2021 Women of Inspiration™ Nominees

2021 Women of InspirationNominees

Congratulations on being nominated as a Women of Inspiration™ who leads, inspires and motivates others to greatness!

2021 VIRTUAL AWARDS – Stay Tuned for More Details!

By nominating her, you are honouring her accomplishments, contributing to her legacy, validating her hard work and her contribution to the workplace. You are helping her see her worth and unknowing impact. You are taking action to SupportHER™, elevating role models to be recognized on a local, national and global level.


Benefits of your nomination:

  • Validate her worth, build confidence, elevate leadership.
  • Local, national, and global exposure.
  • Additional media and PR coverage.
  • Connection with other like-minded, influential leaders from diverse industries across Canada.
  • Opportunities to create change on a larger stage.
  • Elevating her business, credibility personally and professionally.
  • Contribute to her legacy.
  • Recognition as a leader in her industry.
  • Recognize her achievements.
  • Increasing her circle of influence, inspiring the next generation of leaders.

When you nominate, the ripple effect is far-reaching!

Since our inaugural awards on September 26, 2015, we have recognized over 1,000 women and awarded 200 Awards.

Woman of Inspiration™  is an extraordinary woman who leads by example, lives on purpose and inspires others to be more and do more. She is a modern-day hero, game-changer, mover and shaker, and role model who leads by example. With courage, confidence, commitment, and integrity, she inspires others to go further, making a ripple impact across her community and around the globe. We are moving the needle to recognize the achievements of women making an impact locally, nationally and globally. Recognize the leaders within your organization and champion to advance women in business.

“Being nominated for a Women of Inspiration™ Award was an incredible experience. At first, I felt imposter syndrome and that good ol’ voice shame saying, “Who do you think YOU are?” I was hesitant to accept, but after the first gathering of all the nominees, I knew I made the right decision to let my name stand. These women were different. They were so supportive! I felt seen and valued by other nominees who I personally look up to! This was an incredible experience that exceeded my expectations and made me feel like I was a part of something so much bigger than me. It will remain a highlight for me for many years to come, and the relationships with the other nominees are now lifetime friends.” Connie Jakab, Health and Wellness

Winning the 2020 Women of Inspiration™ Influencer Award has been such a beautiful experience. It has provided me with the space to own the spotlight and celebrate the impact of my message. This platform truly champions women. It has been glorious to witness the confidence birthed from myself and the other nominees from being seen, heard, and appreciated for the work we are doing. The most profound takeaway has been the unbridled support and encouragement from everyone in The Universal Womens Network™. Let us continue the ripple effect of elevating one another and nominate a Women of Inspiration for 2021! Blaise Hunter – Influencer 2021

Denise Byers

DanDeeLion Publishing - author, poet, founder

Denise Byers is an author, poet, and co-founder of a publishing company. Her award-winning poetry book, Shattered, is comprised of over 50 poems written over the past 40 years about her issues with maintaining good mental health. Shattered, both dark and deeply personal with insightful and inspirational messages of hope, courage and strength, caught the attention of the prestigious Book Excellence Awards and won. The Book Excellence Awards is a competitive literary academy that honors notable authors every year and is sponsored by Literary Excellence Incorporated. Ms. Byers has suffered from various forms of mental illness for most of her life. She has attempted suicide and fights suicidal thoughts on a regular basis. In addition, she has struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) stemming from past abuse and currently receives treatment for depression and anxiety. While continuing to work on being healthy both mentally and physically, Ms. Byers is a successful business owner, multiple award-winning authors, and a mother to three adult children. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA - National) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI - the US), statistics show that one in five North Americans has had, have, or will have, some form of mental illness in their lifetime. It should be noted that mental illness is a disease that goes largely unreported due to the stigma attached to it. Shattered is available in paperback and electronic format globally wherever books are sold. Denise Byers is a graduate of York University in Toronto, Canada with her BA in Sociology. A professional writer in public and government relations for over 25 years, Ms. Byers has also written and published three books to date.

Francisca Mandeya

Author, public speaker

Zimbabwean-born World-Changer ,Francisca Mandeya, living in the Canadian
archipelago is a powerful voice on paper and on stage. Her influence crosses continents
and her vitally important message is creating an international movement of mothers who
understand that the lessons they impart to the next generation can change the world.
She is a double winner of Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Gender Equality award. Her
best seller Mother Behold Thy Son and Upcoming book Racial Equality convey
messages of equality, love and freedom. As a result of the Mental Fitness coaching and
empowerment she teaches, mothers and individuals take care of themselves first; and
create healthy family relationships, leading to peace in their homes. She is the CEO of
Transformational Call Coaching & Consulting Inc and Founder of Mothers United. She
has been featured on CBC North, CBC Winnipeg, Authority Magazine USA, Ticker TV
Australia and podcasts in Asia, Africa and America.

Sistah Lois

Actor, Singer

A valued longtime member of activist and artistic communities she brings a wealth of experience together in her offerings - from classrooms to auditorium floors to stages and screens. People find comfort in her music because it's appealing, and they listen to her words because they are revealing, uncovering thoughts and emotions which many of us would like to express. The power behind her words is a singing voice that subtly expresses the spirit of varied authenticities, that touches each and every individual heart in an intimately personal way. Her performances are like no other. Described as “original soundscapes that blend traditional with original songs, poems, stories which mirrors our collective souls. Freely fusing rhythm, word, and sound, “It's an ITAL ting, carries a culturally conscious sting, after 50 years knowing it's noSistah Lois (pronounced “Loyce”) is an incredibly talented singer, actor, creatrix across disciplines. She is, she says “a muddah, dawtah, sistah, afrikan princess, is a dymanmic Edutainer and musical messenger.” Born in Trinidad, she lived in the Caribbean and in the UK as a child. She has lived in Canada since she was eight years old. Reverend Kelly Addison, of KGL TV near Toronto, Canada, calls her “a national treasure.” Those who are lucky enough to spend time in the presence of the wise and wonderful Sistah Lois,would heartily agree. Known for decades in Toronto for her strong voice, both when she rises it in song and when she speaks out as an activist and as an artist. “I explore spiritual, musical, creative, rebellious journey and lifestyle experiences from these diverse cultural challenges coupled with non-traditional labour logistical backgrounds,” she says, explaining the scope of her work. “I wish to expound about the experience of a black feminist and how I survived varied assaults all along and how and why our cause goes still ignored in the age of the me-too movement.” She did all of this while raising a son as a single mother, and working in a field not traditionally open to women - blazing trails working for the Canadian National Railway for decades where she operated specialized equipment (lathes, mills, grinders, hand tools) and disassembled, repaired and replaced defective diesel engines in tanks, locomotives, backhoes graders and various off road vehicles. Today she “intergrates” a lifetime of experiences -the heartbreaks, the struggles, the love, the joys - and her talents, energies, and passion, in all her creative expressions three-fold. Sistah Lois awakens, inspires, Educates, Entertains, and Energizes Audiences…Everytime.

Lara Pietrolungo

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) - www.sickkidsinternational.ca - and Boomerang Health powered by SickKids - URL listed below. - Director of International Education, SickKids, and Managing Director of Boomerang Health

Lara is a "one-of-a-kind" healthcare leader, who happens to also be a nurse, a mother of 2 teenagers, a devoted wife, daughter, sister, friend, and philanthropist. She is the type of human being who leads authentically with courage and impacts the professional and personal lives of everyone she meets. She is a healthcare entrepreneur who has very innovatively generated healthy alternative sources of revenue, outside of public funding, for her organization. She is also an educator at heart, which is quite evidenced by the many undergraduate and graduate students she's mentored over the years (at least 50). Her philosophy has always been to "start the way you want to finish" which means "don't cut any corners and always aim for the best and quality solution". Her standards are high and this trickles down to the people she leads. They respect her for her honesty and high level of integrity and they, in turn, aim to be the same.

Lara has a very strong and positive influence on her colleagues, peers, students, family, and friends. With her very busy professional and personal chedule, she is still able to find time to help others. She doesn't wait to be asked - her extreme empathy and emotional intelligence allow her to genuinely understand one's needs and offer to help where she can. More formally, as the founder of the Emma-Rose Fund, she has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to financially support families of children with Muccopolysaccharide diseases which has made a huge difference in their lives. In summary, Lara has been leading for over 25 years and has created many impactful masterpieces throughout her career and life. The ability to have multiple contrasting roles within such a complex organization, one of international education and one of entrepreneurship, is not an easy task; however, Lara does it with such grace and finesse, that it truly makes it look easy. Lara truly deserves this leadership award.

Natalie Cox

Afro Cannada Bud Sistahs - Founder

Natalie Cox has spent the past 30 years raising a wonderful family of four children with her high-school sweetheart. At age 49 Natalie underwent a major life pivot when she went to college for the first time; enrolling in the Horticulture Technician program at Durham College in Whitby, Ontario. “Quite simply, I went back to college to learn to grow better weed”, she says with a grin. In 2020 Natalie founded Afro Cannada Budsistas with her business partner Khadisha Thornhill.
Their mission is to provide a safe space for Black women to offer one another support while also normalizing cannabis through education, information, and exposure. She also started Growing With Natalie; a company focused on organic cannabis and vegetable cultivation and teaching others to grow their own as well. A lifelong tropical plant collector, she boasts a 30-year-old Epipremnum aureum or Pothos, she affectionately calls “Mother”. In the summer you can find Natalie in the garden with her dog Leo, tending to her prized heirloom tomato collection. She is well known for raising her voice to bring about more diversity in not just cannabis but agriculture.

Khadisha Thornill

Afro Cannada Bud Sistahs - Founder

A Black Canadian woman and single mom to a 14yr-old hockey fanatic, Khadisha is fluently bilingual after being born and raised in Montreal before moving to the GTA in 1994. She’s a 20+ year property & casualty insurance industry professional with a background in teaching insurance courses, staff unit training & development and litigation management of complex bodily injury files from serious car accidents. For fun, Khadisha played touch and flag football recreationally for 15 years before coaching her son’s flag teams, allowing her to pass down her love for the game to another generation. She’s also been certified in the past as a spin instructor.
While Khadisha’s journey into cannabis use is not novel, her path towards its advocacy is unique. Khadisha and her business partner Natalie Cox are co-founders of Afro Cannada Budsistas, a private online space created for Black women to discuss and normalize cannabis use. Founded only this past March 2020, their group has already grown to 400 members, primarily in Ontario and Quebec, with members joining daily from all across Canada. Through specified theme days, informational videos, live video feed interactions and virtual smaller group chats, they manage to provide a safe space for Black women to discuss everything from how to roll a joint for beginners, to where to buy cannabis and most importantly, how to grow your own. Slowly but very intentionally, they are reversing the negative and racially-motivated stigmas associated with cannabis use in the Black community. This couldn’t happen at a better time given that many of the women members first became acquainted during the very early and scary days of the covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. It’s now a bond they share, and the cannabis is what helps to get them all through relentless uncertainty, together.

Nathan Skoufis

Guelph Family Martial Arts - Owner

Nathan Skoufis is a 23 x world champion and member of Team Canada. He is one of the most accomplished martial artist. He is active in promoting females in the martial arts world and advocating for equality. He is involved in helping the community through a variety of community innovations including women in crisis and many more. He is a community champion!

Sophie Skoufis

Guelph Family Martial Arts - Owner

Sophie Skoufis is a mentor to so many throughout the area including youth and adults. She is a multiple time world champion, 5th degree black belt and a member of Team Canada. She is heavily involved in several charity innovations and has had a huge positive impact on the community as a whole. She is very deserving of this award. She makes everyone believe they can, an amazing leader and mentor.

Danyelle Kaluski

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Centre - Board Vice Chair and Director of Operations

With over 20 years of working with non-profits, Danyelle Kaluski has a passion to be in service to her community.

Through the loss of her second daughter, Emelina in 2012, at 38 weeks, Danyelle is a strong voice in normalizing the journey through pregnancy loss, grieving, and pregnancy after loss.

Danyelle has been instrumental in the growth of the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Centre growth. She is the one working diligently behind the scenes to provide vital support to the community and advocate for the healing of bereaved families.

Phoebe Wasfy

Philopateer Christian College - Principal

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) and the Ontario Principals Council (OPC). Her love for academia and her active involvement in the field has earned her the Arab Women of Excellence Awards in Academia from Life Transformation Academy (Calgary, Alberta - Canada).
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

Cheryl Ivaniski

Holistic Wellness Strategist

Cheryl Ivaniski is a Global Wellness Authority, Dr. Holistic Medicine - Acupuncture, Speaker, Coachr , 5 X Bestselling Author Diabetes Thriver for OVER 24 YEARS, host of the NO BS Podcast About Diabetes and the author of Having A Life of More
" Having watched her grandma struggle for 40 years with loss of vision, mobility, independence and eventually the shutting down of her kidneys and heart, until one day Diabetes took her life. CherylI was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (and Hashimotos disease) over 24 years ago. Specialists said she should expect the onset of scary complications and told her to prepare for a grim future. SheI took a stand that her life was not going to be the same. She mastered the Holistic Lifestyle and has since been living a very vibrant life! Her mission brought her from teams of health professionals using the traditional approach, to going back to University and studying alternative methods to wellness - how to heal from the inside out, to be proactive rather than reactive, and how holistic self-care can elevate your wellness leaps and bounds! She's gone on to co-authoring books with big names like Jack Canfield, Les Brown, Dr. John Gray and Brian Tracey.

Amanda Richards

Magna Carta Legal Services. - Founder, Paralegal

Amanda Richards has always had the desire to help others. Her path to self-employment seemed like a natural evolution – she faced some struggles, but she took each of them on with ferocity and strength. On top of working full-time as an employee for 15 years, Amanda has raised two children as a single mother, while at the same time gaining academic experience and growing multiple businesses’. Amanda has ventured into many avenues of business, from managing multiple high-end retail locations to working at law firms on Bay Street. She also has a passion for hair and makeup as she went to the Professional School of Makeup. She worked for an agency that provides hair and makeup for television, magazines, etc., while more specifically she worked with the Miss Universe pageant and Sports Centre. After going through these ventures, Amanda decided to go back to the law, by going back to school and getting licensed as a paralegal, while at the same time starting her business, Magna Carta Legal Services. Bringing Amanda’s passions together of fashion and the law, she takes an interest in professional attire and workplace outfits and how COVID-19 has made a new normal in this aspect. Amanda taught at Humber College for the Paralegal Program. She enjoys teaching and molding young minds. Amanda’s best advice is to never give up and never take no as an answer. Find what you are passionate about and run with it.

Daniela Siggia

Noble Body Care Inc and Black Ram Media Group - Co founder, Author

Daniela is an award-winning business leader, corporate and political strategist, lobbyist, industry advocate, and Creative Director. A leading expert on the second-hand economy, she often consults and guest lectures on economic development, green tech advancements, as well as mentors business builders in personal, professional, and brand development. She was recently nominated for an Order Of Ontario in part for setting a new standard in her industry and for her commitment to public education. She also serves on the Board of Directors for several charities and research/industry collaboratives.
Well versed on municipal affairs and regulations, she often represents industry and municipal stakeholders seeking outside the box solutions for industry shifts and limitations. Disaster PR is her superpower. She is the author of In Loving Denial: Stop Saying I Beat Cancer. She co-owns Black Ram Media Group Inc & cofounder of Noble Body Care Inc

Katie Bushie

Life Spark Holistic Coaching & Wellness - PsychoPractitioner/ Trauma Sensitive Yoga Instructor

Katie is a PsychoPractitioner who has pioneered the connection of mental health & yoga/wellness for hundreds of veterans, first responders & individuals in trauma recovery.
This has been demonstrated in first-ever long-term collaborations with military services, first responders, hospitals, nonprofits & schools.
She is a regular speaker across Ontario Canada on the healing evidence of holistic interventions.
She was nominated for 10 awards across Ontario for her work in the mental health forum last year.

Aymie Rondeau

Shop the Curvy - Owner

Aymie is a positive leader in the Calgary community. She is a voice for those living in plus-size bodies. She advocates for the needs of fashion for those in plus size bodies continually. She advocates for women empowering one another, and she also lives that in her everyday life. She is a heart centric business and it’s easy to feel connected to her. Her passion for community and fashion is palpable.

Michelle Buckland

EMBRACE - President/Founder

Michelle is an inspiration because she is passionate about what she does. I believe that she is intentional and motivated to advocate for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves. She has been championing and training inclusivity and accessibility for many years. This is not a fleeting exercise du jour for Michelle - but a deep-seated belief in ensuring that we see people with disabilities as being able to contribute in many ways. She believes in providing support in an equitable manner having lived and living through certain stigma. Michelle devotes herself to this work and is ever-ready to provide others with the knowledge and resources needed for awareness and action. She is a kind, detailed-oriented, driven phenomenal leader and entrepreneur with advocacy at the core.

Rachel Lemos

Canadian Western Bank Financial Group - Director, Procurement

The need for a Procurement department at Canadian Western Bank Financial Group (CWBFG) was determined many years ago, however this did not come to fruition until Rachel Lemos came on board in February 2020. As soon as Rachel landed in Edmonton, she wasted no time in establishing key relationships in the organization to promote the Procurement departments goals and provide standardization in processes and policies to ensure the highest security protocols were followed to protect our clients.

When Rachel started she was a team of herself and saved the bank almost 1 million dollars in a 9 month period. Rachel was able to build a department from the ground up, while working remotely through a pandemic crisis which was an enormous challenge to overcome.

Together the Procurement Team continues to make tremendous impact to the organizations processes and continues to establish huge savings to the bank by her keen negotiation skills. Her leadership skills have been noticed and admired by many; she is a great asset to our organization. Rachel has inspired me to learn new things, and approach things head on. Her leadership is second to none, and I am very grateful she joined the CWBFG team.

Aditi Loveridge

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Centre - Founder, Loss Coach

Aditi is a trailblazer in the non-profit sector. During the covid-19 pandemic, she leads the pregnancy and infant loss support center in creating Canada's first national pregnancy loss support line. This support line has been a successful endeavor, supporting people across Canada and the USA, who have lost a pregnancy or infant during the isolating times that we currently face. It would be hard to imagine a world without Aditi's bright shining light. She is truly an inspiration.

Ellis Odynn

Digital Finance Institute - Executive Director & Chief AI Officer

Ellis Odynn is a trailblazing woman in tech. Her leadership and commitment to championing innovation and digital transformation in the banking sector has helped shape the Canadian FinTech ecosystem. Ellis is one of Canada's most recognized voices in finance, and has become a frequent speaker on Innovation, AI, FinTech, Payments and Inclusion.

Ellis acts as a mentor to young women and girls in high school and university who are looking to explore career opportunities in STEM.

Candace Chisholm

He Changed It Enterprises Inc - CEO/ Co-founder

Candace is a shape shifter and calls herself an agent of change. For over 4 years she dedicated over 50 hours per week, voluntarily, to a women and children's non for profit, to help combat poverty. Upon exiting, she noticed there was a distinct hole in the market when it came to men's health, primarily mental health. She has, for over the last 2 1/2 years, once again dedicated her time and energy building a tech company to bring to market one of the world's first, gender specific, mobile apps for men. As a mother of 2 sons, she is determined to move the needle on what WHO deems a silent crisis, that of men's health. Recently, she saw her vision come to light as they have now entered the app stores, and have men all over the world downloading the app. She receives messages daily thanking her for her role in helping break the stigma. She firmly believes that for true equality for women, there must be a coming together, and an understanding on how to work together and build sustainable families and navigate the ever changing landscape.

Jennifer Hadley

Fierce Mom - founder

I am nominating Jennifer because she is a fierce mom! Not only is she a fierce mom but she is a fierce community connector! She is always willing to help those around her, she encourages people to look at every day as a new day and helps everyone get organized! With a focus on empowering women and encouraging growth and change Jennifer is a women of inspiration!

Nilofer Saadat

Home Life Luxuary - Owner

She is a very active and energetic person.
- She accomplished most of her goals in a very short time.

Darija Slokar

City of St.Albert - Manager, Corporate Planning, Risk and Insurance at City of St. Albert

I would like to nominate Darija Slokar for the women of inspire award. Darija has worked really hard this past year in completing her MBA while working as a full time professional for the City of St. Albert and being a full-time mom and wife to her kids and spouse. Darija has come really far in her career and education and influenced many young professionals around her. She has also been very active with her Health and Wellness goals that she has influenced many other women to join fiton which is a global app that allows you to work out from the comfort of your home and office at anytime with professionals around the world. She has done a fantastic job in maintaining her goals and inspiring her community. She is also an active member of the Rotary club and a member of the Board of Directors. Way to go Darija and keep up the excellent work! You are an inspiration to all the women around you!

Reena Khullar Sharma

Agilis Executive Consulting - Founder & CEO

Reena is an atypical woman entrepreneur who changed the landscape of management consulting in 2020 by launching a global consulting firm that is leading with her advantage. I nominate this extraordinary woman for paving the path to ascertain everyday people’s lives through journalism that evokes emotion, admiration, and thought-provoking realization that the world is closer to us than we know. This nomination only touches the surface of what Reena has embarked on. She is a game-changer in her quiet but powerful presence, helping people succeed in their professions and opening their eyes to possibilities they never knew they were capable of achieving! Her play on the word extra(ordinary) is not surprising for her creative mind, nor her ability to critically strategize best outcomes for clients like me. Her articles in Forbes support her ambitious entrepreneurial path, and yet she remains grounded! She is a woman of inspiration, watch out world!

Asawari Lele

RBCRoyal Bank of Canada - Business Account Manager at RBC Royal Bank of Canada

Asawari goes above and beyond the requirements of an account manager and is extremely liked by her customers. she is a strong advocate of female entrepreneurship. Her strength is client servicing and going above and beyond. She owns their issues and challenges and comes back with solutions.This is also the reason she has been recognized, honoured and awarded the 'RBC Convention Award 2020' for Business Markets.

Anita Erskine

Anita Erskine Holdings Limited. - Broadcaster, Actress, Advocate

Anita Erskine was educated in Canada, built her brand helping women and becoming a broadcasting powerhouse in Africa.
Now back in Hamilton splitting her time between McMaster University, making appearances on international television and expanding her media profile in North America, Anita has risen to the forefront of the African broadcast industry to become a powerful Award-Winning voice seasoned by experience as well as talent, and aimed at uplifting and inspiring women around the world. She has almost two decades in the broadcast industry focusing on Music, Lifestyle, Maternal Health, Social Impact, Education, Entrepreneurship and Empowerment. She hosted The One Show; +233 Discovery; and is the host for the female edition of Making of a Mogul. Anita is also the Executive Producer and host of Sheroes of Our Time and Host /Advisor of the 2020 edition of the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative. Named one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Africa, the 100 Most Inspirational Women in Ghana and 100 Most Influential People in Ghana, Anita truly is a global powerhouse who is making Canada home and working here on the international version of her show SHEROES. Anita truly is a woman of inspiration, who like WOI shines the light on the work of other women with her platforms..

Serena Lynch

Nick J. Kyte Team - Client Experience Officer

Serena Lynch is the Client Experience Officer for the Nick J. Kyte Team, an internationally acclaimed Ottawa real estate office. She Featured in Authority Magazine's Meet The Female Leaders Of Real Estate for her brilliant work. She has been an activist with BIPOC and LGBTQ+ issues. Travel has exposed her to matters of cultural and socio-economic significance. In South Africa, Serena observed the vast difference between classes and was enlightened at the Apartheid Museum. In the Netherlands, she learned more about the effects of the holocaust. In the Amazon, she acknowledged that education was a privilege and for many, life was a struggle. In the Galapagos, Serena learned about the delicate balance between man and nature, how we have a responsibility to participate in the stewardship of our planet.

Amy Davies

First 30 Inc. - Founder and CEO

Amy launched First 30 in 2019, a virtual 30-day outplacement and onboarding program allowing companies to help restructured employees land new roles, and also to fully 'on board' newly hired employees. As First 30 gained momentum in 2020, Amy continued to provide free webinars and one-on-one services to individuals who had lost their jobs. Even while consumed by the constant challenges of managing a new business, she's devoted countless hours to sharing her services at no cost to individuals who need help. The inspiration she exudes in this regard is truly is deserving of recognition.

Dr Paola Lake

Lake Professional Psychology Services - Psychologist

Dr. Paola Lake, a registered psychologist who has dedicated her adult life to studying resilience and healing, with a focus on healing from trauma. Serving her communities for over 20 years working with first responders and the military, she is also well known for her empowering work with people in all walks of life as she helps individuals rise past adversity, uncovering their potential, and dissolving barriers that stand in their way to personal success.
As part of that lifelong mission to help people realize their potential, Dr. Lake hosted a local community radio show, “The Dr. Lake Show,” interviewing interesting experts like Dr. Bruce Lipton, cell biologist, Dr. Anat Baniel, brain scientist, and Dr. Lee Pulos, clinical psychologist /international speaker. A fascinating host, she pivoted to the podcast world and now hosts the popular “The Dr. Lake Show,” focussed on engaging in conversations for change about any area of life that affects our well-being, including emotional, physical, relationship, financial, and community aspects of life.

Hanna Ormanczyk

Biomedicine Holistic Healing Clinics - Founder, Osteopath, an Integrative Medicine Practitioner and Registered Nutritional Therapist

Hanna Ormanczyk is an Osteopath, an Integrative Medicine Practitioner and Registered Nutritional Therapist with an international reputation. People come from around the world to get one on one specialized care from Hanna's two Biomedicine Holistic Healing Clinics in Oakville and Mississauga. As she puts it "I specialize in integrative medicine,
epigenetic approach, and advocating for its usage in correction, improve, and normalization in contemporary medical practice. I am one of the very few practitioners offering these particular forms of treatment and clinical trials to investigate root causes of dietary issues ranging anywhere from weight management, nutritional tracking, and other health issues like sleep apnea, diabetes, and leaky gut. I specialize in combating today’s issues in dietary consumption such as obesity and malnutrition with an overall success rate of 86% and climbing. I offer all of me services in person and online for anyone who need my help. I excel at being able to connect and empathize with all my clients, employing an empathetic approach and recognizing the underlying personal motivations and drives of my patients to use to achieve their goals of self-betterment and personal growth." Hanna makes a huge difference in peoples lives and inspires them to live their best life !

Bonnie Butlin

Security Partners' Forum - Co-Founder and Executive Director

Bonnie is a world leader in the empowerment of women in the security & resilience disciplines. She has developed networks across the globe for women to network as well as awards recognizing women in various regions across the globe.

Nancy Barber

Bombardier Aviation - Chief Operating Officer

Nancy is an accomplished leader and the first female in the role of Chief Operating Officer at Bombardier Aviation. She has shown incredible resilience, strength, discipline, and heart, inspiring so many around her in her journey. She is an enthusiastic leader who truly cares about her team and enables them to channel their own enthusiasm and grow in their roles. Even during challenging times, Nancy has a way of instilling confidence through her positive approach. Throughout her career, she has always been generous of her time and enjoys coaching young women. She actively promotes gender parity both within her organization and through speaking events. What inspires me most about Nancy is not only what she does, but how she does it.

Simran Bhamu

HS Advisory Inc. - Director and Co-Founder

Simran's heart for her community continues to push her forward to help out, even during the pandemic. She ran for Orangeville council during the last election, a major part of her platform was her passion for being a positive force in the community. She has been extremely helpful in supporting individual businesses as well as local not-for profits through numerous initiatives.

Along with providing advice on marketing and fundraising strategies, she has assisted in fundraising for initiatives like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dufferin, organized an auction with over 25 local businesses, assisted in locating sponsors for 198 free meals, and organized giveaway items for "Celebrate Your Awesome".

She was also recognized for her continual efforts to bring awareness and civil discussion on topics of diversity, inclusion, and equality through social media.

Her work resulted in being chosen as a recipient of the Town of Orangeville’s Community Recognition Awards for community leaders during the pandemic.

Additionally, she is an educator with the School of Marketing in Seneca College.

Marilyn Barefoot

Marilyn Barefoot - Owner, President, CEO

Marilyn’s the most inspiring leader/innovative thinker I've had the recent honor of working with. She’s helped several of the biggest brands/companies in the world jump their biggest hurdles. Yet this success never detracts from her humble, consistently kind, good-humored, down-to-earth attitude; the bedrocks of her personality. Her unmatched expertise in Creative Problem Solving makes her an ideal collaborator. I'm certain that MB’s embodiment of true leadership is one we need more examples of in our current world. Especially in this extremely tumultuous time. One that’s seemingly defined by a lack of true, honest, exemplary leadership. Another pertinent reason to nominate Marilyn. Most remarkably, M’s built her outrageously successful career/fostered innovation at highly advanced levels by teaching leadership/empowering others to lead. As cliche as it sounds, it’s true: Good leaders create followers. Great leaders create leaders. And this is what Marilyn does; without ego, hesitation or compromise.

Dana Francoz

Dana Francoz, The DanMar Group - Owner, President, CEO

Dana is a truly remarkable, inspiring, generous human being. Aside from her astonishingly successful career in media/publishing, she’s given back consistently, without limit, through her work with non-profit organizations. During Dana’s media career, she’s represented several of the world’s most iconic brands & Canadian advertisers/marketers, across all platforms. Throughout that time, she’s always been an active volunteer/board member. Currently, Dana’s a board member at Spinal Cord Injury Ontario. An organization intact since 1945, when its founders, having sustained spinal cord injury, returned home after WWII and rejected institutionalization as their lot in life. That spirit of moving boldly forward, of living the life you choose in spite of overwhelming challenges, characterizes SCI today, thanks to people like Dana who spearhead their caring community. In addition, Dana was an active board member of the Clarendon Foundation, seeing its eventual integration into PACE, allowing people with disabilities to live independently.

Alison Gaudet

RBC Global Asset Management - District Vice President

Alison Gaudet is a District Vice President of the Central Toronto Region with RBC Global Asset
Management (RBC GAM).
Prior to joining RBC GAM in 2010, she was an investment specialist with RBC Royal Bank.
Alison has over fifteen years of experience in the financial services industry including ten years
consulting with financial advisors on RBC GAM’s suite of investment solutions. As a woman in finance
and a mother of two, Being a millennial Alison is incredibly passionate about educating and engaging women on the financial literacy and wealth management.

Yasemin Sezer

L&T Infotech - Head of Technology and Operations

Yasemin Sezer has been working in the technology sector as an influential executive leader for more than 20 years. She is a pioneer in providing digital technology solutions and transforming organizations by implementing automation and robotics solutions. Being a successful trailblazer in STEM, she sponsored Women4Women; networking for women in technology, both in her global organization, (where half of her team was operating out of India) and in the industry. She has been given the Top 100 Powerful Women Award in light of her achievements in the tech industry.

Kween No Last

Guelph Black Heritage Society - Executive Director

Kween ran the largest protest ever seen in history in this area and in Guelph. It brought over 8,000 with a viewership of 20k. Every day she inspires others through her two businesses or her role as Executive Director for a nonprofit called Guelph Black Heritage Society. From her social media to her constant everyday life. She is exquisite. She makes monumental strides for the Black communities.

Rayne Grein

Always Saturday Marketing - Co Founder

Rayne is an incredible leader and entrepreneur in our community. Rayne co-founded successful marketing businesses 2 years ago, and sits on the board of a local Animal Shelter, she continues to dedicate her efforts to seeing both organizations grow & scale each year.
The marketing agency was created with a shared idea to do more than just make a profit - Always Saturday Marketing is dedicated to purpose-driven and sustainable businesses, they contribute 1% of their revenue and volunteer time to organizations with One Percent for The Planet and working with other local nonprofits.
Second, is a nonprofit focused on providing compassion, protection, placement, and education to community members, to ensure responsible and respectful animal welfare.
Rayne is a hard worker, who has always been passionate about doing good and this shines through her business journey.

Nina Nyakio

Flora Terah - Young school girl

As the youngest council member at HeartLake united church Nina Nyakio 15 year old motivational speaker, poet, artist, and environmental activist from Toronto, Canada is a role model among the young black community trailblazers across Canada.Very bold in giving inspirational speeches at schools and community events. Young Nyakio has been supporting UN Sustainability Development goals especially keeping our environment. She is a leader of ecosystem school project students who advocates for single use plastic ban. She has volunteered to plant trees organized by Credit Valley Conservation Authority.
Am extremely happy to nominate this young girl because I know I too looked upon several older women who hit the glass ceiling in to pave way for my generation.
Because school comes first,Nyakio doesn't have social media handles as required by UWN.

Jenny Burthwright

Jane Bond BBQ - Chef, Proprietor & CEO

Jenny has an indescribable passion and commitment to her business, her staff, and her friends and family. She works tirelessly every day, on minimal sleep or time off, to create BBQ magic. Creating her business from the ground up, Jenny has taken on construction, electrical, finance, marketing, and cooking to ensure she could get her new location up and running while in the height of the pandemic. What started as a small food truck business, has now grown into a large location with a staff of over 10 people, who are treated like family. When organizations are in need of help, she leaps into action, offering her services without hesitation and without fees. Jenny Burthwright is a strong, bi-racial, and independent woman who deserves all the success in the world.

Catherine Chow


Catherine is a true leader in her community and a role model for other Realtors. In addition to being on the Board of Governors for the CREB® Reator® Community Foundation, she is the Chair of the CREB® Community Investment Standing Committee. She is a 16 year Senior Associate Shareholder of the Calgary Stampede Committee, promoting Calgary and Western Pride. Catherinehas also helped fundraise and volunteer for several organizations such as: Kids Cancer Care Foundation, RMHC, is a founding member of the CV&Me committee with the Libin Cardiovascular Institute and was nominated as a "Hero of the Flood" by the Government of Alberta in 2013 for flood relief efforts. She is an inspiration to all women.

Hannah Yohannes

Filmmaker - Program Coordinator - Speaker

I'm nominating Hannah Yohannes as a Woman of Inspiration because she uses her filmmaking gifts and talents to educate and advocate for her community. For example, as a program coordinator, she transformed the Ve'ahavta Skills Academy (VSA) program which is a 9-week essential skills program from an in-person class to a digital online training program due to COVID-19 being announced as a global pandemic. This is one of the several moments in which Hannah shows her adaptability and dedication to her community members. She also uses her platform as a filmmaker to advocate for those who feel voiceless and mentors youth in the Presenting Our Vision film program on the power of storytelling and highlighting the importance of representation in the media industry.

Shanta Sundarason

Change Maker

Shanta has been in Canada for about 10yrs. In that time, she has started a social justice group for youth called The Giving Tree. The children in this group have initiated and run many social justice initiatives including helping/learning about First Peoples and environmental concerns. There are many youths who have gone through this program and come out with insight that will shape their future. When Covid started, Shanta helped pull together a small group of people to sew fabric masks. She helped source materials and sew. Her porch was the central pickup and drop off for materials and finished products. The porch has also been used for Purse for a Sister, Love boxes for the local hospital pediatric unit and many other things. Shanta has been instrumental in helping the Town of Markham understand the marginalized within their borders as well as that outside. She has done a lot to educate and press those in the local chambers.

Dr. Stephanie Estima

Hello Betty - Chief Betty, CEO

I am nominating Dr. Stephanie for her exemplary work in women's healthcare. In her podcast, book and 1:1 clients she reveals her message to empower women through informed consent. It is her belief, if you can educate a woman in a holistic, nonjudgmental way, she will make decisions regarding her health and her family's health which are aligned with her core values.

Ashwini kashinath Bogadi

WorldEmp India Private Limited - Associate Vice President – Talent Delivery,

While Ashwini K Bogadi describes herself as a “trendy woman”, & incredibly talented with diverse interests in various fields ,she is a state level swimmer, member of the Inner wheel Club of Bangalore Junction, a Hardcore Rallyist, Traveler by choice, completed Yoga Junior & the last but not the least, a true Fashionista. She is passionate about Automobiles, Fashion , Music, Dance and everything new. It probably comes as no surprise that the automotive industry is dominated by men. From auto body technicians to racecar drivers, the male presence in this field is impossible to ignore. Despite being in an industry dominated by men, Ab is a rallyist with many accolades. Ab is fearlessly feminine. She doesn’t shy away from posting photos on social media with or without makeup. Over the last year, fans connected with Ab, resulting in a healthy engagement rate ---- if social media were a race, Ab would definitely be winning hands down. Currently employed as Associate Vice President – Talent Delivery, WorldEmp India a Dutch organization.

Jamie Loreth

Jamie Loreth (J Lynn Ady pen name) - Author

Jamie Loreth is the author of The Pink Blanket, the first novel in the forthcoming series, and the Founder of The Pink Blanket Campaign — a campaign intended to help women fleeing domestic violence. Jamie, since a young child, has carried the desire to be a writer and she has forever hoped to one day be able to offer some form of “positive hope or change in the world.” Fortunately, those two passions collided when she made the decision to chase her dream of becoming an author. Caught in an unhealthy marriage herself and watching those close to her suffer in abusive relationships, the story line for The Pink Blanket started to blossom. Today, she has now published her first novel and is working to create a platform that will provide Pink blankets and essential necessities and assistance to shelters for women fleeing domestic violence.

Teri Green

Lite Technology Solutions, LLC - Cio/Ciso

Leader, Entrepreneur, Mentor, Visionary, Innovator, Chief Information Security Officer, Founder of LITE Technology; Teri Green, a Chicago native, has been an example of not allowing a troublesome start to dictate your end. Teri has gone from Orphan to CIO/CISO with her combined life lessons and experience in the field of technology. She recently started a scholarship called the change begins now to help bridge the gap between minorities and women in technology, beginning with the first 10,000 from her pocket.

Rosemary Mupambwa

Rosemary Mupambwa - Author, Speaker, Life Transformational and Relationship Expect, CEO

Rosemary Mupambwa is an Author, Speaker, Life Transformational, and Relationship Expect, CEO of Roseslifecoaching Healing Inc. She has transformed a lot of women’s lives through her speaking and retreats about healing. A Widow
herself is one of the most courageous, resilient, and powerful women I know, who got tired of crying herself to sleep after her loss, decided to use her pain to change people’s lives. This strong woman got separated from her children for 6 years when she migrated to Canada from Zimbabwe, but she is still standing. The acclaimed Relationship Expect, went through failed relationships before realizing that people needed to heal from their past before getting into new relationships. Now she helps a multitude of women worldwide, to reset, reignite their groove and get back into the dating scene. Rosemary believes crying without taking action is self-destructive behavior. Her motto is, “Healing Is A Choice.”

Andrea Meharg

Reveal Cannabis - Founder

After struggling with crippling depression for months, Andrea Meharg reluctantly tried cannabis to help her symptoms and the results were truly life-changing. Not only was she able to thrive again, she decided that other women needed to know about the healing properties of this plant and so she started Reveal Cannabis, a place for women to get support and education around using cannabis for better health and wellness. As a certified Cannabis Coach and Educator and a teacher with almost 20 years of experience, she's breaking down stigmas and challenging the status quo with her YouTube channel, the website, and her successful Women's Cannabis Club. Because she's willing to talk openly and honestly about her mental health struggles and the non-traditional way she went about dealing with them, she's changing the lives of women daily.

Dr. Janét Aizenstros

Ahava Group Global - Founder & Chairwoman

Dr. Janét Aizenstros is a signatory with the United Nations Business Action Hub (UNBAH) for the United Nations Global Compact Network. She is an award-winning businesswoman with several leadership awards such as the Top 40 under 40, the Top 10 Inspiring Women in Canada, 2019 Conscious Company Media’s Top 22 Business Leaders, 2013-2014 YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction of Business and Entrepreneur, a recipient of the 2020 WXN Canada's Most Powerful Women Entrepreneur Award: Top 100, the Stevie® Award winner for Female Entrepreneur of the Year Canada; Employer Of The Year for Canadian Business which ranked her company 12th on Canadian Business 2020 Growth List -- making her the first Black Canadian woman in history to scale a 9-figure organization and sole female founder to be featured on the list. Janét is also a member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO), a participant with Concordia Leadership Council and a Global Goodwill Ambassador for the Global Goodwill Ambassadors Foundation.

Kayla Isabelle

Startup Canada - CEO

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. Kayla also amplified the organization's focus on social impact, sharing the stories, and providing resources for entrepreneurs aligning to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Mikaella Celeston

Ottawa Hair Loss Clinic & Wellness - Founder

Mikaella is an extraordinary individual she is very knowledgeable and has expertise in the Domaine of Trichologist. She has been helping hundreds of people with hair loss and scalp conditions. She is the first Trichologist clinic in Ottawa. She also formulated and developed a line of products to help the clients especially during those hard times. She deserves to
Be recognized for
All the good she has been doing for her clients.

Samantha Outhwaite

Samantha Outhwaite - Co Founder of Saskatoon Dog Rescue, Founder of Kita's Promise

Despite growing up in poverty, and facing extreme abuse, Samantha has risen above her past to become one of the most influential young women in our community of Saskatoon, SK. As the founder at age 20 of one of the largest animal rescues in Saskatchewan, she now is working on her second non profit which focuses on the relationship between people with complex needs and rescue animals. She has also worked as a support worker/care aide in various orgs for the last 6 years, all while working on her degree in Therapeutic Recreation.

Kehkashan Basu

Green Hope Foundation - Founder President

Winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize, 20-year-old Kehkashan Basu is an iconic youth leader, global influencer, environmentalist, champion of women and children’s rights, TEDx speaker, Climate Reality Mentor, author, musician, peace, and sustainability campaigner. A Forbes30under 30 for Education and the first-ever Voices Youth Gorbachev-Schultz Legacy Award for her work on nuclear disarmament, Kehkashan is a United Nations Human Rights Champion, a National Geographic Young Explorer, an UN-Habitat Young City Champion, and the youngest ever Global Coordinator for the UN Environment Program’s Major Group for Children & Youth and one of Canada's Top25 Women of Influence. Kehkashan is the Founder President of the global social innovation enterprise Green Hope Foundation, which works at a grassroots level in 16 countries, empowering young people, especially those from vulnerable communities, in the sustainable development process and she has spoken at over 200 United Nations and other global fora. Through Green Hope, Kehkashan has directly empowered over 130,000 young people, mostly from vulnerable and marginalized communities in 25 countries.

Jennifer Quaglietta

Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC) - Vice President, Performance Excellence and Information Sergices

Jennifer has been a visionary leader in the Canadian healthcare sector for over 20 years. Jennifer has overseen countless, system-wide changes with a commitment to nurturing people and advancing patient safety while at the same time keeping performance, innovation, and sustainability at the forefront.

As Jennifer’s career has progressed, she has had a focused commitment to mentoring women (students, peers and colleagues). Jennifer has always made time to contribute to accelerating growth in others and helping create joy at work. She has inspired and supported many colleagues and mentees across the system in achieving their vision, by bridging their strategic functional expertise with landscape navigation to support them in obtaining their professional goals, all while improving value across the system. She was recently named as a Top 10 Women Leader in Digital Health by Digital Health Canada and continues to support women across the country in achieving their goals.

Evangeline Chima

Black Mentorship Inc.. Black Mentorship Inc. (BMI) - Founder

Evangeline Chima is the driving force behind Black Mentorship Inc.
Black Mentorship Inc. (BMI). An organization that strengthens leadership opportunities for ALL People by connecting Black youths, professionals, and entrepreneurs at different stages of personal and professional growth with experienced mentors through a unique mentoring program.
She is the perfect example if lifting others through support and mentoring!

Kiruthika Vamatheavan


Kiruthika is 21 years old. She’s an entrepreneur, the founder, and CEO of AutoxMarket Inc, it’s an online marketplace for automotive shopping. Also, the founder of Aram Foundations which helps children in third world countries with their education needs. She’s a law student and very interested in global issues. She also received the award for Emerging Leader by CSPN 2020.

Shreya Patel

Window Dreams Productions - Creative Director

Model turned writer, filmmaker, actress, and mental health advocate, Shreya Patel a voice to empower the voiceless. , she has dedicated her life to not only a professional career in film and the arts but also in social work. She is an honoree of the Women’s Achiever Award 2020 for Youth Leadership and CSPN’s Emerging Leader Award Under 35. She is also nominated for Forbes 30 under 30. A natural storyteller, she uses many of her diverse interests and impactful activism work in film projects. Her directorial debut, the documentary “Girl Up”, brings light to domestic violence and human trafficking in Toronto and has been partnered with TIFF to showcase at Civic Action Summit. During this pandemic, she has gathered over 65 countries on 6 different continents with over 100 casts and made a documentary called Unity showcasing the plight of the human spirit.

Cindy Watson

Women On Purpose - Founder

Cindy is a true Woman On Purpose. As a successful social justice attorney, she dedicated herself to uplifting, empowering, and promoting women to rise up together. While many people hid during the pandemic, Cindy shone. She showed up doing daily FB lives to uplift and inspire and had people around the world tune in to hear her messages of hope. She used her platforms to share free content, doing intensive free workshops and even offered much of her programing for free. She inspires women worldwide, empowering them to find and live into their purpose and passion. She helps women leverage their innate power to get what they want and deserve through her Art of Feminine Negotiation programs (because all of life is a negotiation). She’s an international speaker, award-winning author, master negotiator and world-class women’s empowerment coach, known for her passion, commitment and ability to inspire.

Tanya Wick

Tolko Industries Ltd. - VP, People & Services

Tanya is a passionate and authentic leader. She consistently relies on her strong values to guide her in all that she does. Her commitment to diversity and inclusion has earned her the respect of the forest industry. Her industry peers see Tolko (Tanya) as the industry leader and reach out to her regularly. Tanya openly shares with competitors, because it's not about being better as a company, it's about just being better. She is a role model at the company and beyond, fiercely advocating for women at every opportunity. The push for D&I in this traditional male-dominated industry is because of Tanya.

Nadiya Manji

Curacion Group of Companies / Nadiya Manji Brand - CEO and Founder

Nadiya Manji is a thought leader in the area of utilizing emotional intelligence in leading your life and business. Originally from Pakistan, Nadiya has worked with numerous clients over 3 continents, for over 15 years and has decided to make Canada her home. Through many adversities, she has powered through to create a place for herself on the emotional intelligence and leadership stage. She strongly believes that emotional intelligence and leadership skills can be utilized in both our personal and professional lives. Nadiya is also a 2018 TEDx Speaker, Author and is currently completing her designation as a clinical hypnotherapist. I believe Nadiya is a prime candidate for this award as she has worked with many people helping break through their inner blocks and barriers to attain the best life possible. There is no one more deserving than Nadiya Manji.

Michele Parotta

Mimi Cannabis - Founder

Michele Parrotta - aka Mimi Cannabis was recently featured in The Chicago Tribune in an article about shifting careers. After decades-long career in Hospitality at an age when others are thinking retirement, Michele entered a whole new industry becoming the much-loved influencer and head of the mimicannabis.com brand. Her focus is on counselling and consulting with boomers and seniors seeking cannabis medicine. Recently she attended an exclusive VIP Party with Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong in attendance, and he was extremely supportive of her work, telling her; "Don't stop!" She says she never will!