MentorHER

Mentors

Our MentorHER Mentors are committed to SupportHER. They are Women of Inspiration Alumni, Nominees, and business leaders in the community with proven successes and a desire for sharing their knowledge to advance women in business and life. Our Mentors understand the challenges women in business face, and keen to pay it forward and share their leadership wisdom.

Our Mentors are female and male leaders in the community with proven success from diverse backgrounds. They are champions for Diversity and Inclusive environments, committed to sharing their wisdom, understand the challenges and barriers, and committed to helping a woman succeed!

Our Mentors believe in taking action to SupportHER and align our organizational values of Courage, Confidence, Commitment, and Integrity which are all critical skills to develop personally and professionally, sustaining a successful business or for leading a motivated corporate team.

Become a MentorHER Mentor. APPLY NOW

MentorHER Mentorship official kick-off Wednesday, January 13, 2021!

Dr.Smita Pakhale

Physician and Scientist, The Bridge Engagement Centre I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Difference Maker Award

Dr. Pakhale is an outstanding clinician-scientist and a passionate advocate for health equity. Her altruistic contributions to research and extraordinary dedication to the medical care of Canadians, especially those in vulnerable situations, are inspiring. A respirologist by training, she founded and leads The Bridge Engagement Center (The Bridge), a community-based research centre working in partnership with vulnerable populations: individuals who self-identify as homeless or precariously housed, Indigenous and low-income racialized. Dedicated to co-creating innovative evidence-based sustainable solutions addressing the root causes of poor health through a humanitarian and compassionate approach, she is raising awareness of health disparities and supporting disadvantaged communities, leaving no one behind. She holds a Chair in Equity & Patient Engagement in Vulnerable Populations and developed a graduate course on health inequities. The Bridge models, co-created for, by and with the most vulnerable populations to improve their Quality of Life, are acclaimed globally. 

Zafina Zaman

Youth Motivational Speaker I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Youth Excellence Award

Zafina is a fearless and confident youth leader involved in numerous charities and community building projects. She is a champion for girls’ empowerment. She believes everything is possible when efforts are made with right intention and measurable footsteps. Notable mentions: Best speaker Toastmaster International and 1st and 2nd place in Optimist International oratorical contest from 2019-2021

Some of her efforts are mentioned below:

- Fundraising for building a Girls’ school in Africa.
- Financial support to three orphans to complete their undergrad degrees in Bangladesh.
- Global Youth Ambassador for HundrED. Advocate for passion-based learning, shared an impactful and scalable approach that are effective in low resource environment.
- Participant and guest speaker for ‘Closer to home’ non-profit organization to help young girls boost self confidence.
- Youth Facilitator for Youth Leadership Program at the Public Library

Victoria Nguyen

Vice President, Delivery, Capital Markets, CIBC I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Authentic Leader Award

Victoria Nguyen is a strong advocate for higher learning, youth empowerment, women leadership, diversity and inclusion. Victoria is a seasoned professional; Vice President in Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce providing leadership and initiative implementations that provide strong value to clients and their evolving banking behaviors. She is a highly collaborative, engaging and thoughtful leader who is committed to the success of her teams.

Victoria is passionate about heart health and balanced living. She currently serves on the Heart and Stroke Foundation Advisory Board of Ontario and the Board of Directors for The Project Management Institution - Toronto Chapter.

Vahen King

Author / International Speaker / Founder of Going Farther Organization Going Farther I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Influencer Award

Vahen King – Author / International Speaker & Founder of the Non-Profit Organization Going Farther. At age 23, one week after her engagement, Vahen developed Transverse Myelitis, a virus that left her physically disabled and dependent on the use of a wheelchair. Trying to adapt as a person with a disability, her “new normal” was feelings of self-doubt and exclusion. Reaching a point of desperation, Vahen realized that she had a choice to make, to be paralyzed by fears and insecurities, or push forward.

And push forward she did. In 2017, Vahen was crowned the first ever Miss Wheelchair Canada and Miss Kindness World. Not only her beauty, but her character has won her awards. Vahen’s courage is contagious. She inspires boldness and resiliency by facing each new adversity head-on. Demonstrating that the biggest limitations or disabilities are often the ones we place on ourselves. 

Vahen currently lives with her amazing husband Vaughan, in Edmonton, Alberta, and acknowledges that she is humbled to see how her message of hope and courage is inspiring others around the world. Vahen states; “My biggest achievement is seeing how my courage is helping people of all ‘abilities’ overcome their fears to go farther.”

Trish Guise

Divorce & Co-Parent Coach Trish Guise Divorce & Co-Parent Coaching I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Advocate and Catalyst for Change Award

Trish Guise, MBA is a Divorce|Pre-Mediation|Co-Parenting|New Ways for Families® Coach, with a focus on cases involving coercive control and high conflict. In addition to her private practice, Trish is an Associate at Supporting Wellness Psychological and Family Services in Calgary, Alberta and the Canadian Ambassador for Contemporary Family Magazine.

Trish founded her divorce coaching practice after surviving her own high conflict divorce that spanned over 12 years. Trish couples her firsthand knowledge with the knowledge gained from studying and working with many of the world's leading experts in family law, coercive control, high conflict, post-separation abuse, and parental alienation.

As a Divorce Coach, Trish guides people through each stage of the divorce process while keeping them focused on protecting their children from the conflict that can arise between the parents. Trish supports clients with safe exit plans, issue assessment, document preparation, mediation preparation, communication with their lawyer, communication with their ex, recognizing/managing power imbalances and advocating for their children’s relationship with both parents, unless neglect or abuse is present.

Tracie Gray

Radio Announcer, TV Host, Voice Over Talent & Emcee, Tracie.comedy Productions I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Women in Media Award

Tracie Gray is an Influencer & a true Woman of Inspiration. Known for her infectious smile & magnetic personality, she can light up any room. Tracie is skilled in Announcing, Acting, Voice Overs, Commercials, Public Speaking, Television, Radio, Writing, Film, Stand-Up Comedy & Master of Ceremonies.

Tracie's #1 passion is her family, she is a loving wife to her husband, Devin, & Mother to her 2 sons, Dylan & Anson.

Her 2nd passion is her work. She starred in her first TV commercial at just 3 years old & started in radio at 15. Her extensive media & broadcasting career includes co-hosting a Radio Morning Show, host & producer of her own Movie Review, a Helicopter Traffic Reporter & hundreds of TV & Radio Commercials, plus several TV shows & Movies. Tracie has done it all.

She owns companies for Professional Voice Overs, Music & Comedy Entertainment & Real Estate Investing. She also has a passion to help others, with over 200 volunteer hours every year for various charities. She was honoured with this year's Volunteer of the Year Award from the Alberta's Teachers Assoc.

Theano Evagelou

Personal Development Expert, Relationship Doctor, Theano Inc I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Transformational Leader Award

Theano’s genius is in helping visionary women access their true power through the portal of their sexuality in a way that is grounded, nurturing, empowering, and safe – using a rare blend of tantra-based methodologies and strategic, psychological insight.

She is a multi-faceted woman who has covered so many areas of discipline in her life. Her brilliant mind just keeps expanding as she is always cultivating creative ways to ignite people into being who they actually want to be. Her expertise is in the areas of construction, real estate investing, relationships, and so much more.

The best part about Theano, is that she is humble and one of the most compassionate and loving women you'll ever meet. As a role model, Theano allows herself to be guided more by her body than her mind, recognizing the potent qualities of the feminine, especially when applied in loving leadership, rooted in deep connection and care, where true power can rise.

Her sincere and no nonsense ways are engaging and her radiance fills any room with a magical way of just making you feel like you belong.

Suzie Yorke

Suzie Yorke - Founder and Board Director, Love Good Fats I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Game Changer Award

Suzie Yorke is on a mission to bring healthy fats back. A mom of 4 kids, eleven-time Ironman competitor and yoga enthusiast, Suzie spent years adhering to a low-fat diet only for her health to hit a wall in her mid-40s. After reading Nina Teicholz’s best seller, Big Fat Surprise, she immediately shifted to a high-fat, low-carb diet, and started to feel better within a few weeks. While she loved the benefits of her new lifestyle, Suzie found it challenging to find convenient, good-fat snacks. Seeing a gap in the marketplace and a huge opportunity to help others through food, Suzie developed Love Good Fats, a company that produces low-sugar foods loaded with good fats.

Starting in 2017, Suzie led the launch and expansion of Love Good Fats to exceed $100 million in Gross Revenues in a little over 3 years with sales in the largest Retailers across Canada and the US. Love Good Fats quickly became one of the fastest-growing bar brands in North America.

Stephanie Leheta

AVP Customer Experience & Engagement, Canadian Tire Financial Services I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Authentic Leader Award

Stephanie Leheta is a youth and women’s empowerment advocate and leader. She has a 20-year journey of service dedicated to her community, with a deep focus on compassion, diversity, inclusion, and equity. Following the untimely passing of her sister and brother-in-law, Stephanie took on guardianship of their children, in addition to her own. At the time, Stephanie worked as a full time professional, and her entrepreneurial husband had just launched a new business several hours away which meant he was rarely home. During all of this, Stephanie continued working on her International MBA when her young daughter fell ill with a near fatal illness that took months of recovery. Stephanie used the experience of overcoming adversity as a catalyst to wanting to do more for those who are underserved or have no voice. Her contribution has led to the development of Strategic Plans, Diversity Statements, Growth Plans and Fundraising Models with several charities and non-for-profits including Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way and many more. Stephanie is an ambassador for women and committed to mentoring and inspiring others. She continues to dedicate her time to the advancement of women and paving the way for the leaders of tomorrow.

Sonya Shorey

Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards and Area X.O I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Economic Empowerment Award

Sonya Shorey, Vice President of Strategy, Marketing and Communications for Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards and Area X.O, is an executive with 22 years of leadership experience in technology, entrepreneurship, economic development, and innovation. Since 2005, she has led or significantly contributed to public-private proposals garnering $193+M.

Sonya launched her career with a Vice-Presidential Cabinet at Nortel from 1999 to 2002, and then served as the Director of Marketing Communications for CMC Microsystems. She established her own strategy company in 2008, serving Canadian and global technology organizations. Sonya’s current leadership role includes:

· Helping to create and lead Area X.O, an R&D complex for next-generation smart mobility, connectivity, and autonomy; and the first Pan-Ontario Scale-Up Platform to accelerate the growth of more $100M tech companies in Canada ·
Leading Invest Ottawa’s first Women Founders and Owners strategy ·
Co-founding SheBoot, an investment-ready bootcamp for women founders ·
Establishing and leading International Women’s Week with 65+ partners to empower women leaders

Sarah Jordan

CEO, Mastermind Toys I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Innovation Award

Sarah Jordan became CEO of Mastermind Toys, the country’s largest specialty kid’s toy and book retailer with 68 stores coast-to-coast, in January 2020. Within her first 100 days, she faced leading the organization on a transformation amidst a pandemic. She led with empathy and strength while executing a bold change agenda. In the last two years, she has delivered on a digital reinvention—launching a new digital ecosystem and a market-leading curbside promise—and has amplified Mastermind Toys as Canada’s Authority on Play.

Sarah is unapologetically authentic, breaking the mold for what it means to be a CEO. She creates space for others to be fully themselves, empowers employees at every level to perform at their best, and uses her position to be a champion for the industry. She is transforming Mastermind Toys, in terms of how she is growing the business and how she is inspiring a world-class employee experience and customer-obsessed culture.

Rose Marie Gage

Founder, Independent Board Member HEXO, CO2 GRO, Link Energy, OAFT and ARIO Great Governance Matters and MPOWRU.ca I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Integrity Award

Rose is an independent Board Director and Principal & Founder of Great Governance Matters and MPOWRU. She currently serves as Chair: Ontario Agri-Food Technologies; Vice-Chair: Agriculture Research Institute of Ontario; Independent Director (ID) and Chair, Sustainability & People, Link Energy, ID and Chair, ESG, HEXO Corp. and CO2-GRO. She has also served other corporate, not for profit or foundation boards.

Rose is the retired CEO of Ag Energy, a regulated energy retailer. Also was CMO: Schneider Electric Canada and GE Capital Canada – CDF. She led GE Canada’s Corporate Initiatives: Quality, Enterprise Sales, Diversity and other corporate imperatives (ie: P3s and Canadian Winter Olympics).

Rose is passionate about sustainability via positive change and engagement. She’s a champion for females and change and became Chair, UWN Advisory Board. She’s featured in UWN’s Women Who Drive Change book and is recognized by: Directors’ College Outstanding Achievement in Governance, Canadian Board Diversity Council’s Diversity 50, and Inspiring 50 Canada for inspiring women in STEM. She’s a Chartered Director and working towards the Competent Board Sustainability accreditation. She’s alumna of Directors’ College, Harvard, Rotman School of Business and McMaster University. She is a member of UWN, WXN, ICD and NACD.

Robin Kovitz

President & CEO, Baskits Inc I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Women-Led Award

Working under the incredible leadership of Robin Kovitz has been instrumental to the growth of myself and the other fantastic women on our team at Baskits! I am nominating Robin to acknowledge her leadership skills and goals to constantly support and uplift the women in her community

Robin Kovitz is the President & CEO of Baskits Inc. Canada's preeminent gift delivery service company which designs, manufacturers and delivers unique and luxurious gifts across Canada and the US. Baskits has been featured in leading publications including: Forbes, House & Home, Elle Canada, Canadian Business and the Huffington Post. Robin lives in Toronto with her husband and two children. As a sought-after speaker on “Entrepreneurship through Acquisition”, “Digital Retail” and “Mompreneurship” she frequently guest lectures at the Yale School of Management and the Harvard Business School. In 2017 and 2021, she was recognized as a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 award winner.  In 2020 and 2021, Baskits was recognized as one of the Top Growing Companies in Canada by the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business Magazine.

Rebecca McLaren

Founder and Editor and Chief, Polemical Zine I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Rising Leader Award

Rebecca is a talented, young social entrepreneur and visionary who is leveraging creativity to empower people around the world. After founding online arts collective: Polemical Zine, in mid-2017, Rebecca has grown her team to a total of 15 volunteers across 4 continents, and the magazine has published the works of an impressive 800+ contributors in 65+ countries. Rebecca’s innovative, free publication has challenged the status quo of traditional, juried magazines and has created an experimental platform for people of every race, sexuality, geography, and skill set to connect with one another and celebrate their talents. On top of her volunteer work with Polemical Zine, Rebecca has a full time job in public relations where she applies the same passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion to both her agency’s groups and her day-to-day work.

Phoebe Wasfy

Principal,Philopateer Christian College I 2021Women of Inspiration™ - Vision Builder Award

Phoebe Wasfy, Principal of Philopateer Christian College (PCC), was born in Egypt and immigrated to North America at the age of nine. She is an active member of the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT).  Phoebe is a board member of ACSI-Eastern Canada. She is an adjunct Faculty for the Youth Ministry Certification Program (YMCP) offered by the Canadian Coptic Center in affiliation with YouthTrain, New Zealand.

Phoebe enjoys interacting with other educators, students and parents and is committed to fostering leadership and professional development amongst her staff. Phoebe heads many initiatives and is responsible for the school youth missionary trips globally while partnering with other governments, worldwide charity groups, and global aid organizations. Her contiguous efforts to make an impact on her students and in her day-to-day work has led her to be chosen by the Marquis Who’s Who Publication Board to be inducted for 2021-2022. She is also featured as one of the top 10 Most Inspiring Business Women Making a Difference in Insights Success.

Payal Puri

Senior Director, Technology Adoption, Loblaw Companies Limited I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Authentic Leader Award

As a seasoned professional with three decades of experience across the telecom and retail industries, Payal has held progressive roles in engineering, business development, account leadership, solutions delivery, business relationship management and recently driving adoption of technologies across the enterprise. Payal is a leader that compels and influences people through the power of empathy, compassion, and inclusion. She is a people developer and is known to empower and inspire others through exemplary leadership in her role as a Senior Director. Throughout her professional journey, Payal has developed powerful internal circles of collaboration and influence that have brought together many disparate groups. She leads with a high level of trust and honesty, which has brought forward an extraordinary amount of value and respect from senior leaders. In addition, she has gained admiration from women everywhere, through her role as a lead for Go Further Women at Loblaw, lead for the Loblaw-WXN partnership, mentor and coach to many young women, and through her participation within many diversity, equity, and inclusion events. But the real source of admiration comes from who she is – a true authentic leader who puts people first

Patti Jannetta

Founder and President JANETA Entertainment Group I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Cultural Ambassador Award

Patti Jannetta is a multi-award-winning Singer-Songwriter, Recording Artist, Writer, Actor, Producer and Host with a demonstrated history of working in the entertainment and events services industry. She is a strong business development professional, skilled in Concert Production, Commercials, Radio, Grant Writing and Festivals and Events Management. Patti is an inspiring leader, the President/CEO of Janta Entertainment Group, and the Co-Founder of Music Makes Miracles, helping charities and non-profits fundraise through the gift of music, Patti’s a Founding Director of award-winning festivals including the Mississauga Waterfront Festival, Mississauga Italfest Heritage Festival and SING! The Toronto International Vocal Arts Festival. An avid community and arts supporter she enthusiastically supports and mentors emerging artists. Volunteer passions include events for Sick Kids Hospital, Para Sport, Breakfast with Santa and Gilda’s Club. Patti has an incredible voice, toured with the LA/Vegas production of Jesus Christ Superstar, is a Juno-nominated Canadian Dance, Pop and Rock Singer, and the Creator/Producer of "Memories of Louis Jannetta and the Imperial Room". Awards include a Diamond Record, Recording Legacy Award, Leading Women Leading Girls Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal, Brilliant Minded Women and in 2020 Patti was thrilled to receive a granite star on the Mississauga Music Walk of Fame.

Olivia Day

Ski Racer I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Youth Excellence Award

Olivia is one incredible 14-year-old female. She is a member of the Banff Alpine Racers and was ranked 3rd in Slalom and 7th in Super-G for all females born 2007 across Canada in 2020. She was also awarded Most Improved U14 Club Athlete in 2020 and won The Ski Canada Magazine Award and Scholarship in 2021. Though skiing is her first passion, Olivia is also a competitive Martial Artist who is training & testing seriously in Karate, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with 5 Elements Martial Arts and is rising up the ranks. She takes training seriously for all disciplines and still finds time to mentor younger students as a Senpai (assistant Karate coach).

In the winter Oliva is up at 5:30 am to train and when there is no snow, you will find her at the dojo 5 days a week. Her sports demand strength and resilience, 2 key qualities for whichever profession she decides on. Never losing sight of the need to keep studying hard, she applied for and was accepted into the National Sport School starting September 2021. With this support, Olivia believes she can achieve goals to be the best she can be in sport and her chosen profession. Though undecided she is considering pursuing either law, kinesiology, or engineering.

Meseret Haileyesus

CEO, Canadian Center for Women's Empowerment (CCFWE) I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Social Impact Award

"Meseret Haileyesus is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, change-maker, economic justice and health equity advocate with more than seventeen years of experience, and a founder of the Canadian Centre for Women’s Empowerment. The first kind of organization addresses economic abuse in Canada through education, research, policy change, advocacy, and economic empowerment. Her project focus on the development of new approaches to economic abuse and injustice, working with the organization and financial institution to review existing systems, policies, and procedures to improve women's financial safety and security.

Meseret has identified a huge gap (unmet needs) and established a grass-root movement to address economic abuse and injustice. her non-profit is addressing critical gaps in policies and systems which are preventing survivors of economic abuse from recovering and becoming economically secure and independent. Economic abuse is a form of domestic violence where a partner controls a victim’s access to resources such as money, education, employment, food, transportation, convinces them to take on debt, or even interferes with schooling and employment to limit their independence.

Marcela Lay

SVP, Head of Client Strategy, PMO and Atlanta Studio, Y Media Labs (YML) I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Authentic Leader Award

Marcela has spent her career pushing change and redefining the status quo. As a minority woman, a woman in tech and a woman in senior leadership, Marcela has broken gender, ethnic and managerial glass ceilings, not only for herself, but as a true ally and power agent for everyone she has the privilege to lead.

Marcela has been recognized among Campaign’s prestigious “40 over 40” winners, as a dual Stevie Award® winner for “Maverick of the Year” & “Women-run workplaces”, as a winner of the “Women Worth Watching®” Award, and as a “WIT Women of the Year” Honoree.

Laura Didyk

VP - Client Diversity, BDC I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Authentic Leader Award

Laura Didyk is Vice President, Client Diversity at BDC since 2020. Diversity and inclusion are at the core of BDC’s corporate values and business strategy. Laura leads the bank’s national approach to support Canada’s diverse entrepreneurs, including women, Indigenous, and people from black and LGBTQ2 communities, veterans, and newcomers: helping their businesses, and our economy, thrive.

Laura is a long-term advocate for small businesses and inclusivity. In 2018, she was promoted to National Lead, Women Entrepreneurs and helped BDC reach its ambitious $1.4B financing target ahead of schedule to inspire more women to start or grow their businesses. Since joining the bank in 1994, she has held progressively senior roles across many divisions that always centre on helping entrepreneurs thrive.

Having lived and worked in Calgary for over 20 years, Laura loves spending time in the mountains skiing and hiking with her husband and two daughters. She supports many like-minded organizations including sitting on WBE Canada’s Board of Directors, and national advisory committees for the Community Business Development Corporation, WEConnect International’s Expert Advisory Council, and the International Women’s Forum. She is also a mentor with the Haskayne School of Business MBA Program through the University of Calgary.

Koleya Karringten

CEO, Absolute Combustion International I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Nest Award

Koleya is an inspiring entrepreneur and has built a successful business with Absolute Combustion. In addition to this she is a champion for women in business across the board and a vocal supporter in doing so.

Kayla Isabelle

CEO Start Up Canada I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Authentic Leader Award

Kayla Isabelle has demonstrated incredible resilience and noteworthy leadership during 2020. Faced with taking leadership of both Startup Canada, Canada's Entrepreneurship Organization, on March 1st, 2020, and of the Innovators and Entrepreneur Foundation during a global pandemic, Kayla has not only sustained, but grown an event-based non-profit, and provided an extended reach to Canada's entrepreneurship community during one of its most challenging years on record. Kayla began her journey as Executive Director getting a crash course in crisis management in her first two weeks as the new leader of Startup Canada. In the span of just a few days, she went from meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during Startup Canada's International Women’s Day event to discuss women's entrepreneurship, to dealing with perhaps the greatest economic crisis this country’s small businesses have confronted in generations. Startup Canada was able to retain 100% of their corporate partners by shifting traditionally conference-based events, digitally. By developing strategic partnerships with organizations like Google, Kayla led the charge on national digital programming, reaching the highest cohort of entrepreneurs on record.

Katherine (Katie) Dudtschak

Executive Vice President Regional Banking, Personal & Commercial Banking, RBC I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Diversity and Inclusion Award

Katherine (Katie) Dudtschak is an experienced business and thought leader with one of Canada’s most respected organizations. In her role as EVP, Regional Banking, she leads more than 20,000 advisors in branches and business centres, as well as expert advisors. Committed to community leadership, Katie is a member of the United Way Greater Toronto’s Board of Trustees as well as their Campaign Cabinet and a member of the Board of Directors for Jack.org, a Canadian charity dedicated to youth mental health.

Katie is also a woman with gender-affirming experience, revealing her journey to embrace her true self to family, friends and thousands of colleagues at RBC in 2019. Her story is inspiring, motivating and engaging. Known for her strategic mindset as well as her authentic care and candor, Katie uses her voice and experiences to carry the message of what it means to be a purpose-driven and inclusive leader.

Kara Alicia Kennish

Owner/Operator, Tim Hortons I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Rural Leader Award

Kara Kennish is a third-generation Tim Hortons Franchisee. She is committed to finding ways to utilize her platform as Tim's owner for the good of her community by advancing the conversation of equal opportunity and shine a light on emerging needs in her community locally and internationally. Kara is an ambassador for the Tim Hortons Foundation Camps leading the annual fundraising efforts that afford children and youth from disadvantaged circumstances to experience a leadership development multi-year, camp-based program empowering them to change their stories for the better. In 2020 her restaurant joined forces with Empowerment Squared and together they raised the second-highest Smile Cookie sales across Canada. Locally, E2 supports newcomer and marginalized youth to access post-secondary education and start their new lives in Canada.
In 2020 Kara also represented Tim Hortons in the ‘Barbie Dream Gap’ and ‘One-of-a-kind Barbie’ campaigns where she had the opportunity to share her hockey story with young women across Canada as she had played competitive hockey in her youth and attained four national medals in Judo. She has partnered with the Grindstone Awards Foundation to help build their ambassador program in an effort to provide girls with grants to continue their hockey careers.

Jennifer Ménard-Shand

Staff Shop Inc, Founder & CEO | Director, Client Happiness I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Indigenous Leader Award

Jennifer Ménard-Shand is an Indigenous-French-Canadian female entrepreneur, who dreamed of leading a purpose-driven organization, from anywhere in the world - that employs top talent who are hungry to serve, grow and leave a legacy worth following. Her brainchild Staff Shop now provides the platform to keep that dream alive as an award-winning diverse supplier servicing Canada, the USA and the Caribbean. Her story is one that celebrates the triumph of Good over Evil. The odds were stacked against her as a survivor of oppression faced by women, especially Indigenous women including; alcoholism, abuse, neglect, trauma, abandonment and imposter syndrome. Jennifer is focused on breaking the silence, ending generational curses and stopping unhealthy cycles. Driven by Faith-Passion-Freedom at her core, there is no limit to the positive impact Jennifer and her team can have on humanity. This brings her joy and energy daily to do what she does best, and inspire others to reach their full potential.

Jennifer Green

Director of Competitions & Young Women's Initiatives I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Dream Builder Award

Jennifer is the Director of Competitions and Young Women’s Initiatives at Skills Ontario, an organization focusing on encouraging youth to explore and pursue careers in the skilled trades and technologies. Recently Jennifer also completed an Appointment with the Government of Ontario's Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, as an Apprenticeship Youth Advisor. She has promoted the advancement of the skilled trades across the province for almost 20 years in various roles through volunteerism, speaking engagements, and programming.

Among her accolades, she has been presented with the WXN Top 100 Canada's Most Powerful Women Award and the Conestoga College Alumni of Distinction Award. Jennifer has also founded several initiatives, including the Skills Ontario Alumni Association as President, and the National Alumni Committee as Chair and the Ontario Lead.

Jennifer holds a Certificate of Qualification, a Certificate of Apprenticeship, and an Ontario College Certificate for Industrial Mechanic Millwright.

Green has been labelled as a fearless trailblazer and glass ceiling breaker for women in non-traditional careers, and continues to advocate and be a leader in the skilled trades

Jaime Leverton

Hut 8 Mining Corp I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Trailblazer Award

Jaime Leverton has spent her career leading strategic transformations at some of Canada’s top technology companies. For two decades, she has championed a similar transformation for our national tech industry as an advocate for elevating both the position of women in STEM industries and of Canadian innovation globally.
Over the last 20 years, Jaime has demonstrated her ability to effectively lead and transform organizations at pivotal moments through roles at IBM, Bell, BlackBerry, National Bank of Canada, and Cogeco Peer 1, all culminating in her current role at Hut 8 Mining.
Today, as CEO of Hut 8 Mining, one of North America’s oldest and largest digital asset miners, Jaime is one of the youngest women leading a publicly-traded company in Canada within a tech segment marked by an acute lack of gender diversity and has kept her commitment to supporting other women at the forefront of her leadership approach.

Helen Filipe

Azul Education Service I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Raising the Bar Award

Well respected by her peers and community groups and leaders, Helen has an infectious positive attitude in all her undertakings. She is passionate about supporting others and helping individuals in times of change. Making a difference in her community is top priority as she knows the value of how being extending a hand in some of her most difficult days. As Executive Director and Founder of Azul Education she is dedicated to be a resource and advocate for individuals in discovering each person’s gifts and talents to make the world a better place. Helen considers herself a serial volunteer, and social justice advocate in contributing to many community initiatives and organizations. She offers her knowledge, experience, and genuine desire to uplift individuals, and to contribute to a more inclusive and equitable environment. Helen has helped thousands of individuals in activating their potential and motivating youth to be of service. Whether it be one-on-one, in groups, or through social media, Helen is a Connector and a Community builder. Her unwavering commitment to elevating others, has earned her Community Leadership Awards as she continues to raise the bar of community engagement.

Heather Lochnan

University of Ottawa I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Authentic Leader Award

Dr. Heather Lochnan is a remarkable and inspiring physician, a clinical researcher and medical educator. She is the Head of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Ottawa Hospital, a Professor of Medicine and the Assistant Dean of Continuing Professional Development in the Faculty of Medicine at University of Ottawa. Dr. Lochnan is the current President of the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism (CSEM). Dr. Lochnan leads a research team focused primarily on the treatment and prevention of diabetes. Her clinical practice also includes management of diabetes, thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer and complex endocrine diseases. Her extraordinary dedication to innovation in medical education has been recognized by impressive grant support, publications and numerous international presentations. Dr. Lochnan is a past recipient of the CSEM Educator of Year Award, the Canadian Association of Medical Education Merit Award and the Faculty Educator Award for Leadership. She is passionate about mentoring and networking to help her colleagues and trainees, and especially creating opportunities for women in medicine. She is an outstanding leader and role model who makes a difference inside and outside of her workplace.

Hazel McCallion

Former Mayor of Mississauga I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Lifetime Achievement Award

Hazel McCallion is a true Canadian hero and a true inspiration for many. She’s an awesome leader who has empowered many and doesn’t tolerate anything but what is right and fair.

Hazel McCallion, businesswoman, athlete, politician, mayor of Mississauga from 1978 to 2014 (born 14 February 1921 in Port-Daniel, QC). One of Canada's longest-serving mayors, McCallion led her city for 12 consecutive terms, only retiring at age 93. Nicknamed “Hurricane Hazel” for her brash political style, she oversaw the development of Mississauga from a semi-rural bedroom community into the sixth-largest city in Canada. McCallion is considered a trailblazer for women in politics.

Fatima Israel

EY I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Authentic Leader Award

Fatima is a strategic, inspiring and visionary leader who is unapologetically herself. Her fearless personality translates into everything she does, from leading teams with authenticity and empathy to making the impossible, possible and delivering concrete business results. As Head of EY Canada’s Brand, Marketing and Communications team of 70+, a judge for the Canadian Marketing Association, mentor and entrepreneur, Fatima uniquely thrives in complex, grey environments, earning her a reputation of “builder, fixer and problem solver.” Leading by example with a people-focused approach, Fatima recognizes that none of us can succeed alone - and she’s built her teams and career around that principle. And yet, what sets Fatima apart is her true ability to build for what’s next, while elevating those around her through inclusivity, championing women and sending the elevator back down to create meaningful opportunities for others to grow and thrive.

Evangeline Chima

Black Mentorship Inc.. Black Mentorship Inc. (BMI) I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Black Women Leader Award

Evangeline Chima is the founder of Black Mentorship Inc. BMI – an organization dedicated to fostering the professional growth and personal expansion of Black professionals through education, mentorship and skills
building. BMI was born out of her personal experiences with systemic racism and bias as a Black professional woman in Canada. Despite her education, numerous professional certifications, work ethic and commitment, she could not reach her professional aspirations.
Out of these experiences and recognizing Black professionals are underrepresented across industries and in leadership roles, Evangeline created Black Mentorship Inc – (BMI) to inspire, support, and mentor Black professionals to fulfill their potential, build community, and promote change.

Evangeline is vast in Information Technology Services, DEI strategies, Workplace Safety and Wellness Programs. She provides consultation to Sheridan College executives and academic leadership teams on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion.

She is the Sheridan College BLACKS career readiness series co-creator and is the brain behind the recently launched Sheridan College Black Mentorship Program. Evangeline mentors many students and professionals and sits on many Boards and Advisory Table participating in strategic planning towards promoting change and building safe, inclusive and equitable communities.
Evangeline was named one of the 2020 Black women to watch.

Erin Bigney

Canada East Spine Centre's Director of Research Erin Bigney I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Mentorship Award

Erin Bigney is the Director of Research for the Canada East Spine Centre (CESC), a research centre for orthopaedic and neurosurgery.  Spine injury and disease can have debilitating effects on patients. Through clinical research the CESC lead by Erin Bigney, strives to improve patients outcomes.

Since she took over, the CESC has quadrupled its staff and has won multiple awards reflecting research excellence.  Erin has multiple peer-reviewed publications, a book chapter, and has presented at national and international scientific conferences.  Erin is a strong proponent of fostering research practices into medical care and recognizes the importance of mentorship to enhancing the next generations’ skills and opportunities in research. As part of her commitment to mentorship she has embedded programming to support undergraduate, graduate and medical student research opportunities and skills training within the CESC strategic plan.

Erin embodies the true definition of what a successful mentor should be and is a strong female leader and mentor in medical research. Through facilitating the research training of students, Erin makes major contributions to improving the quality of care and quality of life of spine surgery patients both in New Brunswick and across Canada.

Eldeen Pozniak

Eldeen Pozniak – 2021 Women of Inspiration™ Customer Experience Award

Eldeen is an international management consultant specializing in Occupational Health and Safety.  She is from Saskatoon Saskatchewan and has worked on 5 of the 7 continents and in 28 different countries.  She owns Pozniak Safety Associates Inc in Canada and Diggins Safety Consulting in the USA.  She is passionate and committed to her profession and working to ensure Mom’s and Dad’s, partners, sons and daughters – people go home at the end of their day.

Dr. Suhayya Abu-Hakima

Alstari Corporation I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Global Impact Award

Dr. Suhayya Abu-Hakima is a rare woman tech entrepreneur with a reputation for excellence & innovation. As a successful three-time start-up founder/CEO, she has formed boards of directors & advisors & directed business strategy, ensuring product development matches customer need. Her first start-up, AmikaNow! spun from government R&D labs, focussed on AI and automatic content analysis. . She also has served on Dalhousie University's Big Data Institute & McGill's Innovation Board. In 2018, she joined the ENCQOR board with a smart city focus & connected vehicles. She was recently invited to the C100 and is the ASIS Ottawa Chapter 140 Chair.
Sue holds over 45 International patents in AI, and as many as 35 Global Companies have cited her pioneering patents including Google, Apple and Ford. Sue is a multiple award winner including 6 US GOVIES & ASIS Judge's Choice & Security's Best in emergency communications, Top 10 Angel Backed company Nationally, Top 25 Women of Influence and Top 100 Most Powerful by the WXN in the Trailblazer Category. Sue indeed is an inspiring leader as she was invested into the Order of Ontario in 2011 and honored with Queen Elizabeth II Medal for Service to Canada in June 2012.

Dr. Sonya Richmond

Dr. Sonya Richmond – 2021 Women of Inspiration™ Inspire Award

Dr. Sonya Richmond worked as a GIS Analyst developing of award winning Provincial Birding Atlases and publishing her research as an Ornithologist. In 2019 she sold her home, donated her possessions, and put her career on hold to fund a planned 4 year 24,000km trek across Canada on the world’s longest pathway, The Great Trail (Trans Canada Trail). Fewer people have completed this trek on foot than have gone to the moon, but none have done so for a cause and with the primary purpose of promoting diversity, accessibility and multiculturalism in the outdoors while striving to get youth reconnected to nature through Citizen Science. Concerned about the influence of screen time, her goal is to get young Canadians to spend more time in nature and interested in exploration toward becoming engaged leaders in their communities as well as lifelong environmental stewards. Her leadership, example, dedication and undertaking are inspiring!

Christine Dagenais

Bright Wire Leadership I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Transformational Leader Award

Christine Dagenais is an authentic and powerful leader who is the definition of inspiration. The most inspiring and influential people challenge us to aim higher, to seek different perspectives and demand the best of ourselves. This is Christine. As the Founder and CEO of Bright Wire Leadership, Christine leads and inspires through example with integrity, courage, and an unwavering passion to develop others. Her tireless work ethic and commitment to excellence has attracted a team of dynamic experts equally committed to her vision and creating a new model for consultancy firms built on the strength of team, rather than individuals. Christine’s empowering leadership style has made her a frequent expert panelist and keynote speaker. Christine is the author of The Intentional MBA, A Guide to Maximizing Your Decision, Experience and Investment.

Charlie Wall-Andrews

SOCAN I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Millennial Leader Award

Charlie Wall-Andrews (MBA, MA, BA, CCIP) is a Trudeau Scholar, strategic planner, and sessional faculty member at the University of Toronto and Northeastern University (Boston, USA). She created the Women In Music Accelerator program at Ryerson University, and is a research associate at the Diversity Institute where she leads projects pertaining to address inequalities in the creative and cultural sectors. She is a Management Ph.D. candidate at Ted Rogers School of Management, where she specializes in strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship. She is on the Board of Directors of WorkInCulture, and TELUS Community Investment Board, and is the inaugural Vice-Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council. In 2019, she was appointed a global Legacy Fellow for the Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship (a prestigious initiative of The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations)

Brian Milloy

Levvel Inc I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - SupportHER™ Award

Brian is a SupportHER, who consciously strives to make a difference for women in business every day. His strong conviction for equality in business and personally stems from his lifelong love and respect for his single mother who tenaciously worked and went to university while raising her kids. As a co-founder of Levvel with his wife and partner Chantal Milloy, they strive to bring education, empowerment, and equality to Levvel’s Canadian teams by pursuing diversity in the leadership team, and sourcing talent for clients. With personal investment, and years of preparation, Levvel’s Software QA Testing line of business was developed and is co-sourced in Rwanda Africa. To date, nearly 100 women have been educated as certified QA testers at sister company Muraho Technology. Offering pay in the 90% for Rwandans, support for families, education, and employment the all-women teams will continue to level the playing field in tech.

Captain Linda Feuerhelm

Tymac I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Heidi Stevenson Unsung Hero Award

Believe me when I say it’s only a matter of time until every Mariner in Canada knows this woman’s name. She is a West Coast trailblazer , certainly soon to be a national treasure!

While quickly running up the ranks to 150T captain, Linda has established a thriving educational community -Bits & Bollards Bridgewatch- devoted to developing new mariners and connecting them to opportunities for growth; she has been a powerful advocate fighting for and making changes in favour of human and women’s rights. Currently, Linda is fighting to bring awareness to safe navigation and working practices on the water. She takes a remarkable amount of initiative and her passion for the industry is giving way to an unforgettable legacy.

Ariyike Akinbobola

Fragomen I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Immigrant Leader Award

Ariyike Akinbobola is an authentic and inspiring woman. She is a Published author and foreign trained Lawyer currently working as a Senior Business Immigration analyst at Fragomen. With over a decade of experience in the Media and Entertainment Industry abroad winning several awards as a Television host and Producer, Ariyike is the founder of Ariland Entertainment where she showcases the African culture, fashion, lifestyle and Immigrant experiences through storytelling and film.

Ariyike has a Certificate in Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice from Harvard X and she also coaches Immigrant families relocating abroad on expectations and how to navigate their new reality.

Through her Ariyike Arise Initiative she helps to fund the education of Children in disadvantaged communities in Nigeria. In 2020, they donated 1000 facemasks to People in disadvantaged communities. As an advocate for Female genital Mutilation abandonment in Nigeria, she was recognized as the UNFPA/UNICEF Frown Award - Female Genital Mutilation Abandonment Advocate of the year amongst other recognitions. Ariyike also volunteers as a Content Creator Partner for the United Nations Refugee Agency in Canada (UNHCR). She is married with Children. Her book – The Cost of our Lives is available on Amazon.

Andrea Linger

Raymond James Ltd I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ Authentic Leader Award

Andrea Linger says: "Have the courage to live your life the way you want to live it. Be passionate about what you do. Have the commitment to follow through to the end. " She lives by these principles and brings the same enthusiasm to her work as Associate Vice President, Practice Management. She is responsible for managing, facilitating, and designing programs to improve the profitability and growth of their Financial Advisors across Canada and serves as the primary point-person for marketing, coaching, and leading their Practice Management offerings. Andrea is also Head of the Women Canadian Advisors Network, for Raymond James Ltd and she is committed to advancing the success of the women advisors through professional and personal coaching initiatives, training, workshops, and networking opportunities. She is committed to creating an environment of inclusiveness that encourages women to join the advisory role and increase diversity.

Amber Zenith

HIGH Fitness I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - Health and Wellness Award

Amber is a woman who has grown a business from a single fitness class in a community center to a network of over 3,500 trained instructors across North America. Over the last year, she also did the ultimate pivot and took the format online by launching HIGH Fitness Live - quickly growing to over 3,000 subscribers and forever changing the business. She is innovative, supportive of her team, and encourages countless men and women to 'work off the emotional weight' of the day (instead of talking calories, pounds, food, etc.).

Chantal Milloy

Levvel Inc I 2021 Women of Inspiration™ - SupportHER™ Award

Chantal started Levvel with her husband Brian Milloy 5 years ago. A pair who has built this business together as a couple and business partners and know how to conquer and divide and run the business as a team, despite the naysayers - that you can't work with your spouse. Brian is a fierce supporter of women in business, diversity and inclusion and was raised by a single mother who held two jobs while continuing her education. Chantal was a trailblazer for women in tech owning a web development company 17 years ago but after her business partner left the country with funds, Chantal found herself as a single parent in bankruptcy.

Jennifer Quaglietta

Vice President, Performance Excellence and Information Services

Jennifer has been a visionary leader in the healthcare industry for over 20 years. Jennifer impressed and continues to impress the system with her commitment to nurturing people and advancing patient safety while at the same time keeping performance, innovation and sustainability at the forefront of decisions.
As Jennifer has progressed her career, she has had a focused commitment on mentoring women (students, peers and colleagues). Jennifer has always found time to contribute to accelerating growth and joy in work. Jennifer has many colleagues and mentees across the system that she has inspired and supported in achieving their vision, by bridging their strategic functional expertise to landscape navigation to support them in obtaining their professional goals while improving value across the system. She recently received the Top 10 Women in Digital Health Award and continues to support women across the country in achieving their goals.

Sanchari Sen Rai

Co Founder & CEO I Education Consultants Canada (ECC )Inc.

I am an entrepreneur leading an all-women team and a mother who is trying to accomplish both by striking a balance with home, kid, family, and going out there and achieving. I am the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of EDUCATION CONSULTANTS CANADA (ECC) Inc. that helps thousands of international students work through the onerous process of applying to study in Canada.

Lindsay Jones

INVESTMENT BANKING, SCOTIABANK I 2020 Women of Inspiration™ - Millennial Leader Award

Lindsay Jones is an M&A Investment Banking Associate at Scotiabank, currently based in New York City. She transitioned from Energy Investment Banking in Calgary to her current role where she covers a wide variety of industries and jurisdictions in Latin America, working with corporate clients in the evaluation of merger and acquisition (M&A) opportunities. She received a bachelor's degree in Finance (with distinction) from the University of Calgary, graduating in the top ~1% of her business class. She continues to stay involved in her community where she commits to championing support for women in finance. Lindsay grew her personal efforts into a small mentorship program for women, then sought partnership with her bank to scale that program nation-wide, rolling out the Scotiabank Rising Leaders Mentorship Program across five universities. She is now working with the bank to expand the program to the United States. The program aims to support and develop women interested in finance while connecting them to a network of mentors and a cohort of like-minded women. Lindsay has also been involved, for over eight years, with L'Arche, an international organization that supports individuals with developmental disabilities. She has personally raised ~$28,000 for L'Arche and most recently joined the Board of Directors as its youngest board member. She was most recently a 2020 Woman of Inspiration award recipient in the Millennial Leader category.

LORI CAMPBELL

Director, Waterloo Indigenous Student Centr | 2020 Women of Inspiration™ - Indigenous Leader Award

Lori is 2-Spirit nēhiyaw āpihtākosisān and is a member of Montreal Lake First Nation, Treaty 6 territory. She is an intergenerational survivor of the Indian Residential School system and a child from the Sixties Scoop generation. Lori has made it her career advocating for social justice and working towards a more equitable society for all. Most recently, she was a federal candidate in the 2019 election. With over 13 years of progressive leadership in student services, academics, research, and administration, Lori is an experienced leader in education with a proven track record particularly in advancing processes of Indigenization, reconciliation, and decolonization. Lori holds two undergraduate degrees (Indigenous Studies and Psychology), a master’s degree in Adult Education and is working towards a PhD in Social Justice Education. She currently holds the position of Director, Shatitsirótha’ Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre and is an Adjunct Lecturer in the Indigenous Studies academic program at St. Paul’s University College.