2017 Women of Inspiration Winners

We are honoured to announce and celebrate the 2017 Women of Inspiration Winners

Advocate & Catalyst for Change

Marija Pavkovic-Tovissi

Founder & CEO of MaKami College Inc. | Mother | Serial Entrepreneur | Author | Community Champion | Philanthropist

"A Woman of Inspiration is an industry leader. Someone that creates solutions to what others deem impossible, she thinks outside the box and innovates to improve the lives of those that live in our community. This inspirational lady mentors and acts as a role model, in her success she paves the way for others to succeed." -Marija Pavkovic-Tovissi

Marija founded MaKami College, the largest Advanced Clinical Massage Therapy College of its kind internationally. In 2001 at the young age of 21, being inspired by her immigrant parents plight to get educated in Canada, Marija founded MaKami College. Currently, Marija owns over 20 individual companies both locally and internationally that she either founded or co-founded. Marija is the co-author of a book called, “Skinny Business Start-Up”.

Game Changer

Karen Klassen

Founder of Women Embracing Brilliance and Purse Angel Project - Coach | Speaker | Bestselling Author | Exemplary Community Leader Mentor

“A Woman of Inspiration…leads by example in everything she does. She sees the brilliance in others and holds that space for others until they are able to embody and embrace their own light.” - Karen Klassen

From welfare to owning a six-figure coaching and seminar company, from drug and alcohol addiction to empowerment, from disease to optimal health, and from abusive relationships to now being with her beloved Alan, Karen shares how anyone no matter what they have done, not done or who they are, can spiral up and experience freedom, peace of mind and live a beautiful life.

Women of Inspiration

Millennial Leader

Sophia Fairweather

Founder of StartUpBySophia | 9-year-old Entrepreneur | Tech Advocate | Role Model | Champion of Women & Youth | UN Presenter

"A Woman of Inspiration is someone that leads and does stuff, I have heard a lot of people talk, but doing is better." -Sophia Fairweather

Sophia humble efforts have allowed her to reach 35,000 youth, professionals and decision makers, and be invited to present at the UN Summit for Economic Equality, and be nominated for the Manning Innovation Awards (Adult section).


Lisa Mundell-Lawrence

Serial Entrepreneur | President Western Canada of PMA Realty Group | Mother | Grandmother | Professional Speaker | 2x Cancer Survivor | Mentor | Advisor

"I believe all women have inspiration to share, whether it be by sharing their stories of wisdom from lessons they have learned, or obstacles they have overcome. Women who… have learned the art of checking their ego at the door for the better good of all." -Lisa Mundell-Lawrence

With over two decades of hands-on experience in both Sales and Management, Lisa’s product knowledge expanses the globe, from projects in Panama City, Mexico and the Dominican Republic to over 3900+ condominium and new home sales right here at home in Calgary.

Women of Inspiration

Difference Maker

Raman Kapoor

Founder of DIL Walk Foundation | Advocate for Health & Wellness | Mother | Philanthropist | Dietitian | Author

"A woman of inspiration is one who shows ongoing initiative, leadership and dedication. She is one that devotes herself to sustained and selfless voluntary service, particularly touching the lives of those who are vulnerable or less able to help themselves... She is one that creates her own path." -Raman Kapoor

As a mother, a registered dietitian, a female and former heart patient, Raman is passionate about the power of prevention. This passion fuelled her to co-found a charity focusing on wellness, touching the lives of over 15,000 people through educational activities, evidence-based local solutions and more.

Unsung Hero

Lynn MacDonald

Co-Founder, Empowerment Inc. | Calgary Police Service | Women’s Self-Defence Advocate | Ambassador | Head Empowerment Warrior | Entrepreneur

"I believe a Woman of Inspiration is someone who lives her life in such a way that it inspires others to dream, to learn, to grow, to selflessly give and to thrive. She holds true to her values of honesty and integrity." -Lynn MacDonald

Lynn is a Homicide Unit investigator in the Calgary Police Service (CPS). She has served as the LGBT liaison officer to foster better relationships between the police and the community. Lynn received the 2012 QE II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her dedication to law enforcement and the advancement of LGBT rights.

Cultural Ambassador

Sophie Serafino

Founder of Every Woman Foundation | Mother of 2 | Entrepreneur | Vionilist | Composer | Volunteer | Advocate

"To me, a woman of inspiration is someone that creates positive change in another. A woman that faces all that she must in her life with courage, strength and determination to succeed… no matter the obstacles." -Sophie Serafino

Sophie is a violinist, described by the Calgary Herald as a “show-stopper,”... and the Sydney Morning Herald as “one of the few who deserve the title of diva.” Sophie has performed her own compositions in over 600 concerts in over 30 cities worldwide, and has performed for dignitaries including the Crown Prince of Dubai, the Bahraini Royal Family, and Crown Prince & Princess of Denmark.

Trailblazer – Technology (STEM)

Deanna Burgart

COO of Indigenous Engineering Inclusion Inc. | Mother | Grandmother | Facilitator | Speaker

"A Woman of Inspiration is someone who lives her life with authenticity, tenacity and resilience. Someone who strives to be her best self while also embracing vulnerability and the ‘realness’ of life. I am inspired by women who live, learn and openly share their journeys to serve others." -Deanna Burgart

Deanna demonstrates her commitment to inclusion today by introducing science and technology as a potential career path to young women and Indigenous youth.

Authentic Leader

Nora Molina

Founding COO of Ignitech Solutions Inc. | Manager Career Services at University of Calgary | Partner with BroadView Communications Group

"A woman of inspiration is someone who has faced challenges and adversity with perseverance, style and grace to reach for goals and dreams that others might often say are impossible, and…has reached out to encourage and support other women in their own journeys." -Nora Molina

As former Executive Director of the Human Resources Institute of Alberta, Nora was instrumental in designing a new business model that led to the acquisition of six independent HR associations.

Boss Chick Mentorship

Michelle Andrishak

Business Coach & Connector at Rural Alberta Business Centre Rocky Mountain House | Mother | Visionary | WOW Creator | Mentor | Volunteer

"When I think about inspiration, I define it as ordinary people to encourage, support and hold a safe space for others to do extraordinary things, all the while being a shoulder to cry on, offering advice to count on and cheering others on to become the best that they can be, whether it be in business, leadership or personal life." -Michelle Andrishak

Michelle’s vision and enthusiasm have brought recognition to rural communities through her work on the Central Alberta Business Innovation Conference, the Small Business Incubator model, the amazing Women in Business and Leadership Network called WOW!, high school business programs and community networks.

Lea Romanowski - Women of Inspiration

Life Time Achievement

Lea Romanowski

Owner & Lead Designer of Designing on the Edge | Mother | Daughter | Friend | Facilitator | Speaker | Award-Winning Designer | Volunteer

"A woman of inspiration is…a selfless leader. Someone who is willing to take risks and make mistakes and then learn from those mistakes and pass on what she learned to others and help them to grow." - Lea Romanowski

Lea has used her experience and expertise to become a mentor, the many areas of floral design at Mount Royal University for the last 15 years. Her design work has been featured in Canadian Florist, Floriology, Canadian Special Events, WED LUX, Metro and Avenue.

See you all next year as we celebrate Women of Inspiration 2018.

Save the date!

Join us for Women of Inspiration Awards Gala on Thursday, September 20 at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre.
Dinner | Awards | Keynote - Barb Stegemann

Corporate Partners