director of the Projecting Change Film Festival, curating a 10-day documentary film festival and speaker series, focused on how we can all have a stronger impact in the world. Katie’s true leadership superpower is enrolling people in projects and ideas, knowing that winning people's hearts is often more important than winning their minds. She helps people understand their unique role in a project or initiative to ensure they are fully bought in and in this way inspires action in her community locally and globally.
O2E Brands - Director, Business Solutions & Delivery
Theresa is a woman who leads from the heart, whether you connect for a moment at a bus stop or you’ve known her for 10 years - you feel valued, seen, connected. Her legacy statement sums up who she is - “I am light on my feet as I travel through life with my playful, caring and thoughtful spirit. I am a good friend, I work hard and have a no quit attitude when it comes to the people I love and commitments I make. I am present, connected and positive.” Despite being a busy executive, she is at any given moment mentoring 6+ people to achieve their goals, career pathing and balance. She is a founding member of Brands for Better, a community focused group of executives bringing together Vancouver's top brands, influencers, innovators and philanthropists to focus on the city’s most pressing needs, social or environmental. Theresa inspires through her true connections to people and community.
Ontario Public Service - Authentic Leader Award
It’s rare that you come across an authentic leader like Debbie Burke-Benn. An accomplished and humble leader, an inspiring mentor and a true advocate for gender parity and inclusive workplace – this is how I would describe Debbie Burke-Benn.
She is a values-based leader who has worked both in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors leading transformational change projects that have positively affected lives of many Ontarians and Canadians. While delivering outstanding business results, she focuses on people working with her - leading them with courage, confidence and integrity. She asks questions, listens and considers different opinions, which usually makes her team comfortable to share their honest opinion. As an inclusive leader, Debbie Burke-Benn mentors women, supports and provides opportunity to grow and empowers them to take leadership roles.
Carmen A. Vetian Professional Corporation - Partner/Owner
Carmen is a local small business owner who wholeheartedly desires to achieve the best outcomes for her clients. She has overcome multiple adversities in her life all of which, most people would use as excuses to not strive to be better themselves, personally or professionally. Carmen has pushed herself and strives to better herself as well as the many people she comes in contact with on a daily basis. Since attaining her CPA designation and opening her own accounting practice, she never fell back on those possible excuses. In addition to running a bustling accounting practice, she encourages her employees to better themselves as employees and individuals, supporting their ambitions for additional training and/or education. In addition to the many meetings she has with current and potential clients, Carmen is active in many not-for-profit agencies in the Calgary area.
As an individual, Carmen may not see herself as an inspiration, which all the more reason she is. She has never been a person to boast about her accomplishments. This humility is one reason I feel many people are drawn to her in both her professional and personal relationships.
Emergenetics Canada - CEO
Deanna’s high standards are exactly the reason we get to have Emergenetics in Canada. For years Emergentics has been in the US, Asia and Europe but they were never able to find someone good enough to carry their brand in Canada… that is until they met Deanna. It wasn’t as easy as Deanna buying the rights to Emergenetics, she had to go through an intensive, arduous interview process and only then were they confident enough to have her purchase the rights. Deanna is a born leader and very successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. She simultaneously runs Emergenetics, the registered charity Empowering Minds, attends and donates to numerous other charities in this city all while also being a part-time student at AU Arts (Formerly ACAD) in glass blowing. Deanna is an innovator, by nature of her Emergenetics Profile you can see she gets her energy from being conceptual and social which neuroscientifically describes her as, imaginative, intuitive about ideas, a visionary all while being relational, socially aware, empathic and intuitive about people. She is also a well rounded business women by having the qualities of being a clear/practical thinker and logical problem solver. She is a woman of inspiration.
Diyas for Diversity - Founder & Director
Her Twitter summary says it all: “Mother. Wife. Engineer. Writer. Catalyst. Journalist & Columnist”. Prajwala packs it all in, deftly weaving her many skills to suit the challenges at hand. I am nominating her for your Millennial Leader Award based on the exceptional contributions she makes in challenging us to reflect deeply on what we think we know about cultures and society. In a period when accurate, insightful journalism about immigration and diversity isn’t readily found, Prajwala writes about her own lived experience as well as crafting clear-eyed renderings of the circumstances of others - international students, refugees, permanent residents - who’ve chosen to make Newfoundland and Labrador home ( see https://muckrack.com/prajwala-dixit ). In so doing, she’s building empathy and a new level of awareness around what it takes to truly embrace differences. Conscious of the need to foster understanding and a sense of belonging early in life, in 2018 she spent weeks hand-painting and selling diyas (clay oil lamps lit for Diwali) in order to raise funds for diverse children’s reading materials for our public libraries. Her Diyas for Diversity project raised in excess of $3K in its first year and Prajwala will most certainly exceed that in 2019.
Intelex Technologies - Director, Learning and Development
Siobhan is one of the most inspiring and hard-working women I have ever met. At Intelex, Siobhan has partnered with the business to create and facilitate an unbelievable amount of learning programs and resources for all employees to develop their leadership skills, adapt to and lead change and has created strong and honest relationships with colleagues and direct reports. Siobhan’s mission is to help others and she continuously works on initiatives within Intelex and in different professional industries to help others embrace change, understand and set personal and professional goals, break down barriers and biases and, overall, improve the lives of those around her. She was the co-chair for Intelex’s Woman’s Network Club and now participates on the Advisory Board to raise awareness of diversity, inclusion and belonging initiatives. She does all of this on top of being Wonder Woman at home with a blended family of three young children. In the last couple months alone, Siobhan has taken her personal time to share her knowledge, passion and intoxicating enthusiasm for learning with other professional industries such as Women in Aerospace, Avanti Women, Project World Business Analyst World, and The Institute for Performance and Learning, as well as business owners.
Cynthia Urquhart - Retired RCMP, Speaker, Writer
Cynthia was a police officer for 25 years. She us a warm, honest and real person who has dealt with great challenges, suffering from PTSD and anxiety since retiring from the RCMP. Instead of suffering in silence, she sought out help. As she worked through her challenges, she began opening up to the world around her about the sacrifices one must make to live an "extra-ordinary" life. She was recently selected by Legacy Place Society (legacyplacesociety.com) to speak at the annual First Responders Conference in Calgary on September 19th. I recently had the privilege of meeting Cynthia and we have become fast friends. She invited me to help her put together her talk for the event as well as videos and follow up support for the 1000 people she will be speaking to ON September 19th. As one of the first female RCMP officers in our country, Cynthia has helped pave the way for future generations of women who feel led to serve their communities and help make the world a better place. Many of Cynthia's stories are heart wrenching and saddening, but there is always a silver lining and by speaking up, she is spreading the message that we are only human - we are not made of steel. We do break and end up with scars, but we also have the ability to heal and adapt after experiencing trauma. Her message of purpose in living an extraordinary life will continue to spread as she is currently writing her first book.
Angie Ostojic - Authentic Leader Award
From the moment I heard Angie speak at a women’s conference, something resonated with me. Not only was she inspiring but she was as motivating. You see, I was stuck. Stuck in life & in my career and I didn’t know how to get moving again. I connected with her & asked her to be my life coach. It was the best thing I ever did. Angie not only helped me but she helps countless others get unstuck. She is also a generous person giving back each year to the poor children in her native Philippines.
Blue Sky Thinkin - CEO
Diana has worked as a Senior thought leader for over 28 years in business development and is currently an Entrepreneur working with many clients. She is currently a VP for an AI Company focused on Data Analytics with experience in software telecommunications, financial services and expertise in media solutions. She provides analytical reporting to top clients focused on IOT, predictive maintenance and more offered in print, digital, social media and speaker event tie-ins. She has achieved over 30% revenue increases in the past year and millions of media dollars were spent by her clients. She continues to build on new business connections offering solutions to clients that have a mandate for growth and change management in innovation and technology. Diana has a BA in Communications from Ryerson University and has worked with Maclean Hunter/Rogers Media, JuneWarren Nickles Energy & Glacier Media in Toronto & Calgary. Diana has served on many advisory boards as director and continues to be an Ambassador. She has mentored for many years in this role and has creatively worked with the board and the team to make positive growth changes to the Women in Energy luncheon, a sold-out event year to year. She also received the WIL – Women in Leadership President’s Volunteer award for her dedication and support for this organization. Diana continues as an Ambassador for WIL and is always looking for new organizations supporting women and entrepreneurs! She has received many awards for Top Sales Revenue for Rogers Media, Top Sales Revenue (first award received by Ted Rogers & John Tory) JWN Energy – Top Sales Revenue, Glacier Media Group – Presidents Club Award – 2017. She creatively connects her extensive network with mentors and mentees and continues to be an ambassador for many organizations inspiring women to achieve their goals.
Young Women of Power - Difference maker award
Alison inspires young women ages 12-18 to be their best selves. She inspires female greatness by building confidence of young women through conferences, workshops and mentor ship. Alison helps girls who struggle with self image isssues and helps them to build confidence.
Grey Eagle Resort & Casino - Human Resources Manager
When Indigenous women are strong, the ripple effect on our families, our workplaces and communities are positively impacted. Carrie Manitopyes is that positive ripple, by being an inspirational Indigenous determined role model, she has achieved amazing things in her life. Choosing to go back to school as an adult learner, Carrie graduated with Human Resources Degree and in doing so, sought employment with the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino. Throughout her years at the Resort, Carrie has strived to provide a diverse workforce that reinforces positive strengths to hire and retain Indigenous employees. She has identified many uniquely indigenous employment barriers and by doing so increased the indigenous employment base to one in four employees out of 500+ are Indigenous. Carrie is a lifelong learner, most often engaged in learning and training opportunities, most recently graduating with a Conflict Resolution certificate that has benefited the organization immensely in solving many employment issues. Carrie is also an accomplished athlete, competing in numerous marathons, triathlons and most recently an 800 km pilgrimage across Spain. I am pleased to nominate Carrie as she is a catalyst for Indigenous women’s leadership and its importance to the success of our families, our workplaces and our communities.
Fempreneurs - Business Coach
Lyndsie has created a fempreneur group, where she connects like minded-women who are entrepreneurs or thinking about starting their own businesses and helps them reach their business goals. She is offering her time and expertise for free. She is creating a community and building relationships as well as holding people accountable and space for women to explore and see what is possible for them.
Sandy Rao Therapy and Sandy Rao Events - Owner/CEO - Registered Psychotherapist
Sandy Rao received her Bachelor of Science degree from McGill University where she majored in Psychology. During her tenure she was selected to do specialized training at McMaster University in the areas of neuroscience, cognition, behavioural and social psychology. Sandy stayed on at McMaster Hospital (Hamilton Health Sciences) working as a Clinical Assistant and Research Coordinator studying Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Sandy continued her research at the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) working on several international research studies examining the intersection of chronic disease and cultural diversity. Sandy continued her academic career and pursued a Master’s in Social Work at the University of Toronto where she specialized in Mental Health and Health. Sandy is a Registered Social Worker and Registered Psychotherapist. She has practiced in hospital, community and primary care settings working with clients across the life-span. Sandy moved into a more administrative role where she was the Executive Director at a Family Health Team. After co-leading the Oakville Health Link, Sandy moved on to work at the Mississauga Halton LHIN. In addition to her work at the Mississauga Halton LHIN, Sandy continues to do street-side therapy and her private practice on evenings and weekends. She is most proud of her “good karma sessions” where people can get access to care no matter their financial status, and provides technology enabled options to meet clients where they are at. Sandy is a member of health care providers against poverty and works in her professional and personal life to reduce the barriers that create health inequities. Sandy holds the role of guest Mental Health Expert on CTV’s Your Morning - providing accessible, trustworthy and reliable information to audiences Canada-wide. Sandy is a Preceptor for the University of Toronto’s IMAGINE clinic to ensure that new students embed a person-centred holistic approach with a focus on social determinants of health in their assessment and treatment plans. Sandy has since studied at the Rotman School of Business, Stanford University and recently attended Harvard University for Strategy and Innovation as well as Consultancy Training. Sandy is currently enrolled in the UK based online School for Change Agents. Sandy was accepted to the London School of Economics for her Ph.D but has deferred in order to continue to work with clients and families and shape the health care system. Sandy is devoted to changing the system for the most marginalized both at home and abroad and has set up, alongside key leaders, a charitable fund to support girls to access education in India. This is coupled with building a hospital in rural India and providing primary care services for female survivors of domestic violence. She also has an event planning business, Sandy Rao Events, that focus on celebrating the milestones in life that we often don't celebrate like coming out, being single and loving life, your dream job etc. She has a million other projects in the works but dedicated to better the lives of everyone around her.
#SexyBrilliant - Founder
Living life to its fullest, Devina the Sexy Goddess is out to share her relentless optimism with the world and empower herself and others in loving themselves. Devina Kaur is a fun-loving, flamboyant, straight-talking author, entrepreneur, filmmaker and inspirational speaker. Born and raised in rural India, she fought to reconcile her traditional upbringing with her ambitions. After a lifetime of being told she was too fat, too loud and too ambitious, her world fell apart in her 30s when her arranged marriage ended. Thirty years of desperately trying to be the person everyone else wanted had resulted in loneliness, depression and confusion. While looking for purpose and meaning, Devina embarked on a journey of self-discovery that led her to start the Sexy Brilliant Global Revolution.
Vivametrica - Founder
Dr. Christy Lane is a mompreneur and exercise scientist who is changing the way people understand and manage their health using wearable devices and predictive analytics. She is the Founder of Vivametrica, a health analytics company in Calgary that uses artificial intelligence to uncover health risks. Currently as a Visiting Professor at Stanford University she is leading her field in the science of physical activity as it relates to preventing and managing mobility limiting disorders. In the fall she will become the Chair of Health and Physical Education at Mount Royal University where she hopes to foster the growth of new health and wellness leaders in Canada. Christy has won many international awards for her work in lifestyle medicine and the application of technology in health, and speaks often globally on these topics. She was awarded Calgary Top 40 Under 40 in 2018. Her support and mentorship of girls and women in STEM has had significant impacts on the careers and lives of her those who have worked with her. She is also passionate about helping fellow female entrepreneurs close the funding gap.
Well.ca - CEO
Rebecca McKillican is the CEO of Well.ca, a company she joined in 2012. Well.ca is a major Canadian online retailer that employs over 200 people in Guelph and Toronto. They are the largest purveyor of green and natural healthcare products and cosmetics. They have won numerous awards for their customer experience and e-commerce innovation. Before becoming part of the Well.ca team, Rebecca worked for the New York City-based private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts (KKR) within the retail and consumer group. While at KKR, Rebecca spent the majority of her time driving operational improvements across the firm’s portfolio companies. Rebecca has also worked at McKinsey & Company. Rebecca holds a B.A. from the Richard Ivey School of Business, a B.Eng in Electrical Engineering from Western University, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School where she was a Baker Scholar. In 2018 Rebecca was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. She is also a board member of the National Bank of Canada. She's a passionate online shopper, a mom to three young children, and she loves shopping for green & natural products at Well.ca to keep her family well.
Chelsea Buns Cross Stitch - Owner
Chelsea Fournier has quickly established herself as a great small business owner in the Ottawa Canada area. Through her love of her hobby she is trying to inspire other women to become their own badass selves through her Stitch Mafia logo and designs. She is also attempting to make crafting, which is traditionally not very avante garde to be current and "cool" again. The more significant part of her mission is to keep needle arts relevant and interesting so that future generations can benefit from these crafts.
Green Chair Recycling - Owner and operator
Liliana’s sheer determination as an entrepreneur has shown that ethical waste management companies owned and operated by women belong in our economy. In 2009, Liliana began Green Chair Recycling (GCR) with the dream of ensuring community events did not negatively impact the environment. She had the foresight, courage and enthusiasm to ignore the many nay-sayers telling her it was impossible, that no one would pay for such a service and in the beginning they were right; Liliana faced many events who would not pay. To demonstrate responsible waste management was possible for large events, Liliana and volunteers delivered their services for free. She was determined to change the event industry and she did! Presently, most municipalities in the Lower Mainland now require a thorough waste management plan and a handful of healthy competition has joined the industry. She created a market where there was none and brought the educational and behavioral change our community needed. As a social enterprise, GCR visits approximately 120 schools per year to discuss waste minimization and recycling with students free of charge. Liliana is a mother of four boys and still managed to recycle over 170,000 kg of materials since 2011.
Ammolite Analytics - Founder & CEO
Cara Wolf is the Founder and CEO of Ammolite Analytics, a custom platform development and advisory firm building next generation AI applications for high performance organizations. Cara is a recognized thought leader, published author and frequently speaks on panels on the topic of Artificial Intelligence and the impacts Machine Learning has on business profitability. She draws upon her 25 years of technical and economic expertise to lead multi-disciplinary teams to successful outcomes. Cara inspires and empowers women globally in AI and technological advances that are revolutionary. Cara has consulted for over 300 businesses including several Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial start-ups. She has sourced and advised on millions of dollars of technology venture financings and has extensive experience serving at the Advisory Board and Director level for many organizations. She is a past Executive Director of the Calgary Council of Advanced Technologies, is a SHEInnovator with UN Women, was awarded TECTERRA’s Woman of Impact and is UCalgary’s Distinguished Graduate for the Haskayne School of Business. As a serial entrepreneur Cara founded and exited two of her own firms started while attending UCalgary. Cara earned a BComm in Marketing, an MBA in Corporate Finance and Entrepreneurship and an Executive Certified Management Consultant designation. Cara's achievements and mentoring has inspired many and she continues to be an ambassador for many organizations and positive influence to many women including myself...
IG Wealth Management - Financial Consultant
Armineh Keshishian is a consummate professional who is fully aware of the balance that is necessary to live a happy and fulfilling life. She is cognizant of her physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health. Armineh has a clear vision of the future not only for herself but assists her family, friends and clients to realize their goals and dreams. She is proactive and encourages women to take responsibility for their financial and estate planning. She educates on the primary importance in executing and obtaining the essential financial documents. Armineh inspires others to do more and is willing to go the extra mile to help you think and expedite both your short and long term goals. Locally, she administers financial portfolios of millions, possibly billions of dollars and takes the time to review the performance and helps the client understand how the portfolio is doing. She conducts workshops to increase your knowledge base and motivate you to act accordingly. Armineh is improving the lives of young men and women in the community by volunteering her time and introducing topics to motivate and reach the hearts of young people by boosting their confidence and self esteem, She encourages them to stay focused and reach their full potential.
Aside from her volunteering and financial educating, Armineh creates and produces dance theater shows. I nominate Armineh as a strong, selfless woman who encourages and inspires others to succeed in life.
Urban Poling Inc. - Managing Director, Co-Founder
Mandy co-founded Urban Poling Inc. 14 years ago and has been tirelessly promoting Canada's leading form of Nordic walking instruction and equipment since then, taking the company international 2 years ago. Urban Poling has transformed the lives of many Canadians, women and men, young and old. It has been particularly life changing for people suffering with chronic diseases like arthritis, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease; people with genetic diseases like MS and Parkinson's; people recovering from traumatic head and spinal injuries. You can read a number of these stories on the Urban Poling website under the "Inspiring Stories" tab under the Blog heading. Mandy has trained countless women across Canada and now Australia, the UK and the USA to be Urban Poling Instructors. Urban Poling has over 3000 trained instructors across Canada. Mandy has dedicated a lot of time and energy to promoting Urban Poling to indigenous communities. Mandy is the developer of the patented ACTIVATOR poles for rehabilitation and wellness that are being used by scores of health care professionals across Canada.
INKAS® Armored Vehicle Manufacturing - Executive Chairwoman
Margarita Simkin is the co-founder of INKAS® Armored Vehicle Manufacturing, a global leader in armored vehicle manufacturing and security solutions. Over the past 25 years, Ms. Simkin has built numerous successful businesses from scratch and continually brings strategic expertise to all companies under the INKAS® brand. Ms. Simkin has professionally orchestrated INKAS® scalability to the international market, resulting in exponential growth in capital. In 2000, she expanded INKAS® Financial’s ATM operations into the United Kingdom. Within five years, INKAS® Financial was acquired by TRM Ltd, and all the revenue from this operation was reinvested into developing the INKAS® brand in Canada. Under Ms. Simkin’s leadership, INKAS® has gone global and established mutually beneficial relationships with stakeholders in the African, Southeast Asian and Latin American markets. However, she prioritizes remaining a Canadian company, creating jobs within Ontario, and benefiting the Canadian economy with 80% of revenue coming from export markets. Ms. Simkin sits on numerous boards, and actively advocates diversity and gender-equality full-time, both within the company and externally. She is a great role model to many young women entrepreneurs, encouraging them to conquer the fear of the unknown and to challenge them to change the world around them.
Social T. - Founder & CEO
It is my honor to recommend Tara Clark, Founder, and CEO of Social T., for the Canadian Business Chicks Woman of Influence. Every day that I am a part of Tara’s powerhouse team of creative women, I have been continuously learning from her. Even when I make mistakes, Tara turns them into valuable learning opportunities and guides me back on track. As a female entrepreneur, Tara’s passion for empowering those around her has been the driving force in everything she does, from collaborating with other female founders to mentoring future leaders. In addition to her knowledge and expertise in all things social media, it is her determination and positive attitude that inspires me the most. Even with her extensive list of to-dos, she is always more than happy to offer genuine guidance and honest feedback, whether it’s a team member brainstorming new content ideas or a client seeking marketing advice. Without a doubt, anyone who has worked for Tara before can see that she is truly passionate about and committed to the success of her clients and team. A dedicated, empowering, and inspirational mentor and leader, I am confident in recommending Tara Clark for this esteemed award.
Stradigi AI - Chief Scientific Officer & Co-Founder
Coming from Venezuela over 10 years ago, Carolina Bessega, has had a meteoric rise as the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Stradigi AI. Carolina has established Stradigi AI as a Canadian leader in the AI field. She leads a team of over 30 PhDs, having developed over multiple algorithms and published papers. She presents from the unique perspective of being a female CSO and co-founder of an AI solutions provider, developing a cutting edge AI platform for enterprises and governments. Carolina’s role in building a diverse and inclusive workforce at Stradigi AI is a true example of her impact as a trailblazing leader. More than 35% of the team at Stradigi AI are women, which is above average in the tech industry. The research team’s high percentage of women is a result of and testament to her focus on women in STEM.
Gift From the Heart - President Founder
Bev founded an organization where registered dental hygienists across Canada provide “no-cost” dental hygiene care to people in communities who cannot afford it. She started this social responsibility initiative in 2008 with 16 dental hygiene clinics to present day of 150 clinics and 6 Dental hygiene Colleges that have provided over $1.4 million in oral care. Our participating dental hygiene clinics and Colleges have treated thousands of Canadians who could not otherwise receive the necessary care due to financial and physical limitations. Gift From the Heart wants to advocate change in government policies to address the barriers that Canadians face in receiving deserved dental hygiene care. Bev and her team continue to champion local/federal businesses and municipalities to join her in making a difference one smile at a time.
The Write Harle - Owner
Lindsay is one of those people you can't help but love. She is ALWAYS taking time out of her busy schedule to lift other women up, mentor those who are still growing, and make those around her laugh if they're having a tough day. She does all of this while maintaining a successful copywriting and brand storytelling company. Her work is second to none, and is highly regarded for her ability to tell great stories through her writing.
Stardust Creative LLC - Founder and Creative Director
As a millennial with multiple disabilities herself, Chantel Soumis does not "suffer" from them. Rather she thrives, serves as an accomplished example to others of all ages, and champions causes related to work accommodations for the differently-abled community. And she does so with an attitude and spirit that I find endlessly inspiring. Chantel Soumis a top LinkedIn Creator with over 30k organic followers acquired in one year. Chantel is also the Founder and Creative Director of Stardust Creative LLC, a brand agency focused on embracing differences through personal and corporate branding. She’s spoken at VidCon as one of the first LinkedIn video creators as well as at international conferences in LA, London, Dallas, and more. As an advocate for the differently-abled community, Chantel spreads awareness, hope, and inspiration to those around the world fighting for acceptance by sharing the hidden struggles of the differently-abled community. By administering an attitude of gratitude, Chantel has overcome severe obstacles and spends a substantial portion of her time coaching others to accept and believe in themselves, and to treat one another with dignity and value, recognizing we are all brothers and sisters of the same human race.
WeUsThem Inc. - Chief Creative Officer
Faten is our creative lead here at WeUsThem but she is truly so much more than that. Under her guidance, our agency here on the East Coast has continuously set the trend for the standard of work in this industry. WeUsThem has brought home Davey and Webby awards, while Alshazly herself has been named to the Women's Executive Network (WXN) of Canada as one of the 100 most powerful women in our country. Faten is a force to be reckoned with in the fields of Arts and Communication, but also as a leader in the community as an influencer. Along with being our Chief Creative Officer, Faten has been known by many as a professor, business advisor, mentor, and a board member for business. She loves helping and giving guidance to the next generation of women within the STEM industries. Whether it is her working with various committees or actually bringing a mentee into the agency to see how the day-to-day goes. "There is no secret sauce. There is no superpower. It is about listening, collaborating, and being tenacious." Faten says that she would not be where she is now without the great mentors in her life. She is doing her best to give back to the community and show the generation of tomorrow where the light at the end of the tunnel is.
Eny Consulting Inc - Principal Consultant
Eno is an exceptional woman, She has dedicated her time to serving others and paying it forward as a coach, mentor, teacher, trainer to hundreds of immigrants in her community. She has built a community of almost 500 people whom she mentors in getting their dream jobs and settling in Canada. She has helped lots of people get jobs through her coaching, mentorship and even referring them to companies for job offers.
She has inspired so many immigrant women here in Canada to believe in themselves and aim for the lives they truly deserve. She is a woman of inspiration to all!
Denise Alison Social Media Strategist - Denise Alison Social Media Strategist
I am nominating Denise Alison for the Rural Leader Award and the Millenial Leader Award. Denise has created a thriving social media marketing company from the rural community of Clare. She didn't let geography be a barrier and saw it as an opportunity to practice what she preaches in terms of attracting clients with social media. Her business serves entrepreneurs throughout Canada to help them attract the right customers for their business by helping them get more consistent and confident in their social media content. Denise can sometimes be seen trading social media advice for wine or cookies. (FYI website is becoming denisealison.com soon).
Elevate Aviation - President and Founder
Against all odds Kendra Kincade has risen from being a homeless preteen with a harrowing list of obstacles, to becoming Honorary Colonel of the RCAF 417 Helicopter Squadron and Founder of Elevate Aviation, Canada’s most prominent non-profit dedicated to helping women achieve their potential in aviation. Kendra has worked as an Air Traffic Controller for nearly 20 years and began her philanthropic journey through the Make-A-Wish foundation, where the smile she brought to a little girl’s face forever wrote itself into her heart. She then climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to fundraise for the Lois Hole Hospital, and founded her first non-profit, Changing Stories, undertaking projects such as building schools and playgrounds in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Upon recognizing the negligible female presence in the aviation industry, she founded Elevate Aviation. Elevate has formed partnerships with every major airline in Canada, as well as all the entities who are integral to them. Elevate boasts over 150 mentors nationwide, donates thousands every year to aviation students, and hosted behind-the-scenes tours of the industry for young women in 20 cities this year. The Elevate Aviation Learning Centre™ opened in March 2019, ignites passion for aviation through immersive experience. In 2016, Kendra was the Global Woman of Vision and won the NAV Canada Chairman’s Award. She is a 2019 SHEInnovator with GICC, a United Nations Women partner. Kendra is also a columnist for Wings and Helicopter magazines.
Winsport - Executive Chef
Chef Liana is one of Canada’s distinguished leaders in the culinary industry, and currently the executive chef at WinSport in Calgary, Alberta. The native of Smithers, B.C., joined WinSport in June 2015 after spending nearly two decades at the prestigious Calgary Petroleum Club, including the past 13 years as the executive chef.
Owl Pod - Founder
Dr. Kaler believes that we all have power and that this power is unleashed by sharing stories. Dr. Kaler had a dream as a child to build community and has spent his entire life dedicated to this vision. He is a single father of two young girls who inspired him to create OWL POD to build a better future for them and generations to come. He uses his story of overcoming grief, weight loss, getting into medical school, and his daughters health conditions to inspire others. Dr. Kaler has big dreams and goals. He envisions us saving this planet by creating a new wave of humanity empowered to change: Education, Health, Community, The Environment, and Empowering Women and Children. Dr. Kaler speaks at events and does motivational medicine with some of the most successful people on the planet. Apart from his involvement with OWL POD, he continues to practise medicine, focusing on mental and physical well-being. He travels across the globe giving inspirational seminars and supporting OWL POD initiatives.
Empowering Women - Leader in Innovation
If pressure is needed to produce a diamond, this diamond could not shine brighter than Marlenie. She inspires others to harness life's insurmountable pressure, so they too can forge their character into a diamonds that cuts through any form of glass ceiling. Like the most precious of jewels, Marlenie consistently proves she is unique and valuable, yet she still remains both humble and approachable to others, especially those who want to see this living gem for themselves.
Joan Kelley Walker
Joan Kelley Walker Collection - Humanitarian, Model, Actress, Writer, TV Personality
Joan Kelly Walker was inspired to combine her love of fashion, philanthropy and professional life to create something that could make a difference. Born in Wilcox, Saskatchewan and a mother of 2, she is committed to philanthropy and empowering women. Walker is involved in many humanitarian organizations and supports many causes. She began her career in fashion at 15 years old as a model for The Bay. Her vision grew and evolved into devising fashion pieces that evoke everyday. Walker launched a fashion line to empower women of all sizes to look and feel beautiful. Her collection is sold online at Walmart.ca giving back proceeds to support breakfast club Canada.
Millie - millennial leader award
Chelsea Brown is a young and inspiring Canadian entrepreneur. Her support to the Pin Project (raising awareness on the refugees crisis ) and her trip to Jordan inspired her to start her company Millie inc. Millie Inc., a new company that exists to inspire and support women in their journey to LIVE TRUE, believing in the power of new experiences and expanded perspective to unlock potential. Millie offers women transformative experiences in two ways: through an ongoing speaker series, Millie Speaks, where Chelsea brown hosts inspiring women speakers to share their journey and inspire others, a great networking event connecting women together into a powerful circle. Millie Travels is about mindful travel: a new approach that nurtures global consciousness founded on compassion, acceptance and love. Chelsea’s active volunteering expanded into philanthropy: She recently championed the film TRAFFICKED, produced by female producer Conroy Kanter and independently brought the Canadian premiere to Toronto to help raise awareness of human trafficking.
Robyn Woods (Henderson)
The Uncomplicated Family/ Teleroo World - CEO/Founder
Robyn Woods (Henderson) is, word for word, taking the road less traveled and ignoring the naysayers. As a co-parent of five children, two with disabilities, and founder of a successful western-Canadian disabilities services and technology company, she sees first-hand the quality of life that children and families living with disabilities can achieve when supported with personalized, readily accessible care. She is also acutely aware of the barriers they face achieving this type of care, including cost, accessing the right experts at the right times, language barriers, and much more. Robyn has responded as a hurricane force transforming disability service delivery with Teleroo™ World, a patented, evidence-informed, secure, and globally-relevant collaborative suite of technologies that can be used in health, education, the community, and the home to deliver personalized disability care. People have said she's biting off more than she can chew as a Registered Speech-language Pathologist single-handedly boot-strapping the funding for Teleroo™ World and taking it from concept to commercialization. They were wrong! Teleroo™ World is at work helping families achieve quality of life outcomes in half the time of traditional disability services and is being piloted in world-class locations, such as the Stollery Children's Hospital.
e=mc² events - Founder & CEO
Jocelyn is Founder and CEO of e=mc2 events ~ an award-winning live experience company delivering world-class event and conference services to corporate, non-profit, and social clients globally. Jocelyn is committed to the advancement of the event industry and strives to give back through being a speaker at international conferences and mentoring students in the industry. She is the founder and past chair of International Live Events Association (ILEA) Canada and past and has served as the Canadian representative on the International Relations Committee of ILEA. In 2010, Jocelyn was selected by Avenue Magazine as one of Calgary’s Top 40 under 40, which celebrates Calgarians that excel in their industry and raise the profile of the city. Business in Calgary Magazine recognized Jocelyn as one of the Leaders of Tomorrow in 2011 for her contributions to the community through business initiatives and philanthropic activities.
GailNow.com - Founder
Gail is a ball of positive energy. She was a journalist at the The Toronto Star, St. Catharines Standard, Hamilton Spectator and Windsor Star; a bed and breakfast owner on Pelee Island; a fundraiser for the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex in Lasalle, Ontario and an Advertising and Promotions manager at Cypher Systems Group. Now as a Marketing Strategist, Gail assists businesses and non-profits tell their stories so they can think different, be different and do different to achieve maximum success. Gail promotes our hometown and the leaders within it with genuine enthusiasm.
WeTech Alliance - President & CEO, WEtech Alliance
Our world needs more women in STEM and Yvonne is motivated to ensure that happens. At the age of 24, she founded her first tech company, AD2IT, and by the age of 29, she became the youngest female to lead a Regional Innovation Centre in the Province of Ontario. Yvonne has over 10 years experience in the startup and tech space with a core focus on growing companies and building a thriving entrepreneurial community. Now her focus is on inspiring other young women to pursue a technical career through her business WEtech Alliance.
Natasha E. Feghali
Feghali Group Inc and Nude by Natasha - Founder and Owner of Feghali Group Inc and Nude by Natasha as well as ESL Intsructional Coach
Natasha E. Feghali, an award winning Canadian for her philanthropy in community and strong dedication to education. She is the recipient of the 40 Under 40 United Way/ Leadership Windsor-Essex Award 2018 as well as numerous awards and recognition's; most notably the Sovereign Canadian Medal in 2015 for her dedication to education and the future of entrepreneurship and youth. She is an international educator working overseas throughout her career while giving workshops, seminars and conferences Nationally and Internationally. She has taught in China, France, Kuwait and Ontario for 10 yrs. Feghali is also a distinguished media personality acting as MC in her community events, hosting events in the GCC as well as a journalist since 2012 and has written for magazines such as Bazaar Kuwait and City Pages Middle East. Most recently she has received the Odyssey Award from the University of Windsor and has been published in a book on Women and Leadership in Ontario with the Elementary Teachers Federation.
Reformulary Group - CEO & Founder
Helen Stevenson is the CEO and founder of Reformulary Group, a healthcare technology company focused on helping Canadians make smart drug choices. Founded in 2011, The Reformulary has disrupted the traditional models for drug benefits; it has made a major difference for Canadians, making drug plans more sustainable for employers and more useful for employees.
Helen is one of the top prescription drug reformers in the country. Under her leadership as Assistant Deputy Minister of Health and Executive Officer of Ontario Public Drug Programs, the government achieved an unprecedented $1.5 billion in savings over five years and sparked reform across the country. In addition to being a thought-leader and transformer in the health industry, Helen is a veteran among female founders in Canada. Through resilience, grit and creative thinking in her entrepreneurial journey, Helen has created change, finding inspiration in mobilizing patients and putting them first when it comes to their health plans.
Foresight Atlantic Inc. - Owner/Operator
My employer Amanda White is an exceptional person. As a single mother, Amanda worked in various industries including food service, retail, media and customer service, all while earning her first college diploma in Administration and Bookkeeping. She later found that her true passion was in construction, so she went back and earned her second college diploma in Construction Management at Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Right out of college Amanda took a position with a national quantity surveying firm, Hanscomb Limited. After training and gaining her Professional Quantity Surveyor designation she wanted to make changes but did not feel like she was in the right place. Over the years Amanda married her best friend, James Jornitz; is taking care of her aging mother, raising a teenage daughter and juggling a career. So yet again she ventured out into the unknown, starting Foresight Atlantic Inc., a boutique quantity surveying firm offering quantity takeoff, cost planning and project loan monitoring services for construction projects in Atlantic Canada – the only women owned firm in the Atlantic Canada. Her new company is growing every day and every day she is showing the community that one person can go out and change the industry in which they work. Even though it was difficult for her most days, she kept dredging ahead and making a name for herself. She is an inspiration to us all. When Amanda is not working, she is active in the community as a member of the Canadian Progress Club Halifax – Citadel, volunteering and helping to raise funds for local charities in the community where she lives works and plays.
The Penrose Group Inc - Founder & Managing Partner - The Penrose Group Inc
It is with great pleasure to nominate Ms Lindsey Penrose for either the Game Changer, the Authentic Leader or the Inspire Award, in recognition of her outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in building her company The Penrose Group Inc. This boutique investment bank is helping entrepreneurs exit their business with success by way of sale or merger. Lindsey has had The Penrose group for over 10 years and successfully sold many companies all over Canadian and the United States. She has been involved in several mergers and acquisitions throughout her time owning the Penrose group. Not only has Lindsey excelled in business but she is also an aviation enthusiast who loves to fly in her spare time. She is currently a private pilot flying small planes out of billy bishop airport, and she is working on her commercial licence and hopes to fly jets down the road. Lindsey went to Seneca College to study social work and business. She has donated countless hours and capital to help others. Lindsey has been involved in several charities and volunteers every year with the Basket Brigade Canada. She has personally delivered food baskets to deserving families during the holidays. Not only is Lindsey a woman of inspiration for her business, charitable and aviation efforts but she is also an amazing person inside and out. She prides herself in having a strong moral compass and is an extremely empathetic person, Lindsey hopes to one day have a scholarship program for women who want to get into aviation, She is adamant about this program not excluding women of any age or background. Please consider her for an award in a category that she would fit best in. I think the 2019 Game Changer Award, the Authentic Leader Award or the Inspire Award would apply.
Press Pillay - Agency founder
Nesh Pillay is robin hood of PR -- she takes from the rich and gives to the poor. She is a PR expert who has over 7 years of experience working in the entertainment and media industry. After completing her graduate degree in International Journalism and Communications, Nesh worked as a media reporter for multiple news outlets, as well as became the youngest VP ever to be hired at a marketing and advertising agency. With an unexpected pregnancy and a near-death experience, Nesh’s outlook on life changed drastically. Wanting to use her PR and journalism skills to help make the world a better place, Nesh founded Press Plllay, a socially conscious digital communications agency that strives to work with brands that integrate social responsibility into their core values. With every profit Press Pillay makes, 10% of it’s earnings are redistributed towards helping nonprofits succeed in promoting empathy-led youth programs in high-crime, at-risk South African communities. Nesh is also the first individual to a bring a major communications conference to Canada, as the founder of Noted North. With everything she does, Nesh is a champion of sustainability and empathy, and continuously sharing the message of how important it is for brands to adopt values-driven practices. As an entrepreneur and single mom, Nesh is the perfect example of what it means to do it all, despite the obstacles that come with the ride.
The Checker Transportation Group - Media Manager
Layna has work hard in her life to improve herself. As a single mother she support her family and at the same time educate herself so she can have a better future. After some years of trips around the world, the last 5 years she lives in Calgary. Through her organization, but also, from the groups that she supports (tourism Calgary, Internations, etc.); she tries to help people from other countries or provinces to established here. She is a Leader that accomplished to earn the respect and the love in a company that men are the majority. Her international experience and her personality are the biggest assets her success.
Windsor Women in Business - Founder
Natalie Hartleib started a fantastic resource and business support group called Windsor Women in Business in 2017 that now has over 500 members. She promotes local female entrepreneurs, hosts a trade show for women business owners and recently co-published a book called Windsor Women in Business that celebrates local female leaders.
Market Collective - Co-founder
Angel Guerra is the co-founder of Market Collective. She is passionate about community building through the arts, loves 5-cent candies and a good laugh, and enjoys 2-wheelin’ around. She also digs diggin' in the dirt.
Angel studied at the University of Calgary and completed a B.A in Communications, as well as the Masters of Teaching program. Through her education and experience, she combines her love for people, education, live music, art, accessible public space and entrepreneurship to contribute to the Market Collective.
Terri Jo Lennox
Travel Time Calgary - Owner
My vision for Travel Time Inc, when I opened the doors in October 1998, was to create a travel agency that specialized in providing customized travel for the discerning traveler. I wanted to offer the best travel products available, using the latest technology, with an emphasis on value and quality in service. I envisioned a company not only committed to providing the best to its customers but to its employees as well. By hiring only the most experienced staff, Travel Time Inc has created an environment of teamwork and exceptional service within our offices. Our ‘customer experience specialists’ partner with our clients to better understand their needs and create travel solutions that deliver highly personalized business and vacation experiences every time. With four offices and almost thirty employees, Travel Time Inc has established itself as a Top 10 Agency with Ensemble Travel Canada and as a trusted travel company that delivers ‘excellence in travel’! We offer our clients personalized, unbiased expertise with regard to the variety of travel options available, always focused on providing customized, unique travel arrangements with value added for our clients. I take pride in our employees and the services we provide. Whether it is worry free business travel, vacation planning, meeting or incentive planning, group travel or the trip of a lifetime – my staff and I welcome the opportunity to assist you – we have the experience to take you places!
iFinance Canada - CEO and President
Ann Kaplan is the CEO and President of iFinance Canada Inc., the parent company to Medicard, Petcard, Dentalcard, and iFinance Home Improvement – (recognized close to $1B$ in consumer loan applications nationwide to date). Ms. Kaplan is also the CEO of Brix RCR, a Regulated Crowd Funding Platform for Real Estate Investment opportunities and medical technology. An award-winning businesswoman, popular speaker, and media personality, Ms. Kaplan has also hosted television shows including Global’s NYtv, Beauty by Design, The Ultimate Makeover and CosmedicTv. Ms Kaplan is also stars on the hit series "The Real Housewives of Toronto". Ann has been featured in hundreds of publications, including two University textbook studies on entrepreneurship. Ms Kaplan was recognized with the RBC/Deloitte Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, Profit Award of Excellence, the Stevie global Lifetime Achievement Award for women, 2015, CWEYA Award/Start up, 2000; a finalist for the E & Y Entrepreneur of the Year, 2013; Gold recipient: Peak Award of Excellence/Finance; 9X (2005-2013) Canada’s Profit Top 100 Companies; 9X Canadian W100 list (Top 100 Companies); also recognized as one of Canada’s most inspirational women, 2007 and recently as one of Canada’s top three Female Business Leaders and inducted into Canada's Hall of Fame after thrice Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. Ann was named Canada’s Mompreneur of The Year 2009; she received top honours internationally for Stevie Awards for Entrepreneur/Women in Business and is also winner of the 2011 and 2013 Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year and 3x International Entrepreneur of the Year, and the prestigious WIMA Award at the Rotman School.
Ms. Kaplan has a MBA, a MSc (Business), a Corporate Governance Designation (ICD.d), she is a doctoral researcher (DBA) Doctor of Business Admin, (Empirical Study Exploring a Neural Network, Decision Tree Model for Consumer Loan Adjudication) at Henley Business School. She has written four books.
FrontFundr - Chief Growth Officer
I am an entrepreneurially minded leader with an MBA, passionate about connecting entrepreneurs to the resources needed to grow a thriving business, including the capital. I have successfully built 2 small businesses, grown them nationally and then sold them. For the past 8 years, I have held leadership roles within non-profit organizations with a focus on supporting entrepreneurs. My strengths include strategic planning, business development, community engagement, team building, fundraising, marketing as well as the development of strategic partnerships and programs. I love identifying opportunities to help businesses start, grow and evolve. I also believe strongly in contributing to the community and serve on several boards as well as act as a mentor to many.
Rhoda I. Doble, Q.C.
WK Family Lawyers - Lawyer, Mediator, Arbitrator
A scholar, teacher, and leader in the Alberta legal community, Rhoda I. Dobler’s practice spans two and half decades and includes mediation, arbitration, collaborative law, and litigation. Her positive attitude, compassion, and creativity guide her conflict resolution approach, making her a valued mediator and arbitrator.
An ardent believer in the importance of identifying new talent and mentoring junior lawyers, Rhoda teaches the Bar Admission (CPLED) course annually and speaks at seminars and conferences across the country. She is an instructor in the LESA mediation course and a former instructor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law in Interviewing and Counseling. Rhoda is past chair of the Public Legal Education & Professional Development Committee of the Canadian Bar Association, and has sat on the Alberta Education Provincial Exam review committee in her capacity with the Public Legal Education committee.
DLA Piper (Canada) LLP - Managing Partner
She has over 25 years of experience in acting as counsel to clients in complex litigation and disputes, and has extensive experience with negotiations and mediation on matters related to energy and resources law, aboriginal and constitutional law, general commercial disputes, transportation, aviation, products liability, human rights, employment law and intellectual property law. She frequently appears before both the Trial and Appellate Courts in the Province of Alberta, the Federal Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal and various tribunals, including the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, energy-related tribunals, and the Canadian Transportation Agency. Heather has extensive knowledge of the energy industry, particularly in the oil and gas sector. She has acted on numerous oil and gas disputes, including contract, lease, farm-out and operating agreement issues and royalty calculation disputes. Heather also has specific expertise in aboriginal law and provides advice on a significant number of issues involving treaty, aboriginal rights and aboriginal title issues and has been involved in several precedent setting cases.
Heather has been recognized as a Litigation Star by Benchmark Canada (2014 to 2019), and Acritas Star Lawyer (2019), in Chambers Canada for General Commercial Litigation – Alberta (2018-2019), in Legal 500 Canada (2016 to 2019) for dispute resolution, by Euromoney (2016) for Litigation and Product Liability, and as a pre-eminent lawyer in the area of aboriginal law by The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2010 to 2019), Best Lawyers in Canada (2012 to 2019), Chambers Global (2015) and Chambers Canada (2016-2019), all guides to the leading law firms and practitioners in Canada. In 2014, Heather was recognized as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: WXN Top 100. In 2016, Heather received the WILL Award for "Leadership in the Profession in Private Practice". In 2017, she was named a winner of the Lexpert Zenith Awards: Celebrating Women in Law.
Dr Liza Egbogah
Dr. Liza Shoes - Founder, CEO | BSc, DC, DOMP
Dr. Liza Egbogah is one of North America’s leading body and posture experts and the clinic director of the[fix], downtown Toronto’s boutique osteopathy, chiropractic and massage clinic. She is a prominent media expert, entrepreneur and manual osteopath to the stars. After spending over 10 years treating women with high heel related pain in Toronto’s financial district and celebrities in Hollywood, Dr. Liza questioned whether beauty really had to result in pain. Not being able to provide her stylish and fashion forward patients with suitable high heeled options, Dr. Liza decided to design her own revolutionary comfortable and functional pump.
Verna Marzo - Speaker
Verna Marzo is a true woman of inspiration. Verna moved to Canada from the Philippines in the early 2000s to make a better life for her family. She made a life for herself in Canada, building a strong community with a focus on helping others. She lived life to the fullest taking an adventure trip each year that involved swimming with the sharks, bungee jumping and swimming in devils pool. In March 2017 her life took a dramatic turn when she suffered a medical trauma leaving her a quadruple amputee. She has demonstrated resilience and resolve through the adjustment to her new conditions. She has locked into a new purpose of inspiring others by showing them what is possible in her current condition. As an example, in the short time after leaving the hospital she won an opportunity to meet Ellen Degeneres by sending in a video of her dancing on her new prosthetics, walked in a 5 km race, and has found a sponsor to grant her with some runner blades so she can run a marathon with the goal of inspiring others and showing them what is possible. Verna inspires me and others everyday showing us what is possible with courage, commitment and rising to challenges
Andrea Muir - Global Wellness Coach - President and CEO
Andrea Muir acts from a pure heart of service in everything she does - from putting heart and soul into her Zumba classes to her coaching and mentoring of clients in her health and wellness business. And she has done this despite battling with health challenges of her own and while raising two busy children. She has a strong entrepreneurial spirit which is totally underpinned by an unwavering desire to impact people’s lives in a positive way and an unshakeable belief in her capacity to do so. Andrea, to date, has helped hundreds of people to adopt a healthier lifestyle and continues to do so daily. Feedback from the spouse of a client says it all - “You’ve saved my wife’s life”.
Lost Artistry Lash - Founder
Kaitlyn is a 29 year old mom of two boys and has just within the past two years opened up her own hair & lash salon and has created Lost Artistry Lash. Lost Artistry Lash is a company that sells fake eyelashes to technicians and she sells them all over the world. Her drive for perfection has allowed her company to sell the biggest PROmade fans in the world made from the highest quality! Not only does she work hard every minute of everyday it seems, she is the kindest, most warm-hearted woman I know. I am so proud of her and I can't think of anyone who comes even close to deserving this as much as she does. I would love it if you would consider Kaitlyn because she deserves to be acknowledged for how amazing she is. She makes me strive to be a better person and I want to give back to her in the most deserving way I know how which is why this nomination means so much to me as well.
The Brakemen Foundation - Founder
Derek Krivak is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Shift Resources Ltd. a Canadian based E&P Company focused on the construction of small scale natural gas to diesel facilities. Prior to Shift, he held the role of Director of Unconventional Gas for Hatch Ltd. a private, EPCM engineering firm active in over 125 countries worldwide. He has spent the last 19 years in the oil and gas industry and the last 12 workings in almost every facet of delineation, evaluation, and production from unconventional gas reservoirs. Mr. Krivak started his career with the Gas Research Institute, GRI (now the Gas Technology Institute, GTI), moving them to the Alberta Research Council, where he co-founded the Unconventional Gas Research Group. In 2005 he transitioned into the E&P sector taking over as VP of Operations for Stealth Ventures Ltd. a publicly traded oil and gas company active in Coalbed Methane and Shale gas development. Mr. Krivak has subsequently promoted COO and later President, CEO and Director of the Company. In addition to Shift Mr. Krivak is a Director of Wrangle, a technology company focused on HR recruitment using crowd sourcing and social media and is a founding member of the Brakemen Foundation, a not-for –profit organization focused on providing all Alberta children a fair start at life. He sat on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas for seven years and was Chairman of their R&D committee.
Classroom Champions - Mentor Coordinator
Daniel has been volunteering with Classroom Champions to coordinate our athlete mentors since he moved to Calgary from Oxford, MS in the summer of 2016. Daniel’s professional background has been working in leadership positions with low-income children in a variety of ways and running small non-profits in his hometown. Prior to joining our team, Daniel was a Director of Christian Education for youth and children for 11 years. An avid humanitarian, he also ran his local soup kitchen and regularly traveled to Haiti to help with relief efforts. Daniel comes from a long line of helpers. His mother and father are pastors, and he has traveled the world helping people get access to clean water. In his free time, Daniel likes to fly fish and hike, bike, snowboard, and ice climb all over the mountains. Daniel holds a degree in recreation management from the University of Mississippi.
PBA Land & Development - Chief Executive Officer
Patricia Phillips leads the overall management and growth of PBA Land & Development, including the company’s strategic direction and business development as well as asset and property management. She brings over 25 years of business experience in a variety of high-profile roles to the PBA team. Prior to PBA, Ms. Phillips founded three successful private oil and gas companies engaged in the exploration and development of oil and natural gas in the Western Canadian Sedimentary. She worked in Wall Street as a Financial Analyst for First Boston, managing the energy and sovereign sectors while working directly with corporate finance, capital markets, and merger and acquisitions. Ms. Phillips also served as an economist on developing trade policies for the Tokyo round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in Geneva. She has won numerous awards in real estate including the Maple Leaf ICSC Award for the Strathcona Square Shopping Centre development and gives back to the community by serving as a director on a number of boards and donates her time to charitable organizations. Ms. Phillips attended Sciences Po in Paris. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Magna Cum Laude) in Economics from Mount Holyoke College, and a Master of Business Administration from the McCoombs School of Business at the University of Texas (Austin).
Boardwalk REIT - Vice President , HR
Helen Mix is Vice President, Human Resources for Boardwalk REIT. Boardwalk REIT is Canada's largest owner/operator of multi-family rental communities. Boardwalk REIT currently owns and operates in excess of 260 properties with approximately 34,000 rental units and employs approximately 1,100 Associates. The Trust's portfolio is concentrated in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. Helen spent the first 15 years of her career in the accounting profession in the manufacturing sector and started with Boardwalk in 1999 as a Payroll Team Leader. Through hard work and dedication, she rapidly moved from Team Leader to Director and eventually to Vice President in a few short years. She is especially proud of the in-house comprehensive HR/Payroll system that she spearheaded with a team of programmers. The system is designed for scalability, thereby decreasing costs and significantly improving efficiencies. Most importantly, the system significantly raised the level of executive and employee satisfaction by processing payroll both accurately and on time for several companies and provinces. Her current responsibilities include payroll management, system development, change management, policy development and implementation, performance management, employee engagement, compensation, training & development, recruitment and workplace health & safety. She oversees an outstanding team of employees that assist her in accomplishing these responsibilities. As a member of the executive team, Helen is able to contribute to the organizational strategy and ensure that Human Resources remains a clear focus for the organization. Her future plans include assisting Boardwalk to become an “Employer of Choice” across the country by focusing on total rewards, corporate culture and overall engagement measurement tools.
Sobeys Inc. - Executive Vice President, Store Experience
Lyne Castonguay is Executive Vice President, Store Experience for Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributer. Ms. Castonguay is responsible for Sobeys’ store operations, distribution centres and for delighting customers across conventional (non-Quebec) grocery banners nationally. In her previous role at Sobeys, Ms. Castonguay served as Executive Vice President, Merchandising, where she designed and laid the foundation for the company’s national Merchandising structure, was the architect of Sobeys’ success in stabilizing margins and sales and played a key role in the Ocado ecommerce partnership. Ms. Castonguay is a passionate and successful leader with more than 25 years’ experience in both retailing and manufacturing in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Prior to joining Sobeys in June 2016, Ms. Castonguay spent 14 years in progressively senior roles at The Home Depot in Canada and the United States, including Senior Vice President, Home Services. Before joining The Home Depot, she worked for General Electric in Canada where she held numerous roles including General Manager for the Canadian lighting business. A native of Edmundston, New Brunswick, Ms. Castonguay holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Université de Moncton.
Soma Spas - CEO
Lourdes Juan is an Urban Planner and Calgary based entrepreneur. She is an alumna of the University of Calgary with a Masters in Environmental Design. She shares her time as the Director of Hive Developments, Soma Spa, and doing community work with non-profits she founded, the Leftovers Foundation and Moonlight Market Foundation. She is on the Board of Directors with Homespace, the Calgary Homeless Foundation and Calgary Planning Commission. Her work and career accomplishments have been awarded her as one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 in 2013, a cover feature in Business in Calgary Magazine in 2014, CBC's Top 10 Changemakers in 2017, L’Oreal Paris’ Women of Worth award in 2018 and as a Distinguished Graduate from the University of Calgary in 2018. She continues to be involved with community work and give back to her profession.
Stantec - Principal, Regional Leader Alberta South
An integral part of her people-focused philosophy is the value of diversity in the workplace. Arliss sits on Stantec’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, actively advocating to encourage everyone to bring their unique perspective to problem-solving. Diverse viewpoints inspire innovative thinking, which Stantec strives to foster in our corporate culture. Arliss is proud to be part of a locally-based company that gives back to our communities while positioning them to move forward. Lending our creativity to game-changing projects like the Calgary Cycle Tracks, the Calgary Cancer Centre, and Studio Bell, Arliss is inspired by our opportunity to shape Alberta’s future. As the regional leader for Alberta South, Arliss looks forward to our team’s role in continuing to influence the landscape of the communities we call home.
Waterous Energy Fund - Director
Before joining Waterous Energy Fund, Sara was the Manager of Business Development for Obsidian Energy (TSX:OBE) an intermediate oil and gas producer. Prior to that, Sara was an Engineering Director with Scotia Waterous for four years, where she was involved in the technical evaluation of numerous oil and gas assets, representing clients on both the buy-side and sell-side. Prior to joining Scotia Waterous, Sara was a Sr. Reservoir Engineer for Apache Corporation for three years, with a particular focus on the Montney and the Duvernay shale basins. After beginning her career at Mobil Oil Canada in 1998, Sara joined British Petroleum in 2000 where she spent 10 years as a reservoir engineer in a variety of basins in North America and the North Sea. Sara is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). Sara holds a B.Sc. in Engineering from the University of Calgary.
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Real Estate Advisor and Proprietor
Connecting people to resources that solve complex pain points, is what I do. By focusing on innovation, collaboration, and optimization, their vision comes to life. As a trusted advisor, my clients benefit from strategic "smart" spending, heighten employee and customer experience, while reaching new markets. As a trendsetter, within the commercial and residential real estate industry with 20+ years of successful sales, marketing, and business development. I have represented all levels of the real estate industry through development, construction, manufacturing, brokers, and dealers. My entrepreneurial compass and widespread experience include crafting business plans, market analysis, project management, risk assessments, and contract negotiations in leadership roles that often exceed expectations. I pride myself in modeling creative thinking and strategic processes, rendering impressive results for all stakeholders. My passion to make a difference motivates me to apply my expertise for local and global causes near and dear to my heart.
Tag Recruitment Group - Founder & Finder of Fabulousness
Sheila started TAG in April 2005 with a newly built IKEA desk, a shiny new laptop, a bargain website, some pretty plain business cards and a computer monitor as big as a fish tank, all in a little business center in the NE with blue carpet and pink chairs! Fast forward nearing 10 years later, TAG has grown into a thriving multi-million dollar organization with a strong reputation for finding stellar talent in a myriad of disciplines all from an uber funky office in the NE complete with a disco ball and a gong.
Mosaic Communications - President
My goal is to be a catalyst for positive change and I believe that the smallest of actions can have a profound impact on the lives of others around us. Every day brings a new opportunity to live with purpose and be grateful for the chance to do so. Working with like-minded people, helping them bring clarity of vision to their company or organization is what gets me out of bed in the morning. My greatest interest is in using my craft to influence and engage audiences in promoting products, technologies, and ideas that will enhance the lives of others and create a future where the environment is more than a casual second thought. I believe that we have an obligation to our children and our children’s children to be living sustainably. That by collectively putting our minds to work on finding solutions to live in harmony with nature and each other we can create a better world. Knowing that it is only with intention that the future will be as it needs to be.
Culinary Tourism Alliance - Executive Director
I am excited to share the launch of Food Tourism Strategies. It is a very exciting time to be in both tourism and the culinary industry in Canada. The country continues to see increased global visitation, with over 4 million annually, and growth in Canadian "stay-cation" offers strong support culinary initiatives. As Canada continues to develop its' culinary identity, FTS is poised to play a niche role in the development of our Canadian Taste of Place through consultation, industry development and signature events.
Abio Inc. - Owner/Principal
Myrna has been engaged in the world of visual communication for 30 years. Over the last 22 years, in her role as Abio owner/principal and former vice-president of brand identity management at Kent Allan Design Group (KADG), Myrna has led strategy, design, rollout and brand management projects for some of the largest and most respected organizations in Western Canada (and Europe). Key clients include Suncor Energy, Petro-Canada, Norske Skog, Intex Resources, Calgary Stampede, BC Ferries, ENMAX and Catalyst Paper.
Recent high-profile projects include ongoing strategic brand consulting to Suncor Energy following the merger with Petro-Canada as well as managing extensive visual identity requirements resulting from the transition. She is also responsible for the development and execution of the Suncor employment brand. In addition, Myrna managed the visual re-branding of the Calgary Stampede and led major identity changes for Oslo-based Norske Skog in nine countries on five continents.
Tourism Calgary - VP, In-Destination and Event Services
I'm a seasoned tourism professional with international experience in event management, business development, marketing, hosting, retail, and communications. I've worn many hats in my tourism career, but I feel most honored when I wear the official white hat of Calgary and welcome visitors to this fabulous city. I am an ambassador for Calgary and my goal is to enhance visitor experience for our guests from around the globe. As the VP of In-destination and Event Services at Tourism Calgary I work closely with the City and our industry partners on sponsorship development, sport & major event hosting, and visitor services. I am passionate about creating remarkable and memorable guest experiences and have had the distinct pleasure to have worked on over 200 high profile events during my career, including my pride and joy: Co-Chair for the Calgary White Hat Awards for the past 8 years.
I am currently active on the following boards and advisory committees: Calgary White Hat Awards, City of Calgary Event Advisory Committee, Breakfast on the Bridge in support of the Calgary Military Family Resource Centre, and SKAL Calgary.
Sundial Growers - Director of Communications & Stakeholder Relations
Sundial Growers Inc. (“Sundial”) is a privately held, Alberta-based licensed cannabis producer. We believe in health, happiness and personal well-being, cultivating cannabis for modern consumers – people who want a natural alternative that fits seamlessly into today’s active, healthy lifestyles. Our focus is on producing consistent, quality cannabis that our customers can trust. Sundial currently operates a 31,000 square foot production facility in Rocky View, Alberta, and has two purpose-built production facilities in various stages of completion and licensing. By 2019, we expect to be one of the leading cannabis companies in Canada with a projected production of over 120 million grams of dry cannabis and the ability to process over 30 million grams of cannabis extracts. Responsible for Sundial's Corporate Communications, Media Relations, Government and Stakeholder Relations, and Community Engagement.
SunLife Financial - Financial Advisor
Growing up in a small, rural Alberta town and now residing in Calgary, I do my best to understand many of the unique challenges that we Albertan's face. I work to create relationships and spaces that are safe to be vulnerable in. So, what can you expect from me? Authenticity. I'll be real with you and always treat you with openness, honesty and respect. I hope to be treated the same in return. I will never misrepresent the effectiveness of a product to make a quick sale. If you're looking for a quick transaction, we won't be a good fit. Knowing my clients and building a long term relationship is so important to me.
The Techknowledgey Group - Executive Director
David M. Robinson is a strategic business advisor and project coordinator regarding sophisticated advanced technology, environmental technology, outsourcing and commercial project arrangements. Those arrangements include the strategic planning, financial, procurement, contracting and project management aspects of transactions, strategic alliances and infrastructure projects together with related business, legal and government regulatory and policy considerations. Mr. Robinson combines a technical background in digital electronics with more than three decades of experience as a commercial lawyer. He practiced law at the Toronto head office of McCarthy Tetrault, one of the largest law firms in Canada. Mr. Robinson is a member of the legal bars of Alberta and Ontario, Canada. Mr. Robinson has been legal counsel at the Canadian Depository for Securities which operated the national securities e-regulation infrastructure including SEDAR, SEDI and NRD. He has been engaged in the power generation sector with Ontario Power Generation and in the power generation, pipeline and LNG sector with TransCanada Energy. Mr. Robinson has been engaged as an advisor by domestic and international government agencies, financial institutions and private sector corporations in planning, negotiating and documenting commercial strategies and policies. He has been appointed as an arbitrator for domestic and international disputes.
Dark Star Productions - Owner, Operations Manager
My objective is to offer a fair and enjoyable work environment where all team members can effectively contribute and grow. I feel by maintaining absolute open and clear communication / transparency from the field level to upper management is key in contributing to efficient and effective growth and stability. I hope that all members of our organization can feel a sense of being a part of a team while not sacrificing the sense of individuality.
Anila Umar Lee Yuen
Centre for Newcomers - President and CEO
In her role as CEO for the Centre for Newcomers, Lee Yuen has helped new Canadians settle into the city, while also helping bring the organization out of debt. When she was 23, Anila Umar Lee Yuen received a Governor General’s award for her work with the Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth and the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, where she advocated for women and children’s rights. At the awards ceremony, the husband of another recipient brashly suggested that she had “peaked.” He couldn’t have been more wrong. Since then, Lee Yuen has received an Alberta Centennial Medallion for Community Service, volunteered with the Calgary Stampede‘s International Agriculture Committee and completed a degree in behavioral neuroscience.
Coldwell Banker Commercial - Director Sales and Marketing
Grace Yan is your 5 star Agent. With over 15 years of Real estate Paralegal experience and as a former President of the Alberta Association of Professional Paralegals - She is a Notary Public and Commissioner for Oaths in and for the Province of Alberta. Grace has been Board of Directors for many Associations including past NAFTA Alberta Director for Alberta Association of Professional Paralegals. Much of what makes Grace an exceptional agent is her myriad of abilities in real estate listings, sales, master negotiator and paralegal background. Grace's success in this industry can be attributed to protecting her client’s interest and a strong referral base. She adheres to a strict regiment that is a blend of knowledge, experience, hard work, communication, loyal and dedicated service. She has also sold major restaurants, Hotel, businesses and closed many commercial leases. Having extensive international real estate experience, relocating clients all over the world from Asia, Europe and North America.
Hawco Peters and Associates Inc. - Founding Partner
Sarah has an extraordinary wealth of legal and financial expertise that brings a 360-degree perspective to the dispute resolution process. She is a Chartered Accountant with a specialization in tax, as well as a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional, and holds a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. She is also a member of CPA Alberta, CIRP, ACFE and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Alberta. Prior to founding Hawco Peters, Sarah spent 13 years practicing insolvency and turnaround management at national and international firms. She also provided a wide range of consulting, specializing in due diligence, business reviews and viability assessments, corporate taxation, estate planning, restructuring, and alternative dispute resolution. Outside of her professional commitments, Sarah volunteers her time to teaching financial literacy at various schools and shelters.
Bryan de Lottinville
Benevity Inc. - Founder and CEO
Bryan is a self-described "recovering lawyer" who is constantly dreaming of novel ways to help global enterprises reinvent corporate giving programs to provide better social and business returns, and simultaneously tackle the biggest struggles on the charitable landscape. Bryan is a frequent speaker and blogger on topics relating to social-good programs and a recognized thought leader in the space. He believes that, with the help of our clients, we’ll shape the story anew and build on our aspirations to create innovative and scalable Goodness Programs that strengthen the social fabric of our communities.
Health Risk Services - President and Owner
Luene is the President and Owner of Health Risk Services. After receiving the Canadian Securities Licensing and Registered Rep Certification she worked as a broker with Gardner Watson Securities in Medicine Hat. In 1983, Luene moved to Calgary to enter into the Insurance industry with a keen interest in the most complex and litigateable product in the business - Disability Insurance. This became her specialty from the perspective of marketing the product and understanding product features and the various applications.
In 1985, Luene was approached to co-establish the Paul Revere Disability Insurance Brokerage Office in Calgary where she would educate and assist brokers to market Disability Insurance to their clients. This developed into a position in 1988 with a well-known National Insurance Company as their National Disability Director and Trainer to assist in building a multi-line Insurance Brokerage operation. In 1990, Crown Life recruited Luene as a Western Regional Manager to build and manage brokerage and general agency distribution systems in Western Canada.
Luene ventured into her own business in January of 2000 as Health Risk Management, focusing on Group Benefits and Corporate Insurance Plans for business operations of all sizes and configurations. Health Risk Services Inc. has since succeeded Health Risk Management and continues to move forward as a recognized insurance provider in Western Canada.
Casar Jocobson - Women’s Empowerment Activist | Author | UnitedNations Women Youth Champion | Entrepreneur/Investor | MS.c | Entertainer | Influencer | Miss Canada ’13
From hard of hearing, and now DEAF; with vocational therapy to verbally speak & utilize Sign Language via CSL/ASL to communicate to the masses; it is her goal to empower others to live above the norms of society personally, professionally, educationally or otherwise. We must not allow what we cannot do, what we have done or been through, or how we have been raised to define us but rather empower us to work differently and become an advocate for others.
Casar is an advocate of diversity, communication, and inclusion to connect on a deeper level to create equality; encouraging individuals to view life from a more meaningful perspective rather than first impression.
Casar has cultivated the ambition, from a very young age, to inspire a new generation of thinking, internationally and cross-culturally, to excel at equality, charitable, inclusive pursuits regardless of the circumstances of their birth or life trauma. She’s a true believer that education is important, however, to be successful in today’s world, varying degrees of success, inclusion, access, perspective and empathy need to be engaged.
Casar has received awards including being named Miss Canada 2013 National, 2013 Global Miss Globe Peace and United Nations WOMEN Youth Champion & Planet 50/50 champion. She continues to work on Gender Equality, Diversity Advocacy, and Deaf Culture.
National Public Relations - Managing Partner
Beth Diamond has more than 30 years of experience in communications, taking her from post-secondary teaching to corporate communications and private consulting. Beth leads NATIONAL's Energy practice and is a trusted advisor to many of Calgary's senior oil and gas executives. Actively involved in generating ideas on energy policy, Beth was a driving force behind the creation of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC). Under her leadership, NATIONAL also created and administered the Canadian Centre for Energy Information, which provided objective, bias-balanced information to Canadian, U.S. and international audiences on the energy industry. Currently, she is involved with the Conference Board of Canada's Transition Energy Initiative. She has worked with both Calgary Economic Development and a variety of Chambers of Commerce boards across Canada.
Cenera - Partner
Pam is a partner at Cenera, one of Calgary’s leading human resource advisory firms with specific expertise in five key areas: Executive Search, Career Transition, Human Resource Management, Privacy & Records Management, and Business Alignment. Pam leads the Career Transition practice where her expertise is critical in successfully addressing complex career management issues, including workforce planning and restructuring. Pam has worked in a number of industries, including private and public sectors with a focus on oil and gas, healthcare and the not-for-profit sectors. For more than 18 years she has provided leadership in career consulting and coaching to management, technical and support staff. With a deep belief in the proven expertise and future potential of her clients, Pam takes a realistic, active listening approach to career coaching which helps clients move through the transition successfully. Pam brings a high level of energy and commitment to every project, expecting and delivering superior results.
Bowen - CEO
Shannon inspires BOWEN’s mission of making people matter every day.
In 1984, Shannon joined BOWEN as a Receptionist and worked her way up the ranks, becoming the CEO in 1996. She has helped grow the company from an employment agency to an industry leader in recruitment solutions and contingent workforce management strategies, offering a wide array of human capital strategies from coast to coast. Over the past 35 years, she has honed her skills in a variety of roles within the company including administration, recruiting, sales, marketing, HR and operations.
Shannon is deeply embedded in the community. She’s currently a Board Member of Calgary Economic Development, Member of the Board of Trustees for the Calgary Zoo, Co-Chair of YWCA’s Hub Capital Campaign, and is a part of WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Advisory Board.
She’s also highly accomplished and recognized in the Canadian workforce. Most recently Shannon was the recipient of the 2018 Women Business Enterprise of the Year, a 2016 PROFIT/Chatelaine Top 100 Female Entrepreneur and 2015 EY Entrepreneur of the Year.
RVH Event Planners - Professional Singer
Rhonda has received 13 nominations in total and won six international music awards since she began her music career in 2010. Rhonda has had the opportunity to perform in some of the most amazing venues – Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Centre, the Viper Room, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 5 Lands Walk Festival in NSW, Australia, and numerous other venues. Rhonda also recently released an autobiography called Mezzo-Soprano – Memoirs of a Rez Girl. It wasn’t always an easy road for Rhonda, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was 22 years old. Rhonda took a year off to recuperate from the 11.5-hour surgery. When she thought her life was back on course, she received devastating news again when she was 30 years old, that the tumour grew back. Once again, she took time off and took care of her health. Despite the setbacks and challenges, Rhonda continued to follow her passion for music.
Spaces By Jacflash - Designer & Owner
Jaclyn Genovese is a successful female entrepreneur who got her start in the fashion industry and now runs Spaces by Jacflash, a luxury design and decor firm based in Toronto, Canada. In addition to interior design, Jaclyn created Fitness by Jacflash, a women’s fitness, wellness, and nutrition platform that organizes various workshops focused on everything from yoga to entrepreneurship.
Synaptic, Spinal Cord Injury and Neuro Rehabilitation Centre - Co-Founder & Executive Director
Recognizing a gap in rehabilitative services for people living with neurological conditions, Uyen co-founded Synaptic: Spinal Cord Injury and Neuro Rehabilitation Centre with forward thinking philanthropists and community partners in 2012. Created to impact change, Synaptic has raised over 2 million dollars to go towards progressive rehabilitation, advanced therapeutic technology and client centered programs in a cost recovery model of care. Excited by the possibilities in neuro science, Uyen is driven to create a platform for innovators, change makers and social visionaries to push the limits of rehabilitation and lead the industry in neuro supportive therapies.
Grafton Asset Management - Co-Founder, President and CEO
Geeta Sankappanavar is the Co-Founder and President of Grafton Asset Management. Grafton is a Calgary-based energy investment firm with ~$1B in capital under management, focused on investing at the asset level in oil and gas and infrastructure that supports the intermittency of renewable energy. Ms. Sankappanavar is responsible for strategy, oversight and execution of all Grafton’s business and operating units. She is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and began her career as a consultant with McKinsey and Company out of the New York office. Prior to co-founding Grafton Asset Management, Ms. Sankappanavar worked at New Vernon Capital, a $3B blue-chip asset management firm focused on India and Emerging Markets, was previously Vice President, Head of Strategic Global Outsourcing for Cambridge Solutions, a leading cross-border financial services outsourcing firm in the US-Asia corridor, and was a founding partner at Marincorp Solutions and IRI. Ms. Sankappanavar also serves on the board of directors for UNICEF Canada, The Palix Foundation, and Jowidana Hotels Ltd. She has been honoured as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People, and one of Calgary’s Top 40 under 40.
Enmax - President and CEO
Gianna Manes, President and CEO of ENMAX Corporation, has three decades of experience in the energy industry. She spent the first part of her career in the gas pipeline business in Houston, Texas before transitioning to the electricity industry. Gianna has experience in a number of electricity markets across the United States, Europe and Alberta, Canada. Before joining ENMAX in Calgary in 2012 as President and CEO, Gianna served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for Duke Energy, a large North American power company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Born and raised in Louisiana, Gianna earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Louisiana State University, a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Houston, and completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. She also holds the ICD.D designation from the Rotman School of Management. Gianna currently serves as a member of the board of directors for Keyera Corp. and the Canadian Electricity Association. In 2014, she served as Co-Chair of the Calgary and Area United Way campaign and served on its Board of Directors from 2015-2018. Gianna has been recognized for her leadership and accomplishments throughout her career: as Electricity Human Resources Canada's CEO of the Year in 2013, one of Alberta Venture's Top 50 Most Influential People in 2015 and twice-recognized as one of Canada's Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network.
Marnie Grundman - Author and Advocate
Marnie Grundman is using her heartbreaking life experience to help de-stigmatize runaways and people experiencing homelessness. She began running away from home after her mother dropped her out of a 2-story window at the age of 5. After years of running, Marnie ended up living on the streets at the age of 13 where she was sexually assaulted and trafficked for labour. Marnie raised herself and found a way of the streets at the age of 14 1/2. At 53, she now shares her story of survival to help others.
Unwrapped Marketplace - Owner
I am nominating Kate because she inspired me to create and grow my business. She has a store called Unwrapped Marketplace that is promoting eco-friendly options and zero waste alternatives. She is an active member of the small business community in London, Ontario and has several businesses and is involved in local theatre. There is no end to the connections she has or things she will tackle. I am so impressed all the time with the new products she is coming out with and supporting other local businesses in her shop. Ask anyone in the small business world in London and the surrounding area and they have heard of Kate, her store, and her mission to eliminate waste. She would be an asset to your line up of nominees and is incredibly deserving of a Women of Inspiration Award.
Emerald Management - Vice President
Lauretta’s passion to inspire, transform and elevate is clearly evidenced in both her business and community projects. The synergy lies in Lauretta’s ability to create networks of opportunity where women are given the tools they need to change their lives, and thereby our community, so that we can all flourish. Lauretta Enders’ philosophy on leadership is based on passion for her work and family business. To be approachable, available, empathetic and engaged – always – are part and parcel of her personal and business standards. These elements are shared with Emerald Management and Realty Ltd.’s clients and team. A mother of two free-minded boys, Lauretta is a collaborative leader. She works to bring people together and seeks synergy and engagement when moving ahead, whether that is building a vibrant and responsive business or inspiring engagement and action to support a variety of women’s initiatives in the Calgary community.
QR770 News - Radio Host
Danielle Smith is the host of Afternoons on NewsTalk770 in Calgary. As a University of Calgary graduate with degrees in Economics and English, Danielle has had a lifelong interest in Alberta public policy and finding the right balance between free enterprise and individual rights, and the role of government. Danielle’s public policy experience began with an internship at the Fraser Institute. She was also elected as a trustee for the Calgary board of education and served as the director of the Alberta Property Rights Initiative and the Canadian Property Rights Research Institute. She was also the director of provincial affairs for Alberta with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Most recently she was a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Highwood, leader of the Official Opposition, and leader of the Wildrose Party. Before entering politics, Danielle had extensive experience in the media. She was an editorial writer and columnist at the Calgary Herald, host of Global Sunday, and two programs on CKMX 1060 AM radio in Calgary, Health Frontiers and Standing Ground.
Riddell Kurczaba - Managing Principal – Business Development
Since 1998, Niha has been central to Riddell Kurczaba's strong profile and success in the building industry. She relies on an illustrious Human Resources background and keen business acumen to build and manage relationships with clients and supporters, and for marketing the business. Niha is well-recognized in industry circles, and always works resolutely at reinforcing and improving the solid public image of the firm.
CTV News - Chief Financial Commentator at CTV News
I'm so fortunate to have had the opportunity in my career to have an entrepreneurial spirit in a corporate environment which has allowed me to do what I love to do and that is to help average Canadians take control of their financial situation. I would like to think of myself as a results oriented public relations and external communications executive, who gained experience by working in the Financial Services Industry and someone who has demonstrated success in developing and executing strategies and programs that directly support educating Canadians about their personal finances. Patricia currently works full-time at CTV News Channel, and the Chief Financial Commentator responsible for discussing the current economic, market and personal financial planning trends.
Patricia has a passion for public speaking and enjoy the various mediums to get a message across such as radio, television and print. If she can just reach one person and encourage them to take control of their finances then she feels she has done her job!
Global Academy of Coaching - CEO
Jill Douka MBA, PCC is the #1 Awarded International Bestselling Author, Life Coach, Awarded Business Mentor by the European Union and international workshop leader. Jill is a Coach Mentor Accredited by International Coach Federation. She is one of the few Europeans, Official Member of Forbes Coaches Council. Her 2 books, Create Love and How to Create Your Life, co-authored with her husband Nikolas Ouranos, Relationship Coach, have been #1 Bestsellers.She is the founder of Global Academy of Coaching which is dedicated into supporting high achievers to become coaches who support their clients to thrive while at the same time they serve as top leaders within their community. Mrs. Douka was chosen and awarded as a mentor at the European Business Mentors network. She is an active philanthropist. Jill is committed to support over 1.000.000 women to reclaim their lives, to get filled with confidence, let go of their not enoughness and stress and enjoy every second of their precious lives.
Agents of Change - Co Founder & CEO
Tracey enjoys challenging the status quo and initiating broad, industry-wide change with a view to creating organizations that have a positive social impact. Her strengths lie in asking why and developing creative strategic solutions on a large scale. She thrives in an environment where she can stretch her leadership skills and unite her team around a common vision. It is a gift to watch others to bring your vision to reality. Leading a team that takes an idea and transforms an industry is a privilege she has had more than once. Each time the experience is extraordinary.
Gowlings GWL - Partner
As a partner and leader of the Financial Institutions & Services Group in Gowling WLG's Calgary office, Beth Burton works with a variety of financial institutions and corporate clients, delivering strategic advice with syndicated and bilateral financing transactions. Beth is an active member of her community, committed to supporting diversity and active living. She is a member of the National Women's Strategy Advisory Committee of Pride at Work Canada and has previously been involved with the Law Society of Alberta's Justicia Project. She has also been a member of the North West Calgary Community Advisory Group for the Rocky Ridge (Calgary) recreational facility which opened in 2017 and participates in the local sports community.
Mini Mioche - President and Owner
mini mioche was founded in 2008 by Alyssa Kerbel after the birth of her daughter. At that time, Alyssa found it very difficult to find simple, soft, well-made basics, particularly in neutral colours. Drawing upon her previous fashion industry experience, she set about creating a collection of ethically-made, organic baby and kids' basics. The very first mm orders were shipped out to customers just six months later.
Momentum Health - CEO
Wendy Coombs is the current owner of Momentum Health and Evidence Sport and Spinal Therapy, a growing group of soon to be 8 inter-collaborative multidisciplinary rehabilitation clinics in Calgary Alberta, Canada. She is the current Learning Chair and President-Elect for the Entrepreneurs Organization. She is on the boards of the Alberta Women Entrepreneurs and Calgary Entrepreneurs Organization. Previously she was an owner and CEO of Advantage Health. She has grown fourteen separate businesses from a single sole charge physiotherapy clinic into medical centers offering physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, Physiatry, sport and spinal medicine, psychology, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, kinesiology, personal training, and retail goods. She has developed stand-alone rehabilitation centers as well as clinics integrated into medical centers offering family medicine, dental, and optical services. She is a prior Dale Carnegie trainer. She enjoys educating and mentoring physiotherapy private business owners from across Canada as part of the Private Practice Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. She has been a member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization since 2005.
Trico Group of Companies - CFO
Eleanor is a seasoned Executive and FCPA, FCA with extensive board experience and expertise in strategic planning, finance, operational excellence, Audit and Risk, and Corporate Governance. Elenor is a respected business leader and philanthropist the community who is driven with a passion to give back through as founder of Trico Charitable Foundation.
Bennett Design Associates - Principal and Chief Executive Officer
As Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Sue is responsible for Bennett Design’s strategic focus and business performance. She is directly involved with quality initiatives including design excellence and client relationship integrity. She oversees the growth and diversification of the firm, defines performance objectives and is a thought leader and innovator in her field. Sue served on the ARIDO Board of Directors as President in 2012, is currently on the Board of Governors and is active in the design community. She is passionate about great design, why design matters and how it connects people, space and business. Sue is a champion for families, happiness and the natural world around her.
Ryan Murphy Construction - Co-Founder
Karen Ryan is the co-founder of Ryan Murphy Construction Inc. in Calgary, Alberta. While operating as the project manager and site supervisor of a retail construction project in Banff, Karen noticed another project manager on the site was also a woman. After chatting and become fast friends during the completion of that project, Karen knew she wanted to work with Lara Murphy again. Karen had been the project manager with a general contracting company in Montreal that handled retail stores like Quiksilver. She travelled across Canada constructing and opening their new stores until she co-founded Ryan Murphy Construction Inc. in 2008. Prior to that, Karen was the construction project manager for Rogers Video. But it all really started when she was an employee and manager of a Rogers Video store, and she told her manager she wanted to do more. A while later, that manager moved departments and oversaw the construction of new stores. He called Karen to ask her if she wanted to try it out. Karen loved it, learned as much as she could and worked her way up. Karen had always wanted to have her own company. She decided to move to Calgary from Montreal and to work on a few projects with Lara. And it all went well and her dream came true: Ryan Murphy Construction Inc. was born.
Camilla Di Giuseppe
CTV Calgary - Senior News Anchor & Producer
In just over five years I've worked in three different Canadian cities, four different stations, have interviewed numerous interesting and fascinating individuals, and covered some extraordinary events. News affects and impacts the communities we live in and it feels pretty special to know that you are part of that process.
Shaw Communications - President, Business, Brand and Communications
Leading our Shaw Business team, Shaw Brand team including Creative Services and Communications team comprised of Internal, External, Sponsorship and Community Investment.
Travel Alberta - Vice President, Business Development
Karen leads Travel Alberta’s global business relations team, including Travel Trade and MICE (meetings, incentive, conventions and events) within Canada and six international markets. Business Development is not new to Travel Alberta, although naming Business Development as a dedicated line of business is a new direction for the organization that ensures a devoted focus on key areas that drive room nights and visitation to the province. The Business Development team works in concert with Consumer Marketing, and the strength of the Alberta brand, to build out awareness of Alberta as a leisure and business travel destination. Karen has been with the Travel Alberta team since 2007 in previous roles responsible for consumer marketing, travel trade and media within North America, Asia and Latin America. She has spent the majority of her career as part of the Alberta tourism industry working in marketing, sales and resort operations.
SR ECO Consultants - President
An accomplished professional whose career performance has built upon strong interpersonal, communication and leadership skills, Susan's international experience includes petroleum exploration and production, reserve certifications, financial evaluations, acquisitions and divestitures, and expert witness work in litigation. Susan is president of SR ECO Consultants Inc., a strategic energy advisory services firm. Founded in 1999, SR ECO advises petroleum companies, state oil companies, technology firms, government agencies, investment bankers, equity financiers, and legal and chartered accounting firms. Susan began her media career as an on-camera news reporter with the CBC-TV. Today, she specializes in corporate communications and external relations. She also reports on business, energy, science and technology, water, the environment, space, geotourism and polar travel.
Laurentian Bank Securities - Chief Executive Officer of LBS and Senior Vice President, Capital Markets
With a Master Degree (MBA) in Investment Management and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Mr. Vendittelli was part of a top ranked research team at BMO Capital Markets, where he covered industrials and special situations. In 2008 Mr. Vendittelli joined Laurentian Bank Securities as a Research Analyst covering industrial sectors, with a focus on infrastructure and transportation and was quickly promoted to Head of Research. In 2014, Mr. Vendittelli was promoted to Senior Vice President, Institutional Equity, as head of this important division which includes areas of research, sales and trading. Mr. Vendittelli is also a member of the Management Committee.
Alberta Diamond Exchange - Owner
Our goal is to make the diamond business more transparent and more ethical through our fine jewelry store. This vision of what Alberta Diamond Exchange is today was inspired by our founder and President, Darren Martin. After over 30 years of working in the diamond retail industry with some of North America's largest jewelry chains, Darren saw the need to educate clients about the diamond industry and give them the tools to make an informed decision before purchasing a diamond. As a result, Alberta Diamond Exchange was established and Darren's quest for a transparent diamond purchasing experience was realized when we opened our doors in 1999. Since its inception, Alberta Diamond Exchange has grown to be a world-recognized, trusted and respected jeweler and diamond exchange.
AppleCheeks Cloth Diapers - PRESIDENT
Montreal designer and owner behind the fabulous washable diapering system know as AppleCheeks. Amy is also the winner of the W100 Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs of 2016.
Supreme Menswear - Owner/Creative Director/Fashion Designer
Supreme Men’s Wear has become a lifelong project for Darren Biedermann, from starting as a teenager, to taking over for his father in 1995, to celebrating the store’s 70th anniversary this year. Supreme is a fashion-forward boutique that offers premium men’s garments that can be ready-to-wear or customized. Not content to rest on his laurels, Biedermann also designs his own collection of luxurious, hand-crafted dress shirts.
Sarah Ward Interiors - Principal Designer
Sarah Ward Interiors is an award winning interior design studio founded by one of Calgary’s most notable young design talents.
With over 15 years of professional experience in a broad scope of project types, Sarah’s expertise lies in her ability to combine pragmatic thinking with an exuberant passion for design, resulting in fully immersive experiences for her clients. She is committed to offering a process that not only results in great spaces, but also seeks to build lasting relationships that challenge and enrich those involved. A graduate of the Bachelor of Applied Interior Design Program at Mount Royal College, Sarah has served as a Studio Instructor at Mount Royal University, and is a Past President of the MRUID Alumni Association. She is a member of the Alberta Association of Architects, the Interior Designers of Alberta, and the Interior Designers of Canada. She resides in Calgary in a charming bungalow that is under constant renovation with her patient husband, and dog Oliver.
Century 21 Power Realty - Owner Broker, Managing Editor
While the industries Bob works with may vary, his passion remains exclusively focused on connecting people to worthwhile opportunities. Bob's approach to his work is simple: treat people the way they want to be treated by providing efficient, transparent and advantageous solutions to recognized needs.
Carmela Zita Kapeleris
Remax Realty Specialists Inc - Difference Maker Award/Authentic Leader Award/Mentorship Award
Carmela has inspired and empowered thousands of women and youth through her many speaking engagements, Women Mastermind events & Ultimate Networking Events. She spends time training & teaching Positive Mindset workshops. She has an Inspirational multi-media presence & online streaming channel. And is known by her Award- winning status as Real Estate Broker with 31 years experience in the Industry, twice published author, and her extensive volunteering and Philanthropic platforms. She empowers women to have role models/coaches in their business and personal life. She provides valuable educational information for women as the host, writer & Producer of Rogers "Kapeleris Talk TV" introducing Women Leaders in our City and Country advancing female empowerment & elevating women entrepreneurship, together with spiritual wellness and healthy living. Through her mentoring program, young women learn and replicate her success by working hard, paying attention to all details and all opportunities even if there are others in the ring. Her advice is "Give it your all and do it with Passion! Take one step at a time. Do not skip steps. Each step teaches you how to handle increasing responsibilities and hone your skills to perfection". Her Real Estate book( in Chapters, Amazon,etc) was written with the power to make women succeed, to further advance them, despite past challenges. To encourage women to be at the helm of an organization or to start their own businesses and create a workplace that reflects their values. She was recently named by the City Mayor as "an Icon in her Community" creating a culture of Leadership excellence. She is a Female Entrepreneur that has demonstrated excellence, maintained perseverance and ascended the summit of professional accomplishment and entrepreneurship.
Baby Gourmet - Co-founder
Jennifer is the visionary behind Baby Gourmet, an organic baby food company specializing in nutritious and delicious food for babies and toddlers. Inspired by her 6-month-old daughter, she and her sister Jill launched the brand in 2006 at the Calgary Farmers Market. Today, Baby Gourmet has grown successfully with meals, snack and beverage products distributed in major retailers across North America and in China. She is the mother of two well-fed children, an innovator and inspirational speaker to entrepreneurs and busy mom’s. She has a passion for all things culinary and her first cookbook, “Growing up Gourmet’ hit shelves in spring of 2016.
Baby Gourmet - Co-founder
Jill and her sister launched Baby Gourmet in a local farmers market many years ago. Today, Jill leads Baby Gourmet’s product development initiatives and ensures each product tastes the same as when she makes it in her own home kitchen.
Jill is the mother of four children and through them, she has come to know what babies, toddlers and kids like and dislike when it comes to food. She is a former teacher with a creative zest for inventing new recipes that kids love and mothers trust.
Hamilton Tiger Cats - CFL, Placekicker
Born in Kosovo, Europe, Lirim and his family immigrated to Canada from safety of an ethnic cleansing in 1999. Since he was young he has been inspired to make a difference in his life and in the community. He holds two Master degrees in Sport Management from Western University and an MBA from Niagara University. He has also learned the game of American Football when he first came to Canada and due to his hard work and relentless dedication he has become a professional athlete in the Canadian Football League (CFL) where he has succeeded to be a League All-Star and Grey Cup Champion. He is actively involved with the McMaster Children’s Hospital, CFL’s anti bullying initiatives, Track 3 Ski School, and University Special Olympic Games.
Why Lirim is a SupportHER: Having two sisters growing up, Lirim has always actively been involved in supporting them to break barriers; from getting their drivers license to becoming the first females in his family to receive University degrees. He has also recently married his wife Deniza who has graduated from one of Canada’s top business school (Ivey Business School) and she’s in the process of finishing her MBA. He is excited to join the group to help inspire at any capacity.
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation - President & CEO
Michael Burns brings his diverse background and skills, along with his passion of giving to the community, to his role as President & CEO of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. He joined the organization at the beginning of 2018. Michael has over 20 years of experience in marketing, financial services, technology and entrepreneurship. Most recently, he was the CEO of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017, the largest international adaptive sport competition in the world featuring ill and injured soldiers and veterans. Michael led the execution of the Games in Toronto, building the organization from the ground up, which took more than two years. In 2017, Michael received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Dalhousie University. In 2016, Canada's Governor-General, on behalf of the Queen, awarded him The Meritorious Service Cross for his work with military families. In 2012, he was awarded the Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguished Service, the military's highest honour for a civilian. That same year, he was also awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal honouring significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. In 2010, he was named one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40.
Dare to Care - Founder, Executive Director
Lisa Dixon–Wells has been working in school systems across Western Canada since 1990. After completing her M.Ed in Educational Psychology (1997), Lisa’s focus has been on Comprehensive Guidance and Bully Prevention. As the founder of the Dare to Care program, her work has focused on early prevention and intervention in elementary and junior high schools. Through professional development, parent information nights, and classroom facilitation (including assemblies, student forums, and role-playing), Lisa has helped hundreds of schools, youth organizations and corporations to create and maintain safe and caring environments.
As well as her expertise in the area of bullying, discipline and community building, Lisa has assisted schools in the development of clear and concise school discipline policies. Lisa is a former member of the Canadian National Swim Team and World Masters Swimming Champion. In 2015, Lisa was inducted into the University of Calgary Sports Hall of Fame.
Summit Kids - Principal
Summit Kids was built on one simple foundation – just OK, isn’t OK – our kids deserve great things. They deserve to be around great people doing great things within great environments. Not just sometimes, all the time. That was in 2009. Summit programs have since grown into 16 out-of-school campuses within CBE and CCSD schools, as well as a thriving community centre serving four different neighboring schools. We now have the opportunity to provide everything from daycare to out-of-school care to safety courses and so much more. We are great people and we are doing great things. We value our communities and our members. We are partners with the Calgary Stampeders – bringing the experience of professional football to more kids & families with discounted tickets. We work with local artists such as mural artist Dean Stanton – many of our locations have a one-of-a-kind mural designed by Dean and created by our kids. We also take the time to be grateful and give back to our communities. Our annual Christmas toy drive is one of the largest supporters of the Calgary Women’s Centre. Our Leadership Team volunteered monthly in the kitchen at Inn From The Cold as well as made over 4000 lunches during the 2015-16 school year for hungry students with BB4CK. We are Canadian Blood Services Partners For Life. We live authentic lives and lead by example – teaching our kids the value in service to humanity. Our mandate is to provide child care spaces where kids can thrive on their own terms! Summit Kids is not just a place, it’s a personality.
Brookline PR - Principal and Founder
While attending Boston University in the late 1990s, Shauna MacDonald fell in love. With the city and with a man. The problem was the man wasn’t from the city. “When anyone asks me what brought me to Calgary, I say, ‘Two words: a man,’ ” laughs MacDonald, founder and principal of Brookline Public Relations, who has a master’s degree in communications from Boston University. And while the man – now her husband – may have won out, she wasn’t about to give up on her favourite city. So, she brought a little bit of Boston to Calgary. First, she named her public relations firm after an area of Boston where she lived – Brookline. Then she found office digs – the third floor of The Lorraine building on 12 Ave. S.W. – that reminded her of the architecture in the Massachusetts capital city. Finally, she adorned the walls of her smart-looking office space with pictures of the Brookline area. “I would keep walking by this building and it just had that Bostonian feel with the exposed brick and the historical look,” MacDonald says of The Lorraine. “I always knew that I wanted my office to be here.” She even graduated with a BComm degree from Queen’s University before setting her sights on Boston. But once she began an internship at a Boston-area public relations firm, there was no looking back. “I just fell in love with PR and PR agencies,” MacDonald says. Not to mention a man and a city.
Blue Spark Energy Inc. - Founder and CEO
Accountable and results-oriented executive skilled in strategic planning and implementation across multiple industry sectors and environments. Demonstrated track record of building effective multidisciplinary teams with a focus on revenue growth and profitability. Strong orientation in operations and finance combined with a balanced approach of analytics and big-picture thinking to deliver results. Calculated risk-taker with an engaging and inclusive leadership style, comfortable engaging with small teams or large audiences.
Big Growth Impact - Founder
He’s an accomplished three-time author & top entrepreneur coach transforming business & personal GROWTH. Stop letting your business run your life…let Mike show you how to GET freedom from your work while you GIVE back to yourself, your family and causes that matter most to you. Mike’s been hired to deliver hundreds of training & motivating presentations to teach his GROW GET GIVE philosophy to thousands of entrepreneurs, business owners, & the millionaire businessperson next door.
In just five years, Mike built a dominant and lucrative financial advisory business focusing on helping others GIVE for their big impact. Excelling at this niche, he made more money, took more time off and made a HUGE impact through his philanthropic efforts. His TEN times growth was based on three key principles:
1. Serve others
2. Be different
3. Build your Mountain of Credibility
Humbly and gratefully, Mike has guided entrepreneurs & affluent families to re-direct over $12 million in Big Impact Giving to charitable causes since 2012. Mike’s next ten times goal is to coach entrepreneurs who care to GROW, succeed and make a $100 million impact. Will you join him?
Inspired HR - CEO and Founder
Entrepreneur, Author and CEO and Founder of Inspired HR. Debby is widely recognized as Canada’s workplace expert. Debby was recently recognized for a fourth consecutive year as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women marking Debby's induction into Canada’s Top 100 Hall of Fame as the youngest inductee in history. Debby Carreau is a proven leader helping businesses create great workplaces. Inspired HR was recognized as Canada’s Top HR Consultancy and advises businesses on optimizing the workplace experience and becoming an employer of choice. They provide Human Resources support for over 300,000 employees in many industries. Her book The Mentor Myth teaches people how to take control of their careers and navigate a successful career path. Debby is highly regarded as a human capital thought leader and is recognized as of one the country’s TOP 25 HR LeadersTM. She is often asked to speak and write about workplace issues and developing talent for organizations. Debby is frequently interviewed regarding optimizing human capital, women in the workplace and the importance of diversity. Debby is a regular contributor for Entrepreneur Magazine, CityTV and the popular TV show The Social. Other recent coverage includes: CNBC Harvard Business Review, Fortune, INC, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Huffington Post, BBC and many others. Debby is a board member of Young Presidents Organization (Canadian Region and BC Chapter) and is an Advisory Board member for Women’s Executive Network, Respect in the Workplace and is the Chair for 1000 Women Rising.
She holds a Masters in Business Administration and a CPHR designation in Human Resources. She resides in West Vancouver with her husband and two children.
Deb Milimaka Miles
Smart Technologies - EVP, Chief People Officer & Global Facilities
Debra Milimaka Miles joined SMART in May 2015 and is the EVP, Chief People Officer. She has more than 25 years of corporate management and consulting experience in the financial, retail and IT sectors. Over her career, Debra led high performance teams with national and international companies such as Scotiabank, BMO, and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Prior to joining SMART, Debra was with Loblaw, Canada’s largest retailer, where she led the global change team for one of the largest-ever SAP implementations. Debra has also managed teams in large organizations as well as built divisional HR teams from the ground up, while driving transformation in business cultures through leadership.
Kids & Company - Founder and CFO
Jennifer Nashmi, a mother of three, is a Chartered Accountant with over 25 years of varied business experience ranging from auditing multi-national corporations to being the Director of Finance of a high-tech public company.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Waterloo and articled at Deloitte & Touche LLP before moving her experience into the child care industry. Jennifer's expertise drives the company on all operational technical matters.
Ethos Bridal Group - Founder and CEO
Ethos matriarch, Haya Stein has a passion for all things bridal and a natural talent for designing extraordinary wedding gowns and evening wear. You will find her designs at Ethos under the Anna Rose Label, lovingly named after her mother.
With over 40 years experience in the wedding industry, she has cultivated close relationships with the world’s most celebrated fashion houses and fills her stores their finest collections. Haya inspires her professional bridal consultants to graciously serve every bride and help her find the perfect dress… at the very best price!
Visit Calgary’s historic Devenish Building on 17 Avenue you will find the latest bridal, bridesmaid, mother-of-the-bride, flower girl, prom and evening wear collections.
Kids & Company - Founder and CEO
Victoria Sopik, an entrepreneur and mother of eight, understands the delicate balance between work and life. That’s why she co-founded Kids & Company – to offer working parents supportive child care solutions.
Victoria is a recognized expert in the child care field with close to 30 years of experience. Victoria studied Business Administration at the University of Western Ontario. Her expertise provides strategic direction and leadership for the company. She has developed successful long-term partnerships with numerous private and public organizations, and is active with several charitable organizations.
Indian Summer Arts Society - Manager, Communications & Development
A seasoned, senior communications professional, Almira Bardai has almost 20 years of experience creating powerful narratives for domestic and global brands. As an advocate for leadership in business not only is Almira a recipient of Enterprising Woman magazine's 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year Award, PROFIT and Canadian Business W100: Canada's Top Female Entrepreneurs 2016, Business In Vancouver Forty Under 40 2016 Winner and finalist of the 2014 Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction Awards, but she is a thought leader on issues affecting the PR Industry and frequently appears as a commentator in the media. With an enviable network of influencers and a storied career, her expertise lies in developing strategic communications and social media plans focused on brand experiences, building brand awareness, and user engagement. She's delivered results-driven campaigns for the likes of Granville Island Brewing, Flight Centre, Nike, Best Buy, Future Shop, Molson, and TELUS. Prior to Indian Summer Arts Society, Almira co-founded and was Co-CEO of Jive PR & Digital, one of Canada’s top boutique PR and social media agencies, with offices in Toronto, Los Angeles, and Vancouver. Launching her career as a PR Consultant at one of Canada’s leading PR agencies, Wilcox PR, she spent many years working abroad as Head of Global PR at Cobra Beer, one of the UK’s fastest growing beer brands, and also practiced corporate public relations and communications in Australia and in South Africa. Almira is active as a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and mentor in organizations, such as Room to Read, Starlight Children's Foundation, Aga Khan Foundation Canada, SFU Beedie School of Business, and Entrepreneur's Organization.
Amanda Hamilton Interior Design - Creative Director
Celebrated for her tenacious and vibrant persona, Amanda Hamilton’s bold and unconventional approach to design and business has made her one of the most sought after interior designers in Western Canada. With over a decade of experience, she has earned a diverse and extensive portfolio including custom residential homes, multi-family developments, restaurant, office and retail design. Committed to continual education and evolution through exploration, Amanda unearths inspiration from significant cultural and social influences like literature, art, music, film and fashion, which are all purposely woven into her work, providing depth to the design narrative. Intimately involved in the creative development and strategic planning of each project, Amanda pursues client inclusion throughout the design process to ensure spaces embody the values and capture the character of each client. She is the current chair of the World of Choices committee for Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta. Notable accolades include Avenue Magazine’s 2017 Top 40 Under 40 Award, Silver Stevie Women Entrepreneur of Canada Award in 2017, “One to Watch” in the 2013 Western Living Designer of the Year Awards, and recipient of the Mount Royal University Horizon Award in 2012. With an insatiable need for adventure, Amanda travels extensively, stumbling upon inspiration and a few glasses of Rose along the way.
STARS Air Ambulance - CEO
Andrea Robertson believes in a very important motto: the more informed you are, the more you realize how little you know. She’s had a life-long commitment to learning ever since she was a young nurse, and that drive carried her through many academic achievements, from a Bachelor’s in Nursing, to a Master’s in Health-Care Administration, to an executive fellowship from Wharton University and Ivey School of Business, to an executive leadership program at Harvard. Her drive is a selfless one. These accolades, as well as her many past leadership roles at Alberta Health Services, Foothills Medical Centre and Alberta Children’s Hospital, were all intended to be in service to her community. For Andrea, there is no greater service than helping someone survive a critical illness or injury. Which is why, as president and CEO of STARS, she is right where she belongs. In this role she is responsible for the overall direction of our operations and works to build upon our external relationships with donors, governments and key partners. Strengthening these relationships is vital to our ability to provide the best-possible service our communities. Andrea’s commitment to continuing education and dedication to providing the best care possible has also leaded her to be an invaluable mentor to many entering the health care field. Formally, she is part of a mentorship program through the University of Calgary. Informally, she works with as many as five young, energetic leaders at any given time. For the students, the reward is Andrea’s wealth of experience and unyielding empathy for others. For Andrea, mentorship is just another opportunity to learn more about the world, through the eyes of her students. It’s through these relationships that Andrea sees education come to life. Andrea’s leadership and contributions to business and her community have been widely recognized, both as a member of the board of directors of both Bow Valley College and Calgary Airport Authority and one of WXN’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2015.
About Staffing - Founder and Visionary
I successfully operate a high profile staffing company recognized for its high level of achievement and inspiration. I continue to take the company to new levels of opportunity through economic challenges and evolving technologies. I manage the vision of the company and ensure that the ultimate objectives are met through process and accountability, the development of internal staff, and customer/candidate relationships. Every day of my career has been filled with change, logic, emotion, development, laughter, and questioning, no two days alike! I am grateful for the very full, busy, and successful life this career has awarded me, and proud to be recognized as an expert in the employment arena. On a personal note, I have many friends, so I have great parties, and I am very involved with my Calgary family! I have enjoyed extensive travel over my long career in the staffing industry, so I am grateful for that.
The Calgary Foundation - President & CEO
Widely respected in the Calgary community, Ms. Friesen has an extensive background in providing effective leadership. She has been the President and CEO of Calgary Foundation since 2005. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Friesen was CEO of the Calgary Health Trust for 4 years, and had a 22 year career with the YWCA spanning three cities: Winnipeg, Yellowknife, where she was CEO for five years, and then Calgary where she was the CEO for 12 years. Ms. Friesen has served on a variety of Boards including the Calgary Police Commission, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, and the Calgary Rotary Club (Downtown). Eva was the recipient of the 2011 Haskayne School of Business MAX Award, an award given annually to an alumni in recognition of outstanding success. She has an MBA from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor in Physical Education from the University of Manitoba. Eva also holds an ICD.D designation through the Institute of Corporate Directors and ICD-Rotman, Directors Education Program.
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra - Director, Artistic Operations
Why she’s a 2017 Top 40 Under 40: MacDonald has helped the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra become more efficient and cost-effective and was part of a group that successfully lobbied the federal government to change policies that restricted orchestras from hiring world-class musicians from other countries. In Jennifer MacDonald’s line of work, no recognition is often the best recognition. “If I’m doing my job well, people don’t notice. That’s how you can tell you’re doing it well, because nothing’s falling from the rafters,” she says. Those would be the rafters at the Jack Singer Concert Hall, home of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO). MacDonald started at the CPO in 2011 as an associate director and has since risen in the ranks. Now, as the director of artistic operations, she and her team manage the administrative details of the orchestra’s 90-plus concerts per season involving 66 full-time and more than 100 additional musicians.
Shane Homes - President at Shane Homes Group of Companies
Shane Wenzel followed his father into the home building industry at a young age, learning the inner workings of the company with a hands-on perspective at job sites. He moved into sales and marketing, ultimately taking on the role as senior vice-president of sales and marketing. Shane is hard-wired into new technologies, and has crafted a high profile for the company on social media and online as well as introduced leading edge innovations to the Shane Homes Group of Companies product line based on customer input. In 2010, he became the company’s president, sharing Cal Wenzel's passion of putting customers first, with honesty and integrity. Shane serves on the board of directors of BILD Calgary Region and is chairman of the annual Calgary SAM Awards.
Classroom Champions - Co-Founder, President & CEO at Classroom Champions
Steve Mesler is the co-founder, President, and CEO of Classroom Champions. He oversees the international operations of the organization, while also guiding its long-term strategic direction. A three-time American Olympian™, Steve led his team to gold at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic™ Games in 4-man bobsled. This was the U.S.’s first gold medal in the event in 62 years. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the United States Olympic™ Committee (USOC) where he also serves on the Compensation Committee. Under Steve’s vision and leadership, Classroom Champions has grown from Steve being the only athlete involved in the pilot and working with 200 students in 2009, to today having more than 100 World-Class athletes, Olympians™, Paralympians™, College Student-Athletes and NFL Players mentoring more than 25,000 students across the globe.
Steve is an internationally recognized leader in the world of sport and education programming and philanthropy. He is a sought-after presenter at education and other conferences around the world, including Dubai, Sochi, Tel Aviv, Guatemala, and across the U.S. and Canada. He has also collaborated with the likes of TED, Big Think, and others to increase awareness of the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) in young students.
Ignore the Naysayers - Founder and CEO, Screw the Naysayers Productions
The Naysayers laughed when I walked away from a six-figure income, moved to a tiny fishing village, and started my own company. They stopped laughing when my sales topped $10 million. On the Screw the Naysayers Podcast I interview guests from around the globe that have overcome adversity and broken free from a system that encouraged them to settle. We share inspiring stories and practical advice you can use to live the life you want.
University of Toronto - Vice Dean, Faculty Affairs and Equity
As the Vice-Dean of Faculty Affairs & Equity at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), Professor Maydianne Andrade shows the strength diversity brings to an organization through actively promoting the hiring, retention, and success of a diverse and inclusive faculty. Through her informative and eye-opening talks, she speaks to the harm that unconscious biases have on both individuals and organizations, and provides techniques and solutions to resolve and mitigate those negative effects to create more positive and fair workplaces. In addition, Andrade is co-founder and the inaugural chair of the Toronto Initiative for Diversity and Excellence (TIDE) at the University of Toronto, where she provides education about unconscious bias to academic leaders and search committees across the three campuses of the University of Toronto. She has also conducted workshops and spoken on the topic at several universities across the United States and Canada, to division heads at the City of Toronto, and to Legal Aid Ontario.
Norton Engineering Inc. - President
Barbara A. Robinson, M.A.Sc., P.Eng., established Norton Engineering Inc. in 2015 following a successful 25-year private sector career and highlighted by two years as City Engineer for Kitchener. Norton initiated the ongoing “Addressing Unacceptable Inflow and Infiltration (I/I) in New Subdivisions”, which is currently gaining national attention; she has given dozens of presentations on the topic. She functions as senior QA/QC on Halton Region’s Downspout Disconnection projects and the Fort Erie Pollution Control Plan. She has provided ongoing wastewater engineering services for the Township of Woolwich since 2001. Norton was works regularly with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) to undertake various projects, including a long-term project to calculate the “Societal Costs of I/I” and “Engineering Data and Flood Risk”. Barbara is currently Chairwoman of the CSA committee to develop a new national Basement Flood Protection Guideline (expected to evolve into a Standard), which was just posted for public review. She sits on the WEAO Collections Systems Committee, ICLR Municipal Advisory Committee, and advises on the Durham Climate Resistance Standard for New Houses and the new BC Housing Standard. She also works for NRC and SCC.
Concordia University - Change Management Lead
Ruth Fernandez, MAPC, is a Change Management leader and scholar known for her ability to inspire and motivate multigenerational, ethnically diverse, and geographically dispersed teams. She completed a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism at Ryerson University, and her Masters Degree in Professional Communications at Royal Roads University. Her research project examined how technology firms leverage advertising to attract teen girls to STEM careers. Her study uncovered the counterproductive patriarchal discourses hidden in the ads and its potential damaging consequences. As an IBM consultant, Ruth focuses on creating and implementing strategies to enable and empower employees to adopt new behaviors and new technologies. Dedicated to the mentoring of girls, Ruth is an active member of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization in Montreal where she serves as a local chapter board member and was responsible for the chapter’s first social media engagement strategy. In her free time, Ruth Fernandez enjoys travelling, spending time with family, attending hockey games, and being a role model for her nieces.
Cisco Canada - President
Rola Dagher is President of Cisco Canada, an organization that consistently ranks among Cisco’s top country revenue producers globally and which acts as a proving ground for some of the company’s most advanced and innovative technologies. Rola oversees all facets of Cisco Canada’s business including sales operations, engineering, services, finance, and marketing, Rola joined Cisco from Dell EMC where she held a variety of leadership roles in sales, channels, and IT. Most recently, she served as Vice President and General Manager of the Canadian Infrastructure Solutions Group for Dell EMC and was responsible for leading their server, storage, networking, solutions, and systems engineering businesses, delivering innovative and disruptive technology solutions. With over 25-years of technology experience in the server, storage, and networking markets, Rola is a seasoned professional and a highly-respected sales leader. Her successful career can be attributed to the energy and passion she has for people, combined with a contagious “can do” attitude. She believes in only being as strong as your weakest link and considers this the foundation of her management style; one that is inclusive of building teams that are customer-centric, strategic, highly-motivated, and empowered. Her people-first mindset and determination to continuously develop have enabled her teams to drive growth, establish impactful partnerships, and achieve aggressive targets year over year. It's all about the customer as she strives to provide unique solutions which are impactful, innovative, and disruptive.
Laurentian Bank Securities - Vice-President, Senior Analyst (Diversified Industrials)
Mona is an Equity Analyst with ~10 years sell side capital market experience. Experience in cross-sectional roles involving multiple skill sets, both quantitative and qualitative. Financial modelling + valuation, in depth company and industry research, report writing, delivering presentations and relationship management (sales & trading and investment banking teams, corporate issuers and buy side portfolio managers). Understanding of various end markets including: energy services, infrastructure + midstream, technology, potash and disruptive technologies.
Accent Inns & Hotel Zed - President and CEO
When Mandy Farmer’s father started Accent Inns Inc. in 1987, he didn’t plan on having any of his children go into the business. But Mandy took over as president and CEO in 2008, bringing with her an innovative, lighthearted (and highly profitable) vision. With fun and unique amenities and on-property experiences, big brand personalities, Instagram-worthy decor, and a focus on keeping both guests and staff happy, she’s revitalized the family-owned chain (not to mention the exterior corridor motel market), growing it to eight hotels across BC under the Accent Inns and Hotel Zed brands. Also an Honorary Captain in the Royal Canadian Navy.
ATCO - Chair & CEO
Ms. Southern was appointed Chair of ATCO and Canadian Utilities effective December 1, 2012 and has been Chief Executive Officer of ATCO since January 1, 2003, and President of ATCO from January 1, 2003 until February 28, 2018. Ms. Southern has also been Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Utilities since January 1, 2003 and was President of Canadian Utilities from 2003 to 2015. Previously, she was Deputy Chair of each of ATCO and Canadian Utilities from 2008 until 2012, Co-Chair and Co-Chief Executive Officer of each company from 2000 until 2002, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of each company from 1998 to 1999, and Deputy Chair of each company from 1996 to 1999. Ms. Southern has full responsibility for the strategic direction and the operations of ATCO and reports to the Board of Directors. Ms. Southern is a founding director and is a member of the Board of Directors of AKITA Drilling Ltd. She is also a director of Sentgraf Enterprises Ltd. and an Honorary Director of the Bank of Montreal.
Ms. Southern is a member of The U.S. Business Council, a member of the American Society of Corporate Executives, and a Canadian member of The Trilateral Commission. She is also a member of the Business Council of Canada and the Rideau Hall Foundation Board of Directors.
Shell Canada - Canada Country Chair and VP, Canada Integrated Gas
In January 2018, Michael took on lead responsibility in Canada for Shell’s Integrated Gas business which includes an interest in the LNG Canada project. Michael has a dual role as both Vice President, Canada Integrated Gas and Shell Canada President and Country Chair. He has led large, complex operations, joint ventures and the development, execution, commissioning, and start-up of mega projects. Michael has led teams across Shell’s upstream and downstream businesses and his assignments have taken him to over 30 countries throughout Asia, Europe, Africa and North and South America.
Michael was born and raised in Calgary and graduated in 1984 as a Chemical Engineer with distinction from the University of Alberta. He and his wife are parents to three now-grown children and recently welcomed two grandchildren.
Italian Centre Shop Ltd. - Owner
Born in Edmonton in 1961, Teresa grew up at the Italian Centre Shop, taking her first steps in the pasta aisle. By age 13, she was working in the store regularly as a cashier, never dreaming she would one day ascend to the Presidency of the company. With her vision of changing the business from a local grocery store to a major importer and distributor, the company has grown 8 times with 4 stores (located in Edmonton and Calgary), over 500 employees and sales exceeding 70 million.
Telus - Board Director
David Mowat is a corporate director. He was President and CEO of ATB Financial from June 2007 to June 2018. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union from 2000 until 2007. In 2015, he was named Chair of the Alberta Royalty Review panel. David holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia. In 2015, he received an Honorary Bachelor of Business Administration from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and in 2017 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Alberta. In 2014, David was selected by Alberta Venture Magazine as Alberta’s Business Person of the Year. Dave is a Maverick of Change.
McRock Capital - Co-founder
Co-founder and Managing Partner of McRock Capital, a venture capital firm focused exclusively on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). She has over 20 years of investment, operating and strategic planning experience from the power, water and oil & gas industries. She is refreshingly real and passionate about women-in-tech and inspiring girls to get into STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math).
Benevity - VP Marketing
Mid-career, Sona decided to make her lengthy work week “mean something to the world,” jumping at the opportunity to lead Benevity’s Marketing team. As VP of Marketing, Sona is passionate about how companies can foster a culture of passion and purpose and hopes that, through her work at Benevity, she can play a small part in helping companies do that. Sona brings almost 15 years of marketing experience, primarily in global e-commerce businesses, with proven success in building high-performing teams, managing $2M+ budgets, and delivering effective promotional strategies and brand campaigns. Sonia is driven by big visions, loves leading small but mighty teams, and feels her best overseeing large integrated marketing campaigns.
Coach Carey - Life Coach and Motivational Speaker
Raia " Coach" Carey is a Motivational certified professional coach, dedicated to helping people achieve their goals in any aspect of their life. Through the collaborative process, coaching helps people make positive, desired changes in their lives through deep, powerful and meaningful conversation. After being an event planner for over 10 years, as well as studying psychology & marketing in university, she brings a concrete understanding of human behaviour to the coaching relationship. Raia also brings personal self-development triumph and tribulations to the table, after turning her life around, and losing over 300lbs. Coaching allows her to share her gift, to help people find true happiness within themselves, as well as assisting them in moving forward.
Design Exchange - President and CEO
An innovative leader with 20+ years of expertise in launching and developing cultural attractions and exhibitions, public events and trade shows within the categories of design, education and popular culture that have raised Toronto’s profile – both locally and globally. Proficiency demonstrated within a range of organizational environments - not for profit/charity, corporate and entrepreneurial. An innovative problem-solver who thrives in challenging environments.
Baker Tilly Trillium LLP - Chief Operating Officer
Throughout her extensive career, Sandy worked for pillars of the London accounting community subsequently starting her own practice before becoming a founding partner of the firm, EPR Trillium LLP, Chartered Professional Accountants. She is thrilled now to be able to continue to offer her and expanded services to her long-term value clients under the prestigious Baker Tilly Trillium LLP banner. Sandy believes that in today’s increasingly fast-paced business environment, continuing to develop one’s professional skills is critical, however, it is not enough. Sandy believes in developing strong relationships with her clients to better understand their unique requirements and as such is able to offer services that are tailored to their individual needs. Sandy feels that this approach builds a relationship of trust which permits her to help clients with often complex and many times difficult decisions. Sandy strives to always be approachable for her clients whether it is for business or personal matters.
Sandy carries this same level of passion to all aspects of her life including “giving back” to the profession and community via volunteer and mentoring services with various professional bodies. Participation in charitable activities is a natural extension as is her pursuit of a balance in her life. Sandy enjoys travelling, and spending time with family and friends, and attending social events with clients who she considers friends as well.
Baker Tilly Trillium LLP - Manager
Jodie has been a part of the accounting community for over 35 years and has experience working in both Public Accounting and Industry. She has held both Management and Senior Management positions in both fields. Jodie joined EPR Trillium in 2015 as Senior Manager. After earning her CGA designation in 2001, after completing all the requirements, was granted the authority to practice as a licensed public accountant in Ontario in 2012. Jodie became one of a small group of CGA’s in Ontario to earn this privilege prior to merging with CPA. Jodie can help you with your assurance, corporate and personal taxation requirements. Jodie is highly involved with planning and organizing many of the firm’s team building professional development, lunch and learns and social events, which all team members look forward to and enjoy immensely. Outside of the office, Jodie enjoys volunteering her time in the community, spending time family and grandchildren and touring any wine country.
Baker Tilly Trillium LLP - Senior Operations Manager
Elizabeth acquired her Professional Bookkeeping Certification from Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada and possesses a Diploma in Business Marketing. She is the Senior Operations Manager, and goes that extra mile to assist the clients, partners and colleagues. Liz works closely with the partner group and is responsible for the firm’s internal accounting, payroll and administrative requirements. In addition to this, Liz overseas the accounting department and supervises the bookkeeping team within the London office. This department works with numerous clients and complies with all the necessary deadlines such as weekly payroll processing, including all electronic deposit deadlines, related payroll government remittances and monthly HST filings. The clients trust and confidence in Liz is demonstrated by their reliance on her to meet all payment deadlines. Liz also has her QuickBooks Desktop ProAdvisor certification and has acquired her QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor certification. Liz works closely with the clients and staff, setting up and training them on these programs. Liz is also experienced with other accounting software programs such as Sage 50, Sage Business Vision, and Costar. Liz is a very social person and has planned and organized many of the company social events over the years; such as the annual Christmas parties, “Taxed Out’ after tax season events and the annual MS Bike Ride weekend in July.
Harmony Place Support Services - Board Member: Chair, Fundraising
Shez is a Fundraising Professional with experience in Higher Education and Healthcare. Shez has held several Development roles with York University and Hamilton Health Sciences as part of McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation. Currently, Shez works for University Advancement for the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. Shez’s expertise focuses on front line fundraising, relationship building, strategic planning, managing corporate partnerships, business & community engagement and event planning. Shez joined the Harmony Place Board of Directors in 2018 as Chair of the Fundraising Committee. Shez is passionate about empowering organizations that focus on social inclusion, growth and self-advocacy. Shez hopes to develop exceptional fundraising programs and build lifelong relationships and support for Harmony Place.
The Women's Leadership Intensive - Founder
Belinda Clemmensen B.Sc., M.Ed., ACC, helps women live and lead to their full potential. As an ICF-certified coach and award-winning designer and facilitator of leadership development initiatives across North America and beyond, Belinda has now turned her focus to helping women lead in whatever domain or industry inspires them. “I know how hard it is to bring a vision to life because I’ve done it. Whether that’s a vision for your career, a business, a charitable or creative initiative. That’s why I developed the Women’s Leadership Intensive, so women wouldn’t have to re-invent the process every time, so women wouldn’t have to do it alone. This is the program I wished I’d had when I was building my own business."
O Trade - Founder and Director
For over ten years, Monica has worked on defining new approaches to balancing community development and securing operational productivity in the extractive industry. Her expertise in CSR, Sustainable Development and Supply Chain motivated her to start O Trade in 2007. Monica is the author of the Local Community Procurement Program (LCPP), a Sustainable Supply Chain model awarded by the World Bank among the Top 15 innovations or the World Bank Procurement Innovation Challenge 2012. Monica holds a Master's Degree in Diplomatic Studies from the University of Westminster, and has completed postgraduate programs in Sustainability Management from Harvard University and International Business Strategy, from the London School of Economics. Monica was Professor in Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainable Development and International Sourcing and Procurement, at Seneca College in Canada. Currently, she is Guest Lecturer at Queen’s University in Canada, Georgia College and State University in the US, and Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico. She has been guest speaker at the IFC Sustainability Exchange Conference and guest participant at the Working Session: Procurement and Community Development, at Rio + 20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, organized by United Nations Global Compact.
Millennial Strategist - Founder & CEO
Michelle Schurter is CEO and Founder of Millennial Strategist, is a leadership expert who provides practical, savvy advice to Government Organizations to help attract, lead and grow their millennial employees in a cross generational workforce. Founder Michelle Schurter has been working with youth and leadership for over 25 years. With 2 Masters degrees in related fields, she has held leadership positions at some of Ontario’s largest Government and Educational institutions. Now, she helps organizations manage the cross-generational challenges and leverage opportunities created by the sweeping entry of millennials into their midst.
Teresa Isabel Dias
MenopausED - Founder
Teresa is a registered pharmacist with over 20 years of professional experience in community pharmacy and drug information in Toronto. She was in my mid 40s when she started experiencing perimenopause. She was irritable, impatient, and yelling at her kids. One day her older son asked if she was bipolar. She wasn’t, but that made her seek help. Like most women, Teresa started looking on the internet. With her training as a pharmacist she knew what a science-based website is supposed to teach but most of what she found was marketing disguised as information. Eventually, Teresa found the North American Menopause Society (NAMS*) and it helped her immensely. Teresa realized she could, and wanted to, help other women with similar menopause experiences so she became a Certified Menopause Practitioner. Teresa founded MenopausED to educate and support women in midlife, especially during the menopause transition, to raise awareness about menopause, and to break the menopause taboo.
Covergalls Inc. - Creator & CEO
Alicia Woods is founder and CEO of Covergalls Workwear and General Manager of Marcotte Mining. Motivated to improve the underground mining experience for women, Alicia designed the first ever covergalls for women, and then successfully pitched her business on CBC’s Dragon’s Den in 2014.
2Sisters Consulting - Owner
She is a woman, she is Chinese, she is Canadian and a global citizen. The labels that apply to her are diverse — and that is her expertise. Shieh-Chi is a diversity and inclusion practitioner, and a certified executive coach who challenges leaders to cherish differences, reject conformity and harness the power of diversity. As a Chinese woman who grew up in India and lived in the U.S. and Canada, she knows first-hand the challenges that people in a minority face. She's fumbled her way through situations feeling awkward and misunderstood. She's seen what happens when talented people choose to blend in because of their cultural differences: vibrancy is extinguished by conformity. Ignoring language barriers, culture differences, generational gaps and gender sensitivities can immobilize an organization. That is where she comes in. Shieh-Chi coaches high-potential senior executives to create inclusive environments. She delivers programs that educate global organizations on discrimination and its consequences and helps raise awareness of personal biases. Shieh-Chi deepens self-awareness and learning through one-on-one coaching that cultivates an appreciation for cultural, gender and generational differences. In combination, the diversity programs and executive coaching she offers empower people not to hide, but rather to bring 100% of themselves to the table. Over the past 15+ years she has worked as a management consultant for Fortune 500 companies such as CIBC, Intact and The MONY Group; organizations that understand that diversity & inclusion are good for the bottom line as well as the right thing to do. Shieh-Chi is a certified executive coach, the owner of a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and an experienced conference speaker.
Doulas on Bike - Birth Doula and Educator
Doulas on Bikes is a sister team providing non-medical non-judgemental support to pregnant women partners and families. We are compassionate and knowledgeable support for prenatal preparation labour and delivery and the postpartum period. We are experienced in acupressure techniques for labour hypno-birthing and breastfeeding support. Additional services include placenta encapsulation and Mother’s Blessing Way planning.
Keep Leaf - Founder/Owner
The founder of Keep Leaf, Jaswinder Salh, developed a love for design at a young age. This was nurtured through numerous trips to India where Salh was inspired by the textiles and colours that surrounded her. Following a degree in Fashion Design, which she completed in Toronto, Salh took her skills abroad, to New York and London. There she held various senior level positions with international companies such as Calvin Klein, Niki Taylor Inc., and American Eagle. Settling for a period in London, England, Salh continued her career path as a Trend and Design Director, gaining invaluable experience in the UK and European fashion markets. After the birth of her first child, Salh decided to follow a different path: to fulfill a longtime dream of starting her own business. With a growing concern for our environment and a commitment to social responsibility the new mother promptly began developing products that facilitate the now imperative, environmentally and socially conscious lifestyle.
RElive Coaching - Founder
Renata Kuprinskiene is a Leadership and Life Balance Consultant and Coach, Professional Behavioral Analyst, Professional Trainer and Facilitator. She supports her clients in producing extraordinary results in their personal and professional lives while enjoying every step along the way. Through her business, RElive Coaching, she provides personal and group coaching and consulting to clients around the world. As a Consultant and a Solutions Focused Coach, Renata integrates the scientific with the intuitive. She incorporates a combination of techniques and processes that facilitate deep understanding, transformation and empowerment. Her clients move quickly to the heart of important, life-altering decisions, drawing from their own customized path to success. Renata always appraises techniques by first testing them on herself. Whether clients enhance their careers, achieve improved leadership skills, or strengthen personal and professional relationships, she thrives on witnessing the extraordinary results her work provides. Fluent in English, Lithuanian, and Russian, she is a globally recognized trainer, team leader, and facilitator, working with individuals and groups. During almost 20 years in her corporate career, she serviced clients from a wide range of industries on business and leadership related issues. As a project manager, team builder, and workshop facilitator, Renata’s client-centered approach established her as a trusted advisor to everyone she worked with.
Dr. Marlyn Morris
Ontario College for Development Training - Founder and Strategic Program Manager
Dr. Marlyn Morris is a trained and qualified Development Policy and Planning Specialist, Community Engagement Specialist, Legislative Reviewer and Drafter and an Educator. She has over twenty years expertise working with various Governments in her fields of technical expertise and largely in public policy development and analysis; advising governments and strengthening public sector institutions throughout the Caribbean and Guyana, South America. She is the Founder and Strategic Program Manager of Ontario College for Development Training( OCDT). She has performed vital roles in the following organizations
Vice President and Program Manager of Centre of Excellence & Business Incubator in Black Business And Professional Association (BBPA). She is also Co-Founder and Program Director of Inspiring Life Solutions and the Founding Partner and Program Director in the Canadian Research Centre for Humanities and Science are now known as the Ontario College of Research and Development.
Postmedia Network Inc. - Chief Administrative Officer, Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Gillian Akai was appointed Postmedia’s Chief Administrative Officer in May 2018, adding to her existing role as General Counsel which she has held since December 2016. Ms. Akai is responsible for Postmedia’s legal and regulatory affairs and corporate governance as well as employee relations and HR policies. She joined Postmedia’s predecessor company in 2006 and added corporate secretarial duties to her legal affairs responsibilities in 2010. Prior to joining the company, Ms. Akai was an Associate at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (now Dentons Canada LLP) and worked within the Business Law Group with a focus on private mergers and acquisitions, technology and software licensing, and general corporate commercial work. Ms. Akai holds a joint Bachelor of Laws (LLB)/MBA from Osgoode Hall Law School/Schulich School of Business (York University).
Law office of Caryma Sa'd - Founder
Access to justice is Caryma’s raison d’être. Her life mantra is to learn a lot, play a lot, and care a lot. A major component of Caryma’s current work involves advocacy with respect to human rights and social justice issues. She writes and tweets extensively about race, identity politics, and gender-based violence. Caryma articled at a top-tier Bay Street litigation boutique where she had the opportunity to work under the direct tutelage of some of Canada’s leading litigators. She was selected for a secondment to one of the Big Five banks. An alumna of the University of Ottawa, she received her Juris Doctor with honours while working towards the Master’s of International Affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.
BusiWomen - Founder and Principal
As the CEO of BusiWomen Inc, Karen Baring has always believed in the true value of community. She has utilized her dual degrees in Sociology and City Development from McMaster University along with her professional networking facilitation skills, business acumen and mentoring of others in business to create thriving and inspiring communities for 1000s of women entrepreneurs. Recognized for her strong ability to successfully teach others to network and to cultivate a community to grow their businesses, Karen is energetic and results driven. Yet she works to ensure each and every meeting and speaking engagement remains light-hearted and fun. She is often cited for saying, “Just because you are work doesn't mean it has to be boring”. She understands the need to bring creativity, humour and outside of the box strategies to networking, working with clients, speaking engagements and for overall business success. Karen is an influential International Guest speaker, a sought after meeting facilitator and a trusted mentor and advisor for hundreds of business owners and executives. She is devoted to helping ordinary women live extraordinary lives through personal and professional development and economic empowerment. She also works with larger businesses to support them in strategic brand development, team dynamics, leadership and engagement. When she isn't working with entrepreneurs, she is inspired to support her own community as well as work on broader scales initiatives. Karen is a dedicated Board Member of the Halton Multicultural Council and is always developing initiates to encourage younger children to volunteer and be engaged in their own communities. Her philanthropic nature leads to her particular interest in helping women and children to provide a better means for themselves and future generations.
IWB Immigrant Women in Business - Founding Member
Aziza is a women’s right activist, feminist, gender equality advocate, and a self-made leader. She is new in the country, but of course with the intention to make positive impacts in the society, through empowering women and girls to have freedom, with the support of women alike and organizations with same objectives such as “IWB”. Aziza has her master’s in business administration (MBA) and 17+ years of experience on women’ rights and gender-based issues in Afghanistan. She had the privilege to work with some the renowned humanitarian and development organizations such as UN, USAID, GIZ, AKDN and OXFAM and had established a Non-governmental organization (NGO) in Afghanistan to support and empower women and girls in all aspect of life, a special focus on economic independency. She believes that “We are born free and equal” but, why we are having fewer opportunities than our male counterparts? This question made me, to search for the reasons; learn ways and approaches to tackle this issue; advocate for gender equality and be a feminist. Consequently, my journey just starts….!"
IWB Immigrant Women in Business - CEO, Founder
Her passion is positive change, big ideas, business growth combined with proven expertise to build and retain top-performing teams that bring exceptional value to organizations. Svetlana's drive is to make the world more compassionate, innovative and sustainable. Always focus my effort to help people and look for an opportunity to grow personally and professionally. She thinks outside the box. Directly involved in developing supply channels and implementing highly targeted marketing campaigns for specialty items to global markets. Truly believes that inspiring motivation is what gets the best from people, and foster collaborative atmosphere that lets people to stretch their limits.
Dara Eisner Clancy
Future Strategies Inc. - Director Client Services
Dara’s passion has been helping people navigate difficult transitions and barriers of complexity for over two decades! As a passionate coach, mentor and facilitator, her energy, compassion and labour market expertise has helped thousands of people adjust and excel in new business environments. Her work with Future Strategies Inc. (FSI) has helped to expand that influence to larger groups and leadership practices in organizations of all types including Corporations, Communities, Not For Profits and Political Organizations. It has all been about ‘people working with people’ and how to optimize that environment. An avid volunteer, she has been with the Oakville Distress Center (now Distress Centre Halton) since 2000, as both an online volunteer and a volunteer trainer. She has received the Ontario Volunteer Service Award in recognition of 10 years of commitment and dedication as a volunteer in Ontario, and also received the 2012 “Spirit of Volunteerism Award” presented by Ontario Distress Centers Ontario, an organization with over 1,800 volunteers. She has also volunteered with ICTC (information and Communication Technology Council) since 2014 , and in that position she coaches internationally educated ICT professionals new to Canada how to navigate and transition into the Canadian job market and culture. In addition, Dara has been a major part of FSI’s partnership with Arizona State University Project Humanities where the mandate is to demonstrate the power, both financially and socially, of creating more respectful communities and workplaces.
Diversio - Founder and CEO
Laura is the founder and CEO of Diversio, a technology startup that uses data analytics and machine learning to help companies become more inclusive. She previously worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Co, where she led some of the Firm’s most high-profile economic growth and diversity work. Recently, Laura addressed the G20 Women Business Leaders Task Force on advancing women as entrepreneurs and business leaders, alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Laura is a serial social entrepreneur who has co-founded two viral social media campaigns to promote inclusion worldwide. She is a frequent speaker and author on diversity & inclusion, including seminal research with LeanIn and the Wall Street Journal. She was named one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence in 2017.
Dr. Mandana Attarzadeh
The Flourishing Women - Founder
Mandana Attarzadeh is an Author, speaker, women’s empowerment coach, non-profit leader, and social justice advocate. Born and raised in Iran, Mandana immigrated to Canada in July 2006. Driven by her passion for social justice and her desire to address root causes of ill health, Mandana who was initially trained as a medical doctor, deliberately gave up on her medical career in Iran and embarked in a journey that brought her to Community Development and Social Justice Field. In her current role, Mandana empowers residents of a very diverse neighbourhood in the city of Toronto, to take leadership and engage in collective community action to improve their neighbourhood and their living condition. Using innovative community development approaches and techniques, Mandana has been instrumental in starting and enhancing numerous community building initiatives, including establishing the first ever Friends of Park Group in North York, establishing a community choir, numerous recreational art and sport programs for women, children ,youth and seniors. She has also supported advocacy work for Health care and Neighbourhood Safety. Mandana has worked for about a decade in various Toronto’s non-profit sector agencies. She has coordinated networks and has sat on non-profit boards. Her leadership development work has been featured several times in Toronto Star and other media and conferences. Mandana currently mentors women to connect with their inner beauty and to radiate that beauty and attraction from inside out. She then invites women to use the power of their beauty and attraction in a responsible way and as a force for good in their life and the world. Mandana believes the gift of these women will be more beauty, peace and harmony to a world that is torn apart by violence, war and conflict. She strongly believes that women can change the world to a more beautiful and peaceful place if world invest on them to “Flourish”.
Insure Canadian - President
Huria Kiran is the President at Insure Canadian and is a member of the Independent Financial Brokers of Canada. She has a passion for covering current issues affecting the Life and Health Insurance industry in Canada. Huria ‘s focus is to educate, entertain and inspire others towards what financial success means to them.She is Certified Life Insurance Expert based out of Ontario .She worked with families and business owners to develop sound financial plans. She is an expert in her field due to her dedication to the profession, her willingness to learn and adapt, and her continued education through reading and experience. She has a Masters’s degree in Commerce Specialization in Accounts. Her mission is to educate and spread financial Knowledge to help people to make informed financial decisions. Huria grew up in Pakistan and ventured over to Canada as Immigrant at her 20s. She is the oldest of five children. She is the Author of Book "Price for peace”. She been involved In community services and won several awards as recognition
Ethnic Channels Group - Advertising Sales Executive
Gila Yefet immigrated to Canada from Israel at the age of 12. She is an Advertising Sales Executive at Ethnic Channels Group and has been a host of her TV show on the Israeli channel for the past ten years. Gila is a pillar of our community; she is a Mediator, a legal support worker and a founder of “Women of Courage and Strength” – a support group for abused women. She is a motivational speaker and a life coach and is currently writing her first book. Her contribution spreads unto many different fields as she passionately dedicated her life to helping those in need. Her Book: “The Conscious Choices” for those that are seeking a journey of self-improvement and self-healing. It’s a story of a woman, who endured many traumatic events, such as domestic abuse, a juvenile delinquent son, incurable illnesses; self-blame consumed her and defined her. As the excruciating pain took over her life, she realized that she was the only one who had the power of choice to heal herself. She found the courage to discover her inner strength and started the journey to healing her soul.
Happy Healthy Women - Founder & CEO
Natalie is a multi-preneur (many projects with one mission), passionate about empowering women to step into their greatness and move mountains in their lives. In her previous life and business, she followed the all work-no play mentality and very soon came crashing down. A reality check from her accountant and an honest look at the shape of her life dropped her flat on her face. She hit a breaking point personally, emotionally and financially and got pretty cozy at rock bottom. She couldn't figure out why things weren't working when she was working SO hard - and then it hit her. I wasn't working hard at all on the thing that mattered most. HER. This is what Natalie calls the end that sparked the beginning because here's where the magic happened, where she found huge success, and why she decided to build a collective of incredible women, and mentor others. Together, they have started a movement and are empowering women everywhere to live happier, healthier and more successful lives. Our vision for this is global.
Melissa (Crnić) Sariffodeen
Canada Learning Code - Co-Founder && CEO
Melissa is a fierce advocate for providing Canadians (especially women and youth) the critical skills, confidence and opportunities they need to become passionate builders - not just consumers of technology and to inspire everyone to leverage and build technology that has the power to truly change the world. And, she's making that happen with an amazing team across the country at Canada Learning Code. Since 2011, she has taught over 80,000 Canadians code through one of her programs and she's just getting started. Her goal is to provide 10,000,000 technology learning experiences to Canadians over the next ten years through our programs Ladies Learning Code, Girls Learning Code, Kids Learning Code, Teens Learning Code and Teachers Learning Code. Through program design and delivery (like the code:mobile - a travelling computer lab road trip across Canada), strategic industry and public partnerships, educator training, research, advocacy and awareness Canada Learning Code aims to unify coding education in Canada and drive results.
Canada Learning Code - VP Fundraising
Unapologetic cheerleader for great causes.
Women in Capital Markets - President and CEO
Camilla Sutton is the President and CEO of Women in Capital Markets (WCM), a national not-for-profit that aims to accelerate gender diversity across financial services. To achieve this, she is focused on building the talent pipeline of women, working towards transforming trade-floor cultures and advocating for change. Camilla's career spans more than two decades in capital markets, most recently as Scotiabank’s Global Head of Foreign Exchange, responsible for the firm’s FX trading desks, electronic trading and distribution, sales teams, and the global strategy. Prior to this role, she was Scotiabank’s Chief FX Strategist, providing global macro commentary and advisory services across the firm’s client base. Earlier in her career, she was part of Portfolio Management at OMERS and Equity Research at BMO Capital Markets. Camilla holds a BA from Dalhousie University and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business. In addition, she is a CMT and CFA charterholder. She is an active member of the global investment community. She is a member of the CFA Society Toronto’s Board of Directors and was previously a member of the Bank of Canada’s Foreign Exchange Committee. She is also a member of several committees within the United Way and CFA Society Toronto and has been a long-term volunteer at Women in Capital Markets.
Women in Capital Markets - Chief Strategy Officer
With a background in writing, video production, web design and social media along with a strong interest in marketing, Katie brings a unique perspective and diverse skill set to the WCM team. She previously worked in film production where she wrote scripts and produced videos and media kits for clients including the Canadian Transportation Agency, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and Veterans Affairs Canada and worked with Epoch Multimedia to develop the interactive e-book 1812: Who Won the War? for high school classrooms across Canada and the United States. Katie's creativity and interest in web-design drove her to start her own business designing websites for local companies. Katie attended Queen's University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Film and Media Studies.
Heal Her Heart - Founder - Executive Director
Surviving a traumatic experience changes your life forever. For many of us, the most difficult part of coping with our pain is the overwhelming sense that we are alone and the feeling that we should never talk about it. The weight of that loneliness and silence can be crushing. It can often make healing feel out of reach. Heal Her Heart is here to assure you that it isn’t. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to giving women a safe space and a helping hand to continue the work towards their journey of healing. Heal Her Heart is the brainchild of founder, Amanda Dookie, a certified counsellor. After publicly writing about her experience with abortion and the painful reminder of Mother’s Day, she received an overwhelming response from the women in her life. Many of them felt empowered to share stories of their own. The powerful feeling of relief and support inspired Amanda to build a platform to help other women. Out of one story came an organization to support other women as they make their hearts whole again. Through expressive writing therapy, compassionate counselling, and compelling media, we’re working to change the narrative for women living through trauma.
Emily Rose Antflick
Shecosystem Coworking + Wellness - Founder & Chief Community Cultivator
Emily is the founder of Shecosystem: a coworking and wellness community where women thrive. She facilitates women’s workshops, holding space for deep connection with self, others, and the environment. Her work stems from a feminine paradigm that values collaboration, creativity and ‘showing up’ with your authentic self. With an MA in Education and over ten years in classroom and experiential education in Canada and internationally, She is a versatile teacher and program designer with rich perspectives on learning and community building. I'm the Community Leader of G Day for Girls Toronto, a rite of passage for adolescent girls and their adult champions. Emily is a facilitator of the award winning Dance Our Way Home healing freestyle dance program as well as a certified Permaculture Designer.
We Talk Women - Founder
A passionate, global citizen with the skills to inspire, engage and mobilize. Specialties: Social Media Strategy and Engagement, Communication Skills, Donor Relations, Customer Service, Community Event Planning and Public Speaking, Kavita was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick but spent much of her in a suburb of New Delhi in India where she was exposed to rampant poverty, social injustices and human rights violations. As a young child her mother worked for a local NGO that focused on education of children, HIV/AIDS awareness and vocational skills training aimed at creating strong, independent women. Her sense of civic duty, volunteering and advocating for a more just society were born out of her mother’s commitment to helping people. After a university professor connected Kavita to Human Rights Watch, she developed a keen interest in women’s rights. It was at the HRW Film Festival that she attended a viewing of the documentary “The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo”; this documentary had a profound impact on her and pushed her into action. In 2012, she founded an organization called We Talk Women; that works to raise awareness about local and global girls’ and women’s rights issues. She is passionate about many causes and has decided to dedicate much of her free time to the progress of each of them. Kavita believes that everyone needs to do their part in making the world a better place and mobilizes people to take meaningful action in their communities.
Shameless Magazine - Co-Founder and Board Member
When Melinda was a teenager, the mainstream media tried to convince her that her breasts were too small, her brain was too big and her life would be incomplete if she didn’t have a boyfriend. In her twenties, she fought back by launching Shameless, a fiercely independent teen magazine. Melinda has a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University and has worked as a writer, editor and producer at The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Eye Weekly, Strategy and TVOntario. She currently works at George Brown College.
Canadian Feed the Children - Chair
Sharon Pel is a corporate director and was Senior Vice President, Group Head of Legal and Business Affairs and Corporate Secretary of TMX Group Limited until 2015. At TMX Group, she was responsible for advising the TMX board and executive management on all aspects of its governance, operations and legal and regulatory affairs. Prior to that, she was a partner at Torys LLP, where she advised clients on a wide variety of legal issues including cross-border mergers, corporate finance and securities transactions, acquisitions and divestitures. Sharon currently provides consulting services through her firm, Inglewood Advisory Services. She is the Vice Chair of OPTrust, the administrator of the OPSEU Pension Plan — a defined benefit plan with over 92,000 members and retirees. Sharon is also a member of the board and of the Nomination and Governance committee of IPL Plastics Inc. (TSX:IPLP). Sharon holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto and a LL.B from the University of Ottawa. She is Member of the Law Society of Ontario and holds the ICD.D designation. Sharon brings her legal and business expertise, plus a strong commitment to children’s and women’s issues, to her role as Chair of the CFTC Board.
Office of the Fairness Commissioner - Commissioner
Jean is the first African-Canadian woman elected to the House of Commons. She was elected in the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore in 1993 and sat in Parliament until 2006. She served as the Fairness Commissioner for the Government of Ontario advocating for Canadians with foreign credentials from 2007-2015. Dr. Augustine led the motion that allowed for the placement of the Famous Five statue on Parliament Hill and the motion that created Black History Month in Canada. She has received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from six universities and has been recognized by having the Jean Augustine Girls’ Leadership Academy, Jean Augustine Secondary School and the Jean Augustine Chair in Education at York University.
Sistering - Board of Directors and Strategic Planning Committee Chair
Sue Kelleher is a community planner with over 10 years of experience in both the public and non-profit sectors. She has experience in the design and implementation of strategic plans and policy, community-based research and programs, and community engagement and public consultation processes. She currently works for the City of Toronto, and has previously worked on a range of non-profit projects focused on newcomers and settlement, accessible housing, food security and early childhood development. Social planner with experience in strategy development and implementation across multiple sectors.
Experienced in community engagement and consultation, government relations, multi-sectoral partnership development, collaborative program design and evaluation. Strong research and writing skills, including statistical analysis, qualitative analysis, policy development and research design methods.
Rochon & Associates - Founder and CEO
Having built and sold a successful bookkeeping practice serving small businesses in the Durham Region, Erin Rochon, Founder and Chief Executive Officer or Rochon & Associates, noticed there was a gap in the service offerings for the medical, dental and legal industries. With over fourteen years’ bookkeeping experience for dental and five years’ bookkeeping experience in legal, Erin realized she was uniquely qualified to fill this void with her practice specific knowledge. While many companies offered bookkeeping services to business owners, very few of them knew and understood the sophisticated software programs that most dental and legal offices used for their bookkeeping. Proficient in legal software, such as PC Law and Clio Practice Management and dental software such as Dentrix, Abeldent, Logitech, Tracker, Orthodent and Quickbooks, Erin specializes in working with small to medium-sized practice owners to ensure compliance and growth while also helping them maintain a great work-life balance.
Andalusia Speech Language Pathologist - Founder
Ibtissam is passionate about helping children and adults communicate freely. She is a Canadian-trained Speech Language Pathologist and also works at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto as an Auditory Verbal Therapist. She believes in a holistic and personalized approach to each individual she meets and collaborates with her clients to help them achieve their goals.
Launch Strategic Group - Chief Growth Officer
Strategic business executive aiming to increase growth in companies by better sales strategies.
A passionate and driven leader responsible for developing a consultative sales approach and determining the metrics to support the strategy, and enabling teams to consistently deliver profitable net new revenue growth.
Exceptionally knowledgeable in determining the audience targeting, verticals and routes to differentiation from the competition by leveraging solution selling methodologies
Successful collaboration skills with internal business units and partners to influence the relevant solution portfolio and pricing in both mature and competitive landscapes.
Transmountain Corporation - Director
Lorraine Mitchelmore has more than 30 years of oil and gas experience with more than a third of her career working internationally. Her most recent roles include CEO of Enlighten Innovations, various senior positions in Royal Dutch Shell, including Executive Vice-President Heavy Oil Americas and President and Country Chair of Shell Canada from 2009-2016. Prior to Royal Dutch Shell, she held various positions in BHP Petroleum, Chevron and Petro Canada. She serves on the Bank of Montreal board of directors, Catalyst Canada Advisory Council, is the Chair of the Federal Resources of the Future Economic Strategy Table and served on the Federal Government's NAFTA Environmental Advisory Council. Ms. Mitchelmore holds a Bachelor's degree in Geophysics from Memorial University of Newfoundland, a Master's degree in Geophysics from the University of Melbourne, Australia and an MBA from Kingston Business School in London, England.
Frederick OTG - Principal at Frederick OTG
Shauna has a strong desire to help others achieve ultimate success and the reduced stress that comes with accounting and financial planning. Her creation of Frederick OTG, has helped her accomplish her mission of making a difference in her client’s business; to help them grow stronger than ever. After spending close to 10 years in the Oil & Gas Industry working for both public and private companies, Shauna felt the desire to move into a position where she could help people. This decision led her to the CA School of Business where she worked towards her CA designation. She articled with two accounting firms, the latter being Matthews Group LLP where she was appointed Associate in January 2011 and Junior Partner in January 2012. Working with The Matthews Group gave her the opportunity to work with amazing mentors who encouraged her to ask questions and understand the needs of the client. Shauna's focus was working with entrepreneurs and their internal accountants helping improve their systems, processes and overall reporting. In addition to her entrepreneurial journey, Shauna also dedicated almost a decade of endless hours and passion into the non profit organization, Famous 5 Foundation. After 8 years of amazing leadership and dedication, Shauna Frederick recently stepped down as Chair of the Board. Shauna became a volunteer with the Famous 5 in October 2010 and became Chair of the Board in May 2016. Her passion for empowering Canadian women has played an important role in developing various leadership programs for young girls across the country and her avid commitment to sharing the legacy of the Famous Five has been instrumental in making the Foundation successful.
Business Link - Team Lead, Indigenous Services
Holly is Cree and Saulteaux from Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan. As the Team Lead, Indigenous Services for Business Link, Holly leads a team across Alberta in supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs with their the startup and expansion of small businesses. Holly is amazing at connecting entrepreneurs to helpful resources while also providing guidance. In addition to leading the Indigenous Services team in AB, Holly also facilitates workshops and builds meaningful relationships in both rural and urban Indigenous communities.
Holly holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, so it is no surprise that in her spare time she enjoys reading, writing, and collecting books, and also authors a blog on the Indigenous Woman’s Identity. Holly believes the art of storytelling and communication is one of the key factors in building a strong business.
The Magic Assistant - Entertainer & Entrepreneur
Ms. Gwyn Auger (aka The Magic Assistant) is a multi-talented entertainer, social media guru, entrepreneur, model with degrees in cooking and TESOL, who works tirelessly and passionately to push forward her career as a magician’s assistant on top her position as a customer service agent with WestJet. Gwyn dovetails this same passion into all that she does including breaking new ground by applying her extensive background in social media and marketing to assist and promote other entertainers in the magic industry.
Gwyn whose petite size and scoliosis condition can’t contain her boundless energy to inspire those around her by her hard work and dedication whether by helping friends, the community and by volunteering her time for causes such as Movember and the Underwear Affair.
She has been featured in numerous articles, appeared on podcasts and most recently achieved one of her dreams by assisting the famous magician Lance Burton (veteran 15,000+ shows on the Vegas strip) at the opening of the Magic Castle Cabaret in California. She will also be going solo in an upcoming performance with other celebrities of magic in Bakersfield this May. Achieving such milestones is only the beginning for such a talented and inspiring woman.
FEM in STEM - Founder
Advocate of the concept of applying intrinsic motivation to all aspects of life. Mylene believes that one's passion and career path should merge in harmony without compromise. Currently she is working towards her Bachelor of Applied Science in Management Engineering at the University of Waterloo with a minor in Entrepreneurship. At the same time, she is a varsity athlete for the Waterloo Warriors track team.
Mylene founded FEM in STEM on April 2018 as a way for young women to support each other and find opportunities to thrive in science, technology, engineering, and math. What started off as an app idea, then a hub of online resources, to in-person outreach, FEM in STEM has grown into a social enterprise. Now FEM in STEM impacts high school and undergraduate females across Ontario through community outreach events, resources, collaborations with other STEM clubs/organizations and the Catalyst program which is Canada’s first personal and professional growth accelerator for young women.
C.J. Rocker - Owner
Shirley Sze is an award winning jewelry designer. An advocate for those forced into the sex trade. She has raised over $28,000 for the survivors of sex trafficking. She is a winner of Notable Life’s award for Maker of the year and has been featured as a Notable Young Professional in September 2018 by Notable Life. Shirley is an award winning Marketing Manager with 13 years of direct marketing experience managing multi-million dollar campaigns. She specializes in telecom, cable, internet, content and technology marketing. She was also awarded three CEO team awards for achievements and rated the highest level of personal achievement by EVP.
Conagra Brands - Assistant Manager Digital Marketing
Tarryn Skuy was diagnosed at the age of 16 with Celiac Disease; She felt along and unstable. Over the years, others have begun to understand Celiac Disease and the severity of it. Now, from all the social and cultural changes, she has the opportunity to eat at restaurants with friends and family. Tarryn started her influential food blog in hopes to help others and teach others how to overcome these struggles and find brands that they are also able to eat so they can live a happy and healthy life.
The Renegade Love - Founder
Lauren McPhillips is a lifestyle influencer that teaches others to harness their inner renegade and develop their personal brands. She also runs a blog that gives career advice, wellness advice and travel stories!
Women on Purpose - Negotiation Expert & Coach for Ambitious Female Lawyers
Cindy Watson fell in love with words from the first book she ever read aloud on her own - Green Eggs and Ham. She's been writing since she ran home with her first original prize-winning poem: ""Oh me, oh my, mother said with a sigh, I just can't catch that fly ..."" You get the idea. Not the most brilliant composition, but her teacher and parents had the foresight to treat her like a child prodigy - and in so doing, instilled a lifelong burning desire to write. She grew up on Nancy Drew books, graduating to Mordecai Richler, Margaret Laurence and other Canadian greats by middle school. As she expanded as a reader she also expanded as a writer. A labour lawyer by day, she burrows away in spare moments to unleash her more creative side. Cindy lives in Muskoka with her husband, three children, computer, and her unruly ideas. She has published numerous short stories as well as two books, Unloved and Endangered Animals, and Out of Darkness - The Jeff Healey Story, for which she won the Golden Oak Forest of Reading award.
Polish Orphans Charity - Director of Communications and Entertainment
Marta Pozniakowski was born and spent her formative years in Poland. It is there that she first discovered her passion for film, graduating from the National Film School in Łódź and starting her acting career before emigrating to Canada in 2008 for the happiest of personal reasons: her husband Jack Pozniakowski.
Although she changed her home base, Marta has maintained her professional interest in film by founding the Ekran Toronto Polish Film Festival. Along with her work on the festival, Marta also continues to pursue her acting and modeling career and has recently added real estate sales to her list of professional activities.
Marta’s life is completed by her family, which now also includes two young boys. There is perhaps nothing she loves more than spending time in their company, whether at home in Toronto, nestled in their little red brick “doll house,” or away on a holiday, enjoying new experiences and cultures or the now familiar beaches of Costa Rica.
I love my Dog more than my kids - Pet Blogger
Kelly Harding started off with a passion for horses. She soon adopted two pugs named Edie and Edna and these became the focus of her blog. Edie and Edna changed Kelly's life and now she shares the information she learns about different pet products on her blog. She is honest about promoting the pet products and only shares them if she uses them for her own pets. Kelly is a believer that sharing our lives with pets brings happiness, emotional support, alleviates stress, increases our social interactions and physical activity. Looking after a pet also contributes to a sense of purpose. This is why she supports The Farley Foundation. The Farley Foundation is an organization in Ontario that helps low-income pet owners, the elderly, those with disabilities, those suffering from temporary financial hardship, and women at risk of abuse who are entering a registered Ontario Women's shelter and who are participating in OVMA's SafePet Program.
Tanya Chernova Global Corp. - CEO
Awarded Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada (WXN & Financial Post), and Iconic Women Leaders of the Decade Envisioning a United World by the Women’s Global Economic Forum, Tanya Chernova is an engaging and charismatic expert in human behaviour, award winning speaker, business coach and #1 best-selling author who has inspired countless individuals in over 60 countries around the world. She has pioneered the ground breaking global empowerment organization Courageous Living and PNRT (Progressive Neural Resolution Therapy), a revolutionary and proven means of overcoming subconscious barriers and maximizing individual potential.
Tanya began her career in the health and wellness and became an internationally awarded entrepreneur at the age of 27 when she built her own brand of non-surgical facelift products, reaching 1 million dollars in sales her first year. Her degrees in business, neuro psychology and dozens of teaching certificates in business development, combined with her vast expertise in human behavior and the realm of neuroscience, make her uniquely suited to help entrepreneurs and their teams achieve breakthroughs in any work environment. Experience a fresh, engaging and scientifically proven approach to creating change and accelerating success.
Mariott International - Vice President, Field Marketing, US & Canada
Johanne Bélanger is the Vice President, Field Marketing, US & Canada, Marriott International. She is a long-time industry builder, a multiple-award-winning business leader, an international speaker, a Chartered Accountant, and a tireless volunteer and mentor. Johanne Bélanger has been recognized by the Canadian National Exhibition Association as a Woman of Distinction (in 2016), by New York Moves Magazine as one of their top 25 Power Women and by Biz Bash as their Hall of Fame inductee (both in 2017), and – in 2018- by the MPI (Meeting Professionals International) with the Industry Influence Award and by Ryerson University with the G. Raymond Chang Outstanding Volunteer Award. Supporting and mentoring women in business is close to Johanne Bélanger’s heart. She co-founded Freeman Women’s Development, a program aimed at advancing women as leaders and at contributing to an environment where the best talent succeeds, as well as the networking group WITH IT! (Women in Tourism & Hospitality in Toronto). She is a charter member of the Women of InfoComm Network, a global community committed to supporting and empowering women in AV and technology.
Dekpor School Development Organisation - Executive Director
Carol Sheardown joined leagues with Linda Kordze in 2009 to start the groundwork for Dekpor School Development Organisation. She brings enthusiasm, organisation, and dedication to support the efforts of the project. Carol is responsible for leading the organisation’s growth strategy, day-to-day operations in Canada, correspondence, and is instrumental in fundraising, finding donors and sponsors, marketing and raising awareness of DSDO.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, Carol worked for a large building firm in both the marketing and corporate finance departments. In 1991, she obtained her Bachelor of Education at York University and taught for the North York Board of Education.
The Canadian Women's Foundation - President & CEO
Paulette Senior has devoted her career to empowering women and girls to overcome barriers and reach their full potential. She faced her own set of barriers when she immigrated to Canada from Jamaica as a young girl – an experience that ignited her interest in justice and activism. Paulette began her career on the front lines of social service organizations in some of Toronto’s most economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. “I realized that the roles could easily have been switched; that it could have been me living in those circumstances.” She saw first-hand the urgent need for social resources and systemic change to transform women’s lives. Through her work and advocacy with shelters, as well as employment and housing programs, she has earned numerous awards and become one of the most respected women leaders in Canada.
Femme International - Founder, Executive Director
Sabrina is a dedicated advocate for women's empowerment and health rights. As Co-Founder and Executive Director of Femme International, Sabrina is working to promote women's health through education across East Africa, with a specific focus on menstrual health & hygiene. Sabrina is a Blogger for the Huffington Post, a TedX Speaker and an expert in the field of menstrual health education.
Pressed - Founder and Editor-in-Chief
As the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Pressed, she’s on a mission to make the news easy to understand and follow, from a Canadian perspective. Pressed sends daily emails with the top 5 news stories written in real words - equipping you with everything you need to know to hold your own in conversations.
Jacqueline’s story is the perfect reminder that no matter what hurdles come our way, things will always work themselves out as long as you remain confident, resilient and, of course, willing to do the work.
Deloitte - Inclusion Leader, Deloitte Global & Canada
Carolyn is a passionate and experienced corporate executive working to build inclusive cultures in business. After 3 years + leading Deloitte's Diversity & Inclusion Consulting practice in Canada, she is now Deloitte Global's first Inclusion Leader role, while maintaining her leadership position in the Canadian firm. Focused on designing an inclusion strategy, accelerating advancement of women and minority groups in leadership, and all that entails. Carolyn leverages the latest thinking in behavioural economics, diversity of thought, inclusive leadership, design thinking and combines that with building inclusive talent systems and processes right into the operations of an organization to make change work. She made this move after having spent 10 years leading a recognized Canadian company, Women of Influence and realizing, after inspiring women around the world, that the work to be done is not in the hands of women, but in evolving corporate culture. Carolyn speaks regularly on the topic of inclusion in the media and leads clients in Unconscious Bias training, Diversity of Thought methods and integrating inclusion across organizations and embedding it into talent strategies and practices.
Impact Summit - Co-Founder/Executive Director
Julia has 12+ years experience directing and producing high impact events that empower, inspire and connect. Including large-scale conferences with Jumping Turtle, LLC, The Women of Light Convention, and Hello Lovely Events. Former PR Non-Profit Director at IMNO.com. Julia partnered with UNICEF, Operation Underground Railroad, Crowdrise, and other charities for International Fundraising events. As a consultant, Julia increases sales, marketing, and media campaigns, directs social media promotions, enhances companies brand and image.
Brave Beginnings - Founder and Executive Director
After escaping a decade of abuse living as a child bride in a forced marriage in Canada, and sharing her story, Samra became a beacon of hope for many people facing exclusion, abuse, and gender-based violence. She now engages audiences around the world, speaking about collective resilience, authentic leadership, inclusive workplaces, youth, human rights, mental health and more. In 2017, Samra wrote an article about her personal experience with abuse for Toronto Life, which became the most-read article in Canada that year. In the same year, she delivered a TEDx talk on the topic, which was named an all-time top 10 talk on gender-based violence. Samra’s work has since been featured on CTV, CBC, Global News, Yahoo, Canadian Immigrant Magazine, and more, and she’s delivered talks for Yale University, Amnesty International, ME to WE, Women’s Business Network, and others. Her book, A Good Wife, published by Harper Collins Canada, is available and has been highlighted as a top read by The Washington Post. Samra graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master’s in Economics, earning herself the highest distinction and over a dozen awards and scholarships. Today, she is one of the youngest alumni serving as a Governor for the University of Toronto. Samra is also the founder of Brave Beginnings, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting abuse survivors in their journey to build a life of freedom. Her passion is to motivate and empower all people to believe in themselves – no matter their circumstances.
Hard Feelings - Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)
Diviya has completed a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology, is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO), and is a member in good standing with the OACCPP. In addition to her private practice, she supports a non-profit counselling organization in Bloordale that offers low-cost counselling solutions. She also volunteers at a free walk-in counselling centre in the east-end of Toronto. Diviya is passionate about wellness and provides corporate wellness workshops in organizations. As a former research associate and project manager within the market research industry, she has worked with a wide range of organizations, recognizing the importance of workplace wellness, employee engagement, and resilience in teams/companies. She sits on the Board of a Toronto-based non-profit, and enjoys connecting with a wide range of individuals, supporting growth in the community.
Heroic Humans - Founder & CEO
Dana Clark and her initiative Heroic Humans does just that by appreciating and emphasizing the importance of vulnerability, bravery, and courage in relating to one another’s experience and recognizing that our similarities far outnumber our differences. You are worthy no matter who you are or what stage of life you are in.
Elena's Club - Co-Founder
We empower through education. We're building a community. ELENA'S CLUB offers carefully curated courses to young professional women, so that they have the fundamental knowledge, and confidence, to join the conversation. We're teaching you the basics and giving you the background. In our classrooms, no question is a stupid question - we're here to learn. Professional development meets self development. In our classrooms, women will learn and network. After attending our courses, women will feel confident. This is the kind of confidence that is earned through listening to an engaging professional, having a conversation with someone new, and feeling accomplished. It starts with you.
Stole My Heart - Director & Co-Founder
Stole My Heart is about celebrating our bodies as they are and embracing different ways of being beautiful, sexy and feminine. So many of us are used to criticizing and comparing ourselves against other people’s standards of beauty — but that doesn’t mean we need to keep doing it. Ashley is inspired by women like Denise Bidot, Ashley Graham and Charli Howard, who are crusaders in the fashion landscape advocating for body diversity and self love. There is no one way to be beautiful and the sexiest people are the ones who’ve accepted their bodies and feel comfortable in their own skin. That’s easier said than done; it takes a lot of work and daily reminders to get to a place of love and self acceptance. Ashley's hope is that Stole My Heart can help with that journey a little bit. She wants women to walk into their shop and feel comfortable trying on any style that speaks to them. And, she wants them to go home with something that makes them feel amazing
The Federation of Muslim Women - President
Sandra Noe is a dedicated and compassionate community advocate, who engages with her community. Sandra has spent much of her 30-year career as a law clerk working in civil litigation, administrative and constitutional law. Sandra is involved in human rights initiatives such as access to justice, protecting the rights of women and children and people with disabilities, as well as addressing the issue of racial profiling and faith/creed-based discrimination. Sandra is also a community mediator, having received her education in Peace and Conflict Studies from Conrad Grebel College at the University of Waterloo. She has been involved in several community mediations, some involving the Children’s Aid Society. In addition to her work as a law clerk, Sandra currently sits as Chair of the Federation of Muslim Women and finds time to volunteer with Islamic History Month Canada, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to celebrating and sharing the many contributions of Muslim Canada, past and present. In the past she has been a panelist with MIST, inter-faith youth day camp facilitator, speaker at interfaith conferences and project manager/focus group facilitator for an anti-racism, anti-violence video game. She was subject for several documentaries; one on women in Islam, as well as one on Sharia law in Canada.
BodyLove Inc. - Founder & CEO
Caleigh Rykiss is a powerhouse. A writer, producer, competitive boxer, coach, trainer and now gym owner at BOLO Inc., she’s seeking to empower women by building a gym community where body love is celebrated – where you can spend the whole day at the gym (and not only get a killer workout but also linger after for a coffee with friends, get a blowout, and then head off to a date) all without having to schlep along a hundred bags.
The Believe Initiative - Keynote Speaker
The Believe initiative is a movement dedicated to driving success and confidence in youth by teaching the importance of being resilient and the power of believing in themselves. Founder Sarah Wells is an Olympic hurdler, so she is no stranger to obstacles. Every day she pours her heart into training, knowing there is no guarantee she will see the result she is after. Today’s youth are faced with similar problems in a fast-paced world that require them to walk the path of uncertainty and constantly be adapting. Many will encounter obstacles along their journey and some will consider giving up in a moment of adversity. By showing young people that even Olympic athletes make mistakes and fall down, the Believe Initiative will exemplify what will happen when you focus on the process, persevere past the obstacles and continue to believe in yourself and your goals!
TechGirls Canada - Founder
Saadia Muzaffar is a tech entrepreneur, author, and passionate advocate of responsible innovation, decent work for everyone, and prosperity of immigrant talent in STEM. Muzaffar has been making both technologists and non-technologists think. She has helped foster opportunities for women, discussed the future of technology and delivered speeches on the relationship between labour laws and online platforms. In 2018, Muzaffar resigned from Google and Sidewalk Labs’ advisory panel involving “smart city” development due to her concerns over privacy and data collection. She continues to be vocal about accountable digital development and ongoing dealings between tech companies and communities.
Judy Feld Carr
Advocate - Retired
With courage, ingenuity, and determination, Judy Feld Carr rescued over 3,500 Jews from Syria. Feld Carr earned a BA in music education and an MA in musicology from the University of Toronto. In the 1960s, she and her first husband became active in aiding Jews in Syria, organizing a Syrian Jewish support community in Toronto, sending care packages of books and religious articles, and secretly communicating with Syrian Jewish leaders. In 1977, she was approached about bringing a sick rabbi from Aleppo to Toronto for treatment and realized that it was possible to bribe authorities to let Jews leave the repressive country. She began raising money and negotiating with Syrian officials on a case-by-case basis, since families were usually not allowed to leave together. She even resorted to smuggling, secretly bringing some Jews across the border to Turkey at great personal risk. In the early 1990s, Feld Carr took advantage of the brief window created by an American-brokered peace between Israel and Syria to help the bulk of the remaining Jewish community escape Syria. For her remarkable accomplishments, she was honored in 1995 by Prime Minister Yizhak Rabin and awarded the Order of Canada in 2001.
Access Now - Founder, CEO
Maayan is an activist, photographer and entrepreneur. From youth, she challenged norms and worked to increase awareness of disability issues and improve accessibility. Living with Muscular Dystrophy, Maayan passionately advocates for creating a more accessible world. Founder of AccessNow, a mobile app that mobilizes communities by mapping the accessibility of places worldwide, she regularly speaks on topics such as disability, diversity and inclusion
Bnei Akiva Schools of Toronto - Math and Physics Teacher, and Head of the Science Department
am nominating this woman for having shared with me the following personal account of why she loves what she does:
"Teaching is my passion, and teaching Physics allows me to promote deeper levels of thinking and understanding of the Physical world in my students. Being able to combine Physics concepts, with Mathematical work, and hands on activities is what allows my students to get a complete understanding that goes beyond the curriculum. This is one of the many reasons why, for 9 consecutive years, I have encouraged all my students to participate in the Shalheveth Freier Competition organized by The Weizmann Institute. In this competition, each of the teams of grade 11 and 12 students, must build a safe that can only be unlocked using Physics Principles. Each team tries to break into the other team’s safes and must explain the Physics behind their own safe to the judges. The winner of the Canadian Semi-Final Competition gets to go to The Final Competition in Israel. I am proud to say that my students have won the Semi-Finals 6 times, and the last 3 have been in consecutive years with only girls’ teams. This makes me especially proud, as these girls have demonstrated superb ability not only in their knowledge of Physics, but in team work, leadership, creativity, hands-on building and putting materials together, perseverance, and problem solving. I am also very proud that many of these girls end up pursuing careers in the Physics’ field. The feeling of empowerment, success and achievement that my female students get when they take part in this competition, which is dominated by boys’ teams, is beyond words and accompanies them for the rest of their life."
Forgotten Ones Cat Rescue - President and CEO
Rosalynne is an entrepreneur and lover of animals whose story is one of inspiration spanning decades with her compassion and dedication in rescuing cats under duress. She has served both as President and Chair of the Board of several rescue organizations such as Urban Cat Relief and Community Cats Toronto with her latest venture, Fostering Felines. She has undertaken to spay and neuter homeless cats and has worked tirelessly in collaborating with City of Toronto in implementing its first Trap Neuter Return program (TNR). She has conducted workshops on how to humanely trap cats and kittens. She is a leading expert and advisor in humane trapping and caring for homeless and owned cats. Within her consultancy practice, she advises on feline behavioral issues. Her passion in imparting and promoting humane education and in ensuring that cats and kittens are afforded the best possible chance of a healthy and happy life is remarkable. She has worked within a volunteer capacity on behalf of various humane societies and local shelters and has offered consultation to a number of rescue groups. She has been interviewed on radio and has been featured in various local publications.
Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry - Lawyer and Lead Volunteer of the Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program
Amanda Ross, a lawyer with the City of Toronto, has been volunteering with the Toronto Lawyers Feed The Hungry program since 2000 and serves as volunteer coordinator for the Tuesday and Wednesday dinners. "Being part of a Program whose goal is to serve our guests like family, with warmth and dignity, is a privilege and an honour, both as a lawyer and a member of the community." Her long standing commitment to Toronto's most vulnerable through her volunteer efforts is an inspiration to many within the legal profession.
Women Leadership Nation, A Pozentivity Inc. Company - President and Founder
Jennifer is a serial entrepreneur dedicated to helping organizations close the Gender and Innovation Gaps. Women Leadership Nation™ works in male dominated industries to close the Gender Gap by working with enterprises that attract, develop, engage and retain women leaders. She has been featured as a keynote speaker in TedxVaughanWomen sharing her personal story and speaking on the topic of Finding Your Authentic Self. Her personal story is truly an inspiration. She is a mom of seven, successful business woman, and cancer survivor.
Nanny Angel Network - President and Founder
Audrey is the Founder of the Nanny Angel Network. NAN is a registered charity whose Nanny Angels are not paid providers, but caring, trained, fully-insured volunteers who want to help others. For four hours a week, they volunteer their time so mothers can rest, go to appointments, or simply have a few hours for themselves. Moms know their kids are in safe, caring hands, which reduces stress and lets them focus on their own well-being. Audrey Guth is a mother of four, a breast cancer survivor, and the founder of Diamond Personnel, a nanny placement agency. After meeting other moms who were struggling to find childcare while they went to appointments and tried to get the rest they needed, she saw a big gap and decided to find a solution herself. The result is the Nanny Angel Network.
Mackenzie Health Foundation - President and CEO at Mackenzie Health Foundation
Ingrid Perry is currently leading one of the most important 1.2 billion dollar capital campaigns taking place in Canada today. As President & CEO of the Mackenzie Health Foundation, Ingrid is helping to ensure the completion of Canada's newest hospital in Vaughan which is Ontario's fastest growing urban centre. The Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital is expected to be completed in late 2020 and will be operated by Mackenzie Health, which also operates Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital.
Goldblatt Partners LLP - Lawyer
Jessica Orkin has a litigation practice which includes an emphasis on constitutional, human rights, Aboriginal rights and access to information law matters.Jessica appears at all levels of court, including the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada. She is also a frequent speaker at legal conferences and seminars. She has been named in Best Lawyers as a leading aboriginal law practitioner and is a champion in passionately advocating on behalf of the rights of her client's. Jessica received her law degree from the University of Toronto. She also holds an M.Phil. degree in Development Studies from the University of Oxford, and a bachelor of arts and sciences from McMaster University. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 2006, after clerking at the Federal Court of Appeal.
Lisa Myers - Curator
Lisa Myers is an independent curator and artist with a keen interest in interdisciplinary collaboration. Myers has a Master of Fine Arts in Criticism and Curatorial practice from OCAD University. Her recent work involves printmaking, stop-motion animation and performance. Since 2010 she has worked with anthocyanin pigment from blueberries in printmaking, and stop-motion animation. Her participatory performances involve sharing berries and other food items in social gatherings reflecting on the value found in place and displacement; straining and absorbing. She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions in venues including Urban Shaman (Winnipeg), Art Gallery of Peterborough and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her writing has been published in a number of exhibition publications in addition to the journal Senses and Society, C Magazine and FUSE Magazine. She is currently an Assistant Lecturer in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. Myers is a member of Beausoleil First Nation and she is based in Port Severn and Toronto, Ontario. Lisa Myers is also a musician and chef. These disciplines inform her various practices. She grew up in southern Ontario. Lisa's Mother's family is Anishnaabe and French from Shawanaga and Beausoleil First Nation in the Georgian Bay region, and her Dad is from English and Austrian ancestry who settled in southern Ontario. She plays guitar in Toronto based bands Long Branch and Adaptor 45.
Bell Media - Entertainment Reporter for ETalk
Chloe Wilde is a Montreal native who took a leap of faith and left the McGill world of science to enter an exciting cross-country adventure; the MuchMusic VJ Search. Twenty VJ hopefuls, eight cities, and 4 weeks of sleepless nights later, the stars aligned and she was crowned the newest VJ.
Three short months later, E! Canada scooped her up and offered her the job of a lifetime. Since, she has covered the biggest TIFF red carpets, Toronto Fashion Week and interviewed many of the most talked about figures in Hollywood. Most recently she's added Etalk Reporter to her resume, joining the #1 entertainment show in Canada for their 15th season.
L'Oréal Paris - Integrated Communications Manager
A public relations and social media manager specializing in e-PR and content development with over 9 years experience in the fashion & beauty industry.
Marley Baird Media - CEO/Founder
Working with top dogs like Cristy Code Red, Alex Charfen, Rachel Pedersen, Stephen Larsen, and having worked events with Gary Vaynerchuck, Seth Godin, Randi Zuckerberg, and Robin Sharma – Marley leads her dream team specializing in their VIP Video Code methodology.
Experts in creating strategically viral content, getting videos to rank first on YouTube and Google and using cross-channel video marketing for maximum reach, Marley Baird Media brings next level video social selling to the marketplace.
War Child Canada - Founder and President
Samantha Nutt is an award-winning humanitarian, bestselling author and acclaimed public speaker. A medical doctor and the founder of the renowned humanitarian organizations War Child Canada and War Child USA, Dr. Nutt has worked with children and their families at the front-line of many of the world’s major crises – from Iraq to Afghanistan, Somalia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone to Darfur, Sudan. A leading authority on current affairs, war, international aid and foreign policy, Dr Nutt is one of the most intrepid and recognized voices in the humanitarian arena, and is a highly sought-after public speaker in North America. With a career that has spanned more than two decades and dozens of conflict zones, her international work has benefited millions of war-affected children globally.
Alexandra Rainville-Barzey - Entrepreneur
Alexandra helps teach young people how to become their fittest and start their online biz with her.
Digital Marketing Specialist - Boswell-Buck Creative
Dee Boswell-Buck is an entrepreneur who understands the challenges of wearing all the hats when running a business. She has built a team who will help you take care of your social media growth with full expertise, while you focus on what you love to do. They are passionate about teaching small businesses how to be authentic and engaging in their online space for growth, impact and client attraction. Her team will help you choose the right platforms and create your content in your brand voice and manage your social media communities without the tech headaches and lack of time. She is a geek and loves to listen to podcasts in her car regarding marketing for small businesses and creative ways to use social media to grow your brand.
Rodan + Fields - Level IV Executive Consultant
Summer Bellamy is a Self-Care Coach passionate about helping women realize the power of putting themselves first. Small changes in the right direction can have a profound effect on your relationship with yourself and others. When you prioritize your health and wellness everyone who relies on you wins!
As an Ambassador for Rodan + Fields, Summer teaches women how to take care of their skin in a simple and effective way. She believes that this small investment of time can lead to increased confidence which drastically improves one’s quality of life.
Sam Coyle Productions - Owner, Founder
Sam Coyle is a film director, writer, producer, known for choosing edgy projects. Sam continues to develop her vision to create unique stories that reflect strong female perspectives with a focus on challenging the norm and highlighting the weird and amazing of the underrepresented. Originally studying as an actress at the HB Studio in New York City, she accesses this training through deep exploration with the actors and finding complex human behaviour and relationships in the writing of her scripts. Sam founded ‘With Wolves Media’ with twin brother Nick Coyle. An independent media collective comprised of innovative, local artists. Born from a desire to push the typical boundaries of creative content.
RBC Insurance - Sales Effectiveness Advisor
Andrea Grant-Jones struggled with fitting in the corporate culture; feeling that she would never be enough and underestimating her true potential. Her days were filled with comparing herself to others from the minute she walked into the office until the minute she left. One day a light bulb moment came and she realized that being her best self was enough. She spent countless hours on professional development, networking and self-study. All her talents were now out for the world to see and she felt great! After realizing the perfect formula for success, she started sharing it with other women, and this is how the movement started.
Andrea Grant-Jones is a certified coach, speaker, consultant and her life has been dedicated to helping women, young girls and millennials lead authentically in and outside of the workplace. She offers a road-map though her “Peak Performance Now” coaching program, 1-on-1 sessions, and workshops. Her clients leave empowered, ready to harness their innate talents, passions and purpose, and strive to reach their leadership goals. When she isn’t coaching, speaking, and working with clients from millennials to middle aged women, she volunteers in her local community, participating in many local charities, leading youth choirs, enjoying cooking up a storm and squeezing in time for kick boxing.
Dr. Deone Curling
Women Health in Women's Hands - Therapist
Deone Curling is a mental health therapist at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands (WHIWH) Community Health Centre in Toronto that provides primary healthcare to racialized women in Toronto since 1998. She holds a Doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology and works from an inclusive feminist, pro- choice, anti-racist, anti-oppression, and intersectional framework in addressing the issues of gender, gender identity, race, class, violence, sexual orientation, religion, culture, immigration status and socio-economic circumstances. A mentor to numerous mental health practitioners, she continues to serve the community and guide the next generations of anti-oppressive therapists.
Luma Awad Qusus
Luma Awad Qusus - Founder and Designer
Raised amongst the distinctive Roman, Greek and Arabic heritages, Luma Qusus Awad brings the best of those worlds in her unique handmade pieces of Inamullumani Jewelry. This Jordanian- Canadian artist is a true lover of fine art in all its forms. Luma discovered her passion for jewelry design while living in Greece. A talented mother of three, Luma is inspired by the outstanding colors of the Mediterranean, the magic of the Jordanian deserts, the rich history of Europe and the beautiful souls she has met through her travels. Her unique collections and pieces are in high demand internationally by clients who recognize her exclusive and timeless taste. Luma combines precious metals, gemstones and mixed media to create pieces that echo stories of heritage in a new flare that guarantees a fashion statement. Luma’s collections have been showcased at international exhibitions, from Paris UNESCO Head Quarters to Athens, Dubai and Amman Design Week. A passionate humanitarian, Luma was one of the first artisans in Jordan to create a collection in support of cancer patients. Her current project helps bring awareness to the refugee crisis, and Luma continually looks for way to help inspire change by empowering women through income-generating projects. Welcome to the world of inamullumani.
Sandra M. Riano
Young Women in Business Toronto - President
Sandra M. Riano is a top performing leader that crafts and implements successful programs that grow businesses, strengthen brands, attract clients, and increases revenue. Her high-energy, creative, insightful and passionate self helps her lead marketing and communication teams for small to Fortune 500 organizations. She excels at helping them supercharge their marketing efforts. Her strong leadership style, strategic abilities and extensive marketing and communications experiences allow her to conceptualize results-focused strategies that connect with the hearts and minds of diverse audiences.
Power To Girls Foundation - Founder/Mentor
Aisha Addo thrives on working to make the world a better place for women. Although a graduate in Business Administration Accounting, her true passion and dedication lie in ensuring girls around the world are provided with the guidance and resources that help them identify their true purpose and calling to reach their full potential. Aisha founded Power To Girls Foundation, a non-profit organization to offer young girls the mentors and role models that were absent during my own youth. As a facilitator and director of Power To Girls, she used her personal experiences and knowledge to create safe and engaging spaces for the girls she works with. DriveHER, the ride-sharing service for women by women, is her latest initiative and next step in her journey to continue to empower and protect women.
Parmalat Canada - HR & Communications Coordinator
As a Community Development and Policy Studies graduate with a minor in Communications, a passion for all things creative, a desire for quality engagement with those Emily works with, and a lover of constant improvement – her work in communications and the creative industries since 2012 has been a blast and she is so excited for every new development in content creation opportunities! Every day presents itself with new opportunities and she wants to work with you to accomplish your dreams.
Emily Rowsell currently runs her own free-lance content creation company photographing weddings, group functions and portraits, as well producing print advertising material, written copy and website design! She has a passion for all things creative and worldly, and a strong work ethic that has led her to complete various certificates, get involved in several academic and philanthropic societies, and succeed in academia and various employment endeavors!
Monday Girl - Co-Founder
Rachel is an entrepreneurial business development and marketing leader with a strong track record building partnerships at Uber, TopHat and BellMedia. She has experience launching and developing tier-one partnerships for Monday Girl, a local women's empowerment initiative that has scaled to over 1500+ women, as well as a makeup business. She is a life long advocate for young professional women in business.
Rachel Co-founded Monday Girl to help create a community focused on building up other women and celebrating their accomplishments. A strong network that understands the value of female empowerment and hustle.
Lisa Dinh Hair Studio - Hairstylist, Owner and Founder
Lisa Dinh was born and raised in Toronto and currently lives in Mississauga. She’s always had an interest in the beauty industry. At the age of 18, she decided to enroll herself into a hairstyling program & graduated at the Aveda Institute of Toronto. Lisa has been doing hair now for 10 years, since July 2009! It's always been her dream to open her own salon. She made a goal for herself to open a salon before the age of 27 and has worked very hard to build her own brand to be where she is today. Lisa is happy to say that she finally did it! Through all of this, the biggest lesson she’s learned was to always stay true to yourself. Believe in yourself & in your goals & never give up on your dreams. No matter who doubts you or brings you down. You will always have the support if you are genuine & if you stay true to who you are.
Wolfe Co. - Founder + Creative Director
Amanda Tyler is experienced and creative and has demonstrated a history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. She is a strong branding and digital marketing professional skilled in social media, channel management, creative direction and Partner Relationship Management. Amanda has an extensive background in marketing (about 10 years now) and has always been a quick, creative kid who couldn’t seem to follow the rules. She wanted to create her own path. Amanda always knew she wanted to create something great, help like-minded women; she just didn’t know it would be this.
Amanda is the founder of Wolfe Co. which is an online platform, community and academy teaching female entrepreneurs how to build and market their brands. A key component to WOLFE CO. is sharing the inspiring stories of other entrepreneurs who are doing the same thing.
Hustle & Sparkle Lifestyle Design Inc. - Founder
Sarah is a business coach who partners with female entrepreneurs who have the desire to take their life and business to the next level. She collaborates with Boss Ladies to create clarity and focus necessary to reach their business goals. Recently launched, Hustle and Sparkle Lifestyle Design Inc., Sarah shares her tips and inspiration on the blog, leads Mastermind groups, hosts workshops and connects entrepreneurs into a collaborative and powerful community.
Sarah is also healthy living coach passionate for helping others change their life by focusing on small healthy living choices. She focuses on clean eating, supplementation, weight loss and healthy routines. Sarah also created the L.E.A.N. Girls Movement - a holistic program that incorporates whole foods, exercise, Usana's nutritionals and healthy habits into an easy-to-follow, real-food weight loss program. One of Sarah's biggest passions is to help low income families through her charity, Holiday Helpers Canada. Holiday Helpers is a registered charity whose mission is to help low income families with a customized Christmas package. Sarah and her sister, April, started the charity in 1996 by helping one family in their home town of Brampton. Through dedication to the cause and generosity of volunteers and donors, Holiday Helpers helped over 380 families in 2014. Holiday Helpers has been recognized in the Toronto Star, Globe & Mail and Global TV, CBC and many other publications.
Métier Creative - Co Founder
Exploring the closets of a few hundred (give or take) of today’s tastemakers teaches you a thing or two about what women want to wear. While on set as co-founder of The Coveteur, Erin Kleinberg would continually notice one thing: not the piles of shoes and handbags they’d set aside to be shot, but the pieces they reached for after they wrapped.
As CEO and Designer of her own eponymous line, Erin Kleinberg continues to change the landscape of how today’s tastemakers get dressed. Erin’s collection is a tightly-curated edit of everything she loves: the ease of classic Californian cuts and silhouettes, as informed by the sensibilities of downtown Manhattan.
Designed, produced and manufactured in Toronto, Erin re-launched her line as inspired by her personal quest for the perfect range of elevated, everyday pieces. Erin’s first collection was sold in over 80 stores worldwide and debuted at retailers ranging from Saks Fifth Avenue, Lane Crawford, Neiman Marcus, Holt Renfrew and Harvey Nichols, with Barneys New York being the exclusive vendor to pick up her first season. Her namesake collection quickly gained popularity with Lena Dunham, Jared Leto, Shay Mitchell, Drew Barrymore and more.
#MOVETHEDIAL - Founder + CEO
Jodi Kovitz is the founder and CEO of #movethedial, a global movement that she launched in January 2017 and is dedicated to advancing the participation and advancement of all women in tech. Leveraging Jodi’s leadership, wealth of experience, pioneering spirit, and passion for advancing the full talent pool in the new economy, #movethedial has attracted more than 85 champions and advisors from throughout North America who are leading the way in the technology industry; has engaged more than 10,000 people through the power of storytelling; and is driving substantive, measurable change.
The Westin Calgary - General Manager
Arjun Channa it the General Manager of Westin, Calgary. He is passionate about empowering women in business, provide them with a voice and create opportunities for them to have access to senior leadership roles. Arjun along with his team have launched a Global Pilot program to Advance women in Leadership for Marriott International. Arjun brings his extensive background in hotel operations, strong inter-personal skills as a servant leader with uncompromising character of excellence in service and a record of delivering superior performance in all aspects of the hotel operations. Arjun openly shares his knowledge over 25 Years Global experience spanning: Two hotel openings, in Algeria and United Arab Emirates combined with European, African, Far Eastern, Pacific, Caribbean (Task Force GM) & North American experiences; and one hotel conversion in South Asia. Arjun is a role models in his community, workplace and network as a champion for women and deserving this award.
ISA Professional - Company President
Di is an inspiration to all women because of her work ethic alone. She started ISA Professional from the ground up and has since then dedicated herself to growing the business in a way that focuses on not just her own benefit but those who work with her as well. It's thanks to her drive that ISA Professional has thrived so far and will continue to be successful for years to come.
FedEx Express - President at FedEx Express Canada
Lisa Lisson is a trailblazer, best selling author and known for being the first female and first Canadian President of FedEx Express Canada. She leads a team of 6,000 employees coast-to-coast specializing in international and domestic courier solutions. In her spare time, Lisa shares her personal story to help inspire others to find fulfillment embracing a career and family.
DentalX - Ceo
Anaida immigrated to Canada from Albania 16 years ago with her husband. They had only a few hundred dollars with them and a big dream of building something theirs but not much else. She spoke no English and her school meant nothing here so she had to start everything from scratch. She worked seven days a week while going to school full time. After a few years of finishing school and getting her licence as a registered dental hygienist, she founded DentalX in 2013. DentalX started with only her, booking appointments in her car and seeing patients in the late afternoons or Sundays after she worked all day for other dental offices. Now she has about 12 staff members and an award winning dental office.
She founded Mission Kind (Kids In Need of Dentalcare), to help children aged 6-16 obtain much needed dental work at no charge. She is a coveted speaker at dental conventions and seminars. Her passion and dental expertise has garnered her media coverage on Rogers Daytime Television, Sirius XM Radio’s What She Said, GlobalTV, CTV, CP24, CTV NewsChannel, Newstalk1010 and more. She has been featured in the Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, Elevate Magazine, Parents Magazine, Focus Magazine and more. She is the dental blogger for Huffington Post, Thrive Global and Inside Toronto. Her blogs are usually featured on Oral Health Group website.
She loves to help the community. Every December our office offers free dental/dental hygiene services to people in need. In December 2017, we offered free services to 30 people from the Red Door Family Shelter. And not only that, we had a whole day planned for them, with lunch, a magic show, Santa made an appearance and gave the kids Christmas gifts and much more. This story was featured on Global News and Yahoo Canada to name a few. This December, we offered free services to teenager moms that cannot afford dental services. We had a whole day planned for them and their kids. She always comes up with great ideas to help the community and educate them on oral and dental health.
Hillberg & Berk Accessories - CEO and Founder
Founder and CEO, Rachel Mielke began making jewellery at her kitchen table. Needing a name for her business, she looked to the strength, resilience and determination of her beloved grandmother Hilda Bergman and loyal, lovable pooch, Berkley. Rachel, is a Saskatchewan-born entrepreneur and mother of 3. Since starting Hillberg & Berk in 2007, Rachel's ambition has created opportunities for Hillberg & Berk with the Oscars, Dragon's Den, the Olympics and even with Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Through perseverance, grit and optimism, Rachel has grown the company across Canada and her sparkling character has set the tone for the unique Hillberg & Berk culture. Through business, Hillberg & Berk helps women find their confidence and flourish, from the inside-out.
Raven Institute & Iskwew Air - CEO
Teara launched her aviation career as a commercial pilot. Becoming a pilot was transformational, truly giving this young Indigenous woman wings – she loves to see others fall in love with flight. A natural entrepreneur she built an aerial survey operation from the ground up and established the Aviation Leadership Foundation. As the visionary of the Raven Institute, she sees connected hearts, minds, and hands in a united and thriving nation. Rooted in Indigenous ways of knowing and being, Raven is contributing to the development of humans, organizational systems, and community.
Teara is the first Indigenous woman to launch an airline in Canada. Iskwew Air is connecting people with each other and to the land. Iskwew is a Cree word for woman, and Iskwew Air is for EVERYONE. The name was chosen to celebrate all women, and all those lifting women; an act of reclamation of womanhood, matriarchal leadership, and language.
Imperial Oil - Senior Vice-President, Commercial and Corporate Development
Ms. Redburn has worked for Imperial for over 30 years in a range of positions within the downstream, corporate and upstream segments of the business. Within the downstream, Ms. Redburn had various assignments, including refining operations and projects, and marketing roles in lubricants and specialties and retail. Ms. Redburn worked as the risk management manager in 1994 and moved into the role of Canada heating fuel manager a few years later. Ms. Redburn then moved into the corporate group in 2000, assuming management roles in corporate planning and public affairs. This was followed by a move into the upstream area of the business where she became the manager of gas, power and NGL marketing. In 2009, Ms. Redburn undertook global assignments with Exxon Mobil Corporation in Houston, as manager business analysis in gas marketing and then as the commercial manager in upstream ventures, both covering ExxonMobil’s global business interests. Ms. Redburn returned to Canada in 2014 and was appointed vice-president upstream commercial at Imperial. Ms. Redburn is Canadian and holds a bachelor of science degree from Queen’s University in Chemical Engineering.
Dawn de Lima
TransAlta Corporation - Chief Business and Operational Services
Dawn de Lima is responsible for leading Business and Operational Services, as well as Information Technology, Corporate Communications, Supply Chain Management, Corporate Security and Building Administration. She directs the design and successful implementation of standards across the organization, is focused on the execution of a long-term plan that ensures the agility to serve large-scale industrial and utility customers, ensures we maintain strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders, safeguards the company’s reputation and ensures that both our cyber and corporate security practices are best-in-class. Since joining TransAlta in 2006, Dawn has served in a number of leadership positions including Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Human Resources and Communications Officer, Vice-President of Supply Chain and Vice-President of Human Resources. Prior to joining TransAlta, Dawn spent nearly two decades as a business leader in human resources and communications, holding senior positions in Bell Canada and Norigen Communications. Currently, she sits as the Chair of the Board for Junior Achievement Canada and Chair of SheInnovatesAB.
Results Continuum - firstname.lastname@example.org
lldi Arlette created RCI in 1994 as a premier consulting, training and HR company. Since 2004 Ildi has specialized in consulting with Canada’s top dermatology, plastic surgery, spas, retail, cosmetic, medical and dental clinics to increase their business results by catalyzing patient service and levels of employee engagement. Ildi has developed a proven step by step approach to shift a clinic’s culture, processes and marketing initiatives to achieve the three pillars of a successful aesthetic business: acquire new patients, build strong teams and retain patients. Included in this approach are strong a focus on leadership and team development, marketing, process improvement, systems implementation and technology enhancement. Through her expertise these initiatives will increase profitability, improve employee productivity and enhance the overall patient experience.
Ildi is an award-winning business leader including Top 40 Under 40 and multiple nominations for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards. Ildi was recently nominated for the 2019 Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Award (A.W.E.). Ildi is an active member in Women Presidents’ Organization and the founder of a 2-day national leadership and business conference.
University of Calgary - Executive Director, Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking
Joelle Foster has established more than 50 strong community partnerships in the Prairies and the North, resulting in a culture of reciprocal relationships built on a network of champions. Foster’s placement at the University of Calgary will help build even stronger ties across Western Canada for entrepreneurial initiatives and activities, especially for young people as they build their careers and launch new, innovative ventures. Since 2011, 310 businesses in Manitoba alone have been financed and mentored, establishing Futurpreneur as the go-to place for entrepreneurship in Manitoba.
Oui STEM Academy - Founder/CEO
She is incredible. Dilesha leads STEM revolutionary change. Through Oui STEM Academy conducts/facilitates STEM programs to promote equitable education.
Oceano Patagonia - Co-owner
Sharilyn Amy launched a humanitarian career in 1996 with the Canadian Red Cross. Working first in Southern Alberta, her career quickly expanded: a year later she began managing communications for Western Canada, and then not long after launched an international career in disaster response communications. Her international missions saw her work in the slums of Bangladesh, the flooded regions of China and Geneva, Switzerland to manage communications operations more globally. This time in humanitarian relief work forever changed her views on our personal social responsibility. Returning to Canada to raise her family, Sharilyn then worked nationally to help expand a child abuse prevention and anti-bullying program. She then established Go-To Group, a consultancy that focused on social enterprise development, research, strategic planning, thought leadership and facilitation in the non-profit and non-government sectors. She returned to school to complete her MBA in 2008, and from this experience expanded her client base and the number of other consultants employed in Go-To Group projects. Her goal was always to improve service delivery to the most vulnerable of our society in a way that supported their human dignity and challenged the ‘status quo’ of current assumptions in the sector. After 12 years of making an impact in the Calgary and Canadian NGO landscape, Sharilyn transitioned with her two children to Argentina. There she supported the establishment of a community economic development tourism project benefiting subsistence goat farming families in the Andes Mountains. Not long after, she developed and now runs an award-winning eco-hotel in the heart of Peninsula Valdés, a UNESCO World Heritage site and wildlife reserve. This boutique hotel, Océano Patagonia, was built with investments in the latest technology available to reduce its environmental footprint, and always with an eye to social sourcing that supports the economic development of small family business and local communities. Currently, in addition to commercializing the hotel, Sharilyn provides consulting and coaching support to women-led small business, from start up to business optimization.
SureCall - President, CEO & Chief Disruption Officer
Desiree has been an inspiration to me, personally and to so many other people over the years. She approaches culture and equality both in our workplace and beyond with a level of passion and enthusiasm that is absolutely contagious! Having won consecutive awards for over 25 years in everything from leadership to employee engagement and service excellence it is evident that her attitude garners results. She was named in the top 100 most powerful women in Canada 2016 & 2017 and won the Calgary Business Leaders award in 2018. Our company SureCall has doubled in size and revenue from 2017 – 2018 and is a recognized champion of culture and diversity. As a woman entrepreneur, she has served on several boards including being the first and still only female Canadian Regional Chair for Young Presidents Organization, a worldwide organization of CEO’s and Presidents. She is improving lives of women everywhere with her program - Hero Girls, which is a project she designed while at Harvard to foster gender equality and education for females in under-served communities. Hero Girls officially launched through HER International with its first group, on Oct 11th 2018 the day of the Girl.
Paysafe - SVP, IT
I am nominating Mike Giannoumis as a Power Partner as he is a true example of a SupportHER and someone who believes in Diversity and Inclusion and shows this on a daily basis with his support of the women leaders inside our business. Mike is always someone who is lifting those up around him, he goes above and beyond with every initiative he gets involved in (and that's most of them). From participating and leading several fundraising initiatives inside of Paysafe to paying for all the women in his business unit to attend Women in Technology conferences. Mike is an advocate for women in the tech space, he ensures they get a seat at the table and helps them find their voice. Mike has the biggest heart of anyone I know, he will drop everything to make time for you if you need advice, support, or just an ear to listen. Paysafe is lucky to have a leader like Mike within our organization, he is the perfect example of someone who believes in the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes and represents these beliefs daily.
Shopify - Director of Knowledge Management
Anyone who knows Dana would easily understand why she is being nominated as a Women of Inspiration. I had the pleasure of growing up professionally along side her and watching her as one of the youngest leaders in our organization, juggle a full time position as Manager of Knowledge Management and then Director of Operations while attending McGill and successfully graduating from their Library and Information Studies program. She changed the way our company managed information and content by implementing KM best practices, often going against the grain and needing to forge her own path, something she's continued to do as the Director of Knowledge Management at Shopify. She is an amazing thought leader, role model and human.
Banbury Crossroads School - Founder
Diane founded Banbury Crossroads private school. She has a big belief in education and inspires people of all ages from preschool to adulthood.
She started with a vision and has never swayed from that vision and encourages and inspires everyone she meets.
Ryan Murphy Construction Inc. - Co-founder
Lara Murphy is the co-founder of Ryan Murphy Construction Inc. in Calgary, Alberta. Lara’s first job in Calgary was with a development company as a project manager. Once she had networked enough trades into her database, she decided to branch out on her own and take on some renovation projects. It was on a retail construction project in Banff that Lara met her future business partner Karen Ryan, with whom she co-founded Ryan Murphy Construction Inc. in 2008. Throughout her university career in the Maritimes, Lara owned a painting business that expanded to maintenance and renovations for homes and yachts. She found herself more of an entrepreneur than a student of history and political science. During and after university, Lara was a competitive soccer player, and she travelled around Europe for a few years before settling back in Canada as a business owner.
Upon returning to New Brunswick, Lara started to buy and renovate old homes and apartments. Having just graduated university, she didn’t have much money to pay contractors and trades to come in and do the work, so she made it her mandate to learn how to do it herself. She did well and people noticed. Her first project became her showpiece and those who visited asked her to take on projects in their own spaces. Her business grew until she moved west in 2005. Each year the business has been operating, its growth has doubled, and Ryan Murphy Construction Inc. is on target to do the same this year. Lara and Karen have purchased a new office space in Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood.
Suncor Energy - Vice President Sustainability & Communications
Arlene Strom is senior vice president and general counsel of Suncor Energy Inc. In this role, Arlene is responsible for all legal matters across the company and works closely with Suncor’s Board of Directors on matters of corporate governance. Since joining Suncor in the corporate legal group in September 2003, Arlene has held a number of leadership positions within the company. Arlene most recently served as the vice president of Sustainability & Communications. In that role, Arlene was responsible for stakeholder and aboriginal relations, community investment, communications and sustainability, including the management of the Suncor Energy Foundation. Prior to joining Suncor she practiced corporate and securities law in Calgary.
Arlene is a member of the board of directors of the Suncor Energy Foundation, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and the Alberta Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Awards Foundation. She is also a member of the University of Calgary Management Advisory Council for the Haskayne School of Business.
Homes By Avi - President, Homes by Avi, Alberta (Single Family Division) and Avi Homes, Texas
With diplomas in Mechanical and Production Engineering, Alice began her career in the oil and gas sectors. She started with Homes by Avi in 1995 in sales management, and having gained invaluable experience in the areas of sales, marketing, land acquisition, banking, and government relations, was appointed President of the company’s single family operations in Calgary and Edmonton in 2012. Throughout her career Alice has received numerous honours and awards, including Marketing Person of the Year for Calgary and Sales Associate of the Year at the national SAM Awards. Under her guidance, Homes by Avi was named provincial Builder of the Year for 2013, as well as Edmonton Builder of the Year for 2014. Alice is recognized as a leader in the industry, and has developed a reputation of being driven and solutions-oriented. She possesses a true passion for leadership and a desire to be a positive force in the homebuilding community.
Willow Park Wines - Vice President Purchasing & Marketing
Peggy Perry is the Vice President of Marketing & Purchasing for Willow Park Wines & Spirits and has been the company’s principal wine buyer since the store opening in 1994. A native of Prince Edward Island, Perry received her formal education - degrees in both business and education – at the University of PEI, but her palate was honed in France. She first discovered her love of wine while studying French at the University of Strasbourg, and later while working in Bordeaux for negotiant Peter Sichel among others. She brings her incredible international wine knowledge and buying skills to the Willow Park Wines & Spirits team, along with her innate love of teaching. It’s this educational focus which has helped to grow Willow Park’s business – thanks to Perry there are as many as ten weekly tasting and educational events, drawing 500 customers through the doors every week.
Perry has developed and hosted five educational television series on wine, beer and spirits, which run on networks across Canada and the U.S. Presently she is the wine writer for Flavours Magazine
Dr. Gina Cherkowski
STEM Learning Lab Inc. - Founder and CEO
Dr. Cherkowski is an educational game changer on a mission to ensure all students have access to high quality STEM learning experiences so they are aptly prepared for our technology-driven, dynamic world. Dr. Cherkowski holds a PhD in Mathematics Education as well as in Culture Studies in Education. She has extensive experience in teaching and learning as a remediation specialist, a classroom teacher, and as a university professor for both undergraduate and graduate courses in education both in Canada and internationally. Gina believes that play, exploration and meaning are critical factors for learning for all students. Gina strongly advocates that all students require and deserve opportunities to participate in high-level, hands-on, engaging and meaningful learning experiences so they are able to meet the demands of the 21st Century. Gina and her team believe that STEM Education combined with Arts and Entrepreneurialism provide pivotal learning opportunities that equip children with the skills, tools and mindsets they need for the 21st Century.
Dr. Cherkowski understands that math is a gatekeeper for many students. As a social justice math educator and learning activist, Gina believes that all kids can and should be proficient in math as well as the other STEM fields and fights to make this a reality. Her current research explores teaching math conceptually using spatial temporal reasoning to facilitate a deep understanding of mathematics for diverse learners. Another area of interest is the development of visual spatial skills through interaction in highly engaging, hands-on STEM and STEAM projects like coding, robotics and Maker Education.
First Calgary Financial & Legacy Financial - President
As the President of First Calgary Financial & Legacy Financial, Shelley Vandenberg leads a team of more than 350 employees dedicated to making financial lives better for members. She provides strategic leadership to the major lines of business: retail banking, commercial & real estate banking, business banking, wealth management, and indirect lending. Her career in financial services has spanned 25-years and she has held a variety of progressive, senior level roles, and holds a Masters of Business Administration (University of Fredericton).
Shelley has a reputation of contributing to business success through strategic alignment and relationship development. Her proven experience in logical, efficient problem solving, and the development of high caliber, enthusiastic teams, makes her an energetic and dynamic member of Connect First Credit Union’s Executive team.
University of Calgary - Dean, Faculty of Science
Lesley Rigg is an internationally recognized scholar with 20 years of experience in postsecondary education. Before coming to the University of Calgary, she was vice-president for research and innovation partnerships at Northern Illinois University (NIU). She was also the president of the Northern Illinois Research Foundation, which works to advance the educational research, public service and economic development mission of NIU.
Alberta Tourism - Chief Executive Officer
Royce Chwin is the CEO of Travel Alberta, an award-winning provincial crown corporation mandated to market Alberta as a premier tourist destination. Royce leads a team responsible for Alberta’s regional, national and international tourism marketing, as well as Alberta-focussed tourism industry development. Prior to joining Travel Alberta, Royce was the Executive Director, Global Brand Integration at the Canadian Tourism Commission. There, he was instrumental in bringing the Canada brand to life for millions of viewers in support of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. Royce brings over 20 years’ leadership experience in the retail and hospitality industries. He successfully led and executed business strategy and operations for organizations including Starbucks, Blockbuster Video, Boston Pizza International and a retail start-up. A graduate of the Queens University Executive Program and CommunityShift, a C-level leadership development program founded by KPMG Enterprise and Ivey Business School, Royce also volunteers as a member of the Edmonton International Airport Business Advisory Committee, the Calgary International Airport Business Development Advisory Council, and the Hospitality and Tourism Management Advisory Committees at both the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Olds College.
Deloitte LLP - Senior Manager, Business Development
Account Executive focused on serving major clients in Energy and Airline Industry , representing all Deloitte professional services and solutions- consulting, strategy, process, information technology, human capital, finance, supply chain, operations excellence, major capital project, risk management, security, financial advisory, M&A, accounting, SAP, Oracle, Workday, Salesforce, Adobe, AWS, OpenText, Microsoft, SAS. Helping clients with their digital transformation enabled by analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and robot process automation.
Husky Energy - Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs at Husky Energy
Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Annesley is responsible for the development of Husky's strategies and engagement approach with internal and external business stakeholders on sensitive or high profile issues having potential for significant strategic business and reputation impact.
Ms. Annesley joined Husky as Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs in 2017. She is also responsible for developing relationships and communicating corporate initiatives to investors, governments, Indigenous communities, stakeholders, and employees in a transparent and effective manner.
Prior to joining Husky, Ms. Annesley was Chief of Staff to Canada's Minister of Natural Resources in Ottawa. From 1999 to 2009 she worked at Shell in a variety of Corporate, Downstream and Oil Sands communications, stakeholder engagement and government relations roles. She also served as Vice President of Communications at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which represents Canada's upstream oil and gas industry.
Dentons Canada LLP - Canada Chief Executive Officer
As Dentons' Canada Chief Executive Officer and a member of the global leadership team, serving on the Global Board and Global Management Committee, Beth is leading the Firm in Canada through an aggressive and targeted focus on exceeding our clients' expectations of value and results, and commitment to an inclusive culture that empowers diverse teams and supports an entrepreneurial spirit and performance based culture. A respected senior strategic business leader, Beth is focused on ensuring that Dentons continues to be a workplace of choice for leading talent in Canada and around the world.
Prior to assuming her role as the Firm’s Canada CEO, Beth served as Managing Partner at KPMG in the Greater Toronto Area, where she led the largest business unit in Canada. Beth served as a member of KPMG's Management Committee in various leadership positions, including Canadian Managing Partner Community Leadership, Canadian Managing Partner Regions and Enterprise with responsibility for 24 regional offices across Canada, and Chief Human Resources Officer. She also held various global leadership roles. Beth is widely known and respected in the Canadian business community and is an accomplished and dedicated community leader. She exemplifies this through her board and community involvement, and her advancement of women in business, and has been recognized by leading organizations such as YWCA Toronto, Canadian Women of Influence and WXN.
Women of Vision - Founder
Lesley MacDonald is the founder, producer and host of the Global Woman of Vision Television program, a 24-year national award-winning series that celebrates the accomplishments of inspirational women in the Edmonton area. She also writes a blog for Avenue Edmonton Magazine.
Lesley has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. She founded New ViewPoint Communications Ltd. in 1995 to manage a wide range of television, communications and business ventures. She has hosted three national television series, produced and hosted corporate videos, provided media coaching and business consulting services to business and government organizations, and for many years, was the female voice of the national specialty television network, Family Channel. She is also a public speaker as well as a host, moderator and emcee for many local and national programs and events.
Lesley is a recipient of two Paul Harris Fellowships, an Honourary Rotary Integrity Award, a Womanition Superlative Media Award and the Woman of Style award for excellence in the media, She is Chair of the Woman of Vision Advisory Board, a board member of the Downtown Rotary Club, an advisor to the Immigrant Access Fund, and has served on the Board of Governors of MacEwan University and on the United Way Cabinet.
Haskayne School of Business - PhD, Professor, Strategic Management Academic Director, Petroleum Land Management
Bob Schulz is a professor in the Strategy and Global Management (SGMA) and Business and Environment (BSEN) areas and is currently the academic director for the Petroleum Land Management concentration. He has been teaching at the Haskayne School of Business since 1973. He received his BA (mathematics) from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., BSc in mechanical-industrial from University of Notre Dame, MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, and PhD in business administration from The Ohio State University. Bob has won 21 outstanding teaching and student service awards and has been named to 7 Who’s Who publications. Bob has coached undergraduate student intercollegiate competition teams to 73 national championships and ranked #1 or #2 overall for 31 consecutive years, won 2 world-level undergraduate titles, and won 3 world-level MBA championships.
www.mcleod-law.com - Partner and Honorary Consul for France
Roy is a partner and head of the Wills, Trusts & Estates group. With over 25 years of wealth management and protection experience, he advises high net worth individuals, their families, family offices, and related businesses. His focus is on international, U.S./cross-border planning, trust creation, and compliance.
Before joining McLeod Law, Roy was in-house legal counsel to major Canadian and international financial institutions, including 10 years in Bermuda and Switzerland. Roy is fluent in French and functional in German.
William Joseph Communications - CEO and Owner
William Joseph was born on a Thursday afternoon – using middle names for the inspiration. The vision was to create an agency that wielded smart strategy as a foundation for innovative and on-the-mark creative. From humble beginnings, the agency grew to a team of industry experts with clients from around the globe. The launch of the RPM Project allows our agency to help out fellow entrepreneurs. Our Brand Aid program allows not for profits the ability to help tell their story.
As CEO, I manage the key relationships of the agency in all markets and help provide vision and insight for the company. Sharing my story of entrepreneurship and the lessons I have learned in branding and marketing have become a passion. My monthly Global TV segment on marketing allows me to educate the public on trends in our industry. My lunch and learns on the art and science of marketing allow me to share my knowledge in an intimate environment. Being a guest speaker and attending panel discussions allows me to provide my point of view on business.
Venture Communications - Managing General Partner
Arlene Dickinson is one of Canada’s most renowned independent marketing communications entrepreneurs.
As CEO of Venture Communications, her creative and strategic approach has turned the company into a powerhouse with a blue chip client list. She is also the General Partner for District Ventures Capital, a fund she built in 2017 that is dedicated to investing in entrepreneurs in the food and health CPG spaces. Dickinson also founded District Ventures, a leading-edge national accelerator located in Calgary that connects innovative early-stage companies with top entrepreneurs, investors, and commercialization support. Dickinson is best known as one of the venture capitalists on the award-winning CBC series Dragons’ Den and The Big Decision, as well as a marketing expert on Recipe to Riches. She is the author of two books, the number one bestselling book, Persuasion and her most recent best-selling release, All In. Her success and leadership has been recognized with multiple honours and awards including: Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100, the Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, as well as PROFIT and Chatelaine’s TOP 100 Women Business Owners. She sits on numerous boards, including the OMERS Ventures Advisory Board. Dickinson is also an Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy.
Acumen Law Corporation - Partner
Kyla Lee is a leader in the Canadian legal community. Kyla founded the Canadian Impaired Driving Lawyers Association, to unite lawyers across Canada. She is the Canadian Ambassador to the DUI Defence Lawyers Associatio. Kyla is internationally known as a leader in her field. Kyla actively works to advance women in the legal profession. She mentors two articled students, and through the CBA and the WLF, and lectures to the Indigenous Legal Clinic. Kyla organized a women’s suit drive for female law students to try to offset the prohibitive cost of women’s suits. The event was so successful that it is now an annual event at UBC Law. Kyla is working on a Representation Matters project to increase visibility of women in the legal profession by placing visual representations of women in courthouses, and is advocating for free menstrual products in courthouse bathrooms. In addition to being a partner at Acumen Law, Kyla also founded Brazen Bull Creative marketing agency. Kyla hosts a weekly video series, which has recently secured Beverly McLachlin as a guest star, and a weekly podcast with important guests including the BC Attorney General and BC Solicitor General, MLAs, scholars, authors, and legal minds.
Willow Park Golf & Country Club - PGA of Canada Head Professional & Level 5 Instructor
As a competitive Amateur and as a Golf Professional, Cathy has attained numerous achievements and awards over her golfing career. Her passion for teaching, has earned admiration and respect from both her students and peers. From the early 1980’s Cathy was playing competitive golf as member of provincial amateur teams at the National Championship before being selected as a member of Team Canada in 1986 and 1987. Her hard work culminated in a sweet victory as a member of Canada’s Commonwealth Team in New Zealand in 1987; a feat that remains unrivaled by any Canadian team since. Cathy continued to have competitive success throughout the late 80’s, winning both the Manitoba and Saskatchewan Women’s Amateur Championships and reaching the semi-finals in the prestigious US Public Links Championship against over 1000 competitors. Her success did not go unnoticed as she was twice finalist for Manitoba Golfer of the Year and also finalist for Manitoba Female Athlete of the Year.
Cathy’s inherent ability to teach others lead her to serve as National Junior Women’s Coach for the Canadian Ladies Golf Association from 1998-2004. One of her proudest moments came in 2009 when she was recognized as the first female inductee into the Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame in both the Athlete and Builder category.
WestJet - President and CEO
Ed Sims is the President and Chief Executive Officer for WestJet. As President and CEO, Ed is responsible for both the strategic direction of the company and the day-to-day operations. Ed first joined WestJet in May, 2017 as Executive Vice-President, Commercial. Since starting in the United Kingdom travel industry, Ed has enjoyed a varied career spanning more than 30 years in tourism and aviation across the European and Australasian markets. Prior to WestJet, Ed held senior commercial and operational leadership positions within the Tui, Thomas Cook, and Virgin Groups and served for ten years at Air New Zealand where he led the international wide-body business. His most recent role was as CEO of Airways, New Zealand’s air navigation service provider.
Calgary Economic Development - President & CEO
An innovative and results-driven leader focused on achieving exceptional outcomes in highly competitive environments that demand long-term vision, critical thinking and continuous improvement.
A passionate and collaborative strategist experienced in developing marketing initiatives to strengthen value proposition and build brand equity.
Thirty years’ experience in fast-paced industries including the telecommunications, not-for-profit, hospitality and airline sectors. Known for building and motivating cross-functional teams that exceed organizational objectives. Committed to community as an active volunteer with a focus on children and youth well-being and development.
TransAlta Corporation - President and Chief Executive Officer
Dawn Farrell is President and Chief Executive Officer of TransAlta Corporation, a director of TransAlta Corporation, a director of The Chemours Company and a member of the Trilateral Commission. She also sits on the boards of The Conference Board of Canada and the Business Council of Canada and is a member of The Canada-U.S. Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.
The Bold and Visible - Founder and CEO
Callie B. Elwayns is a high achieving executive with over 20 years of corporate leadership experience. She is recognized for her success as CEO for the Calgary Regional Partnership.
Callie’s journey from living on the streets as a young teen, to corporate CEO and community leader, was marked with many struggles and triumphs. She is a living role model for how to cultivate the courage to break through our own inner glass ceilings and step up to play our biggest game!
Unicorn Island - YouTuber, comedian, television host and actress
In October 2010, Lilly started a YouTube channel under the pseudonym "IISuperwomanII". She has explained that the name Superwoman was prompted by a childhood idea, making her believe she can do anything. Lilly garnered international success amassing over 14 million subscribers. Recognized as one of TIME’s Most Influential People on the Internet, Fast Company’s Most Creative People and Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Hollywood and Entertainment list. In March 2015, Singh began a world tour called "A Trip to Unicorn Island", adapting her YouTube content and including singing, dancing, music performances, comedy, and her parent characters.
In 2017, Lilly Singh was announced as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, to advocate for children's rights. She has led a campaign called "GirlLove", promoting girls to end girl-on-girl hate. In March 2019, NBC announced that Singh would host a new late night talk show, A Little Late with Lilly Singh, which will be premiering in Fall 2019. She will be the only female late night talk show host on a broadcast network.
Andrea van Vugt
Disability Pride Alberta Foundation - Founder
Andrea is a social entrepreneur from Calgary, Alberta. She is the founder of the Disability Pride Alberta Foundation, a non-profit organization with the mission to celebrate and empower the disability community.
In 2004, at the age of 19, Andrea was diagnosed with epilepsy. The onset of her condition prevented her from working; initially, walking across the street to grab a cup of coffee was not possible. It took years for her condition to stabilize, but that didn’t stop Andrea from pursuing her dreams and passions. In 2017, Andrea graduated from Mount Royal University’s Bissett School of Business. While studying at MRU, she minored in social innovation and developed a passion for social justice and advocacy. In 2018, Andrea organized Calgary’s first Disability Pride Parade and established the Disability Pride Alberta Foundation.
In addition to the annual Disability Pride Parade, the Disability Pride Alberta Foundation has a website that shares disability stories. These stories build empathy and understanding, inviting readers to learn about disabilities through first-hand accounts written by members of the disability community.
Awedity Creative Inc - Owner | Entrepreneur | Leader in the community |
If you live in Okotoks you likely know Julie Boake of Awedity Creative Inc. Julie is known for her creative side and helping businesses find their brand voice and online identity, she has designed and worked with a large number of local businesses (as well as international clients). She not only teaches them but empowers them and helps guide them to feeling confident online. She has become a pillar of the community, known for lifting up women in the area (managing the Okotoks and Area Women Entrepreneur group on Facebook and connecting them with resources , she works with the Town of Okotoks, Community Futures, Bow Valley College and The Okotoks and District Chamber of Commerce providing free training to help business owners learn social media and branding and hosts her own learning sessions for charity purposes. She has been recognized for her innate ability to find opportunities to connect people, build relationships and lead. If there is a female business owner in Okotoks, she will likely know Julie because of the way Julie seeks to lift up others and provide resources and a sense of community for women, and men, in our business community. She opened the first shared business/professional space in Okotoks for emerging entrepreneurs, using her own money to help home-based business owners find, and have, affordable office space in Okotoks. She is motivating, speaking and teaching everyone, guiding people, helping people fundraise and being a sponsor at many local events...she is an example for everyone. if you have not seen the orange glasses, you have likely not been to Okotoks.
Sarah Leamon Law Group - Founder / Senior Associate Lawyer
Sarah is a dedicated criminal defence lawyer, advocate and community volunteer. Born in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Sarah obtained an international education before ultimately settling in Vancouver, B,C. In addition to her Juris Doctor, Sarah has a Masters Degree in Womens' Studies from the University of British Columbia. Sarah was called to the Bar in B.C. in 2011, and called to the Bar in Alberta shortly thereafter. She practices in both provinces and has appeared in courts throughout the country. Her wide-recognized expertise in criminal law matters has caused her to be personally called on as a witness in the House of Commons and the Senate on five occasions to date. Sarah is regularly requested by the media to provide comment on a wide-variety fo legal, political and social matters and writes a regular opinion column for The Georgia Straight. Her writing also regularly appears in publications such as The Huffington Post, The Cannabis Life Network and The Her(b) Life. In her writing, Sarah regularly highlights issues that impact vulnerable, minority groups and deals with complex social, political and legal issues from a distinctly Canadian feminist perspective. In 2018, Sarah founded Sarah Leamon Law Group. Recognizing a distinct need for increased support and visibility of women and minorities in the criminal bar, Sarah exclusively employs women and visible minorities. She also offers mentorship to charities that support minorities groups and youth, such as SOAR Philanthropic Society, and helps high school students prepare for the Law Games Moot Trials in Victoria, B.C. every year. In 2017, Sarah founded the Womens' Association of Criminal Lawyers, which offers support, networking and educational opportunities for women in criminal law. In her spare time, Sarah volunteers as Board Chair as PACE Society in Vancouver's downtown East Side, providing front-line support services for survival sex-workers. Sarah also co-founded The Coven Club, which is a women's support and networking group for professionals and artists throughout Vancouver. Sarah is dedicated to the advancement of girls and women and to empowering those around her. In 2018, she was nominated as one of the "Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers" by Canadian Lawyer Magazine and in the same year she won Business in Vancouver's prestigious "Forty Under 40" Award. Sarah believes in social justice, equality and community awareness. She is dedicated to drawing attention to these issues while making the changes that are necessary to create a better tomorrow for the people of today. Sarah is a woman of inspiration.
geoLOGIC systems - Vice President Business Development & Sales
Andrea Hood joined geoLOGIC systems in 1997, after immigrating from Germany, and is currently Vice President Sales & Business Development. Andrea joined as Accounting & Administrative Manager before moving into sales as an Account Manager. She received successive promotions before taking on her current position in 2007 and in 2012 her responsibilities were broadened to encompass all customer-facing groups at geoLOGIC.
Andrea is a member of numerous industry associations including CSUR, CSPG, CSEG, where she held Board and Executive Board positions. She has received several Awards over her 15-year involvement with these associations. Together with her husband David they were Chairs of the 68th Conference of the Canadian Energy Executive Association (CEEA) (formerly the Oilmen’s).
JCI Winnipeg - President and Life Coach
Julia is driven to empower women to feel strong, confident, and in control of their lives . She believes that world needs more powerful women owning and utilizing their power. It is this belief that gave Julia the drive to become the Life and Empowerment Coach , Speaker, Author, Philanthropist, and Leader for Filipino women. Born of humble beginnings, Julia used what she lacked in resources to become creative and resourceful. Her enterprising abilities, entrepreneurial and multi-passionate spirit, and natural charisma became visible early on. As a child, she sold sea shells to create money; later participating in pageants, becoming a nurse and working 2-3 jobs to support her family. Since then she had immigrated to Canada, and achieved such goals as meeting Jack Canfield & Les Brown , continuing her education and practicing Nursing, speaking publicly, becoming a certified coach and community leader, and recently becoming President of Junior Chamber International. Julia has quickly become a woman to watch for, and the go-to coach and speaker in the Filipino community.
The Canadian Federation for Citizenship - Founder
I first met Jenny Gulamani-Abdulla when I attended a Business and Professional Women's Club of Calgary meeting, after joining one of my clients (Sophie Serafino) as she gave a talk. Jenny is a dynamo, who is a progressive and educated woman with a huge heart and passion to make positive change in the world. She is an action oriented role model who is the past BPW Canadian President (serving 2016-2018), past Calgary President, and currently serves as the Taskforce Chairperson for Women Migrants and Global Citizenship. She has attended numerous United Nations discussions and conferences in her capacity to serve with BPW. She is a successful immigration lawyer who is also extremely kind in supporting pro-bono clients in need. She is just back from New York City at the International Federation of Business and Professional Women with the United Nations, and is the Founder of The Canadian Federation for Citizenship, and Top 100 Award Winner by the Women's Executive Network (WXN) in 2013. ( Jenny could be considered for a Global Influencer Award, Global Impact Award, or for Diversity and Inclusiveness as her impact is significant.)
Stress Less Ladies - Founder
Inspiring others to do more and be more is at the heart of Victoria Smith’s wonderful podcast, Girl Tries Life (https://girltrieslife.com). She believes strongly that “women are capable of achieving incredible things when they have the right tools, strategies and mindset in place.” Her podcast is dedicated to providing those raw materials for greatness, via interviews with remarkable women and coaching episodes where Victoria provides actionable advice based on her own training and experience. Over the past 100+ episodes, she has created an inspiring and valuable body of work, and an authentic document of her own efforts to overcome depression, the struggles of motherhood, and other challenges. She is also in the process of turning this work into a business, called Stress Less Ladies, which is part of the ATB X incubator and will extend Victoria’s ability to equip women to live their best, less-stressed lives.
Biz With Thabi - Founder and Brand Strategist
Thabi works with female owned businesses in the Montreal Area to grow their passions and turn them into a revenue generating business that provides financial freedom for their families. She is especially drawn to mothers, to help take away the overwhelm and provide much needed support with system automation and use of online tools. She speaks throughtout the city, providing inspiration on her story how as a young immigrant she decided on entrepreneurship to generate her income and inspires others with her story of a $100 PayPal transfer to China in 2006 to what is today a successful company.
Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation - Assistant to the Director of Sales
I am nominating Carley Salive as she has been a direct leader, mentor, role model and influence in my life for the last 3 years. She embodies everything it means to be a woman of inspiration.
Carley is inspiring others to do more and to be more by providing a safe space to learn, fail and succeed. She is encouraging, supporting and empowering to everyone she works with, works for, and leads through her role as Assistant to the Director of Sales at Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation.
Carley is leading by example both locally and globally in her work with the NFL and CFL, as well as locally by founding the ‘Still Plays with Cars’ Automotive and Social Club. She diligently serves her fellow community by creating opportunities for employment and personal development. As a leader, Carley has crafted crucial relationships with industry and community to continually demonstrate her passion to promote and foster success for everyone. Her commitment to her work, her community and to her staff is unparalleled and served as a vital contribution to each organization’s ability to prosper. Her contributions have been endless, and she has enacted changed within the community to promote an inclusive and positive change. She is working to improve the lives of others everyday through little efforts and big impacts by constantly providing a positive outlook and leadership to her community. She represents women in an industry that historically is a “boys club” and is recognized by her peers for empowering everyone she encounters.
Carley has overcome adversity after losing her brother to a tragic motorcycle accident in 2008. As the founder of the Janson Towers Gift Fund, she has actively worked at fundraising and awareness in Alberta and BC in his honor. She directly contributes to the partnerships established to fundraise for injury rehabilitation as her brother was a football player with a severe injury that he overcame days before his passing. Her continued involvement in the Janson Towers Endowment Fund has directly helped to enrich thousands of lives in her community in her brother’s honor. As a women of inspiration to myself and our entire staff team directly, Carley’s contribution to inspiring those around her to take action is truly insurmountable.
Shift Psychological - CEO and Registered Psychologist
Andrea McTague is a true inspiration. She is an owner of a psychology clinic, with two shops in Edmonton, and one in Calgary Alberta. She is a Registered Psychologist, and I have seen her inspire not only myself, but others. Since meeting her, my life has personally been impacted, showing me that I can achieve anything that I want in life. I have completely changed career paths and have been building myself a future. I know that without her support and guidance, I would not be where I am today. I was working a minimum wage job, knowing that was going to be it for me. Now? I am working as an executive assistant at one of her shops, and I am opening a business while putting myself through school to better my future. I have seen her pull her staff into her office, not to put them down, or correct them when they are having difficulties with a client. But just to see how they are doing, if they need help with anything, and to help guide them on their career path. She does not directly supervise any provisional psychologists, but I constantly see her giving advice, sharing her abundance of knowledge, and encouraging people to become a star. She strives to help everyone be the best of the best. And I regularly tell the staff that she wants to see them where she is. Her compassion for her staff goes far beyond what I have seen in any other work place. Andrea McTague is one of the most generous, caring and inspiration women, and person I have ever met. I believe she truly deserves some recognition for all that she does, as she is constantly going above and beyond what her job entails her to do.
Exile Holt Couture (School of Sewing and Design) - Founder
Elfriede Holtkamp is a tough, inspirational, empowering women throughout her life. She was born in Rumania. During ww11 Elfriede and family lost everything and became refugees twice. Bringing with them only a few items and the precious family sewing machine. Elfriede learnt under a master seamstress in Prussia. Finishing her apprenticeship she started her first business in Strasburg. The business helped the family get through the wartime though sometimes only receiving food was a method of payment. Food of course was scarce at the time and appreciated. They later realized friends they left behind in Rumania likely lost their lives. Elfriedes family were just allowed to return to Germany luckily at that time having German decent. After the war she set up a business once more creating one of a kind garments. In 1953 she married and immigrated to Canada to be closer to family which previously left for Canada. Where she once again set up her business from her home in Calgary. Her services in Calgary were commissioned by the Duchess of Kent, cousin to Queen Elizabeth 11, and the Duke as a western suit for the Calgary Stampede. Which the Duchess was later photographed and on the front of a magazine in Australia wearing. Elfriede works can be seen in the Calgary round up Center as you walk the concourse from the train to a concert or hockey game possibly. One client donated a piece from the 1950s to the Glenbow Museum as she considered it as part of Calgary’s heritage worth preserving. Many Calgary Stampede Princess and Queen garments have been designed and made my Elfriede. Her clients have even kept her such a secret as friends and colleagues asked where the clothes are made. One colleague even followed a client of Elfriede to her office home wanting to know how to get these clothes made for herself. Unfortunately, as years passed Elfriede took a fall eventually losing the ability to sew as she once did. Wanting to share her knowledge of couture sewing she created a school in Calgary of the craft, 11 years ago they opened the school. I am submitting this award as a student of the school. The course she made includes a substantial amount of garments and techniques and spans from a two to a 4 year full time program. Yet, as I learn we all see easily it could’ve went on another 3 years at least to get all the knowledge in. It takes at least 10000 hours of sewing to be a true master in sewing and I believe my fellow students would agree. We create more than 18 designs through just a two year course. We pattern draft by a method Elfriede created much of and mastered herself to pass on. Many other government regulated schools offering design courses create only a 3 piece suit on a year with a pre-made pattern given to them. This school is one of a kind on this continent. Unfortunately, we wait to be gifted by her presence since school started as our master couturier lives above our school. Her daughter Jutta Holtkamp took on her moms dream as Elfriede is unable to get around so well anymore. Jutta has created alongside her mom for many years. This much reminds me of my daughter under the table waiting for my attention as I sew for hours.
Elfriede was born in 1925. This award would be so wonderful for so many heartwarming reasons. She is such a inspiration to me as she is to many. This award is well deserving.
Oh Naturals - CEO
“Do what you love and love what you do”. Rhonda Goldberg, is the founder of Oh! Naturals Flavoured Snacks Inc.– specializing in flavoured Banana chips and flavoured Sweet Potatoes. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, she is a branding expert who helps companies craft their brands and turning their visions into reality. All brands start with a story, says Rhonda, and her job is to help tell them. Over the years, she has pioneered many companies brands to market, and in the past 5 years, she decided to create her own product to give lend credence to what she does for others. To this end she developed a fruit and vegetable snack company called Oh! Naturals! She saw the need for a healthy, vegan, and naturally healthy snack food in the Canadian market, and within 24 months Oh! Naturals flavoured banana chips and flavoured Sweet Potato fries can be found in major national and international retail locations across Canada. In 2019 Oh! Naturals expanded their snacks into Japan, Korea and working on expansion into Europe. As a result of her successes, she has the honour of sitting on the board on the Health Advisory board at SAIT to help guide students towards a healthy future. Making a difference in people’s lives from both a business and customer perspective is what drives Rhonda forward. Regardless of where we are in life or business, she believes we all have three main things in common: we all want to be loved, appreciated and respected.
Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners - President
Natalie was grew up in Slave Lake, Alberta and moved to Toronto to attend Ryerson University. Natalie worked in sales at both Vintage Hotels and Casino Niagara and was on the opening team for the Niagara Fallsview Casino. She opened the first destination management company in Niagara in 2005 after a local hotel General Manager told her it was a crazy idea and would never work. Natalie is constantly organizing and volunteering – from Masterminds and golf trips for women to education events for Meeting Professionals Against Human Trafficking.
In 2015 Natalie became the VP of Education for the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners and created an educational strategy to focus on the business of events and the skills and tools needed by entrepreneurial event professionals. Natalie is now the President of CanSPEP and advocates for inclusiveness, embracing failure and risk taking. Natalie has started an enterprise called the Sustainable Planner, directed at helping meeting and event professionals and companies plan events that don’t kill the planet. She knows she will be successful because at least three people have already told her it will never work.
Get In Education Consulting - Founder
Mariam is an entrepreneur, education advocate, lawyer, doctoral candidate and Vanier Scholar at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. She is the CEO of Get In Education Consulting, a social-enterprise dedicated to helping gifted candidates from minority backgrounds access quality education. Mariam is also the founder of Africans in Academia Foundation, a new NGO dedicated to improving the competitiveness of Africans in the global academe through capacity building. Mariam is committed to empowering young women and men and helping them to work together to drive social innovation and change, participate fully in the development of their societies, eradicate poverty and inequality, and foster a culture of peace.
University of Calgary - Professor at the University of Calgary
If I were to describe Dr. Sasha Reid in three words I would say she is diligent, inspiring and a great mentor. Some of the things that makes her exceptional among my professors; first that she is a mentor for me and many of my classmates and second she inspires us, her lectures are very enthusiastic, allows students to engage critically with the course materials and learn from her knowledge and experiences. She is an example of an ideal professor who wants her students to not only succeed in her class but to succeed in life too. She proves this by mentoring students with their career paths and advising them what any advising help students might need. In class she is really organize her lectures follow unique format which highlights the important points and most importantly she encourage us to think, by rising various questions and giving us an opportunity to share our thoughts on them which I think this engagement in class has allow me and my classmates to learn these all concepts and ideas in more deeper levels. Outside of the class, she has extended office hours and she welcomes everyone’s questions and helps us out with everything such as class materials and long term career goals through mentorship. There has been time that I have gone to her office hour and spent almost 40 mins and she always welcomed and helped with whatever help I needed. I strongly think she deserves this award and all of her great teaching methods and mentoring must be recognized and awarded. I would like to write more about her excellency but I will end with this that excellent must be awarded excellence and Dr. Sasha Reid is one.
Bath Fitter - Founder
Wayne, one of founders of Bath Fitter’s leads by example. He is very proud that they are recognized as the Best Workplaces in Canada for Women 2019. They celebrated with the men and women, side by side, because they know that gender parity is where it’s at. When you look at their employees pictures on LinkedIn or other social media sites, it is clear that to achieve this award came as no shock. This is likely largely due to the strong company culture and their company vision to be a great company to work for and do business with. Wayne believes in careers that evolve, which is why Bath Fitter is developing learning programs that actively promotes the advancement and growth of every employee.
Dan Cooper, Broker - Owner
Dan Cooper of Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. in Oakville, Ontario, is leading the charge and championing women utilizing his incredible visibility, making strides and taking action towards advocating change and raising awareness. He recognizes that he has a critical role to play in diversity and inclusion and has generated many initiatives to eliminate gender bias. Dan has a strong sense of fair play, defined as a strong commitment to the ideals of fairness. He is a male champion of change and is a powerful advocate in his community to promote women. Among the many charitable organizations he supports, in recognition of 25 years in the real estate business, Dan Cooper recently held a celebration evening during which $10,000 was raised by the Dan Cooper Group in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. The proceeds were raised through a draw, silent auction and a personal donation from Dan Cooper, 100% of which was donated to Halton Women’s Place. In addition to this initiative, each year he raises $2 Million dollars a year for Sick Kids Foundation.
BlueCat - Co-Founder
Michael Hyatt is the Co-Founder of BlueCat which was recognized March 27th, 2019 the Best Workplaces in Canada for Women 2019. As a a self-made millionaire by the age of 25, he is a mentor and investor in many start-ups, including the Rotman School of Business Creative Destruction Lab and The Founders Institute. He has built two highly successful tech firms valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, and is a recipient of the Top 40 Under 40™ award, while also a commentator on CBC News.
Outside of regular work, Michael chairs his family’s charitable foundation called The Hyatt Family Foundation, which invests in Canadian charities. So far they have focused on education and women’s charities. Michael recognizes that with cultural shifts in the digital economy over the past decade, women age 40 and over struggle to secure work and are unemployed for longer periods than younger women. While they typically have experience and knowledge valuable to organizations, unlike men, they often face age, as well as gender discrimination in the job search process. His clients, as well as their referral agencies, have spoken: they are facing age discrimination/ageism in their job search, which negatively impacts their confidence in their ability to land a job. Michael is leading the charge and is and advocate for change and raising awareness.
Bath Fitter - Founder
Glenn, one of founders of Bath Fitter’s leads by example. He is very proud that they are recognized as the Best Workplaces in Canada for Women 2019. They celebrated with the men and women, side by side, because they know that gender parity is where it’s at. When you look at their employees pictures on LinkedIn or other social media sites, it is clear that to achieve this award came as no shock. This is likely largely due to the strong company culture and their company vision to be a great company to work for and do business with. Glenn believes in careers that evolve, which is why Bath Fitter is developing learning programs that actively promotes the advancement and growth of every employee.
Being nominated as one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures as well just confirmed what they have known all along: that Bath Fitter lives up to its vision of being a great company to work for and do business with. He understands that culture helps sustain a competitive advantage in today’s market.
Bath Fitter - Founder
Brian, one of founders of Bath Fitter’s leads by example. He is very proud that they are recognized as the Best Workplaces in Canada for Women 2019. They celebrated with the men and women, side by side, because they know that gender parity is where it’s at. When you look at their employees pictures on LinkedIn or other social media sites, it is clear that to achieve this award came as no shock. This is likely largely due to the strong company culture and their company vision to be a great company to work for and do business with. Brian believes in careers that evolve, which is why Bath Fitter is developing learning programs that actively promotes the advancement and growth of every employee.
Being nominated as one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures as well just confirmed what they have known all along: that Bath Fitter lives up to its vision of being a great company to work for and do business with. He understands that culture helps sustain a competitive advantage in today’s market.
The Consent Workshop - Founder
Uche Umolu is an activist, social innovator and community change-maker. She is also an Honors final year student studying Digital Business Management at Humber College, with a previous major in Political Science and Gender Studies. Uche has made her revolutionary mark as one of the leading voices advocating against sexual violence within the African community. With her professional skill-sets in digital strategy and development, Uche leads a global team of over 150 volunteers in over 15 cities worldwide, who share a passion to end rape culture. In just seven months, her movement has seen the support of several prominent bodies including funding from the City of Toronto.
ATB Financial - President & CEO
As ATB’s President and CEO, Curtis Stange could have a million priorities, but really he has just one: ATB’s customers and clearly the internal culture. He knows that instilling that focus into all 5,000+ team members, ATB can use its expertise to change the lives of Albertans for the better.
Curtis Stange has more than 30 years of experience in banking, including nine at ATB and on March 27th, 2019 they made the list of the Best Workplaces for Women in 2019. He stated that he was inspired to work alongside team members rich with culture and was obsessed with serving their customers and become more than a bank.
J.D.Nevins - Owner
Julian is continuously supporting and advocating for women. He actively seeks out to obtain diverse perspectives and connects will all types of women to gain a better understanding of their talents in their respective industries, fostering a network culture that provides genuine and authentic support. He roots for women, has their backs, is encouraging and is supportive of their efforts. He is always available when I want to bounce ideas off him and is authentically in your corner. He is a constant reminder to never put limitations on our abilities and that we are capable of accomplishing anything we set our mind to. Julian encourages the women in his network by showing respect and enthusiasm and easily stepping aside letting these women take the lead and the spotlight.
Hyundai Canada - President & CEO Hyundai Canada
Don is an active supporter who embraces diversity & inclusion. As the President & CEO of Hyundai Canada, his Hyundai Canada team was just recognized for being named one of Canada’s Best Workplaces For Women. He has been very vocal about his industry being slow to change from a predominately male run industry to one that more closely resembles the customers they serve. He has stated that over 80 pct of all auto purchases are made or influenced by women yet little has been done in our industry to ensure women are represented in key leadership positions. Don is very clear in his position that this must change and it to do so it has to begin by creating a workplace culture that embraces diversity and recognizes the significant advantages a diverse organization has over its less diverse competition. With this in mind, and in recognition of their recent announcement on March 27th, 2019, he is confident that Hyundai Canada is on the right road to a very successful future.
Comforting Queens - Social Justice Advocate
Afua Anku is an intelligent, blunt, and outspoken 26 year old who is passionate about public speaking, social justice and think piece writing. With ambitions out of this world, this bilingual political science graduate, is using her blog to educate the masses about women's rights, black culture, self love and civil rights. Her first two projects have been her non profit Comforting Queens, a non profit she co founded with her sister in honour of their mother, a breast cancer survivor. This non profit gathers communities together in innovative ways to ensure women of colour world wide have access to adequate health care, education, and social rights. Her second project is #RedefiningTheColourOfSuccess a networking, and mentorship program she has began for black youth in Ontario, with 3 goals in mind. Firstly, to ensure the black youth in Ontario have access to mentorship opportunities at a young age increasing their chances at successful careers. Secondly, giving the black youth access to representation in non traditional as well as traditional career paths, and lastly creating a needed network between the black community in Ontario to increase the social capital, and economy. Afua aspires to work in the UN as human rights lawyer, and aspires to change the face of Africa, economically, politically and culturally. With a YouTube channel in the making she hopes to empower black women to be the greatest they can be.
IHWGlobal - Founder
Ifeni Giwa is corporate accountant, currently writing her CPA & set to complete and acquire her designation by Sept 2019. IHWGlobal, was launched a year ago. It is a community organization established to connect women to the resources that are essential for success in their unique lifepaths. Her aim is to cater to the everyday woman - the entrepreneur, the corporate woman, the academic, the creative etc. With my slogan being "a world where every woman is empowered", Ifeni is ensuring that no woman is left behind. I do this through various avenues, such as live sessions, blog posts, masterclasses.
The main vision for IHWGlobal is to create a world where every woman is empowered. With almost 2,000 community members across our social media platforms and company network in just a year, she believes we are creating a society of engagement and growth. Her main aim is to connect women to other women that are already doing great things, nurture the part of women that wants to do & succeed and ensure that women take centre stage in the media in the years to come.
Alchemy YYC - Owner and founder
Ashley is not only an inspiration to women but she is an inspiration to everyone she meets! She has gone from being a hair stylist in Saskatchewan to dreaming bigger things in Calgary. She now owns her own studio which she helps and inspires women in the business to grow and enhance their skills. She is always there to help her clients and develops a personal relationship that is not only professional but shows she cares about her clientele and the people around her. She also gives the greatest advice and always makes you smile as soon as you see her. Her studio is full of light and develops a sense of relaxation the moment you walk in the space.
She develops the economy in Calgary by providing people with a safe place to get their hair done but also hires people for her business locally. She also hires local women that have the same goal and aspirations for the studio that she does. She also helps her fellow colleagues by providing them with tips and tricks of the business as she has lots of experience. She inspires everyone to take action by telling all her clients to believe in their dreams and focus on what's important. She is a inspiration to all and it is an honor to nominate her for this award.
Children's Aid Society of Toronto - Director, Communications
When I saw the theme about embracing diversity and showcasing women who inspire others - I knew I had to quickly nominate my mentor, Alicia Pereira. A Woman of Inspiration is an extraordinary woman who leads by example, lives on purpose and inspires others to be more and do more. She is a modern-day hero, game changer, mover and shaker, and role model who leads by example with courage, confidence, commitment and integrity, empowers those around her, and makes an impact in her community and around the globe. These are all things that Alicia both exudes and values as an emerging communications leader. Alicia Pereira joined the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto in January 2019. She is the former Head of Communications for the Ontario Human Rights Commission of Ontario. Prior to serving under the Attorney General of Ontario, Alicia was a Senior Manager for the award-winning International Development organization, World Vision International. She has her Bachelor’s degree from Ryerson University in Arts, majoring in Broadcast Journalism. Alicia began her television career working in the newsroom for CityTV and was frequently on CityNews where she was nominated for a Gemini award for an undercover investigative piece on illicit and foreign drugs. Alicia has traveled the world in her capacity with World Vision and in the summer of 2015, she summited Mt. Kilimanjaro with Canadian celebrities and media bloggers to raise awareness for child trafficking and child labour. A documentary was filmed of their journey and won an Indie Fest award, in 2016. Alicia has also co-produced a Sundance nominated-short film on the Rwandan Genocide and its child soldiers. Alicia has appeared before the United Nations, and sat on the United Nations Strong Women, Strong World Water Commitment team, to help bring clean drinking water to the world’s most vulnerable. She is a published author, having her work featured in countless magazines and daily papers. Most recently she authored a chapter in volume 4 of the book “Making it in High Heels” dedicated to her career in the charitable sector as a woman. Most recently, Alicia has been tackling issues of injustice and ensuring human rights are upheld through her advocacy work related to children and women’s issues, reconciliation, poverty and education. What strikes me the most is her unwavering ability to bring out inclusion for all - she transformed the OHRC into a place that truly valued people, never stepping on anyone's toes - rather working with them to bring out the best, always with a smile. She deserves to be honored for her humble spirit and is a total up and comer!
Elite Dance Academy - Owner and Artistic Director
Candice Mathewson is the proud Owner and Artistic Director of Elite Dance Acad- emy. Candice began her journey in dance at the age of 4. Some major highlights of her dance career include participating in the World Championships in Tap for Team Canada and attending the prestigious National Ballet School in Toronto. Candice spent seven years working with the Calgary Stampeder Outriders, four years as a dancer and three years as their coach and choreographer. She has trained in professional courses in New York, Las Vegas, Vancouver and Toronto. Formal instruction includes her completion of the ISTD (Imperial Society of Teach- ers of Dancing) Associate Exam and Diploma in Imperial Ballet.
Above all, Candice has a love for dance and for teaching. She prides herself and her staff on professionalism, enthusiasm and ultimately creating a positive learn- ing environment for all. Outside of the studio, Candice is ‘Mom’ to three young girls. Her priority (through herself and all staff) is to teach confidence, self-aware- ness, team dedication and excellent dance training to all students.
Steel Reef Infrastructure Corp. - Executive Chairman
Lane is a Canadian Risk Manager (CRM) and an accomplished entrepreneur. Prior to founding Steel Reef with his two partners, Lane co-founded COSCO Capital Canada in 2001. With his partners, Lane built this New York based private equity investment bank into the leading oil and gas private equity focused investment bank in North America, before selling the company to a NY brokerage firm in early 2007. Prior to this, from 1993 to 2001, Lane co-founded Canada Brokerlink Inc. As director and executive vice president of business development, he completed a total of 42 acquisitions, building Brokerlink into the largest independent P&C insurance brokerage in Canada before selling the company to Alliance Insurance in 2000.
Lane's extensive experience in enterprise risk management, growth strategies, acquisitions, investments and capital management has made him an invaluable asset to the inception and growth of Steel Reef Infrastructure Corp. Lane is a member of the Alberta Metis community with a long history of Metis family roots from the Prince Albert, and Fort Pelly, Sask region. His Metis ancestry includes four generations of William McKay’s having positions of Chief Factor’s and Factors of the Hudson Bay Company. The aboriginal family name being “Little Bear Skin”.
True Buch Kombucha - Co-founder + Co-owner
Louisa Ferrel is an inspiration for a multitude of reasons including her grit, creativity, and passion to give back to the community. When Louisa was young, her family moved from Romania to Canada to escape communism. It was from this, Louisa adopted her motto of "attitude of gratitude" which has been a driving force behind many of her decisions in life. Four and a half years ago Louisa, with her husband Conrad, started a new industry in Alberta when they opened True Büch Kombucha. True Büch Kombucha is Alberta's first commercial kombucha brewery. Louisa and Conrad Ferrel also brought innovation to the industry in Western Canada by offering draught kombucha, which has now become a staple for all Western Canadian kombucha companies. True Büch has sent multiple girls in financial need to empowerment focused summer camps, diverted over 200 000 bottles from the landfill, and sponsored over three dogs surgeries. As the company has grown, Louisa noticed that many entrepreneurs did not have the same base business knowledge her and Conrad had from their background as CPA's. So, the duo launched their own not for profit (the True Incubator) to support and empower other female entrepreneurs through a business bootcamp.
Dalhousie University - Computer Science Professor
Dr. Rita Orji is a Computer Science Professor at Dalhousie University, Canada. Her research areas of Human-Computer Interaction with a strong interest in digital health optimization in African nations.
She has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers. Her work has won several prestigious awards and funding, including Canadian Government Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant, Banting Fellowship, NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, Vanier Scholarship, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Government of Turkey funding, and best paper awards.
Recently, she was recognized as one of the Top 150 Canadian Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and also won a digital leadership award as a Women Leader in Digital Economy for her work in advancing technology both in Canada and in her native country of Nigeria. She was also named among the top 50 Young Most Influential Best Brains in Enugu State, Nigeria, in 2017 and the ISRII Rising Star Award in 2019. Dr. Orji has been interviewed and featured in major media, including Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), StarPhoenix on account of her work. She gave an invited talk to the Canadian Parliament and also at a United Nations Commission on the State of Women’s Panel. Above all, Dr. Orji is a Champion of diversity and inclusion in STEM through her numerous activities and using herself as a practical example. She founded the Education for Women and the Less Privileged foundation. She is passionate about inspiring the next generation of female tech. leaders; promoting research excellence; and equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM." Dr. Rita continues to use her social media platforms and her Foundation to empower and educate young girls and women to pursue STEM careers. She is truly a woman of inspiration in academia.
WinMagic - VP of Marketing and Sales North America
I met Maria about 4 years ago when I started working with her at WinMagic and since I have met her she has been a role model for all those around her. Maria has gone through many rough times during the few years I have known her but has managed to come through on the other side with a renewed excitement in making the world a better place. Maria works as the VP of Marketing and Sales for North America while at the same time working on a self-published book for children where children will have a fun way to learn about how much sugar they are consuming. If that weren't enough she then started using Instagram as a platform to help promote love, kindness, and inclusion. Maria truly leads by example on how we should all act to make this world a better place.
Wold Gate Media - President
Sharon A.M. Mclean was publisher and owner of her own business and lifestyle magazine for over 20 years. MacLean sold her company at a time when traditional media outlets were going broke. MacLean’s expertise in public relations, business marketing strategy and social media are invaluable assets to help others sell their business. She understood what it takes to sell a business and has created a step by step tool to help others sell theirs - THE BIZ FIT KIT. The Global program inlcudes step by step online programs, personal coaching as well an EASY PACKAGE - THEY DO IT FOR YOU! Maclean's progrma is helping boomers across Canada get their business in shape to find the perfect buyer. MacLean, serves as an active board member with TechInvest Alberta and Gro Your Biz International.
ENJO Canada - President
As President of ENJO Canada, Trish Ronan inspires hundreds of small business owners, all with the same mission - to help Canadians rid their homes of harmful chemicals and to keep their family, and the earth, healthy. She works tirelessly with small business owners (predominantly women) to overcome their own fears and limits, gain confidence and skill, and make a difference in their local communities. Trish has also introduced and promoted the Helios Projekt to ENJO countries around the world, which is a project dedicated to building homes and bettering the lives of the extreme poor.
Linked-Express Coaching / Training - Authentic Leader
Shelly is one of the most inspirational women I know. She is known as a LinkedIn Super-Woman and is on the list of Globally Recognized LinkedIn Trainers. Her goal is to help build online confidence to find your voice and #besociallyfearless! Shelly has spread "LinkedIn Goodness" in well over 300 (workshops, talks, keynotes) for executive teams, entrepreneurs, students, & women leaders! Her passion is to empower women through her inspirational talks and her signature workshop "LinkedIn in High Heels: Rise Up and Lead Online ". Most recently, Shelly was a speaker at the RCWIB Women's Leadership Symposium 2019 celebrating their 10th year anniversary where she facilitated a workshop on "Owning your Space and your Personal Brand" to both celebrate and empower women! Shelly never stops working to empower and support women by leading by example. She is very deserving of this award.
The Grief and Trauma Healing Centre Inc. - Owner, Founder, and Registered Psychologist
Ashley is an incredibly inspiring, heart-driven leader, with a deep passion for service. Ashley was called to her purpose in the wake of a number of painful losses in her life, including her father’s drug and alcohol addiction and eventual suicide in 2010. Ashley’s personal healing fueled her passion to empower other women to move beyond the pain caused by loss. Her company, founded in 2013, was born out of pain. Not only does she give back to our community through her one-on-one and group work with clients, she speaks internationally on the topic of Grief, travels across the nation training other professionals in Grief Recovery, donates and volunteers for The Stollery Women’s Network, and facilitates corporate workshops for multi-million-dollar corporations, non-profit organizations, small businesses, the Government of Canada, and the City of Edmonton. Additionally, Ashley co-authored a book, is a frequent media contributor for Global TV and CTV, and has been featured in Canadian Funeral News, Canadian Living, and Edmonton Lifestyle News. Ashley has developed a powerful team of professional, purpose-driven women who have collectively served over 3000 clients over the past 5 years. Ashley leads with love, courage, and vulnerability and deserves to be recognized for her contributions.
W.E Hustle in Heels - Founder
Ejibola is a three time Start-Up entrepreneur – She is the Founder and Owner of Made by Africans Inc., the Ejibola E.AT Collections and the new clothing sleepwear collections Amos Smith, a project specifically for women by women under her social impact initiative W.E Hustle in Heels. Ejibola is a role model, an influencer and a women leader who constantly advocate for the women empowerment through entrepreneurship. She believes women are agent of change and great things happen when women come together especially when successful women share their stories. Ejibola carries with her the message of enterprise and leadership to inspire hope and faith in women; her empowering slogan to women everywhere she goes is "See you at the T.O.P - the place where we all belong". Her empowerment platform W.E Hustle in Heels provides a tribe of diverse women (with significant emphasis on immigrant women within Grande Prairie and area including also Calgary) a safe haven via their monthly W.E Connect meetings where selected successful immigrant women are invited to share their stories of how they were able to utilize the resources in Canada to strive and to succeed. Ejibola believes that when women share their stories, great things happens -stories she said brings comfort, assurance, warmth, empowerment to others for them to believe in themselves, start discovering more of themselves and thereby maximizing their full potential.
HomEquity Bank - Director National Partnership Mortgage Brokers
Andrea started her career in the financial industry over 30 years ago and held a variety of positions with some of Canada’s most prominent players in the mortgage business.
Andrea is a proven sales leader with talent selling quality and service over price. Comprehensive knowledge of financial products including banking, mortgages, investments and insurance. Exceptional communicator with a consultative sales style, strong negotiation skills and problem solving abilities.
For the last 11 years Andrea has balanced family life and my career, as a mother of 2 boys (young men now) and now raising them alone. Her priority is family first and seeing her boys grow up into young men and both have completed their post secondary education has made her proud. The balance between work and family is not easy, finding and manage takes discipline, dedication and a lot of hard work.
A strong work ethic and drive is a major key to her success in family and career. Currently she is a National Director at HomeEquity Bank and has grown the mortgage broker market 40% year over year for the last 3 years. Andrea has also maintained her life license by education and working with friends and family.
Salt Staffing - Founder
As the founder and CEO of LX Events Inc, Tara identified a gap in the typical sales process through extensive market research and data analysis. She took that knowledge and built a powerful sales prospecting and client retention model that utilizes luxury, VIP experiences and "white glove" concierge programmes that successfully launched start-ups in the financial services, technology and hospitality industries. With a natural sense of innovation that defies conventional thinking, Tara is determined to make a difference and raise the bar in her industry.
Unstoppable Tracy - Inspire Award (Women with disabilities)
Tracy is one of the most inspiring women I know. She is a canadian para-olympic gold medal winner. An author, speaker and a coach. More importantly Tracy is a leader who inspires women and men around the world. When you are with Tracy you truly feel Limb-itless. She is a dear friend, colleague and powerhouse.
Womens Travel Network - President
Debbie Ross, founder of Womens Travel Network has been making dreams come true by compassionately providing her travel expertise to aspiring wanderers for over 35 years. Formerly the owner of a successful travel agency she now operates her niche tour company. Through her love of travel and desire to have life changing experiences abroad Debbie realized solo travel isn't always for everyone and there was a need for women to have group travel options with other like minded individuals. Debbie has developed a catalogue of once in a lifetime trips to join as part of a group with other women travellers hoping to delight in it all.
In June of 2004 Debbie lead her first trip to Tuscany, the original group of women from this premier tour (affectionately called the 'babes on the bus') still meet annually to celebrate their friendships. Sixteen years later and there's been many trips taken, many wonders seen, and many friendships formed! The Womens Travel Network tours are still led by Debbie and she has hand selected a group of fantastic tour leaders ready to deliver enriching and unforgettable experiences with the best private guides ready to enthusiastically share their country and culture with you.
SEEUniqueness - Inspire Award (Women with Disabilities)
Sydney is a beautiful young woman who has chosen to shine her light as a soul with Down Syndrome. I have known Sydney, and her mother Loree, for a number of years and have been inspired on a number of occasions by Sydney's ability to see the world and every person she meets as perfect just the way they are. My son travelled through Junior and Senior High Scool with Sydney, and was profoundly influenced and inspired by her. In preparation for an event I was hosting where Sydney was one of my guest speakers, I asked him, 'How would you describe Sydney?' His answer says it all.... 'Pure love mama, pure love'.
Sydney has faced adversity head on and overcome the odds. At the age of 3 she underwent intensive treatment for Leukaemia. Due to the days and months of isolation required she spent hours watching and memorizing musicals and movies of magic that sparked her love of being on stage. Sydney’s passion for singing has led her to participate in various Provincially recognized school choirs as well as different local venues and she brings sheer JOY to audiences wherever she performs. This young lady encapsulates everything the human race should be... sharing her truth, shining her light and touching hearts all along her way.
On World Down Syndrome Day, 2018, along with her friends, she decided to spread the message that being unique is beautiful! Her vision is to have 1 million people the world over share their UNIQUENESS and so was born her SEEUniqueness Campaign. I am very proud to say I am one of
'Sydney's Million'! Her powerful messages of acceptance, kindness, and seeing through the eyes of love has deeply impacted me as she does every audience she stand before.
Higher Landing Inc. - CEO Higher Landing Inc.
Jackie is a pioneer in the world of career transformation. Through her company Higher Landing Inc., Jackie helps women and men in the City of Calgary find their highest purpose, reclaim their confidence and redefine their career contributions after major job losses. Jackie has helped hundreds of Calgarians prepare for the future of work where the rules of the past no longer apply. She helps people learn how to pivot and manage their career like a business. Jackie treats her clients like family. She creates a safe and nurturing environment to grow and shift. The changes her clients experience go beyond career success, to build stronger families and community.
The Math Guru - Founder & CEO
Vanessa Vakharia is the founder and CEO of The Math Guru, a support system for youth experiencing stress or difficulty with math. Vanessa takes an innovative and holistic approach to math education and has built a business that provides kids with educational support, higher grades, and helps them build the confidence they need to find success in all areas of life.
Vanessa’s vision for a new approach to math education inspired her to write Math Hacks: Cool Tips + Less Stress = Better Marks in 2018. Last year, launched XAM Study Lounge, Toronto’s first pop-up study space. XAM invites high school students to de-stress and prepare for exams in a supportive environment. She also shares her philosophy of STEM education and best practices with educators across Canada and The United States and encourages others to understand how issues of mental health affect young students and create inclusive learning spaces. She helps those intimidated by math excel in STEM and access the opportunities it affords them.
Vanessa is a role model for female entrepreneurs, her growing team at The Math Guru, and the youth she mentors.
Ephphatha Transformation Academy - STEMscholar Coordinator and Grant Writer
Brenda is a multiple award-winning Youth Education and Engagement Specialist, Scholarship Search Strategist, Grant Writer and a Community Builder. She is experienced in diverse sectors, self-paced education/heutagogy, facilitating youth programs focused on women and girls’ rights, community sustainability, cultural inclusion, mental health and strategic intervention coaching, effective storytelling workshops, life-changing journaling, team-building exercises, leadership training, and creative wisdom circles. Brenda manages two major projects - Momentswithbren Scholarship Series and Skills Training, and a Compassion Fund. She works to foster, inspire and create opportunities for youths and support initiatives focused on tackling systemic inequality on a global scale. She is an alumna of the Think Big Lead Now Program 2018 with YWCA Canada and a 2017 Active Citizens Social Enterprise fellow on social innovation and entrepreneurship organized by UNACanada and the British Council. Brenda currently serves as a youth ambassador in 4 international organizations. Throughout her experiences she got the opportunity travel and network which has helped be share ideas and skills.
Chinook School of Music - Founder and General Manager
Carrie Kalmakoff is a driving force in our community and a pillar of our arts scene. She founded and directs the Chinook School of Music in Calgary, AB, where she offers music education to almost 1,000 families. Her infectious enthusiasm for education has led to the students of her Music School attending the worlds most competitive schools and winning world class competitions,She has developed the love of teaching in other students, and makes international news with the development of the careers she has nourished. Chinook School of Music is by far Calgary's most successful music school receiving the Consumer Choice award in Business Excellence this past year. Carrie's leadership in our city has greatly influenced my musical career as well as hundreds of others with the largest music faculty, and highest calibre of employed artists in the city. Music education in our city is alive because of this incredible woman of inspiration.
Kaiya - Singer, Songwriter, Philanthropist, Social Entrepreneur
For several years Kaiya has been an inspiration to those around her. Her teachers have said she is “one of a kind”,a quiet leader who supports others to be their best selves. A top fundraiser at her school, she is also in the leadership program. She combined her love of arts with her desire to make change when she wrote and acted in a play for her entire school on their annual Pink Shirt day. In recognition of her hard work, Kaiya was chosen by her school to attend WE Day. In her personal time, she has spent summers raising funds for charitable organizations, most recently for the Tom Baker Cancer Centre’s Intensive Palliative Care Ward Musical Therapy Program. Her cheque presentation day was combined with homemade cookies and a music concert performed by Kaiya for the staff, patients, and their families. As a singer - songwriter in 2018 she graced the stage at the #WOI 2018 Gala, the Bella Theatre, and the Jack Singer Concert Hall. Kaiya has realized that music can heal, can inspire and can bring us together. Her hope is that through her music she will bring light to as many people as she can.
Drizzle Honey - Founder / Queen Bee
Aja runs a female owned and operated company as well as mentors other women and women-run companies in Calgary. She is supportive of work-life balance, inspiring her female employees and ensuring that she encourages everyone around her to find their passions and work towards success. Aja is adding excitement to an age-old industry with first to market raw and superfood flavours, bee-friendly sustainability initiatives, and trending branding/social media - all in celebration of the everyday luxury of honey! Sustainability has been an issue close to her heart since the beginning of Drizzle. Not only does her honey capture the seasonal beauty of Canada, but every jar purchased contributes to the long-term health of our environment, beekeeping farms, and the local economy. By setting high standards for sustainability in honey production, she is contributing to the transformation of the honey industry. Aja and Drizzle support local farmers, fair wages, creating jobs and bolstering Canada’s agricultural sector. She also strives to support and collaborate with other local businesses and is proud to contribute to the exciting entrepreneurial landscape of Canada.
EPIC Alliance - Co-Founder
Rochelle Laflemme is a dynamic woman from Saskatoon and co-owner of EPIC Alliance; a successful Real Estate fund that currently holds 30 million dollars in real estate acquisitions. When Rochelle sees an opportunity to grow professionally or personally, she seizes it. No task is beneath her and no obstacle is too great. She works as close to 24/7 as she can, and there’s a reason for it: Rochelle leads a life that she doesn’t want to vacate. Every day, she encounters new, exciting challenges. Every day, she gets to solve them in a strategic, creative way. In addition, Rochelle is in the process of attaining her electrical Journeyman certification from Saskatchewan Polytechnic. As a First Nations Woman in Saskatchewan, Rochelle aims to represent females and Aboriginal persons' on a global scale.
Contrast Consulting and Coaching - Founder
With over 20 years of experience in transforming and driving a variety of businesses forward, Christine is a master coach and an expert at helping organizations and individuals achieve greater levels of performance and success. But more importantly, she is a wife, mother and a friend who is committed towards growing a meaningful and impactful consulting business on a global level. After taking a break from the corporate world to focus on her family of 3 young children, she was reminded of her passion for consulting and rejoined the working world as an entrepreneur, starting her own consulting business allowing her to grow a global empire while still making her home life and family her primary focus. Although Christine is travelling around the globe and juggling a busy work/life schedule, she always operates from a stand point of giving back. She is always offering support to other entrepreneurs and providing valuable connections and insights helping other people grow their businesses'. Although she has fiery red hair, she also has a heart of gold and deserves to be honoured and recognized.
Thornhill Skin Clinic - Founder/CEO
Shawn Solomon is the owner of Thornhill Skin Clinic but she is so much more than that. She is a mother of four, mentor and leader who sets an example for others around her. She advances the women at TSC by making sure they are consistently training, learning and growing. She sends her employees on courses, provides in house training and provides ongoing coaching and mentoring. She gives back to the community by collecting donations of toys for sick kids, raising money and awareness for local charities and does all of this while running a very busy business and household. Her entire business is about improving the lives of others because she helps women feel their very best. Shawn asked me the first time she saw me “what are your concerns and what will make you feel better about yourself?” I told her and we began our journey together. I asked her at one point “why don’t you tell me what will make me look amazing?” And her reply was “because you’re beautiful and my job is to address your concerns to help you be the best you can be.” She is kind, caring, considerate and unbelievably smart. I inspire to be like her because she’s hardworking, compassionate and always remains positive.
Liza Hanna - Founder
Liza Hanna is Toronto-based beauty influencer, professional makeup artist, certified micro-blading artist and businesswoman who has racked up a massive following on social media . If she isn't posting photos of your favourite looks for her subscribers, she's running her own company Lizee Cosmetics that sells her own line of lashes after only 4 years. Her goal is to make my clients feel beautiful inside out when they step out of her chair. She is enthusiastic and dedicated professional.
William Standen Co. - CEO, Co-founder
Cassandra Nordell is a Canadian entrepreneur, designer, and a columnist. She is a driving force behind three thriving businesses in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
In 2016 Cassandra was named one of the TOP FEMALE Entrepreneurs in Canada on the W100 list, ranked by Profitand Canadian Business Magazine as well named a PROFIT 500 CEO for leading the 4th fastest growing company in Canada in consumer services and construction.
Cassandra’s leadership also steered William Standen Co. into a prestigious position amongst Canada’s top new-growth companies: the 48th slot on the 2013 PROFIT HOT 50ranking. Just 11% of the companies who were recognized in 2013 had female CEOs, and Cassandra is proud to be part of this small percentage. She was also named one of the NKBA’s “30 Under 30” exceptional young professionals in the kitchen and bath industry and asked to participate at the 2014 Kitchen & Bath Industry show in Las Vegas. Locally, Cassandra has been honoured with business leadership and entrepreneurial awards.
Plasmatology Group - Founder
Kimberley Dicianna has over 20 years of medical aesthetic experience. She is highly skilled in the areas of aesthetic lasers and advanced & non-invasive technologies. Her experience as a Consultant & Trainer in the medical spa field gives her a unique perspective on evolving technologies and techniques. As a skin care expert and medical aesthetician Kim strives to enhance the beauty and self-image of her clients with sincerity, respect and world-class care. Kim has traveled frequently across the globe to stay on trend with the latest technology devices, procedures products. Her advanced technology and commitment to excellence has helped her clientele achieve the youthful appearance and inner-confidence they deserve.
Wendy Black Interiors - Founder
Wendy got her first taste for what the future would hold when as a stay at home mom in 2006 she was approached by a neighbour to help stage their home for an upcoming open house. The home had been on the market for 3 months and the homeowners had grown tired of uprooting their young family for various showings. After Wendy selected new paint colours and showcased the home it sold for full asking price at the open house. Soon neighbours and friends caught on to Wendy’s talent and she began to decorate and stage their homes. Wendy has staged homes, cottages, condos and offices, working with individual homeowners, top realtors and builders. She has appeared on Rogers TV Grand River Living, CTV's Quick Fix At Five and been interviewed on New York Empire Radio. She has also been published in Realtor.ca Living Room, Fine Homes Magazine, Neighbours of Grand River Magazine and CSP Staging Standard Magazine.
Victoria Bourque Beauty Boutique - Founder
With 14 years’ experience in the beauty industry, Victoria has an obvious passion for everything beauty. From a young age her goal has always been to open her own salon. Once graduated Bradford district high school, Victoria enrolled in George Brown College to study Makeup Artistry. Once she had completed her certification she realized that she wanted to offer more services and proceeded to become further certified in esthetics. Working in the field and gaining the experience she needed, she had the opportunity to grow as an artist and expand her clientele base over the years. As a makeup artist and brow artist, her plan was to expand her team to all kinds of beauty specialists catering to her clients every need and create a one place for everything beauty to accommodate the busy lifestyles of society today.
Deborah Kerbel - Founder
Deborah is a recognized book author of novels for middle grade and young adults including picture books and essays. Deborah novels have been shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award, the Canadian Library Association's YA Book Award, the Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Award, and the Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature. Her picture book, Sun Dog, is a finalist for the 2019 Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award. In 2011, she was the recipient of the City of Vaughan's R.A.V.E. Award recognizing her work as a Mentor and Educator in the Literary Arts. Deborah has been a guest speaker at both national and international literary festivals across Canada including Wordfest, Word on the Street, and Luminato as well as judge and juror for provincial book awards and national youth writing competitions.
Trudy Trihn - Founder
Trudy Trinh is a prominent microblading expert based in Toronto, Canada. Trudy’s reputation for crafting natural eyebrows designed to each person’s unique facial features is what distinguishes her from the crowd. Her professional and courteous manner combined with meticulous execution has amassed a growing population of satisfied return customers and requires new customers to book months ahead for her popular microblading sculptures. She is constantly helping women feel better about themselves through her craft. Trudy has advanced the microblading artistry through deliberate and constant practice, and in 2016, Trudy won third place in The International Permanent Makeup Conference (TIPMCC) Championship for the category of microblading. At the 2017 TIPMCC, Trudy was given a certificate of recognition for her “commitment, dedication and outstanding performance in the field of permanent make-up”. Trudy has also been featured for an article about microblading for Permanent Knowledge Magazine, which is a leading resource developed in collaboration with the best artists within the PMU industry.
Hennabynusrat - Founder
Nusrat has been engaged with henna for most of her life, working first on family and friends. Once word spread of her artistry, skill and patience, people couldn’t get enough of Nusrat's work. In 2005, she decided to make her henna business official, and launched Henna By Nusrat to make a more concerted effort to reach out to new clients. Nusrat is from Pakistan, a country where henna isn’t just an art form, it is a fundamental part of the culture. Nusrat has managed to infuse Eastern cultures into Canadian self-expression. Instead of solely being something brides do when they get married, Nusrat has realized that people in Canada want to use henna as a way of showing the world their personality, She also adapts henna to help women feel better about themselves physically. For example, she’s adorned henna on women who have recently given birth or have had a tummy tuck and want to start wearing bikinis again. Nusrat can use henna to disguise parts of their bodies that they may be uncomfortable with so that they can leave feeling empowered and beautiful.
Valko Financial Ltd. - Owner
Tracy’s been in the finance and banking business for over 15 years and is currently a leading expert in mortgage brokering for the past 8 years. Tracy was recognized by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation as a leading mortgage expert in her market as well as with 3 leading lending institutions that have awarded her with “status levels’ as a result of her high volume of mortgage productivity. Tracy consistently places in the Top 40 on Dominion Lending Centre’s National, Top Performer’s report. Tracy prides herself on her high level of mortgage knowledge, integrity, professionalism and experience. In November 2018, Tracy was honoured with the Broker of the Year Award of Excellence from Mortgage Professionals Canada. This is a huge accomplishment for Tracy and The Valko Team as this award is given to those who are truly outstanding in all areas of our industry. Tracy and her team’s commitment to her clients is her number one priority. She is very proud to have been recognized by the industry, her clients, and peers! In September 2018, Tracy and The Valko Team were awarded the Consumer Choice Award for Favourite Mortgage company in the Waterloo Region for the third year in a row! The Valko Team are the only recipients of this award since it’s inaugural year in the Region in 2016. Aside from these incredible accomplishments she is also a strong advocate of giving back to her community in which she works and is committed to working with a number of charities and raising funds for great causes.
Real Property Investments - Founder
Monika Jazyk, co-founder of Real Property Investments, author of ‘Real Estate Mistakes- Our Mistakes, Your Success‘ and mother of four cute kids. She is passionate about helping other people create wealth through real estate and alternative investments so they can reach their personal and financial goals. Monika has accumulated an impressive portfolio of single and multifamily units across Ontario and US, she is very surprised to have survived the real estate journey without any guidance. She shares her knowledge to help others avoid the mistakes that she has made, while providing guidance helping move others forward in their real estate journey.
Lara McCulloch - Founder
A renowned, results-driven marketing expert with over 20 years as a Brand Consultant for multinationals like Cadbury-Adams, Unilever and Shell, Lara brings ‘Big Brand Thinking’ to small business in the events industry. Her consulting firm is focused on building growth, reputation and evangelism for event companies around the world. She’s been touted as a pioneering force in the marketing revolution, founding one of the world’s first twitter communities, #eventprofs, featured in The Twitter Book by Tim O’Reilly. She’s travelled throughout Asia, Australia, the US, Canada and the Caribbean as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, changing the way that event companies think about their brands. The culmination of Lara’s passion and experience has heralded leadership posts on numerous industry Advisory Boards, a monthly column for an international magazine and recognition with three National Awards for dedication, spirit and leadership as well as the esteem of Industry Innovator. She has also graduated from Ivy Business School’s prestigious Executive Program, but it’s the title of Mom that brings her the most pride.
Juice Wealthy - Founder
Sonisha Paul started Juice Wealthy as an accidental entrepreneur. It all started in 2014 while she was finishing up her education in Business Administration Marketing in Toronto at George Brown College. Sonisha was always seen on campus carrying a glass bottle with her personalized homemade cold-pressed juice. At that time the idea of a juice being a healthier alternative was still unfamiliar to the masses. She later started helping individuals with their health related problems by researching and creating customized juice programs for them as a means to an alternative holistic wellness approach. Sonisha’s passion for health and nutrition is a desire that has been embedded in her as she has discovered juicing as a healing source. She is an avid juicer and after spending years experimenting (which includes her personal 60 day juice fast) Juice Wealthy was born. She continues to advance herself and grow in her industry as she completes her studies in Culinary and Nutrition Management. Juice Wealthy’s slogan “changing the perception of food” means that if we can reprogram our minds on what “food” is and how we choose to nourish our bodies, we can help reduce the amount of deaths as a result of food-related preventable illnesses.
Bikini Haus - Founder
Maryanne Terzis started Bikini Haus project with the idea of bringing swim wear to Canada that was previously unavailable. Bikini Haus is a Toronto based swimwear store. Currently running through their studio and online store, Bikini Haus provides a service oriented approach to swim shopping.
Inspired by her love of travel and sun, Maryanne found that buying swim was not only difficult, but unpleasant. “Swim wear is the most important thing to pack” she says, “we all have busy schedules.” She believes that the combination of late shopping, low availability, and poor customer experience is part of the reason people dread bathing suit shopping. She decided to open her own store, “one year we were away and began to have to the conversation.” After doing her research and understanding the industry more Maryanne reached out to various brands, including Boys + Arrows, and went to Miami Swim Week in order to begin building her own store. It was important to Maryanne that there be “space for them to try on swim. Not everyone likes to buy online.” Additionally, Bikini Haus carries many new brands that people aren’t familiar with, Maryanne wanted to be able to guarantee customers a comfortable buying environment, both online and offline.
TMB Cosmetic Surgery - Registered Nurse
Yolanda Balatbat R.N. is the full time nurse of the TMB practice. She has been working with Dr. Born for almost 17 years, and in that time has assisted Dr. Born in the operating room, and TMB day clinic. Yolanda provides all of the day to day follow up care for our surgical patients who always rave about her honest approach during consultation, and her caring and sensitive demeanor. Yolanda ensures your results and experience are the very BEST they can be. She spends a lot of time with her 2 daughters who give her the greatest joy!
Vaughan Moms - Owner
Patricia is an influencer, radio host and energetic local entrepreneur! She is the owner of Vaughan Mompreneurs, the City of Vaughan's #1 Influencer. The Vaughan Moms brand has the extensive social media presence to help connect any business or brand with the community of Vaughan and surrounding areas. Patricia is passionate to connect with brands and businesses to help create great social media campaigns. She is a Social Media expert, brand advocate, small business advocate, blogger, influencer and now a radio host on 105. Patricia shares her extensive knowledge of motherhood, family-based products, local businesses, entertainment, events, dining, and education for kids with everything she works on and does during her amazing social media lifestyle.
Dr. Debra Henderson
VCA Canada - Western Veterinary Specialist & Emergency Centre - Internal Medicine Specialist and Medical Director
Deserving a lifetime achievement award, as an, Internal Medicine Veterinary Specialist and Medical Director of one of Calgary's largest emergency animal hospitals, Dr. Debra Henderson has dedicated herself to her profession. Dr. Henderson is passionate about the health and well-being of our ‘furry family members’ and is a true advocate for their owners. Discipline and perseverance contributed to Dr. Henderson's success. Excelling in her profession for over 3 decades (in 'what was' a male dominated field), her outstanding commitment and results driven leadership, Dr. Henderson INSPIRES new generations of women in the veterinary industry,
Dr. Melissa Hershberg
Dr. Melissa Hershberg - Founder
Dr. Melissa Hershberg, MD CCFP is a medical physician, author of two diet books – The Hershberg Diet and The Rebel Diet, and the founder of U Health Clinic, a preventive health and weight loss clinic in midtown Toronto. Since graduating from the University of Toronto Family Medicine program in 2006, Dr.Melissa has enjoyed practicing in both preventive and urgent health care facilities and has helped countless patients improve their health through her combined knowledge of medicine, fitness and nutrition. As a former national gymnast and competitive fitness champion, Dr.Melissa knows firsthand the benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise for the prevention of disease and promotion of optimal health. Her experiences in competitive athletics coupled with her training in science and medicine have afforded her with a unique and highly respected knowledge base. She is a freelance writer having contributed medical consultation and health and wellness articles to many well-known publications across North America such as Chatelaine, Flare, and Glow. She is a dynamic public speaker and appears regularly on The Marilyn Denis Show as a resident health expert. Through her books, medical practice, articles and speaking, Dr.Melissa hopes to inspire people to make positive lifestyle changes.
Evolve Green - President / Owner
Lorena is a power house and always trying to help people with energy security. She is an inspiration to other and mentors all she meets. Just recently she completed a project for a community to light an area so the children could have light to skate in that community. She designed and worked to install in -20c temperatures till 630pm on a Friday night so the kids could skate Saturday morning. Lorena worked with the community donate solar panels and time and allowing them to do a payment option to make this work for them. They have not had power to that arena in 17 years. Bringing back a outlet for more then 70 local kids became a mission. Lorena started Evolve Green 11 years ago and is well recognized in Canada for her work in the Renewable Energy sector. She has created training courses and taught many electricians how to install and design solar. She currently has 10 staff all committed to the environment. Also not well known is she has a YouTube channel she started to help empower people to overcome MG and Multiple Immune disorders with a great attitude. This Mother of 6 never stops and always looks at the glass half full.
#EFFTHESTIGMA Mvement - Founder
Kris Yeo is an international model, blogger, and mental health activist, founder of the #EFFTHESTIGMA movement. Along with modeling, fashion, travel and charitable work, Kristina’s a fierce advocate for body positivity. All this has jump-started her charitable work as a founder of #effthestigma, fighting the stigma around mental health and creating awareness. She has also started a social media movement that empowers women of all sizes to be confident with their bodies, and embracing and loving who they are.
Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation - Employment and Economic Development Officer
Colleen is currently the Employment and Economic Development Officer for the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. She graduated with honors and received a B.A. at Trent University for Native studies. She always had this driving force and desire, to serve Native Communities, and after almost 17 years with the Bank of Montreal she finally made the decision to leave BMO and to be part of something bigger and influence change. She works directly continuing to honor the vision of the founders of the Native Women’s Resource Center of Toronto by providing a welcoming atmosphere for all Aboriginal women and their children. She is dedicated to offer life- enhancing resources, cultural ceremonies and teachings, skill development, and programs to build their collective capacity and celebrate their cultures and deserving of recognition as in inspiring women who leads by example.
City of Windsor - Human Resources Assistant
As a Woman of Inspiration, Jamie Kramer, MA, CHRP embodies the criteria for the Millennial Leader Award. She works for the City of Windsor overseeing the implementation of the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative that aims to maintain an inclusive culture for those employed, or seeking employment, at the City. Jamie has been responsible for developing Employee Resource Groups along with innovative ideas including creating Blind Date with a (Diverse) Book to initiate conversations around diversity. In 2018, she received the Exceptional Customer Service Award (Rookie of the Year).
Jamie received her Master of Arts in 2017 from the University of Windsor, completing her thesis as a policy analysis of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 which received accolades for best presentation in 2017 and will be presented at the New England Political Science Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting.
Beauty Addicts Inc - Owner
Women empowerment on business, family, personal improvement and ethnicity culture.
Safe Haven Foundation - President
Karen's childhood was coloured by a missing mom and an abusive father such that she ran away from home at 16. Determined to make something of herself, she rose through the world of fashion and modelling and on into the business world of marketing. At 37, she decided it was time to give back to girls in similar situations as herself, and has made it her life's work to inspire and encourage other young women to rise above their beginnings, get an education and make their lives better.. This is Karen of Safe Haven Foundation and she inspires me and her team of employees every day to make the world a little better for one young woman at a time.
City Mortgage Group - Mortgage Agent and Team Lead
Ana is one of the hardest working women I've ever met. She is a mother of two kids, now in their 20's, she sacrificed her career early in life to take care of the kids and is now an award-winning mortgage broker. She is an inspiration to her kids, friends and family. Her goal is to help others achieve their goal. She has been on the local BIA board, a WOMEN OF INFLUENCE in her industry 2 yrs. Anyone who meets her feel inspired.
Get Ripped - Personal Trainer and Founder, Get Ripped
Jari Love is a certified personal trainer and the creator of Get RIPPED!®, the five-phase, no-nonsense, full-body workout system designed to help people of any fitness level shed unwanted pounds in weeks. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED!® series enables individuals to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.
StandOUT Publications - Founder and CEO
Tessa Lerbekmo-Joyes is a deaf mother of two young daughters, a loyal wife, a natural comedian, and an inspiring CEO of a publication and creative services company, StandOUT Publications. Watch her and be encouraged as she builds her empire by documenting everything from struggles to success through blogs, docu-series, magazine, design work, social media, and many more.