2022 Women of Inspiration™ Award Winners

The Universal Womens Network™—the organization behind these awards—honours the voices of women across industries to recognize Women of Inspiration™ from across Canada, the USA and internationally. Our recipients share a common thread. They each have a unique and inspiring story. In this past year, more than 900 women across five continents stepped forward to be acknowledged. “We must continue to celebrate the achievements of women, at all levels. Stepping into the spotlight gives permission for others to the same,” CEO, Kretschmer says.

Our network embraces a culture of diversity, inclusion and equality and welcomes our SupportHER™ allies to the conversation to be a part of the solution. Every woman has a unique gift; her voice matters and contributes to the economy.

Through the Women of Inspiration™ Awards, we see the impact of all women from diverse industries, walks of life, and ages recognized for their achievements, their contribution to the economy, and their impact around the world. They are everyday heroes, entrepreneurs, pilots, scientists, innovators, artists, healthcare workers, space explorers, executives and visionaries from youth to women with a Lifetime of Achievement.

When we celebrate one woman; we celebrate ALL women. When we celebrate women, we pave the path for our future leaders, we bring awareness to industries underrepresented by women, we elevate the visibility of women-led businesses and we impact the value women contribute at all levels of business as well as to society as a whole.

These incredible women coming together is beautiful, powerful and inspiring. Their individual talents, wisdom and leadership inspire change. We, as women, are the changemakers fostering innovation and embracing inclusion. We are Raising the bar for women to be seen, heard and valued. congratulations to our 2022 Women of Inspiration™ Award recipients and finalists.

Thank you to our Award  Partners for their commitment to be visible leaders committed to advancing women.

2022 Women of Inspiration™ Award Winners #WOI2022Raisethebar

  1. Advocate and Catalyst for Change AwardCathy Nesbitt – Founder and CEO, Cathy’s Crawly Composters
  2. Authentic Leader Award
  • Ramin Fazel – Regional Vice President for Downtown Toronto, RBC
  • Susie DeRidder – Truck Driver, Day and Ross
  • Lavanya Hariharan – Supervisor Technician Services, Enbridge Gas
  • Asawari Lele – Account Manager National Real Estate Group, Toronto Dominion Bank
  • Samantha Sannella – Canadian National Director, Total Workforce Americas, Cushman and Wakefield
  • Tina Powell – Author, Founder, Glorious is she
  • Annemarie Heikenwalder – Head of Sales and Marketing for Americas and Oceana, Diamond Aircraft Industries Ltd.
  • Neelima Magal – Chief Head of Delivery Management, Nutcache
  • Naz Zehra – Learning and Development Business Partner, DELL
  • Brianne Gardner – Wealth Manager & Financial Advisor, Velocity Investment Partners, Raymond James Ltd.
  1. Diversity and Inclusiveness Award presented by Randstad Canada – Lexi Plath – President and Partner, Faulhaber Communications
  2. Black Woman Leader Award Patrice Barnes – TrusteeDurham School District
  3. Cultural Ambassador AwardSherry Shaw Froggatt – Founder and Publisher, AirdrieLife Magazine
  4. Customer Experience AwardJamie L. Smith – Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer, Amplify Advisors
  5. Difference Maker AwardDanielle McCarron – VP Inpatient and Virtual programs, Canadian Addiction Treatment Centres
  6. Dream Builder Award Presented by AMJ Campbell – Janet Wardle – President and CEO, MHI Canada Aerospace Inc.
  7. Game Changer AwardShannon Bryne Susko – CEO, Metronomics
  8. Health and Wellness AwardCrystal Greenwood – Owner & Instructor, Okami Martial Arts
  9. Indigenous Leader AwardLeigh Joseph – Founder and CEO, Sḵwálwen Botanicals
  10. Immigrant Leader Award – Ayra Modalo – Owner, Modalink Immigration Services
  11. Influencer AwardStephanie Coughlan – CEO, SMS Sports
  12. Youth Excellence Award  presented by RBC – Allysha Nichole Nolassco  – Advocate, Actor, Youth Leader | Prerana Manoj – Innovator
  13. Millennial Leader AwardKendra Scurfield – Brand and Communications Director, Banff Sunshine Village
  14. Inspire AwardDr. Caroline Power – CEO, Canadian HR Solutions
  15. Integrity AwardPatricia Ziegler-Ignor – Board Chair, Drayton Entertainment Theatres
  16. Innovation AwardJennifer LeBrun – CEO, ULAT Dryer Balls
  17. Mentorship AwardChantal Brine – CEO, EnPoint
  18. Nest Award Award presented by Sunshine Village – Shannon Smadella – CEO, Insight Global
  19. Raising the Bar Award – Lindsay Sill – CEO, Sill Media
  20. Rising Leader AwardBailey Parnell – Founder and CEO, SkillsCamp
  21. Rural Leader AwardAngele Miller – Co-Founder, Creekside RnR
  22. Social Impact AwardJessica Dirom – Director, Donor Relations and Development, STARS
  23. SupportHER (Allie) Award presented by Enbridge Gas – Reetu Gupta – Chairwoman and Ambassadress, Gupta Group | Shawn Gibson – Partner, Incito
  24. Trailblazer (STEM) Award presented by Mitacs – Kristin Davis – Ouwejan – Co-Founder and COO, Zs2 Technologies
  25. Transformational Leader Award Ally Stone – Founder, The Inspired Leader
  26. Vision Builder AwardShauna Levy – Founder, Madge and Mercier Modern Apothecary
  27. Women-led Award presented by SureCallJennifer Hamilton – CEO, Oxygen Yoga and Fitness
  28. Women in Media Award Tara Slone – TV and Media Personality
  29. Lifetime Achievement AwardHon. Dr. Jean Augustine – Founder, Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment

 International Awards

  1. Advocate and Catalyst for Change AwardSampurna Chatterjee -Translational Scientist, Takeda Pharmaceuticals
  2. Authentic Leader AwardUkachi Anonyou – VP, Global Packaging Enterprise, Estee Lauder Companies Inc.
  3. Trailblazer (STEM) AwardDr. Vanessa Farsadaki – President and Managing Partner, Space Exploration Strategies LLC
  4. Diversity and Inclusion AwardMaryse Gordon – Diversity and Inclusion, RepRisk
  5. Mentorship AwardKisa Caruthers – Electrical Engineer and Project Manager, Burns & McDonnell
  6. Influencer AwardDr. Jill Lopez – Founder and CEO, Vet Candy
  7. Millennial Leader Award Melissa Church – CEO, Digi-Buzz
  8. Difference Maker  AwardPadmini Navalgund – Technical Compliance Governance- BOSCH Limited
  9. Social Impact AwardVelveeta Viban – Founder, I’m Human Organization
  10. Women in Media AwardEmpress Golding – Media Personality


Meet the 2022 Women of Inspiration™ Award Winners!

Click on the photo to read about each of our award recipients.

Corporate Partners


Good words from good people

The Women of Inspiration™ Award Gala was an incredible celebration of female empowerment and achievement. I was very inspired by the remarkable stories and accomplishments we heard from the various women and "SupportHERs" tonight. I also just had a really great time at our Roche table where we had an amazing blend of some of our most senior leaders as well as some very early in their career colleagues, all very different women, but all equally inspiring. Brigette Nolet- President and CEO, Roche Canada Pharma Supporting other women is so crucial. I think we as female leaders bring many unique and powerful qualities to the table - empathy, courageous authenticity, the power to inspire..  and when we lift each other up & show support, we create a network of support and opportunity. Together, we can break barriers, challenge stereotypes, and pave the way for future generations of female leaders. Brigette Nolet- President and CEO, Roche Canada Pharma

Brigette Nolet- President and CEO, Roche Canada Pharma

It was an honour to be recognized amongst so many women role models who leverage their influence and positions to inspire change. Thank you, Universal Womens Network™ for leading the way and providing the format and opportunity to celebrate, while also continuing to advance women’s agenda across North America. For me it was extra special to be surrounded by my family and see three generations of women together who truly inspire each other. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to share that moment with them. #AspireHigher Gina Izumi - Senior Vice President, SAP Canada – 2023 Women of Inspiration™ Authentic Leader Award.

Gina Izumi - Senior Vice President, SAP Canada – 2023 Women of Inspiration™ Authentic Leader Award.

At Gilead Sciences, we set – and achieve – bold ambitions to create a healthier world for all people. From our pioneering virology medicines to our growing impact in oncology, we're delivering innovations once thought impossible in medicine. As we develop innovative medicines for life-threatening diseases, we recognize it takes more than medicine to improve wellbeing for people around the world. We know we are a stronger company and that innovation flourishes when we are informed by a diverse set of backgrounds, experiences and points of view. Our Women at Gilead employee resource group focuses on enhancing gender equity for women in opportunities and experiences at all levels. We are incredibly proud to be a sponsor for the Women of Inspiration™ awards which recognizes the achievements of women who lead, inspire and motivate others. We are delighted to have some of our own leaders recognized through these awards - Sharon Grehan, PhD for her authentic leader award and Shelly Smith, MBA as a finalist among strong female leaders across North America. Sharon Grehan – Women of Inspiration™ Authentic Leader Award

Sharon Grehan – Executive Director of Business Strategy & Operations /Global Lead for Women at Gilead Sciences | Women of Inspiration™ Authentic Leader Award

Simply humbling to be in the midst of such accomplished and inspiring women across industries within North America! Celebrating the successes of women and the SupportHER™ men will universally drive the change we need to create an equitable future. Congratulations to all the award recipients – your continued accomplishments will serve as a beacon of hope for so many others. Victoria Nguyen, ICD.D Vice President, Direct Financial Services-Simplii Operations, CIBC Capital Markets, 2020 Women of Inspiration™ Authentic Leader

Victoria Nguyen, ICD.D Vice President, Direct Financial Services-Simplii Operations, CIBC Capital Markets, 2020 Women of Inspiration™ Authentic Leader

It’s exciting and inspiring to meet that many amazing human beings in one setting. The women were awesome! From scientists to medical specialists, singers, dancers, artists, finance specialists and more. Every one of them was incredible in their own right. I came away feeling empowered. Anna Hilberry – Portfolio Manager, National Bank Financial, Hilberry Wealth Management Group – Women of Inspiration™ SupportHER Award

Anna Hilberry – Portfolio Manager, National Bank Financial, Hilberry Wealth Management Group – Women of Inspiration™ SupportHER Award