2800 HWY 7, CONCORD, ON L4K 1W8


I extend heartfelt greetings to all guests who have gathered to celebrate our 4th annual Brilliant Minded Women Organization & Foundation Gala Event. It’s an exciting time for our organization, as we continue to grow, meet and bring inspired people together. We are honored to be able to celebrate the achievements of our amazing Award recipients.

Brilliant Minded Women Organization & Foundation is extremely grateful to all sponsors and supporters for their generosity, our event could not have happened without their participation. We are happy to have all ends of the spectrum represented and realize the impact of everyone’s participation and the necessity of the roles. We are pleased to provide you with a forum that allows the chance for us to thrive and grow. With your help, we intend to accomplish even more in the years ahead. Finally, a heartfelt thank you, to the 2017 Gala Committee. Your dedication, creativity, and resourcefulness made this evening possible allowing us to create an engaging environment.


Agata Klimczak

Invitation to GALA



HAZEL MCCALLION, Honorable Mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, from 1978 until 2014, Chancellor of Sheridan College.

BONNIE CROMBIE, Honorable Mayor of Mississauga, Ontario,

JIM DIODATI, Honorable Mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario

NATALIA IWASZKO, Vice – Consul Economic Affairs Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto

MR. ROLANDO VERA, Honorable Consul of Ecuador in Toronto


Rear-Admiral (Retired) ELIZABETH M. STUART, Assistant Deputy Minister & Chief

Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch, Veterans Affairs Canada

LT. RIAD BYNE (Retired), Canadian Armed Forces, Co-Founder Spartan Wellness – Canada

Sergeant ADRIENNE STICKLLEY, 2017 Invictus Games Canadian Silver Medal Winner – Canada

JACKIE BUTTNOR (Retired), 2017 Invictus Games Canadian Silver Medal Winne – Canada

Corporal (Retired) PHIL BADANAI, 2017 Invictus Games Canadian Flag Bearer – Canada

ARIF ERTEN, Canadian Armed Forces – Canada


MARK ORMRODK MPSA, (Former Royal Marines Commando and 2017 Invictus Games, Great Britain representative and Silver Medal Winner) – Great Britain

MARC WICKS MBE, (Former Royal Marines Commando Corps RSM and NATO HQ SACT CSM, now the Director of Global Initiatives, Veterans Media Corporation) – Great Britain

Master Corporal MELISSA BLAIR, Canadian Armed Forces – Canada

Warrant Officer AVRIL JNO-BAPTISTE-JONES, Canadian Armed Forces – Canada


Hazel Mccallion

Hazel McCallion, CM is a Canadian politician and businesswoman who served as the mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, from 1978 until 2014. She is the first and current Chancellor of Sheridan College.

Gwyneth Herrera

Gwyneth Herrera is a 9-year-old Canadian abstract and photo-realistic artist, who was born into a loving artistic family. She is currently an award-winning artist who won The Vision Awards 2016 in the ‘Young Visionary of the Year’ category, nominee and finalist at the Marty’s Award 2017 for the Emerging Visual Arts category and ‘Visual Artist of the Year’ by InFAME Awards 2016.


Christopher Mei

I have a deep seeded passion for a live-action environment and The Weather Network is that at times. The weather always changes so there can not be any teleprompting. I am a CMOS endorsed weather host and bring my ‘A’ game every day to a morning audience in Vancouver, British Columbia as well as a dialed-in audience coast-to-coast.


Kinga Mitrowska

Born in Montreal began her musical studies at the Faculty of Theatre in Marianopolis College in Montreal and then traveled to Poland, where she graduated with a master’s degree from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. She made her debut, which turned out to be a great success, as Despina in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, staged by Polish State Opera. She was engaged by the Warsaw State Opera as a solist. Among her roles were: Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème, or Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. During her stay in Poland, she also recorded for Polish Radio and TV.

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When she returned to Canada, she continued her acclaimed successes with lead performances with the Toronto Operetta and Opera in Concert. She also devotes her time sharing her knowledge with her students . The last four years she has been staging shows with her students, “Magical Broadway” “Variete”. Kinga is a recipient of many awards of vocal competitions and festivals.

Many of her students are following in her footsteps by also winning in voice competitions “American Protege” “NATS Voice Competition” “Hall Leonard”. In recognition of her talent, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television nominated her in 2005 for the 20th Annual Gemini Awards in the Best Performance Category. In 2007 she was decorated with the Medal of Merit by the Polish Ministry of Culture for her artistic achievements. She is the recipient of the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards that was given to her in 2008. In 2013 she was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit from the President of Poland for her propagation of Polish culture in Canada. Kinga is a member of RCM, Equity and National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Karolina Podolak

Karolina Podolak is a Polish-Canadian soprano from Toronto. Karolina Podolak work as a radio producer at Global News Radio 640. She developed her passion for music at a young age, studying the violin and guitar.

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She was then drawn to study classical singing and has
been pursuing it for the past few years under the tutelage of soprano Kinga Mitrowska. She
has since found success in competitions and performances at prestigious venues for
distinguished guests in Canada, the United States, and Poland. Karoline works as a radio
producer in Toronto, having completed a degree in Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson

Elyse Saunders

Country recording artist, Elyse Saunders, is a songwriter with raw talent and an entertainer who truly shines on stage. Elyse can be described as an artist that brings the life of the party to her show with powerhouse vocals, radiating charm, and lively performances.

Featured in Toronto Sun as being an artist that’s “well on her way”, Elyse works hard in her pursuits with many impressive accomplishments to show for it.
After penning with some of Nashville’s greats as well as Ontario’s own, she received the support of FACTOR and recorded her most recent album “I’m On My Way” with three-time CCMA/JUNO award winner Joel Feeney at Toronto’s acclaimed Orange Lounge Studio (Justin Bieber, Amy Winehouse, Sam Hunt, Paul Brandt & more).

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Elyse has released numerous singles, has been a voice during Ottawa’s WE DAY in front of Justin Trudeau,
toured the East Coast preceding the Canadian Country Music Awards in 2015
and most recently had the opportunity to write and record radio single “Rise”, a project that celebrates Equestrian Pan AM/Olympian medalist Jessica Phoenix.

“Rise” has been making an impact and recently took Elyse across borders to perform the single at Los Angeles’
ESPY awards. Elyse Saunders is definitely an artist for you to follow.

Nicole Peszor

Nicole is a 15-year-old Ballroom Dancer who absolutely loves doing what she is doing. She is currently a grade 10 student and in her free time, she loves to travel, take photographs, exercise, and hang out with her friends.

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She started dancing when she was 9 years old at the Dance Studio Rhythm. When she started dancing, she wanted to dance just for fun. As time progressed, Nicole found a great passion for dance and decided that she wanted to start dancing competitively. Finding a partner to dance with was a struggle but one day she and Patryk just clicked and started dancing together immediately. Their wonderful dance teachers: Sandra Rucinski and Patrick Rucinski have been teaching Nicole and Patryk for about 4 years now. Nicole and Patryk have competed in many competitions on many levels and are looking forward to furthering experiences in the Ballroom industry. Nicole and Patryk absolutely love to dance!

Patryk Staniszewski

Patryk is a 15-year-old high school student. His dancing journey started with Polish folk dance when he was only 5 years old. Encouraged by his older brother, Patryk decided to visit a ballroom dance studio. A few lessons later he was hooked and really connected with the sport.

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Four years ago he met his current dance partner Nicole, with whom he now is competing in silver and gold class, in the standard ballroom and Latin dance.
Patryk also loves playing volleyball and belongs to a junior volleyball team at his high school.
Their goal is to dance at the Champion level and represent Canada in international competitions.

Satin Roses Band

Satin Roses are a female jazz ensemble, comprising of Loretto College High School alumnae. Members of the Satin Roses are Marsha Joseph on Tenor Sax, Casey Dacayo on 3-valve Trombone, Sarah Dimailig on Piano, Cynthia Ramos as the vocalist, and bassist, Sabrina Vieira-Sloat and Kristin Anne Cruz as the percussionists.

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Discovered in 2016, all members have played at The Rex for the Toronto Jazz Festival, while being part of the Loretto College school band. The band’s playlist consists of a wide selection of songs including Latin jazz, Rock, and Pop. Alongside being part of this ensemble, the majority of these young women are attending either College or University and still continue to pursue their passion for music.

I.D.A. International Dance Academy

I.D.A is a classical ballet school that offers private and semi-private lessons, as well as small classroom settings for beginner ballet. The school also offers a pre-professional/professional ballet program, where the focus is to train ballet dancers in the renowned Russian, Vaganova based method. Our dedicated and disciplined students have gone on to attend highly prestigious summer programs and schools such as Canada’s National Ballet School, Paris Opera Ballet School, American Ballet Theatre Youth Program, The School of American Ballet, and The Royal Ballet School.

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Artistic Director and founder of I.D.A. Ida Gerasolo began dancing at the age of six. As she grew older, her passion for dance was only surpassed by her passion for teaching. As a young dancer, she trained at Christina Pora’s Classical Dance Academy, Hamilton City Ballet, Quinte Ballet School, and Toronto Dance Theatre. Ida went on to graduate from York University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, where she studied Anatomy along with Prevention and Care of Dance Injuries, meanwhile dancing professionally in Bologna, Italy. Ida then continued her studies and graduated from Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) in the Teacher Training Program. She has obtained an Associate Teaching Qualification with the Cecchetti Society along with an Associate from The Royal Academy of Dance. At NBS, Ida began giving private ballet lessons to students who wanted to take their dancing to the next level. In 2012 she opened up a private studio in Toronto where her business was solely focused on private and semi-private lessons. After 2 years, Ida officially opened her doors to the public at her school in Mississauga and is now celebrating her 5th year.

“It’s not just about dance, it’s about their future. I believe that all dancers deserve an opportunity to achieve and exceed their goals. Unfortunately, the world of ballet has so many boundaries including limited funding and very few facilities. This only allows a few of many young dancers the opportunity to train at the highest level possible. When I went through my dance career, I never had that one person who pushed me to reach my full potential. As a result, I always wondered if I had missed out on opportunities. Consequently, this motivated me towards creating a facility that is focused on the student’s physical, emotional, and mental health. A school where anyone who has a passion for ballet is not denied the opportunity to make their dreams come true. A place that allows students to excel not only in their dancing but in their education, where students look forward to waking up and attending every day. Where parents know that their child will become a strong, independent, confident, and graceful dancer. Whether they go on to dance professionally for a ballet company, contemporary company, end up in the corporate world, or as an entrepreneur themselves, they will have built a strong foundation to help them succeed.”


Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine, PC, CM, CBE
Life Time Achievement Award

Dr. Augustine was born in Grenada (West Indies) and came to Canada in 1960. She attended the University of Toronto, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees. She became an elementary school principal with the Metropolitan Separate School Board in Toronto.

From 1988 until 1993, she was chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority. Dr. Augustine was the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to the House of Commons. She was elected in the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore in 1993 and sat in Parliament until 2006. During this time, she served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Minister of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women and was a Deputy Speaker.

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In 1995, Dr. Augustine introduced the motion proposing Black History Month in Canada. That motion was passed with all-party consent. Another Motion she introduced permitted the Statue of the Famous Five to be placed on Parliament Hill.

She has shared her expertise and enthusiasm with others as a member of several community boards, including those of York University, the Hospital for Sick Children, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and Harbourfront Corporation. She was also a former National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada.

Every year, she makes a better future for young women through the Jean Augustine Scholarship, a fund that helps single mothers attend George Brown College and a Young Entrepreneur at Centennial College in Toronto. She also has an academic scholarship at Humber College for youth in her former constituency of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. Dr. Augustine donated her archival and parliamentary materials to York University’s Faculty of Education, thus creating the opportunity to establish an innovative academic position, the Jean Augustine Chair in Education in the New Urban Environment.

Hon. Jean Augustine was appointed as the first Fairness Commissioner for Ontario in March 2007. It was the first public office of its kind in Canada overseeing fairness and transparency among various professional regulatory bodies.

She has been honoured by many organizations for her leadership and community involvement. In 2009, the Women’s Executive Network named her as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards winner. The Girls’ Leadership Academy of the Toronto District School Board bears her name. She was awarded the Luminary Award by the University of the West Indies in 2006 and has received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from the University of Toronto, Guelph University, McGill University, York University, University of Windsor and Trent University.

In December 2009, she was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada (CM) and in 2012 received the Queen’s, Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2014, she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

In June 2014, the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment opened in south Etobicoke. In January 2016, the Peel District School Board named a new state-of-the-art high school in Brampton, the Jean Augustine Secondary School.

Dr. Augustine has two daughters and two grandsons.

Norma Trivino
Life Time Achievment Award

For the past 25 years, Norma has served as a dedicated volunteer at work, in her church, and in her community. At work, she volunteered countless hours for the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign. Throughout 14 years, she wore diverse hats, including Chair, Co-Chair, Committee Member, Special Events Coordinator, and Ambassador Coordinator.

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Each year, during the four-month campaign, Norma and her crew had to reach an annual monetary goal of at least $20,000. At church, her passion is her volunteer work for the Homeless Outreach Program. On a quarterly basis, Norma, together with other volunteers from church offer sandwiches to help feed the displaced people of Toronto. Along with food, they bring their message of hope to those feeling lost and forgotten. In her community, she facilitated a self-esteem workshop for Latina girls at a day camp run by MUJER. This multi-faceted summer camp program was offered to disadvantaged Latina girls ages 13-21. It had three main components: Leadership, Health, and Creative Art Expression workshops, which addressed topics including self-esteem, bullying, body image, and healthy relationships. Norma also mentored Jeneene Guerrero, Miss Canada Charity 2013-2014. This volunteer work included focusing on and developing Jeneene`s charitable work plus providing both professional and personal support. For all her arduous volunteer work, Norma received an Outstanding Volunteer Achievement Certificate from Councillor Castro Liu.

Fran Rider
Global Excellence Award

Fran became involved with female hockey in 1967 as a player and volunteer. She has committed over 50 years to its growth and development. Her work with Ontario Woman’s Hockey exemplifies positive values, promoting sport for the enhancement of athletic and life skills with respect for all.

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She is a visionary who worked tirelessly to create the world women’s championships and have female hockey included as an Olympic event. She created and chaired the first women’s world hockey tournament in 1987. Her contributions have left an everlasting impact at the local, provincial, national, and international levels and have enriched the lives of girls and women globally.

Fran was inducted into Legends Row, Mississauga Sports Hall of Fame, and the IIHF Hall of Fame. She received the Order of Hockey Canada, the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. She is determined to share credit for her recognition with the many colleagues she admires and respects.

Dedication of Iceland Arena’s Rink 1 took place in October 2017:

Joyce Morocco
Political Leadership Award

Business Woman:
President of Destination Niagara Falls Regional website and Elements of Success, Professional Meeting Management Company.

Destination Niagara Falls a regional website created in 2009 has become the fastest growing website in the Niagara Region. Features businesses in the region, monthly newsletter, draws, and best deals and new to our compliment Niagara Buzz a highly active media outlet assisting in video marketing reaching over 1 million-plus viewers.

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Elements of Success/Meeting Management Professional also created in 2009 to provide organizations with professional meeting management services. Booking conferences and meetings throughout North America, Europe, Australia, China and India. Negotiate contracts with hotels and industry service providers. Oversee the logistics of the entire conference, including sponsorship and exhibitors.

Graduate of Niagara College, Management of Human Resources, also graduated in Special Events Management, and Hotel Management.
St. Catharines Business College: Diploma – Office Administration/Management

Volunteer of the Year Award: Tastes of Niagara, 1999, Festivals & Events 2000
Certificate of Appreciation – The Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation for service to the Meetings, Conventions & Incentive Travel committee. (2012)
Greater Niagara General Hospital Chair 2005-2007 Outstanding Commitment & Dedication to Quality Healthcare in our Community
Rotary International – Contribution to polio.
Women in Business- 2013- Corporate Nominee (Niagara Region)
Membership Service Award-10 years of faithful service to AMCTO (Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario) 2007.
Cambridge Who’s Who-Recognizes Joyce A. Morocco as a Lifetime Member inclusion in the 2011-2012 Edition of Executives, Professionals & Entrepreneurs.

Dedicated volunteer to a number of non-profit organizations.
A past board member and past chair of the GNGH Foundation,(raised over $9.2 million for new ER during term as chair), past board member of Winter Festival of Lights, Project Share, Niagara Falls Hydro Board, United Way – Poor Boy Committee, Niagara Falls Humane Society, a founding member of the NFCHC and past Chair of Niagara Falls Community Health Centre.
Present: Member of Niagara Falls Rotary Sunrise Club. Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP) and Meeting Planners International (MPI). Niagara College, board member of the Event Management Program Advisory Committee from 2001 to present.

City Councillor from 2003 to 2006 and in 2010 was elected as a City Councillor and re-elected in 2014.
2008 ran Federally for the Liberals under Stephane Dion.
2014 ran Provincially for the Liberals under Kathleen Wynne

Board Appointments:
Presently a director of Niagara Falls HOLDCO,
Board member of; Niagara District Airport,
Regional Transportation Steering committee
Downtown BIA
Clifton Hill BIA

Nita Kang
Political Leadership Award

Nita Kang is a Toronto-born resident of Mississauga. Her parents arrived in Canada in the early 1970’s – her father from India and her mother from England. Like many new Canadians, they arrived with nothing more than a dream. They worked hard and purchased their first house in Mississauga when Nita was 5 years old.

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At the age of 12, Nita’s father passed away from a sudden heart attack while on a business trip. He was 40 years old. He left behind Nita and her 2 younger sisters who were 4 years old and 6 months old at the time.

Nita worked very hard and graduated from high school with honours and went on to Western University to study for a Bachelor of Arts. All the while, her mother worked 7 days a week to put her through school and care for her sisters.

Through her upbringing, she learned about work ethic and caring for others, and the importance of community involvement. In her teenage years, she began volunteering at Mississauga Hospital in the ICU and Cardiology units, and from that point on, she knew she wanted to help people as much as she could in whatever she did.

From a young age, she took an interest in politics because her parents used to discuss it at the dinner table. When she reached the voting age, she was so excited to exercise her right to vote.

When she got her real estate license in her early thirties, her business became successful in its second year. It took long hours and a lot of hustle. With success came a larger tax bill. Since it took a lot of hustle to earn the money she earned, she started to pay more attention to how the government was spending her money. She didn’t like what she was seeing and decided to become a taxpayer advocate. For two years, on a volunteer basis, Nita was a taxpayer advocate with a group called Toronto Taxpayers Coalition. Their message to the government was to respect the money we all work so hard for. Whether it was her hard work or her mother’s hard work, or anyone else, Nita wanted to see government manage our money with sensibility.

From there, she met the Leader of the Ontario PC Party and was encouraged to seek candidacy for the Party for the 2014 Provincial election. She ran as a PC candidate in the riding of Scarborough Southwest and continued delivering the message of responsible government spending and managing money wisely so there are resources to help those who need help the most.

It hasn’t always been easy being a female of color in the political landscape. She has received negative comments directed toward her on social media for being a woman and for being a person of color. However, she never allowed the negativity to get in the way of fighting for what’s right. She does her best to encourage other women to get involved in the political arena as well. Women represent half of the population but still have a ways to go before their population is reflected in Municipal, Provincial, and Federal governments.

Nita considers herself a compassionate Conservative. She is a Rotarian and a member of the Streetsville Legion (an organization that helps our country’s veterans). She tries to provide a helping hand wherever she can to make our country a better place.

Nita is employed by the Ontario PC Party as their Director of Special Projects and continues her political activism every day in hopes to see better government.

Josie Morand
Philanthropist of the Year Award

When she immigrated to Manitoba, Canada with her family from Poland at the age of fourteen, Josie Morand could not speak a word of English. But, learning from her father, who taught himself English very quickly to seek out better job opportunities to provide for his family, she learned fast, and at seventeen started what would be a successful career at the Royal Bank of Canada. Now, Josie is retired and spends much of her time helping her high profile husband, OG Co-Founder and Global Master Distributor Shane Morand, behind the scenes, where she feels right at home.

Josie sat down with us to share her inspiring story and spoke about the opportunity, inspiration, and the importance of family, balance, spontaneity, and hugs.

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Who are you, Josie Morand, and what is your story?
My family has always been very close-knit and remains so today. In Poland life was much harder. My parents were farmers working around the clock and raising five children. Although we had very little, I always remember my mom welcoming people who had no family, or those in need of a meal, into our home, explaining to us that there is always enough for one more person. That was such a great lesson and one that I will always practice.

My father saw this country as an opportunity for his family and repeatedly told us that if we did not succeed in doing something at first we needed to do it again, and again, and again. I followed his advice, and at the age of seventeen, I went to work for the Royal Bank of Canada, where I quickly moved up the ranks. I studied computer science, marketing, payroll, human resources, and other areas of banking. I enjoyed my entire career in banking, at the Royal Bank of Canada, and took early retirement to support my husband, Shane, in his Organo Gold business.

What inspires you every day?
I am inspired by my husband’s positive mental attitude — just seeing him wake up inspired also inspires me. Sometimes if I wake up with a little pain or concern, I just think of Shane and know that there are still so many things that I am put here to accomplish. I am a hands-on person, and as a founding board member for the OG Cares Foundation, I have much to do. I also love to cook for neighbors, friends, and family that appreciate a home-cooked meal, and use the telephone to support causes that OG Cares is sponsoring. I look forward to and give thanks each day with gratitude for the goodness that is in my life – Shane, my daughter, my son-in-law, and my four wonderful grandchildren. There is nothing that I can complain about, but there are so many things that I am grateful for.

How do you balance your family and business life?
Now that I am retired, this is easier for me to do, because I can dedicate my time to helping out with all of the behind the scenes work for Shane — I like to be the background person. It is fulfilling for me because I truly know what the results are as Shane spends his time helping people all over the world.

How an OG Woman can be successful as a mother, wife, and business person?
In order to be successful on many levels, and OG women must set her priorities. You must delegate time for business and home life. Most importantly, you must never give up who you are. Continue to do the things that you enjoy doing, and do them religiously. By that I mean, never compromise yourself for a job and/or money. Sometimes a business has to work around life, otherwise, people can become changed. We all need good energy, and if we feel that money or work is creating “bad energy” in our lives, then we need to get back to the basics of who we really are and what makes us happy.

What is the most important thing in your life?
Family, family, family. And more family! Shane comes first and then all the others in my immediate family – my daughter, son-in-law, my grandchildren, and my siblings and their families. I have many interests and the main ones are cooking, gardening, and reading.

Anything else you would like to share with our OG Family?
Tell people you love them and hug them more. Neither of these two things is done enough. Do little things daily on the spur of the moment. Be spontaneous. Act with your heart. Don’t look at how much money you can give, but rather spend time. This makes a huge impact and a huge difference.

Saliena Ganglani
Philanthropist of the Year Award

Born in West Africa, Saliena called Charlotte, North Carolina home until she 2012 when she moved to Toronto.

With her Masters in Health Administration & MBA, Saliena has always been passionate about healthcare and working with non-profit organizations across the world.

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Her focus on the community around her has led her to a number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles. Giving back to the community is Saliena’s true passion!

Saliena mentors young adults on integration into the workforce, personal growth & development as well as helping young entrepreneurs find their passion and path. She also donates back to many charities across North America and Africa.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, working out, and traveling! Saliena believes that enjoying every moment and seeing life as it is, makes us appreciate everything a bit more.

“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” Eckhart Tolle

Maria Esteves – Breakfast with Santa Foundation
Charity of the Year Award

Maria has held positions in the banking, medical, governmental, and entrepreneurial fields prior to being diagnosed with Lupus Erythematosus 37 years ago.

For the past 33 years Maria has been involved in a great number of volunteer efforts by implementing, organizing, and promoting the following events:

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Adopt-a-family – program responsible for providing clothes, toys and food hamper for Oshawa families referred by The Salvation Army

Toy Drive – collection and distribution of toys to disadvantaged children in the Oshawa area

Walk-a-Thon of Hope – fundraiser for The Salvation Army of Oshawa

Portrait of a Teenager – writing contest for high school students in the Durham Region and sponsored by The Denise House (shelter for abused women and their children) promoting awareness of domestic violence

The Long Dark Tunnel – a play was written and enacted by the Theatre Arts senior class of an Oshawa high school. The play produced to promote awareness of domestic abuse in our society.
The play was presented to various high schools throughout the G.T.A. including Durham Region

Murder Mystery Night – high school students from Oshawa high schools wrote and enacted this fundraiser to benefit The Denise House under Maria’s direction

Spaghetti Night Out – created for the benefit of the residents of The Denise House with the co-operation of the Moose Lodge under Maria’s direction and continued for 12 years

Convention – Maria led 150 volunteers from all over Canada over a 3 day major federal political party convention ensuring the smooth running of the convention in Toronto.

Community Liaison Representative – served as Liaison between the community and federal cabinet minister for his ridding association.

Neighbourhood Block Parent Captain

School Council at Michael Power/St. Joseph High School – fundraising chair & social committee chair

Powerfest Craft Show and Sale –fundraising initiative which carried on for quite a number of years

Pasta Night – an annual fundraiser for the awards and bursaries program at Michael Power/St. Joseph High School

Portugal at your Table – wrote a cookbook based on traditional Portuguese recipes.

Breakfast With Santa Foundation – Founder and President 30 years. Originally known as Breakfast With Santa became a Registered, Non-profit charity based in Mississauga in 2000 and incorporated in 2002.

Henah Ji
Charity of the Year Award

It’s one thing to be a spiritually endowed woman and gifted orator, but to couple that with being a spontaneous innovator and serially motivated entrepreneur with over 20 passionate years of rich and diverse experience in the field of Complementary Alternative Medicine and wellness retreats make Henah Ji a truly unique and captivating thought leader.

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Serving as a Medical Tourism Ambassador Internationally, Henah continues to prove instrumental in forming new associations while acting as a liaison between various Government officials to implement mutually high profile health advantages.

Henah is truly passionate about positioning wellness/therapy tourism for the mutual benefit of all. Additionally, Henah has been highly respected and applauded as an extraordinarily effective holistic sports doctor for the National Soccer team of Guatemala, using specific Ayurvedic treatments as sports remedial. She also personally coached the team in collective mindfulness to be taken onto the field. In 2012, the team took home the Trophy winning the Concacaf Cup in a spectacular comeback from previously depressing losses.

Being the active founder of Veterans Broadcasting Network, a 24/7 broadcasting channel for veterans presently in active duty, Henah offers her free service to veteran men & woman and their families globally.

Inspired by our veterans’ commitment to loved ones and country has directed her ministry to the treatment edification and upliftment of those that have served for their countries. She is also a detox & rejuvenation specialist, educator, ambassador, and minister of light love and laity.

Henah is also the co-­‐founder of Veteran Retreats Incorporated and the Chair of the Veteran Retreats Foundation a 501c3 charity that offers holistic wellness retreat programs for qualifying veterans that are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders and pain. This is achieved by providing a wide range of medical modalities focused on holistic oriented programs at no cost to the veteran or their family. The retreats are an incubator for the research & development of complementary alternative medicine.

As the founder & host of a series of women in Wisdom Retreats that facilitate conscious women in reaching their highest divine expression and to facilitate empowerment, Henah’s interest in the upliftment of those in need.

Henah has the good fortune of being a mother of three organically raised beautiful children that have been fortunate to have such a deep love from their mother shared with such dedicated intent – she is blessed to be given the opportunity to watch them flourish into community-centric, responsible, and giving human beings.

Jennifer Beale
Business Development and Growth Award

First a journalist and editor, and for the past 12 years a Publicist I have a passion for generating leads for small business owners and entrepreneurs. I host massive networking events a few times per year and bring top business experts to Canada to share tools and ideas that lead to business success.

A compulsive networker, I publish Canada’s largest online directory of business networking events

Specialties: media relations, joint ventures, lead generating web sites, speaker events, business networking

Kathia Saint-Victor
Business Development Award

Kathia St-Victor has been working in the educational sector for over 23 years as an educator and a french teacher. When she started at age 12 in daycare, her goal was to improve self-esteem in children and provide them all they need to grow in a caring, safe, and healthy environment. Taking care of small children was very challenging but extremely rewarding. Those challenges have help Kathia grow in skills and knowledge, develop her belief in her capacity and help her gain many qualities such as courage, teamwork, leadership, commitment, motivation, open-mindedness, discipline, determination, and creativity. She also helped to develop some student workbooks and manuals for preschools.

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At age 35, she decided to follow the second passion of her heart by becoming an entrepreneur. She founded Kluva Chic Traiteur/Catering and Kluva Chic Bistro which provides Caribbean and Maghreb cuisine.

Becoming an entrepreneur is an incredible experience that takes amount of work and get you out of your comfort zone. Kathia have met and collaborated with amazing people and had the opportunity to learn and be inspired by them. As she was meeting with young entrepreneurs, she realize how entrepreneurs from communities are coping with many problems unsolved and poor visibility for their businesses. She wanted to make a major impact in young’s life and businesses. In 2013, less then 6 months after opening the catering business, she created an non-profit organization for events, festivals and fairs creation that promotes entrepreneurship and diversity. The first event she created is the Young International Entrepreneur’s Fair, which is at his fourth edition. It was the first time that Montreal hosted a show aimed at promoting entrepreneurship among immigrants in Quebec. The show highlighted the talent and skills of 50 entrepreneurs from over 20 cultural communities and welcomed hundreds of visitors—all of them thrilled to support these young entrepreneurs who will undoubtedly play an important part in shaping Montreal’s future. In 2016, the fair brought 2500 visitors and highlighted 85 entrepreneurs from 28 cultural communities.

Some of the objectives of the Young International Entrepreneur’s Fair are:

  • To bring together entrepreneurs from various immigrant communities to share their knowledge and experience, offer their products and services to the public, expand their network and support each other.
  • To bring together various artists from different cultural communities to introduce them to the public and enhance their visibility.
  • To educate, support and encourage immigrants–particularly young immigrants–to start their own businesses and to support immigrant entrepreneurship.
  • To bring together various partners offering a complete range of services, from information and coaching to business management and growth.
  • To acknowledge the support received from local public figures for immigrant entrepreneurship.

On a more personal note, through mentorship, she gives entrepreneurs the tools to develop their full potential by being a mentor at the Réseau M. She is also managing and writing tips and advices for entrepreneurs on a web page: Leadership Business

Nadia Asfour
Business Development Award

Nadia was born in Amman, Jordan. After graduating from Business Administration, she got married and moved to Dubai with her husband where they started a family. They have four wonderful children. In Dubai, Nadia worked in the banking industry for 20+ years until she moved to Canada in 2003.

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After moving to Canada, Nadia owned and operated two Hero Burger restaurants before she decided to open the Nana Couture boutique in Streetsville, Mississauga. Her family has a background in textiles in Jordan for over 50 years and Nadia has always had a love for fashion.

Over the past few years, Nadia has been fortunate and blessed to see her Nana Couture brand consistently grow, and she is excited to continue to work her hardest to develop her brand within her community.

Joanna Andros
Self Development Award

Joanna Andros is a passionate teacher, therapist, and life and emotional healing coach, who brings her vast knowledge and experience to assist others in overcoming obstacles and achieving success in every aspect of life. Joanna has developed a proven therapy process called Progressive Neural Resolution Therapy to uncover and eliminate the negative subconscious beliefs that hold people back from achieving their goals – measurable results are guaranteed from the very first session.

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Unlike other methods that only create awareness, Joanna’s transformational process is grounded in proven strategies that work. Progressive Neural Resolution Therapy™ (PNRT) is a healing process that quickly targets, with laser precision, the belief systems that may be in the way of achieving a dream, goal, or peace of mind. PNRT is also used to overcome negative inner chatter, phobias, OCD, heal deep resentment or trauma and create lasting freedom from the negative emotions that drain our energy and hold us back.

As a kidney transplant survivor, Joanna understands how the mind can be led to both create illness and heal the body. Having overcome her own emotional issues and blocks in every area of her life drives her passion and commitment to providing people with techniques that offer faster, proven results to help free them from their suffering, whether emotional, physical or financial.

A successful entrepreneur with 20 years of business experience, Joanna works in partnership with Tanya Chernova. As co-founder of Courageous Living she leads people through profound personal development programs and brings dynamic, effective, life-changing empowerment coaching and principles to individuals, groups, companies, and corporations. As co-founder of the PNRT certification program for therapists, Joanna has become a master educator in the realm of neuroscience and the ability to change the brain with neural-programming.

Joanna works in partnership with Tanya Chernova as co-founders of Courageous Living with the goal to make an extraordinary contribution to women, people in their community, and the world.

Dorota Jakubowska
Self Development Award

Before Dorota became a well respected, successful business woman in the wedding industry, she had a goal in mind and worked diligently to attain it. At the young age of only 18 years old, Dorota immigrated from Poland and landed on Canadian soil with plenty of ambition and a dream to succeed.

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After enduring years of hardships & sacrifices, Dorota and her husband Chris made a decision to embark on their dreams of succeeding and opened up the Mega-City Group. Mega-City being the 1 st of several business endeavours, led to Dorota’s drive to share the 15 years of experience acquired and follow her
passion for the wedding industry.
In 2007, WEDS by Mega-City was born and became one of the largest wedding and event studios. Dorota takes much pride in ensuring the success of WEDS be built on honesty, integrity, and optimum choices in quality and luxurious designs. Wrapped in a small package, Dorota’s infectious energy, bold
personality and dedication to ensure the client’s happiness is rarely surpassed and always appreciated.

Dorota continues to strive for excellence and continues to maintain a reputable company, all the while embracing her humble beginnings and keep the commitment to the community she so adores.

Alessandra Piccolo
Self Development Award

Alessandra Piccolo has been a resident of Vaughan for over twenty years and has been a dedicated member of the community ever since. Through her entrepreneurial and charitable initiatives, her spirit of service has touched the lives of many.

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As the founder of Allequent Events Inc. Alessandra has been appointed with the executive directorship of the Vaughan International Film Festival. She has been instrumental in fostering and promoting the growth of arts and culture in the community. Furthermore, her time at Hospice Vaughan as a former board member resulted in a fully community funded renovation
and restoration of its facility where convalescing patients and their families get to enjoy the benefits of this service. In addition, she was instrumental in the revitalization of the annual Hospice Vaughan Giving Thanks Gala where thousands of dollars are being raised to support Hospice initiatives.

In particular, Alessandra has taken the many harrowing challenges she’s confronted in her life and has transformed these experiences into opportunities for learning, growth, and the chance to serve. Her grace and poise in the face of various bouts with cancer have granted her the opportunity to mentor other fighters and survivors with strategies and lessons for staying positive and maintaining the right attitude to overcome and heal.

Alessandra epitomizes the spirit of The Self Development Award through her commitment, courage, and dedication to others.

Tracey Moore
Best Community Service Award

Tracy Moore is the host of Canada’s longest-running lifestyle show Cityline. From Monday to Friday on City Tracy can be seen across the country trying DIY projects, learning new recipes, and sizing up the latest fashions. Aside from being an energetic mom to two young children, she is known for her laid back style, easy laugh and love of fashion, fitness, and all things shoe-related.

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Born in Toronto and raised in Richmond Hill, Tracy worked her way up the media ladder to her current position as host of Cityline. Her professionalism, work ethic and engaging personality helped her advance from CTV intern to CBC videographer, back-up host, and Newsworld anchor. This helped lead to a reporter/anchor position on Toronto1’s daily news magazine Toronto Tonight.

In the fall of 2005, Tracy joined Toronto’s number one morning show, City’s Breakfast Television as its live reporter. Within months she was backing up the show’s lead anchor in addition to covering live breaking news events.

After eight years in the media business, Tracy took a brief break in 2008 to have her first child, Sidney Nicolas. She says, returning after maternity leave to a position like hosting Cityline was an incredible way to re-enter the workforce! Two years later she gave birth to Eva Simone. Tracy says being a mommy is hands down her biggest accomplishment to date. She’s also been known to say juggling two young children, a husband, and a career take the balancing skills of a tight-rope walker and the juggling skills of an octopus. If she’s learned anything it’s that most situations can be handled with a healthy dose of laughter.

Outside of her work on-air Tracy made a name for herself as a volunteer early in her career by initiating a speakers’ series in Toronto high schools, talking to students about non-violence and media literacy. She counts as one of her top priorities boosting the self-esteem of young girls. To this end, she emcees the ‘Girls On The Run’ event every year. In 2009 Tracy led a team of Cityline staffers on a 60-kilometer walk over two days in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer.

She also frequently hosts high-profile fundraisers like the Mirror Ball and the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards and has been honoured by the Black Business and Professional Association as a Woman of Honour. But even while raising awareness Tracy knows how to have fun! She rocked the runway while five months pregnant as a celebrity strutter in 2010’s Heart Truth Fashion Show – an event aimed at raising awareness of the cardiovascular disease in women.


Honours Major Political Science, McGill University

Masters Journalism, University of Western Ontario

Follow Tracy on Twitter @TheTracyMoore

Beata Wecek and Edyta Jodelka
Best Community Service Award

Beata Wecek and her sister Edyta Jodełka were born in Olecko in Poland. In 1992, as teenagers, they immigrated to Canada with their families. Beata is married with twin teenage sons. Edyta is married with three children. Edyta and her husband Sebastian were also foster parents to a teenage boy for 4 years. Despite their busy family lives, they both find time to actively engage in charitable work.

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They first became involved in charitable work over 17 years ago. As part of the Polish Full Gospel Church in Toronto, since 2000 they have been organizing summer camps for children on Lake Pigeon near Peterborough, Ontario. Throughout the year they also organize festivals for children during which they help raise funds and collect clothing for charitable work among children in Brazil. Together with their families they also went twice to Brazil, where with a group of volunteers from Mission Ministries in Toronto they were involved in humanitarian work among children living in a mountainous region of the State of Parana. This work was carried out with assistance from the Social Department of the Township of Cruz Machado. In 2015, Mr. Mikołaj Rykowski, a well known charitable organizer from Poland, visited Canada, where together with Beata and Edyta, he organized a Christmas Eve supper for lonely persons, which took place at The John Paul II Polish Cultural Centre in Mississauga. This event, organized under the patronage of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto, was an enormous success. Over 100 volunteers were involved, 620 persons attended, and financial support was provided by numerous individuals and polish businesses. The success of the event has motivated Beata and Edyta to register a charitable organization “Heart to Heart”, and in 2016 they were able to organize the next Christmas Eve supper independently. During both events, the sisters were approached by many individuals with a request to organize meetings for lonely people throughout the year. This request has resulted in regular meetings, organized in collaboration with the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto, aimed at providing assistance to persons who are lonely or in need. In addition, Beata and Edyta continue to be actively involved in charitable work with children at The John Paul II Polish Cultural Centre in Mississauga.

Lesley Page
Volunteer of the Year Award

Lesley Page is a private pilot, experienced public speaker, and engaging storyteller. She enjoys inspiring people to overcome their fears and obstacles and to achieve their dreams by relating her journey from burned-out corporate executive to award-winning private pilot.

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In the spring of 2005, Lesley was a successful executive with a large Canadian corporation, but she was missing out on life. She was almost 50 years old and her mother had died of breast cancer at age 53, so Lesley was becoming increasingly conscious of the brevity of life. In April of 2005, her life changed forever when her husband bought a small airplane and took her for her first flight. It was “love at first flight”! Never one to be content to just go along for the ride in life, Lesley declared “Life is too short to be a passenger” and quit her high paying, high-stress job to learn how to fly.

Lesley obtained her Private Pilot license in the spring of 2007 and for the past 10 years, she and her husband have taken turns in the pilot seat, flying all over North America. Three times, they have flown their Cessna 172 all the way from Toronto to the Bahamas.

In 2008, Lesley joined the Ninety-Nines, the female pilots association founded by Amelia Earhart in 1929. After volunteering on various committees for a few years, she became the president of the largest Canadian Chapter of the organization. As part of her Ninety-Nines volunteer activities, Lesley has mentored several female student pilots who have since achieved their pilot licenses.

Only 6% of pilots are women. Starting in 2010, Lesley began volunteering with organizations that aimed to change that statistic, most notably, the Centennial of Women Licensed Pilots, the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week and the Young Eagles program. At first, her contribution consisted of introducing girls and women to aviation simply by taking them for a free flight in her airplane, but she quickly realized that she could reach far more women and girls by recruiting other pilots to the cause. In 2010, Lesley led a team of 50 pilots to make the Oshawa Executive Airport the “2010 Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport in the World”

In 2012, Lesley was a founding director of the not-for-profit Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide and accepted the positions of Treasurer and Canada Team Leader. For two years, she coordinated dozens of events across Canada, resulting in thousands of women and girls being exposed to aviation and the thrill of flight!

That same year, Lesley was appointed the Southern Ontario Field Representative for the Experimental Aircraft Association’s international Young Eagles program – a volunteer-driven program that introduces boys and girls aged 8-17 to aviation by giving them free airplane rides in small aircraft. Each year, she organizes the annual Young Eagles Rally at the Oshawa airport. Over the past 5 years, almost 1,000 boys and girls have experienced a free flight in a small airplane, thanks to the dozens of volunteers under Lesley’s leadership.

In 2014, Lesley created ‘Girls Take Flight’, a free aviation event for girls and women that takes place at the Durham Flight Training Centre at the Oshawa airport. In addition to free airplane rides for women and girls, there is a speaker program, activities, and displays. The event has grown each year in numbers and scope. This year, on April 29, there were approximately 700 attendees. 188 women and girls experienced a free flight. Lesley recruited 9 inspiring speakers – all were females working or playing in the Aviation and Aerospace industries. She organized 20 displays and activities and several static aircraft displays, including a Porter Airlines Q400, flown from the City Centre airport to Oshawa (a 12-minute flight), by an all-female crew. Porter airlines are the title sponsor of the event.

Each year, Lesley has been able to raise more money in donations than is needed to cover expenses, so she has developed a sponsorship program to fund flight training for girls 14 and older. Last year, she had enough money to fund 17 flight lessons.

Because of Lesley’s leadership and passion, she has never had trouble recruiting volunteers for her events. At this year’s Girls Take Flight event in April, there were 150 volunteers and at the Young Eagles Rally in June, there were 64. Lesley motivates volunteers by allowing them to choose their role and making sure that they have the tools and training to do the job. She also gives them an event T-shirt and feeds them throughout the day.

Two years ago, Lesley got involved with the Air Cadets 2 VandenBos Squadron. She has volunteered as a judge for their debate program and their scholarship program. In 2016 and 2017, Lesley coordinated and arranged funding with the Squadron and the Experimental Aircraft Association to sent a 15-year-old each year to the Young Eagles Air Academy Camp in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Lesley has received awards for her volunteer efforts from several organizations, including The Centennial of Women Licensed Pilots, The Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide, The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, and The Buttonville Flying Club.

Lesley has the following affiliations:
Past president, First Canadian Chapter of the Ninety-Nines
Secretary, East Canada Section of the Ninety-Nines
Founding director, the Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide
Southern Ontario Young Eagles Field Representative, Experimental Aircraft Association
Speaker Bureau chair, Northern Lights Aero Foundation
Past Director, Michigan Aviation Association
Member of Women in Aviation International
Member of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association

Lesley is thrilled and honoured to have won this prestigious award!

Iryna Yakovenko
Volunteer of the Year Award

Iryna Yakovenko is the Vice President of the Brilliant Minded Women Foundation. Iryna was born and raised in Europe and immigrated to Canada with her husband and two young daughters in 1996. Just as any immigrants’ life starts in the new country, there were challenges and obstacles to be faced. However, every day was also filled with discoveries and surprises.

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Iryna’s volunteering work started shortly after she came to Canada. Being helped when her family needed it the most, made her want to give back….

Starting from the local church, packaging the parcels for orphanages in Ukraine and victims of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, to assisting and participating in the Breast Cancer Foundation Annual Walk, honoring her late mother and working on her days off to assist and organize clothing for women in need at the CCAA – Canadian Center of Abuse Awareness.

In 2015 she became involved with Brilliant Minded Women Organization. At the time they had several workshops for young women, and they realized that along with mentoring and teaching, it was important to be able to financially help students who might not be able to access education and pursue their dreams. This is where the idea of the Foundation was born, and when the opportunity has presented, she knew that working towards making the Foundation a success, would be pursuing her own passion.

Being a professional business developer, sales, and coach manager by trade she has built her career in the retail industry and over 7 years has been leading several of the Talbots INC fashion company business locations in GTA as well as traveling throughout Canada helping to build and develop other teams. Her personal belief and dedication to the Foundation motivate Iryna to volunteer every day towards the Foundation’s success. For the last two years, she volunteered over 2,000 hours. In 2017 her work was recognized by The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and she received the Ontario Volunteer Service Award from the office of Minister Laura Albanese.

Josephine Auciello
Mind, Body & Spirit Award

Josephine Carmela is a women’s empowerment & relationship coach, entrepreneur, author, mom of 2, and lover of life. She supports women entrepreneurs to transform relationship blocks into breakthroughs that help them reach their dreams, while deeply embodying their feminine wisdom to create more beauteous, rich, & fulfilling lives.

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Josephine helps women redefine what’s possible for them in life, love, & business, turning the often serious struggles women face with their partners during times of deep personal transformation, into gifts that enlighten & empower both parties and the family to experience greater love, harmony, grace & fulfillment through a woman’s empowerment process. She works with women one-on-one, couples, and runs men’s groups that empower the principles of conscious communication in the relationship and teaches on the art of love & dynamics of masculine & feminine power.

Josephine Carmela co-authored a book with 3 New York Times Bestselling Authors and has been mentored by many greats in the personal development industry like Marci Shimoff, Chris and Janet Attwood, Gina DeVee, Joe Garcia, & Annie Lalla. She’s on a mission to guide other women to overcome their blocks in love & business to live life to their fullest on their own terms! She is devoted to helping every woman uncover her natural beauty wisdom, & purpose in a spirit of love.

Tabi Moazzam
Mind, Body & Spirit Award

Tabi Moazzam is known as a highly successful entrepreneur, enthusiastic philanthropist, immensely passionate image aficionado, and a vastly experienced fashion connoisseur.

Tabi was born and raised in the city of Toronto, Ontario Canada. She has always had a great deal of passion for assisting and guiding others unveil their true standards of beauty and wellness.

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Tabi is also a highly versatile and creative makeup artist who has been working in the fashion and beauty industry for more than 13 years.

Furthermore, she holds a great passion for helping others and is a deeply devoted philanthropist. She has been using her creative makeup artistry skills for glamorizing others and making them feel more confident and bold for the past decade.

Tabi is equipped with a formidable blend of great entrepreneurial skills and a will to succeed. This determination and experience have helped Tabi pave her own way to success as a professional entrepreneur and a fashion artist.

For the past 7 years, Tabi has also been actively working as a professional event/ planner and has organized numerous events within Dubai and in her hometown of Toronto, ON Canada.

She has experience in organizing corporate and entertainment events of high caliber and significant stature. Tabi’s ability to connect with clients is priceless. People assist her in crafting a remarkable chain of networks that enables her to organize eccentric and highly distinctive events.

Tabi is a greatly devoted fashion connoisseur and an immensely talented image aficionado who holds the remarkable set of image consultancy skills. Her experience and consultancy skills have assisted Tabi in guiding others, to pursuit their significant self-confidence and boldness. Tabi has organized a countless number of makeup workshops whose primary objective is to educate others about the tricks and trades of the beauty and glamour world of today and tomorrow.

Tabi is an immensely enthusiastic philanthropist and a humanitarian who loves working for the welfare of those around her., CEO of Glam & Glit, Director of Expressions Event and Promotions, Owner of Emirates Fashion Week, Partner of Smart Cities of Pakistan, Board of Director TK Connections and is a credential part of WEF Women Economic Forum and the ALL Ladies League. Tabi is an ambassador of MAC – Mississauga Arts Council and she is on various Committees. Her past experiences and understanding of fashion and beauty have assisted her in becoming one of the highly recognized makeup artist and essentially being a part of different Corporations. She is always in awe of opportunities to exceed her own and her client’s expectations. Her professionalism and appetite for beautifying others have carried her on her journey to becoming one of the highly recognized artists.

Tabi’s primary objective is to find the true beauty hidden inside others and to use it to build their confidence and self-belief.

Beata Kaas
Art And Entertainment Award

European Master Florist, founder, and key designer at Kaas Floral Design.
Kaas Floral Design is a concept design studio that uses flowers in creative and innovative ways. Since 2010, Beata Kaas has been designing arrangements that express the unique themes and personalities of her clients. An honours graduate of Humber College’s (Canada, Ontario )floral design program, Beata has earned her European Master Certification (EMC) and has trained under the watchful eye of Belgium Master Florist Tomas De Bruyne and Canadian Master Florist Hitomi Gilliam.

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Specializing in weddings, private as well as corporate events, and home staging, she combines her formal training with her background in architecture and her passion for flowers to create stunning visual displays.

Beata has been a participant and presenter at international conferences, including Belgium Fleuramour, Alden Biesen Castle, in 2015,2106 and 2107, Floral Trends Vancouver 2016, and AIFD conference 2017.

Her designs have been featured in numerous magazines around the world such as Fusion Flowers, Fleur Magazine, and Canadian Florist. Beata’s passion for flowers, attention to detail combined with her architectural and design background allows her to create unique floral designs, reflecting the heart and soul of each client.

Marta Pozniakowski
Art and Entertainment Award

CEO & founder of the Toronto Polish Film Festival EKRAN, Actress, Model & Host, Film Producer, Co-Founder of The TAMMAR Real Estate Team, Director of Communication and Entertainment at the POLISH ORPHANS CHARITY, and most importantly loving WIFE and MOTHER to two incredible little boys.

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Marta graduated from the National Film School in Poland, where masters like Kieslowski, Wajda, and Polansky were polishing their directing skills.
Being still in Poland, Marta started acting career which she abandoned in the name of love and left the home country to live with the love of her life Dr. Jack Pozniakowski.
Having the irresistible energy and fire, she created one of the prestigious film events in the country that celebrates Polish Cinematography.
With passion and love, Marta builds Ekran the Toronto Polish Film Festival, which is going to celebrate the 10th anniversary next year and she is deeply grateful and thankful for all the people that are part of this awesome organization and without whom the event wouldn’t be able to grow. Ekran’s website is

With skills that take everything to organize weekly long events, she volunteers at the Polish Orphans Charity that has been founded by Dr. Richarda Russ. The Charity organizes two events each year: White Christmas Dinner and glamorous Ball Pologne. Polish Orphans Charity is involved in projects around the globe and has direct control over where the money goes. For more information, please go to

The new venture that Marta brought to life is her TAMMAR Real Estate Team that she successfully runs with her partner in crime Tammy Saddler. Taking advantage of the incredible hot market in Toronto, those two girls are running the show like no tomorrow. They are the real Boss Ladies, working with amazing clients, and always having fun.

You can not describe Marta with one word. She is a multi-talented, multi-dimensional, and I would call her a Renaissance person. Sometimes to be fulfilled you can’t just do one thing… You are all those things. Whatever Marta does, she puts in her heart, love, and passion.

In free time (if there is any left for such a busy person), she likes to travel, exploring new cultures and countries, she loves to go back to their Costa Rican house to surf and play on the beach, paint, cook, work on film projects, rides a motorcycle (both Marta and her husband own bikes and they sneak out for some short trips whenever time allows). There are probably thousands of other things Marta does, but there won’t be enough room on this page to write.

Above all her accomplishments she may have, FAMILY is everything to her. Marta successfully juggles family life and careers. Marta lives with her husband Dr. Jack Pozniakowski and their two sons in a cute little red brick house that they call a doll house.

Tina Tehranchian
Art and Entertainment Award

Tina Tehranchian is among the first-ever group of Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professionals in Canada to receive the Fellow of FPSC™ distinction from the Financial Planners Standards Council in 2011. This is a distinction that formally recognizes individuals who have helped advance FPSC’s vision of seeing Canadians improve their lives by engaging in financial planning.

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A financial advisor since 1991, Tina specializes in assisting business owners and self-employed professionals in building wealth and developing sound financial and estate plans. She also specializes in charitable tax planning strategies and helping philanthropic Canadians multiply their bequests to charities while reducing their taxes and leaving more money for their heirs.
Tina has often been quoted as an expert in her field in The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The National Post, and Metro, as well as in financial industry magazines such as The Investment Executive,, and The Insurance Journal. She has also been featured in national radio and television shows such as BNN, CBC, and CTV as a financial planning expert. She has taught personal financial planning at Centennial College’s Center for Entrepreneurship for over ten years and has been the recipient of numerous academic, professional, and community service awards including the Senecans of Distinction award from Seneca College.

Tina has also been actively involved in her community and has served as a director of the Markham Board of Trade and JVS of Greater Toronto, the treasurer of the Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation, a founding member and first chair of the board of IC Network, a governor of Seneca College, a trustee of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, chair of the board of projects, a director of Mackenzie Health Foundation (formerly York Central Hospital Foundation) and Fort York Foundation, chair of the governance and nominating committee of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, a member of the Planned Giving Advisory Committee of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, the governance and nominating committee of Mackenzie Health Foundation, campaign cabinet for the King campus of Seneca College and the finance and audit committee of Mackenzie Health. She has also chaired the signature fundraisers for McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the McMichael Moonlight Gala, in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017, and has co-founded and co-chaired the Joy of Aging fundraiser for Mackenzie Health Foundation since 2009.

She holds a Master of Arts in communications from the University of Portland, in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. Tina is a Branch Manager. She has also earned the CFP, Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), and Chartered Financial Consultant (CH.F.C) designations.

Mariya Tarasio
Resilience Award

Work and life ethic of “whatever it takes” attitude that has made her the proven success that she has become. A former Executive Assistant of over 15 years to now Manager of The Micoli Group, a successful Global Recruitment Organization assisting many families from each corner of the Globe not only to start their lives in Canada with Visa and Sponsorship processing, but it’s also along with assisting in ensuring the success in securing jobs for many.

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When not assisting many families, Mariya Coordinates Fashion Shows for Celebrity Designers on an Enormous Scale and is on the Advisory Board for the first ever 2017 Halton Fashion Week. Her experience includes involvement through delegating, and directing charity events and shows the Greater Toronto Area. Mariya is Beyond positive and passionate about the growth and assistance of all that surrounds her.

Natalia Jureczek
Student of the Year Award

Natalia Jureczek is a determined student who goes beyond what is necessary to ensure her goals become a reality. She is currently attending the prestigious Schulich School of Business at York University. Remarkably, she is one of 100 students from her year enrolled in the International Bachelor of Business Administration (iBBA) program. As part of this program, Natalia was one of two students chosen to spend a semester abroad in Switzerland to attend the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Lausanne.

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Her academic accomplishments thus far have been quite impressive as Natalia has always strived for excellence. Natalia graduated from Philip Pocock Catholic Secondary School in 2014 with the third highest mark, the proficiency award in Calculus and Vectors (in which she obtained 98%), the Award of Excellence, the Award of Merit, and an Extended French Certificate in additional to annual Honours Awards received throughout Grades 9 and 12. Now in university, Natalia has obtained a cumulative GPA of 8.14 (on a 9.0 scale) which has earned her the title of a Member of the Dean’s Honour List with Distinction. Recently, Natalia has become a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society as a result of being in the top 15% of her program.

Although Natalia has immersed herself into her studies, she believes in a balanced lifestyle and in giving back to her community. As a result, Natalia has been extensively involved in the Polish Community – particularly through her 12 years of participation in Lechowia Polish-Canadian Folk Dance Company. As Lechowia participates in international festivals, Natalia promoted both Polish and Canadian culture while on trips to the United States, Poland, Peru, and Greece. In high school, Natalia gave back to the community by volunteering with various environmental organizations as well as by joining her high school’s Green Team to help Philip Pocock C.S.S. maintain Gold Status as an Ontario EcoSchool.

Natalie Castro
Student of the Year Award

Natalie Castro is a Canadian artist she is 17 years old and was born in Toronto, Ontario.

From an early age, she had a great passion for singing and music.

Despite her short career, she has managed to the share the stage with great singers like Gabino Pampini from Panama, Yan Collazo from Puerto Rico, Miles Pena from Cuba, and will also have the opportunity to share the stage with Sonora Dinamita of Colombia, El Puma from Venezuela and also the great honour of opening for Group niche in the Latin Expo festival in Calgary.

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Natalie has worked with different music producers in Canada, and the Dominican Republic, such as Jose Antonio Hernandez (winner of multiple Latin Grammy’s) and managed to record successful songs such as Mr. Postman (style bachata) and it’s latest: Amor Mio (Original Song in bachata).

Natalie currently has her own singing coach Ms. Paula Griffith, one of the most recognized coaches of Canada.

This year, Natalie was chosen to be, Ambassador for Youth Day which takes place in the city of Toronto, where thousands of young people participate in the different branches of art and culture. She received an award from the Latino Magazine, as Latin artist revelation of 2016. She also participated in the CBC Glen Gould Studio Showcase for two consecutive years.

Natalie Castro has her own Latin band (Nueva Sensation) composed of 10 highly experienced musicians.

Gwyneth Herrera
Student of the Year Award

Gwyneth Herrera is a 9-year-old Canadian abstract and photo-realistic artist, who was born into a loving artistic family. She is currently an award-winning artist who won THE VISION AWARDS 2016 in the ‘Young Visionary of the Year’ category, nominee and finalist at the MARTY’S AWARD 2017 for the Emerging Visual Arts category and ‘Visual Artist of the Year’ by InFAME Awards 2016.

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At 14 months, Gwyneth Herrera began to grab the paintbrush from her father’s hand. After contemplating Gwyneth’s developing artistic skills, her inner ability to mix colours was undeniable. She maneuvered her brushes and rollers with incredible agility and precision. She spent long periods of time painting, demonstrating remarkable patience and deep concentration towards her art pieces, which were very unusual characteristics for a child her age.

By the age of 3, she had created 20 professional-sized paintings, surprisingly, she had developed her own unique style. When she was 4 years old, she donated 2 of her favourite paintings; ‘Ocean’ and ‘Rain’ to Ronald McDonald House of Toronto due to her love for others, especially children. In spite of her tender age, she has captured the attention of many people around the globe for her philanthropic spirit and sincere love for art.

She has shown perceptual creativity of uniqueness and simplicity in her artwork. She immerses herself into the wonderful creations that God has designed, in nature, a keen observation of it, is where Gwyneth finds her inspiration. Gwyneth’s love for art is unquestionable.

In October 2016, Gwyneth was invited as a special guest speaker at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMIIC) managed by the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC) for United Way to inspire others to give back. With her speech, she helped the audience discover – from insightful child’s point of view – how giving is the key to real happiness.

Gwyneth has created inspirational quotes and loves to talk about the reasons why people have a unique purpose in life.