Women of Inspiration Winners - YYZ

2019 Women of Inspiration Winners - YYZ.

Anaida Deti - 2019 Indigenous Leader Award

Founder and CEO, DentalX

Anaida immigrated to Canada from Albania 17 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. Ten years, seven-day workweeks and a diploma later, she opened the doors to her very own dental practice, becoming CEO of DentalX in 2013. A Registered Dental Hygienist, Anaida has made it her mission to educate patients on the importance of dental health. She founded Mission Kind (Kids In Need of Dentalcare), to help children aged 6-16 obtain much needed dental work at no charge. Her passion and dental expertise have garnered her media coverage on Rogers Daytime Television, Sirius XM Radio What She Said, GlobalTV, CTV, CP24, CTV NewsChannel, Newtalk1010, and more. She has been featured in the Toronto Star, Elevate, 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 has won several awards: 2018 The Bizz Award Business Excellence Awards, 2018 CHCH Business Excellence Awards for Business who Gives Back, 2018 ODHA Community Service Award, 2017 Urban Hero Honour Award in the Health category, 2016 Patient’s Choice Award Winner by Opencare. She was a 2015 Mompreneur Award of Excellence finalist. She was selected as the 2018 Top3 outstanding women for Entrepreneurship and Business in the GTA from The Waterfront Awards and more.
Patients and their oral health are her primary concern and she gives them the best possible treatment. Her goal is to have every patient smiling!

Andrea Twizell - 2019 Women of Inspiration - The Nest Award

Founder and CEO-Designed4Wealth

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 management takes discipline, dedication, and a lot of hard work.
A strong work ethic and drive is a major key to her success in family and career. 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 through education and working with friends and family.

Armineh Keshishian-2019 Cultural Ambassador Award

Founder and CEO-Wealth and Wellness Global

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 peope 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 theatre shows.
I nominate Armineh as a strong, selfless woman who encourages and inspires others to succeed in life.

Brenda McWilson-Okorogban -2019 Women of Inspiration youth Advocate Award

Founder-Brenda Okorogba

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 UNA-Canada and the British Council. Brenda currently serves as a youth ambassador in 4 international organizations. Throughout her experiences, she got the opportunity to travel and network which has helped be share ideas and skills.
As someone who is very passionate about UN SDGs with an interest in promoting access to quality education, knowledge sharing, creative wisdom circles, and gender equality, Brenda has taken it upon herself to become a guide for underprivileged youths to have access to quality education through scholarships and funding. Her focus is on matching students with scholarships, freelance jobs, e-learning, and mentorship opportunities through tailored applications, LinkedIn Profile Optimizations, CV Editing, Grant Prospecting and Writing, Interview preparation and career preparedness; and understanding the very nuanced demands of scholarship essays. Brenda has helped students gain over $2.2 Million dollars in scholarships both in Canada, Africa, and across the world. This has helped her amass 43k organic followers on Twitter and over 1k followers on LinkedIn.

Catherine Yulie-2019 Global Executive Leader Award

Executive Vice President and Insights and Analytics-Edelman

Catherine is Executive Vice President, Insights, and Analytics at Edelman. Catherine and her team of 17 research professionals integrate digital analytics and market research to offer innovative approaches to fueling and measuring the impact of Edelman client communications. Catherine has been recognized for industry-leading insights, winning 4 Research Excellence Awards. Catherine has 25 years of experience in market, media, and advertising research and is a Canadian Advisory Council Member of the Insights Association. Catherine is Edelman Global Women Equality Network (GWEN) leader in Toronto, championing a volunteer team of women to drive local initiatives such as Lean in Circles, mentoring sessions, celebrations of International Women day, panels, and other community events designed to support a culture that helps women lead and succeed. Catherine is also a member of the GWEN global steering committee, contributing to initiatives that increase the presence of female leadership. Last year, Catherine launched a global Instagram channel for Edelman GWEN to help profile Edelman women leaders in the market. Catherine mentors many women in the industry and has been recognized as a Financial Times & HERoes Champions of Business Top 10 Future Female Leader & Role Model.

Chantal Soumis-2019 Women of Inspiration Diversity and Inclusiveness Award

Founder and Creative Director and Differently-Abled Advocate-Chantel Soumis

Chantel Soumis is the Founder and Creative Director of Stardust Creative LLC, a brand agency focused on embracing differences through personal branding. She spoke at VidCon as one of the first LinkedIn video creators as well as inspiring keynotes 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 human race.

Christine Nielsen -2019 Women of Inspiration Global Impact Award


With over 24 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.
Christine experience spans a variety of senior executive positions. She leverages her professional history to serve as a consultant with a focus on organizational transformation, performance management, and culture change. By partnering, coaching, and working closely with senior leaders and their teams, Christine is able to transform organizations and effect positive and measurable change. By creating a chain of influential leaders and mid-level managers, Christine is able to deliver greater levels of performance, effectively alter employee behaviors, and create cultural cohesion, leading to teams delivering significant and sustainable business results.
Her international clients span the forestry and mining, healthcare, telecommunications, oil and gas, engineering, and financial services industries and include Lasmo, Weyerhaeuser, Inco Mining, Boehringer Mannheim, Rogers Communications, and BP.

Dana Tessier-2019 Women of Inspiration™ Trailblazer Award

Director of Knowledge Management-Shopify

I am a wife, a mother of three, a new grandmother, a mentor and a business owner.

I inspire those around me every day by achieving balance while constantly giving back. As an owner and operator of WOW 1 DAY PAINTING in Barrie, Ontario, I develop, mentor and lead an award-winning team, while always finding time for my growing family and giving back to our community. It brings me so much joy partnering with Run for the Cure, the Food Bank and our local women shelter here in Barrie. I am also seeking opportunities to sponsor a local kid's hockey team.

Beating cancer taught me what I was really capable of and I am determined to pass on this strength and tenacity to those around me. My mentors and family are the roots of my passion, and instill me with the confidence to build a successful business. It gives me great honor to be a constant cheerleader and champion for my community, and always finding the light within others to shine.

Debbie Burke-Benn-2019 Women of Inspiration™ Authentic Leader Award

Director, Youth Strategies-Ontario Public Service

Debbie Burke-Benn is a values-based leader who has led teams to successful outcomes both in the public, the broader public, and the private sector. Her career path has taken her from leadership roles in corporate sponsorship, a leadership role at RBC, to leadership in the public sector, including being at the forefront of bringing public services to co-located sites as the change lead for ServiceOntario. Debbie also ran her own business for 7-years, successfully providing organizational development/change management solutions for organizations in Canada, Africa, and the Caribbean. More recently, she was the Director responsible for the Ontario government Basic Income pilot.

Denise Alison- 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Rural Leader

Social Media Strategist-Denise Alison

Denise Alison is a social media strategist who emphasizes the importance of relationships. She is on a mission to teach female entrepreneurs the skills they need to create their own content confidently and consistently so they can get noticed by their dream customers!

Through her own experiences, Denise saw the impact that social media could have on entrepreneurs and their ability to attract customers. It became a passion of hers to spread her knowledge and expertise to help other entrepreneurs grow.

Denise is a sought after speaker. She not only informs her audience and shares practical strategies, but she entertains her audience as well. She was recently invited to speak a Live Stream Summit in New York to share her live streaming expertise with attendees.

Denise lives in Clare, an Acadian fishing village in southwest Nova Scotia. She is a long time member of the Chambre de Commerce de Clare and is currently serving as Vice-President.

When Denise working on social media or business-related activities, she is probably rehearsing for a show at Yarc, a community theatre, or planning an improv show with the Catch 22 Comedy Crew, which she is a co-founder of.

Dr. Liza Egbogah-2019 Women of Inspiration™ Innovation Award

CEO-Dr. Liza Shoes

Dr. Liza Egbogah is one of North America's leading Body & Posture experts. She is the manual osteopath of choice for political leaders, CEOs and A-list celebrities, and the founder of dr. Liza shoes, a revolutionary line of heels and flats meticulously designed for painless all-day wear. When she is not traveling to treat her Hollywood clientele, Dr. Liza practices at the[fix], her boutique clinic in Toronto Financial District. She is a prominent media personality that you may be familiar with from The Social, Marilyn Denis, Cityline, CTV, Hallmark Channel, NBC, and a plethora of morning shows. She is also a health contributor to a wide variety of publications.

Faten Alshazly-2019 Women of Inspiration™ Inspire Award

Principal & Chief Creative Officer-WeUsThem Inc.

Faten is the Principal & Chief Creative Officer of WeUsThem Inc., a full-service ad agency with a client roster that includes the likes of Telus, Kaplan, The Kempinski Group, Xerox, Equifax, Stanfields, and Pratt & Whitney to name a few. She has over a decade of creative direction and marketing across all three sectors, a multitude of industries and with clients in all continents save Antarctica (though she says a penguin call would be hard toresist). Faten began her academia in Computer Science and Business from Dalhousie University followed by a Master of Fine Arts in Broadcast and Motion Graphics from Savannah College of Art and Design where she has since been asked back to address graduating cohorts of 2500 students alongside the likes of John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer of DisneyPixar) and Domenico De Sole (former CEO of Gucci Group, current Chairman of Sothebya and Tom Ford International as well as Director of Gap Inc. and Telecom Italia).

She has led all creative endeavors at WeUsThem bringing forward international accolades such as multiple Webby's, CLIO, W3a Daveya, Hermes, and Cannes LIONS are all firsts for an agency east of Montreal. This in addition to Apple recognizing the work done under her leadership for healthy eating and lifestyles for kids, young people, and families, Faten is charting the way for how we communicate authentically with individuals globally. Under her leadership, WeUsThem has been named a Remarkable Business by the Globe & Mail and a Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce. Fatena works have led to conversations that we are now facilitating for our clients in 142 countries with over 7-8M unique engagements on average across brands. The work she has led and championed can be spotted in retailers such as Walmart, Winners, Target, Costco, the Hudson's Bay, etc. Her unique artistic flair brought Mental Illness & Addictions to the forefront for youth and adolescents in Canada with support from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, The Kids Help Phone, TeenMentalHealth.Org, Ministers of Health from a variety of jurisdictions and H.E. Sharon Johnston, the wife of the former Governor-General of Canada who became an Ambassador for the work Faten led. The World Bank and the WHO has called the work she led in Sub-Saharan Africa reaching half a million kids a top 20 innovator globally, having it presented to heads of state to countries across all continents for replication and implementation in their own jurisdictions. Work on Mental Health that Faten has led was further supported and funded by Facebook, The Clinton Foundation & The Jed Foundation to reach youth across the United States.
Fatena continued work in supporting young people in building their careers and living healthy lives to supporting young women joining the workforce or technical fields such as Engineering or Computer Science to supporting business and chronic illnesses in the community have led to a variety of engagements on Faten
speaking for the MS Society on Women and Leadership and raising their profile. Faten was recently invited by the President of Egypt to speak to the World Youth Forum this past November, represented by attendees from64 countries with over 5000 delegates to talk about issues young women face and what they need to do to
make their mark and become world leaders in their own right.

Separate from the agency accolades she has been accountable for, she is also 1 of 5 Women of Inspiration in Canada named by the Canadian Immigrant Magazine, a Business Person of the Year by the Chamber of commerce, a Woman of Excellence by the Progress Women's Club and an Educator of the Year by IT World
Canada. Faten has been named Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women twice once in Arts & Communication and the second time as a Trendsetter & a Trailblazer.

Her personal time is spent volunteering on the Boards of the Chamber of Commerce, the Mental Health Foundation and NSCAD University. Additionally, she volunteers with EduNova to help immigrant students find prosperous careers in Canada, with the Partnership to connect young people with Canadian decision-makers to find their true calling, with E3 to provide new businesses with the advice they need for continued growth, with the Women Employment Outreach to further employment for women that have been out of work for a variety of reasons such as disabilities, changes in careers, layoffs, pregnancies, etc., with continued supports for her former board appointment at the Canadian Cancer Society. Add to this, she champions annual supports from WeUsThem for their pro bono work with her teams for Breast Cancer, the Palookas Kids Foundation, the Mental Health Foundation, Prostate Cancer Canada, and the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

Jamie Kramer-2019 Women of Inspiration™ Millennial Leader Award

IDEA Consultant-Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI)

Jamie Kramer, MA, CHRP continuously strives to advance women in society and is working towards achieving that through her professional and personal goals. She works for the City of Windsor in the Diversity and Accessibility Office implementing the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. 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 policy analysis of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 which received accolades for best presentation in 2017. She was appointed to the Youth Advisory Group for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and serves as a Steering Committee Member.

Jamie spends time volunteering to move marginalized groups forward. With the Human Resources Professional Association, Jamie is recruiting women and diverse candidates for their Board of Directors. Additionally, she volunteers with her VOLUTION to assist marginalized young women to enter into STEM programs. Further, she runs a book review website where she advocates for changes in publishing to reflect broader society as a whole.

Jennifer Ladouceu-2019 Women of Inspiration™ Mompreneur Award

President and Partner-Women Leadership Nation

Jennifer is a serial entrepreneur dedicated to helping organizations close the Gender and Innovation Gaps and create a more Unified Workplace Co-founder of Women Leadership Nation Jennifer has created a new holistic approach to helping companies close the gender gap and attract, develop, engage, and retain women leaders. Jennifer is proud to be one of the founding SheEO Activators. 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, a successful businesswoman, and a cancer survivor.

Joan Kelley Walker- 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Global Impact Award

Founder - Creative Director-Joan Kelley Walker Enterprises LTD

The Wilcox, Saskatchewan native who went from humble beginnings to being a formidable force across Canada in communicating that giving and caring for others is truly the best we can do when given an opportunity to do so.

Joan's taste and elegance came to the national screen on The Real Housewives of Toronto(RHOT). Her unique sense of fashion has been profiled in FASHION Magazine Toronto Life, and HELLO Canada to name a few. Joan was recently awarded the Contribution to Canadian Fashion Award by the IFE. She is currently a host on FASH Avenue and regularly contributes as a guest writer to a number of fashion publications.

One of her most impressive and cherished distinctions is that throughout her life Joan has been very philanthropic-focused. She has been a World Vision Ambassador for over 18 years and is an incredible humanitarian. Raising awareness where recognition is due.

Joan's latest fashion entrepreneurial venture marries her love of fashion with philanthropy creating the Joan Kelley Walker collection a fashionable but affordable clothing line for the everyday woman sold exclusively online across Canada at Walmart.ca. In keeping with her principle of giving back, for every Joan Kelley Walker collection item purchased, Joan Kelley Walker will make a donation to Breakfast Club of Canada, a charitable organization that provides breakfast every day to more than 220,000 children nationwide.

Jocelyn Flanagan-2019 Women of Inspiration™ Authentic Leader Award

Founder and CEO-EMC2Events

Named as one of Canada's Live Event Industry Most Fascinating Women, Jocelyn Flanagan is an idea initiator, a strategic wizard, and a choreographer of things that matter.

She is the Founder and CEO of EMC2 events is one of the leading live event design, production, and conference management companies in Canada. With three offices across the country, Jocelyn inspires her team of 35 people (80% female) to produce over 100 events a year in Canada, The United States, Central America, and Europe.

Jocelyn holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Toronto and holds the title of Certified Special Event Professional. She is the co-founder of the International Live Event Association (ILEA) Canada, the Canadian representative on the International Relations Committee of ILEA, and is on the coveted list of ILEA Global Thought Leaders.

Along with many accolades from her national and global industry peers, Jocelyn has also been recognized as a Top 40 Under 40, a Business Leader of Tomorrow, and has celebrated over 50 award-winning events with her team.

Jocelyn believes we can inspire and change lives through live event experiences and consistently demonstrates her passion for leadership, dedication to mentorship, and commitment to the community.

Johanne Belanger-2019 Women of Inspiration™ Global Influencer Award

Vice President, Field Marketing-Marriott International

An internationally-acclaimed Industry Builder, Johanne is a multiple-award-winning business leader, international speaker, tireless volunteer, and mentor. Johanne joined Marriott International in March 2019 as Vice President, Field Marketing USA & Canada after being President & CEO art Tourism Toronto and Freeman Audio Visual Canada.

In 2017, Johanne received the highest level of distinction from Chartered Professional Accountants by being awarded the Fellows designation. Johanne was recognized by Smart Meetings with the 2019 Smart Women in Meetings Visionary Award; the 2018 Global Excellence Award by Brilliant Minded Women Organization; the 2018 Katie Taylor Economic Empowerment Award by Women in Tourism & Hospitality; the 2018 Influence Award by Meeting Professionals International; the 2018 Top 500 People in Events and 2017 Induction into the Biz Bash Hall of Fame; one of the Top 25 Power Women of 2017 by New York Moves Magazine; the 2014 Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership by IAEE and inducted into the Meetings + Incentive Travel 2014 Hall of Fame. Additionally, in 2016, Johanne was recognized by the Canadian National Exhibition Association as a Woman of Distinction

She has held a variety of roles including finance, operations, purchasing, sales, and marketing. Proficient in English and French. She applies her multifaceted skillset to several charitable and industry organizations. Close to Johanne's heart is a passion for supporting and mentoring women in business.

Julian Smit - Women of Inspiration™ SupportHER

Owner-J.D. Nevins Communications Inc.

Elfriede Holtkamp, Founder of Ecole Holt Couture and professional Couturier in Calgary since 1954, emigrated from Europe and established her couture and tailoring atelier in Calgary with a population then of just 168,000. In a few short years, she was creating professional working wardrobes for women entering the corporate world of a burgeoning oil and gas industry.
Along with evening gowns for annual galas, and outfits for annual Calgary Stampede Royalty from 1964 to 1973, she created outfits for invited dignitaries such as Patricia Edwina Victoria Mountbatten, Katharine-Duchess of Kent, and the wife of the Honorable Governor General of Canada Roland Michener.
Elfriede operated as an independent business owner, with a handful of long-time employees until 1973, when she continued to work solo. In 2007 She opened Ecole Holt Couture School of Sewing and Design, after 15 years in the development to pass on her vast experience and expertise to future generations of creative sewing artisans. She taught until 2017, when she handed over the torch on to her daughter Jutta, also professionally trained by Elfriede. Now in her 94th year, she remains a mentor at the school and elder of couture.

Katie Schaeffer-2019 Women of Inspiration™ Millennial Leader Award

Director, Creative Strategy-O2E Brands

I bring a global view of the world to my daily life, strongly influenced by my 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 my career, I have worked with clients throughout North America and honed my craft as a storyteller, beginning a path of helping others tell their stories.

At my core, I am a strategic thinker and brand leader who solves business problems through design thinking and creative energy. The brand is in my bones. I develop relationships quickly and with ease, building an environment of trust and mutual benefit to drive results and economic impact. My deep branding and communications experience has allowed me to guide companies and organizations through significant change (growth/expansion, new service offerings, re-branding) and understand the strategy required to create impact and remain true to your vision, all while keeping the needs of stakeholders and partners top of mind.

My current role as Director, Creative Strategy at O2E Brands brings everything I have learned together, focusing on developing and delivering brand experiences across the customer journey that are aligned to business outcomes.

Kavita Dogra - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Humanitarian Award


Kavita Dogra is an intersectional feminist, gender justice advocate and the founder of We Talk Women, a humble organization working to raise awareness about girls and women's rights issues. Through the organization, she hosts film and documentary screenings that work to expose the injustices being experienced by women in Canada and around the world. Kavita co-chaired the committee that organized the Women's March in Toronto (2017-2019), works full-time for an International Development charity working to advance children's rights and equality for girls and is an active volunteer. Kavita believes that everyone needs to do their part in making the world a better place and hopes to inspire people to take meaningful action in their communities.

Kim Fitzpatrick - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Health and Wellness Award

Life, Wellness + Business Coach

Kim Fitzpatrick is the CEO at Jamie & Kim Fitzpatrick Fitness, Co-founder Crush Nation team, and Co-Founder of the Legacy Headband line + foundation. Focusing on influencing change in both Health, Wellness + lifestyle. Co-Founder of the global online sales team, top business mentor, and currently ranked the #1 coach in Canada, + 12th globally within the NWM company she is partnered with. Kim has a Degree in Gerontology and the study of aging on performance and holds three subsequent diplomas in health and wellness. Kim spent 15 years in the Gerontology sector of Senior Living both in Retirement and Long Term Care, in Corporate Management roles across Canada, prior to branching off to pursue her entrepreneurial business exclusively. Kim not only understands how to influence, mentor, and lead people, she also prides herself on servant leadership. She is also incredibly passionate empowering others to have the tools required to reach their full potential, live limitlessly, and is living their best life, physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. Kim is a momma of two, Colby 10, and Tessa 8, and married to my best friend and business partner Jamie

Lindsey Penrose - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Award

Founder and Managing Partner

As the founder of The Penrose Group, Ms. Penrose oversees all aspects of the company's operation. She is particularly adept at providing advisory and other consulting services central to an organization's exit strategy.
The Penrose group has been in business for over 10 years and successfully advised on many mergers and acquisitions all over the Canadian and the United States. 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 working on her commercial license 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 on having a strong moral compass and is an extremely empathic person. Lindsey hopes to one day have a scholarship program for women who want to get into aviation.

Luma Qusus - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Cultural Ambassador

Founder and Designer

Inamullumani was founded by Canadian-Jordanian designer Luma Qusus Awad. Apart from being known for its vibrant pieces, the brand produces customized and inspirational jewelry designs for individuals, corporate initiatives, and cause-focused organizations. Coming from a professional background in the field of Law and starting up a small business over 20 years ago, Luma managed to overcome many hurdles that small businesses and young entrepreneurs face. Recently, and in line with Inamullumani's objective to support the empowerment of women, training and technical skill workshops have been offered, allowing them to develop their skills, gauge their inspiration in an effort to provide them with the agency, and self-sufficiency. Women learning from and empowering each other is vital to ensuring success in this fast-paced, ever-growing industry.

Maria Sofia - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Award

Vice President of Sales and Marketing North America

I have been working in the technology industry since the age of 17 and have been fortunate enough to work for 4 different fortune 500 companies as well as with small start-ups. I started in this industry as Marketing Assistant has worked my way up through the ranks of sales starting as an inside rep, moving up to outside sales. When I started with my current company WinMagic back in 2010 I started as an account manager and was quickly promoted to the team lead. After a couple of years as a team lead, I was then further promoted to Director of Corporate Sales North America. After 6 years at the Director level, I finally gained a seat at the Executive table earning my current title of Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Marnie Grundman - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Advocate and Catalyst for Change Award

Author, Advocate, Speaker

Runaway | Homeless Youth Advocate and Expert Marnie Grundman is the author of MISSING: A True Story of a Childhood Lost.
A child who belonged to no one, missing at the tender age of 13, she spent years living on the streets where she experienced the worst of humanity first-hand, In her darkest hours while living in an apartment complex sauna, she was sure that everyone who knew her had forgotten that she even existed. It was in those desperate hours that she decided she was paying upfront for a better life that lay ahead.
What began as a story of healing led to one of triumph, of the power of the human spirit, of one woman's survival against all odds. Marnie has since become an advocate for the missing, working to change the perception of runaway children so they might finally get the help they desperately need. Her compelling book, engaging talks, and insightful articles have become a shining light to the lost and the struggling.

Michael Hyatt - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Power Partner


Michael Hyatt is a serial entrepreneur and technology visionary who built two highly successful software companies, which he sold for $500 million dollars.

Today, Michael ranks as one of Canada's top entrepreneurs, is a weekly business commentator on the CBC, and was a celebrated Dragon on CBCs online DragonsDen.

Michael is an investor on the hit Spotify podcast The Pitch, and a Founding Partner and Fellow at the Rotman School of Managements prestigious Creative Destruction Lab. He also sits on the CEO Board of Advisors at Georgian Partners, one of Canada's leading venture capital firms and was recently named an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at Blakes, one of the country's oldest and largest law firms.

Michael is an active investor and philanthropist chairing the Hyatt Family Foundation.

Mike Giannoumis - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ SupportHER Award

Senior Vice President, Technology Operations

Mike Giannoumis is Senior Vice President of Technology Operations at Paysafe Group (Paysafe), where he leads a global multidisciplinary team of over 150 IT professionals.
Mike started his career in 1992 as a Network Administrator and has since progressed into more senior roles, including Director of IT CIO Canada at Bayer, President and CEO of Giannoumis Enterprises (Paxis Canada), and, more recently, Director of IT and Interim CIO at Groupe Dynamite.
Mike joined Paysafe in 2015, bringing with him over two-decade experience in the tech sector, 15 years of which were spent in management roles. Mike has extensive experience in strategic planning, systems development, project management and the implementation of a broad range of business-enabling technological initiatives. He is an energetic hands-on leader with the outstanding ability to build highly talented and qualified teams exclusively focused on achieving compelling business results.

Mylene Tu - 2019 Women of Inspiration™


Mylene is a second-year student at the University of Waterloo who is pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Management Engineering with a minor in entrepreneurship. Empowered by intrinsic motivation, she has transformed her failures and roadblocks into motivation for change. In April 2018, she founded FEM in STEM- a social enterprise that aims to bridge the gender gap in underrepresented industries through accelerating the personal/professional growth of young women and sparking a rapid diffusion of opportunities to develop a foundation for success early-on. In June, she was recognized by the CCEW/BWP with an Empowerment Award. In September, she was named one of Canada's Top 25 Women of Influence in 2018 and has spoken at over 6 events/conferences to share her passion and mission behind empowering young people. She has also won the Velocity 5K fund pitch competition and has participated in the LOI Labs start-up accelerator. Natural-born introvert, she uses the ability to spread awareness of the potential invested in STEM to find her voice. On the side, you can find her running as a varsity track athlete or attending networking events to explore new topics and ideas.

Nadine Abdallah - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Millennial Leader Award

Business Strategy Consultant & National Pro Bono Lead

Nadine is a social innovator from Toronto who strives to maximize lasting impact through cross-sector collaboration. She is currently a Business Strategy Consultant and is the lead of Accenture's National Pro Bono Practice - a practice that provides in-kind consulting services to charities and non-profits to Canada. Over four years she has built a practice that supports ~20 engagements, annually with projects such as digital transformations, AI implementation, mergers and acquisitions, and many more... all for the non-profit world! She prides herself on bringing the rigor and resources of the corporate world to mission-driven organizations.

She is passionate about the rich diversity of humanity and hopes to create experiences that unite people while celebrating their differences. She is the co-founder of Sidewalk Salsa TO and the host of a podcast focused on highlighting Canadian women called Neighbourhood SHEro.

Prajwala Dixit - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Millennial Leader

Founder and Director

Prajwala Dixit, an engineer by education & a community catalyst by passion, is a journalist and columnist writing for CBC and SaltWire Network whose work, which has garnered international attention, brings forth a female, melanin-rich, Atlantic Indian-Canadian immigrants voice. In May 2019, she became the first woman of color to feature a story (Ramadan On The Rock - https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/ramadan-rock-1.5155474) on CBC NLs evening news, Here and Now. In The Tales of Dwipa, premiering July 2019 in St. Johns, NL, her first piece as a playwright, she attempts to bridge the Indian and Canadian worlds for the most impressionable minds in the hopes of offering young children a global and pluralistic perspective. A soon to be an author with Breakwater Books, recipient of grants by Arts NL and the City of St. Johns, her creative writing pieces have been featured in esteemed publications such as The Newfoundland Quarterly. An active voice against racism, oppression, and discrimination, through her work professionally, voluntarily, and personally she sheds light on stories that are often unheard, unseen and unspoken. Serving on boards with the Canadian Parents For French, St. Johns Public Libraries Board, Writers Alliance of NL, Anti-Racism Coalition NL, and PerSIStence Theatre, her annual fundraiser called Diyas For Diversity adds global and Indigenous literature to the Public Libraries of NL. Back to school at Memorial University, alongside engineering ways to save the world, she is usually found running behind her toddler!

Rebecca McKillican - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ SupportHER Award


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.

Rochelle laFlamme - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Indigenous Leader Award


Rochelle Laflamme and her business partner, Alisa Thompson, founded Epic Alliance Inc. 6 years ago. Their mission is to simplify and streamline the residential real estate investing, making it an ideal vehicle for passive investors
to build wealth. Their creativity was rewarded in 2016 with the award for the Most Creative Deal of the
Year in North America by Fortune Builders. Learning from some of the world's best real estate mentors,
including Rich Dad coaching and Fortune Builders real estate investing training, Rochelle and Alisa have built Epic Alliance into a residential real estate powerhouse. From a single flip in 2014, Epic Alliance Inc. now controls more than 300 residential properties worth over 50 million dollars. Currently, they are adding over 10
properties to their portfolio every month. Hard work, creativity, and the unending pursuit of personal
and professional growth allows Epic to create win-win opportunities for their investment partners every single

Sandra Challneger - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Mompreneur Award

Franchise Owner

Franchise Owner "I am a wife, a mother of three, a new grandmother, mentor, and business owner.

I inspire those around me every day by achieving balance while constantly giving back. As an owner and operator of WOW 1 DAY PAINTING in Barrie, Ontario, I develop, mentor and lead an award-winning team, while always finding time for my growing family and giving back to our community. It brings me so much joy partnering with Run for the Cure, the Food Bank, and our local women's shelter here in Barrie. I am also seeking opportunities to sponsor a local kids' hockey team.

Beating cancer taught me what I was really capable of and I am determined to pass on this strength and tenacity to those around me. My mentors and family are the roots of my passion, and instill me with the confidence to build a successful business. It gives me great honor to be a constant cheerleader and champion for my community, and always finding the light within others to shine."

Sappho Smythe - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Cultural Ambassador Award


I began writing and singing songs as a larva, went on to study Digital Audio Production and Musical Theatre Performance in college, and quickly became obsessed with the intersection of art and tech after moving to Toronto and experiencing Virtual Reality. I was immediately hooked and started managing a VR lounge in order to find an outlet for my enthusiasm (while teaching voice & theory on the weekends). Since discovering my passion for furthering the noble cause of cultural and technological advancement I have demoed tech at festivals & trade shows, spoken on future-focused panels (the most recent being Canadian Music Week), produced my first 360 VR music video (and in doing so my director and I became the first people to integrate Tilt Brush graphics with live-action in a 360 performance piece), and I am overjoyed to announce that my first solo sci-pop album will be coming out later this summer! Titled Time Machine, it explores sci-fi concepts, new social issues, and speculates on the issues we may face in the coming years. Release dates will be announced at sapphosvoice.com, or on social media @sapphosvoice, so stay tuned & thanks for reading!

Shelly Elsiger - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Innovative Leader Award

LinkedIn SuperWoman, President of Linked-Express

Shelly Elsliger is an engaging LinkedIn Trainer and President of Linked-Express. She is also referred to as LinkedIn Superwoman. Shelly coaches and empowers executives, diverse leaders, aspiring women leaders, business students, and job seekers, as well as corporate teams; inspiring them to maximize their professional branding potential, social influence, and leadership ability on LinkedIn.
Shelly is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), recognized as a Woman you Need to Know by the National Women Speakers Association and a Women of Achievement and made it to the list of globally recognized LinkedIn Training Experts in 2017. She is also the LinkedIn Trainer for Rotman Commerce at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, and currently nominated for a Woman of Inspiration 2019 by the Canadian Business Chicks.
Shelly’s diverse experience as a professional LinkedIn Trainer and Coach allows her to bring a unique breadth of knowledge, as well as an aspect of fun and passion, to all her workshops and speaking engagements especially "LinkedIn in High-Heels: Rise Up and Lead Online"; her signature workshop aimed at helping women business leaders ( and aspiring female leaders) successfully rise up, own their space and find their voice online.
Her motto:
"Instead of waiting to be noticed first, be a Leader in your space-Lean-In, Listen-In, and Link-In!"

Siobhan Calderbank - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Diversity and Inclusiveness Award

Director, Learning & Development

Siobhan Calderbank is a dynamic speaker, an award-winning published author, and an expert in change management and leadership. She has spoken to diverse groups at conferences, events, seminars, and planning sessions to motivate individuals to work more collaboratively. Siobhan has spoken to audiences with attendance of over 2,500 people from 71 countries.

At Intelex, Siobhan focuses on developing leaders and staff, change management, and project management. Siobhan created a unique proprietary 4-step approach to leading change that bridges the generational differences in change and leadership. She has aided teams to develop innovative solutions to achieve their strategic objectives, grow their organization, improve efficiency, increase profitability and enhance culture through engagement.

Siobhan has been praised for her high energy, engaging and effective communication style and award-winning programs. With a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Information Technology Management, Siobhan holds her Change Management Practitioner (CMP) designation from APMG, her Project Management Professional (PMP) designation from the Project Management Institute, her Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP) designation from the Institute for Performance and Learning and is a certified Extended DiSC® facilitator. Siobhan has completed her Master's degree at Royal Roads University, with a focus on organizational change, leadership development, and generational diversity.

Theresa Rowsell - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Mentorship Award

O2E Brands

I lead from the heart, whether I connect for a moment, or I've known you for 10 years - I want to make sure you feel valued, seen, connected.

I hope that my legacy statement sums up who 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.

An entrepreneur at heart, I've spent my recent career enthralled in hyper-growth or start-up businesses such as Target, Kit and Ace, and now O2E Brands. I've been called an innovator with an operational backbone and someone who has a knack for business development. At any given moment I am mentoring 6+ people to achieve their personal and career goals. I'm a member of the team who has established 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 social or environmental needs. Every day I strive to inspire through true connections with people and the community.

Tim Alison - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ SupportHER

Executive Producer Host/Business Mindset Mentor

Tim Alison is the Executive Producer and Host of the Screw the Naysayers Podcast. He also advises and mentors experienced leaders on how to create a business around a special message or skill. At the age of 31, Tim quit one of the highest-paid sales jobs in Canada and moved from Toronto to a rural fishing village in Nova Scotia. The Naysayers laughed when he said he was starting an educational software company. They stopped laughing when his sales topped $10 million. Thirty-one years later Tim still lives in that same fishing village. He launched Screw the Naysayers to celebrate his 60th birthday. His goal is to inspire people to shatter self-limiting beliefs while amplifying the voices of women and men who have overcome adversity and/or are making unique contributions to the world. His show has attracted listeners from around the globe. In the first year, Tim interviewed guests from 6 different continents and 14 different countries.

Trish Ronan - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Impact Award


Trish Ronan is a proud mother and wife, and President of ENJO Canada, in that order. Her passion for helping others live their best lives crosses all of these positions, and her continued drive to make things better for others is always in the lead. She leads a group of highly passionate women and men that educate families on the benefits of removing toxic chemicals from the home. She has been featured in magazines like Chatelaine, Profit and Advantage, as well as numerous newspapers, has been named one of the W100 by Chatelaine Magazine, and in the Profit 200 three years in a row. Trish has been recognized worldwide by ENJO International as Distributor of the Year in 3 of the past 14 years. She continued work through ENJO, along with her founding of the Helios Projekt (building homes for the extreme poor) has made a significant impact on lives both locally, and all over the world.

Trish grew up in Toronto Ontario and has experienced life overseas with her family, with time spent living in the Australian Outback and in the United States, before returning to Ontario and bringing ENJO to Canada.

Trudy Trinh - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Impact Award


Trudy Trinh is a prominent microblading expert based in Toronto, Canada. Trudy 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.

Vanessa Vakharia - 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Vision Builder Award

President & CEO

Vanessa Vakharia is an innovative entrepreneur, math educator, author, musician, and community builder with a passion for engaging women and girls in STEM. She is the founder and CEO of The Math Guru, a tutoring company and support system for K-12 students experiencing stress, difficulty, or mystery around math and science. Motivated by her belief that anyone can be a math whiz, Vanessa built a welcoming, inclusive, and creative space for young people to learn. The Math Guru expanded in 2018 and launched the XAM Study Lounge, a drop-in study space for youth to de-stress and prepare for exams.

Vanessa is also the author of Math Hacks: Cool Tips + Less Stress = Better Marks, a book that provides youth with advice on understanding mathematical concepts and strategies to decrease anxiety related to learning math and taking tests.

When she not running her business, writing books, and advocating for women and girls in math, Vanessa plays keytar and sings lead vocals in her band Goodnight, Sunrise.

Unstoppable Tracy Schmitt

2019 Women of Inspiration™ Change Maker Award

A Woman of Inspiration fosters understanding and conviction. those around her know what’s expected of them and others and in this world and are compelled and influenced to agree because they feel a meaningful value to jump on board and activate change together. Unstoppable Tracy. You are going to be blown away …not only is she a powerhouse from an inspiration and motivational standpoint after over 50 million views 2019 this woman is also a powerhouse in business. TV Show host Unstoppable Tracy is a #1 international mega-success and TEDX speaker who spoke in 40+ countries. She has shared the stage and events with Dr. Phil, Jane Fonda, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Douglas, Mel Gibson, John Travolta and dozens of more A-listers! Her mind-blowing story always gets standing ovations pushing audiences out of their limitation zones to taking action.

Tracy has been in magazines such as in OPRAH’s “O” and Chatelaine and on covers like Thrive and in Business Booster Today as well as seen on ABC, BBC, CBC and many more globally around the world … As 2018/19's #1 Transformational Leader Global Female by the John Maxwell Team out of 160 countries… she has represented companies such as Air Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Uber in times of crisis …where Tracy became a major disruptor of normal, resulting in out-performing the stock market.

She has climbed the Himalaya Mountains and captained tall ships in the Eastern Atlantic and a decorated world cup athlete in a male-dominated sport of sailing who has lived as a Premier Awarded Humanitarian in developing countries such as Uganda, Nepal, Mexico and Jamaica to name only a few!!!

Tracy is both a Best-Selling Author on Amazon and with her Publisher of the book ‘Unstoppable YOU; Delivering the Limitless Secret’ endorsed by Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul!

To top it all off... if she is not incredible enough in Business, as a Humanitarian, as a World Cup Sailor and a mountain climber … she was also born a 4-way amputee with no hands and no legs, no problem.

Corporate Partners