ANNUAL GALA 2023

VENU EVENTS SPACE

2800 HWY 7, CONCORD, ON L4K 1W8

 

Light up the night and celebrate with us!

The honor of your presence is requested on an evening to celebrate outstanding Women that have made significant contributions to our society. Please join us at the 2023 Brilliant Minded Women Organization and Foundation Annual Awards Gala, taking place Saturday, November 4 at the Venu Event Space Convention Center in Vaughan, On.

It is shaping up to be quite the event with several government officials and dignitaries as a part of one thousand distinguished guests.

An evening including a 6-course meal, open bar, live entertainment, sponsors acknowledgment,
dance and amazing gifts.

Brilliant Minded Women Organization and Foundation are looking forward to hearing from you.

This is the night to be inspired!
For sponsors, corporate packages, and tickets, please

call: 905-380-3597

Email:

brilliantmindedorg@gmail.com
agataklimczak@hotmail.com

Invitation to GALA

HONOURABLE GUUESTS & LETTERS

BRILLIANT MINDED GLOBAL AMBASSADORS

bmw crown

Brilliant Minded Global Ambassadors are exceptional individuals with professional and personal success who proudly represent their home countries, actively contribute to their communities through charity and philanthropic endeavours. They are an inspiration for future generations to lead meaningful lives based on genuine values.

MACIEJ KALISLKI

 

JACEK ZYRKOWSKI

Maciej-Kaliski-&-Jacek-zyrkowski
AGNIESZKA SZEWCZYK

AGNIESZKA SZEWCZYK

Agnieszka Szewczyk is the President of the Kedarix Technical Sealing Production Centre. For 20 years she has successfully developed and introduced the company to new technologies and markets. She began running the business in 2002, starting with just one client and today Kedarix as the market leader has over 1000 clients.

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Agnieszka successfully develops the company by launching new products, increasing quality by implementing the ISO 9001-2015 TUV Nord system and building her personal brand as a woman marking her presence in such a male-dominated industry.

In order to meet the requirements of the market, she constantly raises her qualifications, which recently included postgraduate MBA studies under Dr Mateusz Grzesiak in Warsaw and training in business psychology. These have not only benefited the company’s customers, but also brought in soft values, resulting in better human resource management. In order to broaden her operational knowledge, between 2004 and 2013 she completed training at the Association of Polish Mechanical Engineers and Technicians (SIMP) in the scope of seal operation selection.

While looking for new technologies, she participates in many foreign fairs, gaining knowledge and ideas that she implements in the company, which enables her to stay one step ahead of the competition. In 2020 she completed courses in meditation and spirituality with Dr Iliana Ramirez. In 2021 she received the Business Woman Award as the winner of the National Certification plebiscite. This year she has been awarded the Personality of the Year Certificate 2022 and nominated for Made in Poland 2022 by the Polish Agency for Entrepreneurship and the editors of the Entrepreneurship Forum and Business Pulse in Gazeta Wyborcza. She has been a passionate photographer for five years, developing her skills at photography workshops under the guidance of the best photographers in the world. A keen traveler who has visited 124 countries.

The global economic crisis caused by the pandemics and inflation forced a reflection on the future and a change in the company’s operations, moving from the conventional way of doing business to the world of Web Development.

KEVIN AGUANNO

Kevin Aguanno, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, has over 20 years of experience managing complex systems integration and software development projects. He is well known in the industry for his innovative approaches to solving common project management problems.

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He focuses on two project management specialty areas: agile project management and troubled project recovery. As a well-known keynote speaker, author, trainer, and coach in agile management methods, Aguanno has taught thousands of people how to better manage high-change projects by using techniques from Scrum, Extreme Programming, Feature-Driven Development, and other agile methods. He is a frequent presenter at conferences and private corporate events where he delights audiences with practical advice peppered with fascinating stories from his own experiences in the trenches practicing agile project management. He is also founding Director and Vice President of the Project Management Association of Canada. He is a published author, speaker and consultant with over 25 years of proven experience in driving operational and process improvements, software implementations, and complex programs to stabilize business, create growth and value and lead sustainable change.

kevin-aguanno
kevin-aguanno

KEVIN AGUANNO

Kevin Aguanno, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, has over 20 years of experience managing complex systems integration and software development projects. He is well known in the industry for his innovative approaches to solving common project management problems.

Read More

He focuses on two project management specialty areas: agile project management and troubled project recovery. As a well-known keynote speaker, author, trainer, and coach in agile management methods, Aguanno has taught thousands of people how to better manage high-change projects by using techniques from Scrum, Extreme Programming, Feature-Driven Development, and other agile methods. He is a frequent presenter at conferences and private corporate events where he delights audiences with practical advice peppered with fascinating stories from his own experiences in the trenches practicing agile project management. He is also founding Director and Vice President of the Project Management Association of Canada. He is a published author, speaker and consultant with over 25 years of proven experience in driving operational and process improvements, software implementations, and complex programs to stabilize business, create growth and value and lead sustainable change.

EMILY KRULA

EMILY KRULA

Born in 1933 during the depression, to immigrant parents, Emily was mentored by her parents on the importance of volunteerism and charity. Emily has said that volunteering has been a great privilege in meeting so many wonderful people along her path of life.

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Over the years she has been privileged to serve on various boards, committees and organizations.

Emily was a dedicated member and acted as President for many years with the Marie Curie Sklodowska Association, a Polish group of women that focused on supporting many charities, needy individuals, universities, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and provided an annual scholarship for young women in the science field.

Emily dedicated 40 years to fundraising for the building and expansion of Copernicus Lodge, a long-term care home for over 430 Polish seniors. She assists in the fostering of community and active living. The Copernicus auxiliary has raised over $1,500,000 to improve services at the not-for-profit home. At the age of 90, Emily still upholds an impressive volunteer life by continuing to manage a full-service grocery store at Copernicus Lodge and supporting the residents through regular events such as yard sales, barbecues, and Christmas bazaars.

Emily has contributed to many other worthy causes in her volunteer career as a member of the Katyn Memorial committee, President of the High Park Liberal Association, and a member of the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism.

Emily’s personal life is as awe-inspiring as her volunteering one. She established a successful family business with her husband while still leading a full and busy family life as the mother of four children and the proud grandmother of 10 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. She is a native Torontonian, a proud Canadian, and very thankful to the good Lord for granting her strength and perseverance in her endeavors.

VERA MERCIER

Vera Mercier is a remarkable St. Lucian-born Canadian entrepreneur, activist, and philanthropist, whose journey has left an indelible mark on her local community and Canada as a whole.

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Born and raised amidst the vibrant landscapes of St. Lucia, Vera’s path led her to Canada, where she pursued her passion and earned a degree in finance. Her early career began as an auditor at the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), granting her invaluable experience in financial reporting, analysis, compliance, and risk management. Vera’s fluency in both French and English reflects her commitment to bridging cultural divides and fostering inclusivity.

However, it was Vera’s profound love for children that led to a significant shift in her life’s course. Fueled by an unwavering dedication to the younger generation and a desire to make a profound impact on their lives, Vera fearlessly embarked on a path that led to the establishment of the first French bilingual child care center in the Durham Region. This marked the genesis of her entrepreneurial journey, solidifying her unwavering commitment to early childhood education and development.

Beyond her entrepreneurial endeavors, Vera fervently dedicates herself to the empowerment of the Black community and the promotion of equitable opportunities. In her capacity as a leader and advocate, she passionately advocates for the growth and development of Black businesses and professionals, spanning across Canada, St. Lucia, England (U.K.), and the United States. Through well-thought-out strategic initiatives and impactful partnerships, Vera assumes a central role in advancing economic empowerment and propelling the cause of social justice.

Vera’s dedication to philanthropy and community activism extends well beyond her professional life. She actively engages in initiatives aimed at uplifting marginalized communities and fostering a more inclusive society for all. Her unwavering advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusivity resonates through her work, propelling positive change and shaping the narrative of her community. Her unwavering commitment is further exemplified through her service on numerous boards and committees, including her previous role as a committee member on the Special Education Advisory Committee of a local school board.

As a mentor, certified mortgage agent, and passionate volunteer, Vera extends her expertise to support emerging businesses and entrepreneurs. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Child Aid Society of Durham, holding her second term in this esteemed role, and is an active board member of the Ontario Childcare Society. Vera also contributes her leadership to the public appointment Council of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

From her humble beginnings in St. Lucia to her achievements as a successful businesswoman, activist, and philanthropist in Canada, Vera Mercier’s journey is nothing short of inspiring. Her unshakable commitment to pursuing her passions and creating a tangible impact has established her as a symbol of leadership and a role model for future generations. With each endeavor she undertakes, Vera embodies the true essence of leadership and serves as a catalyst for positive transformation in her community and beyond.

Vera Mercier’s journey is a testament to the extraordinary impact one individual can have on a community and a country when driven by a passion for change, a commitment to diversity, and an unwavering dedication to making the world a better place.

 

Achievement Awards:

Black Canadian Award-Certificate of recognition as an organization of excellence, presented by the Diversity Advancement Network.

Black Canadian Awards recognizes SKD & Vera Mercier as Woman Excellent Entrepreneur Awards of the Year for pioneering the First Bilingual daycare in the Durham Region.

Trillium Award for Outstanding Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

The Brilliant Minded Women Organization honored Vera Mercier with the Best Community Service Award.

Vera-new
Vera-new

VERA MERCIER

Vera Mercier is a remarkable St. Lucian-born Canadian entrepreneur, activist, and philanthropist, whose journey has left an indelible mark on her local community and Canada as a whole.

Read More

Born and raised amidst the vibrant landscapes of St. Lucia, Vera’s path led her to Canada, where she pursued her passion and earned a degree in finance. Her early career began as an auditor at the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), granting her invaluable experience in financial reporting, analysis, compliance, and risk management. Vera’s fluency in both French and English reflects her commitment to bridging cultural divides and fostering inclusivity.

However, it was Vera’s profound love for children that led to a significant shift in her life’s course. Fueled by an unwavering dedication to the younger generation and a desire to make a profound impact on their lives, Vera fearlessly embarked on a path that led to the establishment of the first French bilingual child care center in the Durham Region. This marked the genesis of her entrepreneurial journey, solidifying her unwavering commitment to early childhood education and development.

Beyond her entrepreneurial endeavors, Vera fervently dedicates herself to the empowerment of the Black community and the promotion of equitable opportunities. In her capacity as a leader and advocate, she passionately advocates for the growth and development of Black businesses and professionals, spanning across Canada, St. Lucia, England (U.K.), and the United States. Through well-thought-out strategic initiatives and impactful partnerships, Vera assumes a central role in advancing economic empowerment and propelling the cause of social justice.

Vera’s dedication to philanthropy and community activism extends well beyond her professional life. She actively engages in initiatives aimed at uplifting marginalized communities and fostering a more inclusive society for all. Her unwavering advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusivity resonates through her work, propelling positive change and shaping the narrative of her community. Her unwavering commitment is further exemplified through her service on numerous boards and committees, including her previous role as a committee member on the Special Education Advisory Committee of a local school board.

As a mentor, certified mortgage agent, and passionate volunteer, Vera extends her expertise to support emerging businesses and entrepreneurs. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Child Aid Society of Durham, holding her second term in this esteemed role, and is an active board member of the Ontario Childcare Society. Vera also contributes her leadership to the public appointment Council of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

From her humble beginnings in St. Lucia to her achievements as a successful businesswoman, activist, and philanthropist in Canada, Vera Mercier’s journey is nothing short of inspiring. Her unshakable commitment to pursuing her passions and creating a tangible impact has established her as a symbol of leadership and a role model for future generations. With each endeavor she undertakes, Vera embodies the true essence of leadership and serves as a catalyst for positive transformation in her community and beyond.

Vera Mercier’s journey is a testament to the extraordinary impact one individual can have on a community and a country when driven by a passion for change, a commitment to diversity, and an unwavering dedication to making the world a better place.

 

Achievement Awards:

Black Canadian Award-Certificate of recognition as an organization of excellence, presented by the Diversity Advancement Network.

Black Canadian Awards recognizes SKD & Vera Mercier as Woman Excellent Entrepreneur Awards of the Year for pioneering the First Bilingual daycare in the Durham Region.

Trillium Award for Outstanding Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

The Brilliant Minded Women Organization honored Vera Mercier with the Best Community Service Award.

Dorota and Chris Jakubowski

DOROTA AND CHRIS JAKUBOWSKI
MEGA CITY LINEN

THE ORDER OF ST STANISLAS RECIPIENTS

the order
the order

KEVIN AGUANNO
COMMODORE, CROSS OF ST. STANISLAS WITH CROWN AND SILVER STAR (CSStS)

EMILY KRULA
COMMODORE, THE ORDER OF SAINT STANISLAS (CStS)

VERA MERCIER
COMMODORE, CROSS OF ST. STANISLAS WITH CROWN AND SILVER STAR (CSStS)

CHRIS JAKUBOWSKI
CHEVALIER, THE ORDER OF ST STANISLAS (KCStS)

AGNIESZKA SZEWCZYK
COMMODORE, THE ORDER OF SAINT STANISLAS (CStS)

MONIKA KOSTRUBIEC
CHEVALIER, THE ORDER OF ST STANISLAS (KCStS)

DIRECTORS & TEAM

OUR SUCCESS STORY

Thank you to Board of Directors, Team all the Volunteers for their relentless support in making Brilliant Minded Women Annual Gala-2023 a successful event. It would not have been possible without team efforts.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

AGATA KLIMCZAK

President

JOHN KIEFTE

Director

NADIA ASFOUR

Director

Beata Kaas

BEATA KAAS

Director

kevin-aguanno

KEVIN AGUANNO

Director

KENNETH MICHALAK

Charity Accountant

SANJU GANGLANI

Director, Marketing

Nesrin Thabet

NESRIN THABET

Director

RITA FRAGNITO

Treasurer

OUR TEAM

AGATA KLIMCZAK

EVELYN BAILEY

EVELYN BAILEY

NADIA ASFOUR

Beata Kaas

BEATA KAAS

kevin-aguanno

KEVIN AGUANNO

RITA FRAGNITO

PAULA GEORGE

ALI & MOHAMMAD BAGHERI

AMANY MANSOUR

Mykhailo

MYKHAILO KONYASHYN

KENNETH MICHALAK

ANDREW SUDYK

Jessey Yokoyama

JESSEY YOKOYAMA

SANJU GANGLANI

Nesrin Thabet

NESRIN THABET

Maciej Pawluch

MACIEJ PAWLUCH

Dominika Sowa

DOMINIKA SOWA

CONTRIBUTIONS IN HELPING MANAGE AND STEER HANDLE THIS SUCCESSFUL 2023 EVENT

  • Agata Klimczak
  • Evelyn Bailey
  • Nadia Asfour
  • Kenneth Michalak
  • Beata Kaas from Kaas floral
  • Agata Pacula from Mega City Linen
  • Nova Printing and Team
  • Nesrin Thabet
  • Andrew Sudyk and Team
  • Rita Fragnito
  • Ali & Mohammad Bagheri (Bombsam Web Inc.)

SPECIAL THANKS TO

  • Nadia Asfour
  • Aniela Ganczak
  • Tanya Chernova
  • Joseph Lemire
  • Marie Buchan
  • Joanna Klimczak
  • Sanju Ganglani
  • Andrew Sudyk
  • Paula Georg
  • Amany Mansour
  • Rita Fragnito
  • Patrick Klimczak
  • Olga Stret
  • Nova Printing and Team

VOLUNTEERS

  • Maksym Czobot
  • Elina Zoberi
  • Daania Zoberi
  • Marko Sudyk
  • Marzia Zoberi
  • Anastasia Cholovska
  • Fatema Al-Khalidy
  • Haidyr Al-Khalidy
  • Hannah Gyan
  • Joanna Klimczak
  • Anita Djurkovic
  • Olga Stret
  • Mila Ruggiero
  • Olivia Ruggiero
  • Myia Dickinson
  • Avalon Dickinson

MASTERS & PERFORMERS OF THE CEREMONY

MASTERS OF THE CREMONY

Tanya-Chernova

Tanya Chernova

Committed to empowering people and companies to break through their limitations, embrace their purpose, ignite their passion, and achieve their peak potential, Tanya Chernova will bring out the best in you and your team.

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She has been Awarded WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. Iconic Women Leaders of the Decade Envisioning a United World by the Women’s Global Economic Forum and Global Leadership Excellence by Brilliant Minded Women.

Tanya is an engaging and charismatic expert in human behaviour and the neuroscience of success. She is an award-winning speaker, #1 best-selling author and certified consultant and NLP Success coach who has inspired emerging leaders, Fortune 100 and 500 companies for over 2 decades in over 60 countries around the world. Her clients consistently win the highest awards and receive recognition and praise from their industry and their consumers. She has been published in Forbes, Inc. Huffington Post, The Financial Post, India Times, Bangladesh Business Journal, and many more. Tanya is the co-author of the #1 best selling book UnderMind – helping people discover the 7 subconscious beliefs that sabotage their lives and how to overcome them. She is also the co-founder of the ground-breaking global women’s empowerment organization Courageous Living. Since 2006, Courageous Living has guided thousands of people to recharge and reconnect to their inner compass and write the next inspiring chapters of their lives. Tanya began her career in the wellness industry and became an internationally awarded entrepreneur at the age of 27 when she formulated her own brand of products, reaching 1 million dollars in sales her first year. Her degrees in business, neuro-psychology and dozens of teaching certificates in public speaking, business development, sales, leadership and world class customer service combined with her vast expertise in human behavior and the realm of neuroscience, make her uniquely suited to help entrepreneurs, corporations and their teams achieve breakthroughs in any work environment. Experience a fresh, engaging and scientifically proven approach to creating change, accelerating success, and increasing your Joy Per Minute (JPM).

Marta Pozniakowski

Marta was born on April 13, 1985 in Warsaw Poland.

Marta holds a Master Degree from the National Film School in Lodz, which was attended by acclaimed directors such as Kieslowski, Wajda, and Polanski.

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She initially made her mark in the entertainment industry as a talented actress in Polish television series.

Driven by an irresistible energy and passion, Marta dedicated herself to creating one of Canada’s most esteemed film events, EKRAN the Toronto Polish Film Festival, which celebrates the vibrant world of Polish Cinematography.

She has been volunteering and serving on boards of organizations like Polish Orphans Charity, Toronto Film Festivals Association and Ekran Polish Film Association.

Marta is a highly accomplished professional. She has carved out a successful career as a real estate broker. For over a decade she had been serving her clients in the GTA, setting up high standards as a salesperson which reflected in RE/MAX Platinum and Executive Awards. She specializes in pre-construction condos, land development, construction, and property management.

Recently Marta started working with Emblem Developments where she joined the highly successful sales team. Marta exemplifies her entrepreneurial spirit by constantly pushing boundaries and exceeding expectations. If you wish to find out more about Marta please visit www.CallMarta.ca

Marta Pozniakowski
Terence Lushington

Marta Pozniakowski

Marta was born on April 13, 1985 in Warsaw Poland.

Marta holds a Master Degree from the National Film School in Lodz, which was attended by acclaimed directors such as Kieslowski, Wajda, and Polanski.

Read More

She initially made her mark in the entertainment industry as a talented actress in Polish television series.

Driven by an irresistible energy and passion, Marta dedicated herself to creating one of Canada’s most esteemed film events, EKRAN the Toronto Polish Film Festival, which celebrates the vibrant world of Polish Cinematography.

She has been volunteering and serving on boards of organizations like Polish Orphans Charity, Toronto Film Festivals Association and Ekran Polish Film Association.

Marta is a highly accomplished professional. She has carved out a successful career as a real estate broker. For over a decade she had been serving her clients in the GTA, setting up high standards as a salesperson which reflected in RE/MAX Platinum and Executive Awards. She specializes in pre-construction condos, land development, construction, and property management.

Recently Marta started working with Emblem Developments where she joined the highly successful sales team. Marta exemplifies her entrepreneurial spirit by constantly pushing boundaries and exceeding expectations. If you wish to find out more about Marta please visit www.CallMarta.ca

DJ Joe

Joe Disilvestre “DJ Joe”

Joe has been one of our original DJs from the start of Tremendous Sound. Originally from Italian roots, Joe has been DJing for about 20 years. The first ten were in clubs and bars – that’s right!

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That’s where you know Joe from! He has guest DJ’ed in many of the city’s most prominent venues such as Plastique, Joker, and Government.

The other ten years plus has been an accumulation of both MCing and DJing at weddings, corporate and private events. Joe speaks fluent Italian and has a large collection of Italian, Latin, Greek, Macedonian, among other genres from the 50s to recent and modern top hits.

Joe is a people person with insane humour and a great personality. He loves large muscle cars and whenever he isn’t working, you can find him cruising around town in his classic gems blasting, you guessed it, old school music!

ENTERTAINMENT

I.D.A International Dance Academy

Established in 2012, I.D.A. International Dance Academy is a boutique style ballet school centrally located in the heart of Port Credit. I.D.A.

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small classroom settings focus on strong technical principals and promoting safe, balanced training programs for its dancers in the Vaganova Method and with exams in I.D.A. International Dance Arts Ballet Syllabus. There is also a strong emphasis in Contemporary Dance and Ukrainian Folk Dance.

I.D.A. instructors are well trained and committed to the success of each dancer. We pride ourselves in coaching our dancers to the best of their individual technical ability and creative artistry.

We believe that dance training is a partnership between teacher and student and encourage students to become actively involved in their own progress. At I.D.A. we put a strong emphasis on the balance between academic education and dance education to achieve success in both. Our convenient location, allows students living throughout the GTA to attend our programs. Each year, our students have the opportunity to compete in selected dance competitions and perform both locally and internationally.

Grenville Pinto

Grenville Pinto is a Canadian violinist, recording artist, entertainer and composer based in Toronto, Ontario.

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Grenville was born in Hamilton, Ontario in a musical family. His mother plays and teaches piano and his father is a singer. His two sisters are professional pianists who have accompanied him on numerous occasions. Grenville attended McMaster University in Hamilton where he received his bachelor’s degree in commerce.

Grenville is a classically trained musician who studied music at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto. He has been playing violin since the age of seven and has performed for thousands of events. He has shared concert stages with many artists including two time Juno award winner singer/songwriter Serena Ryder, tenor Michael Ciufo, instrumentalist Pavlo, international pops symphony singer Sarah Pacheco, and many others. He has performed across North America for special events and in numerous concerts including various TEDx events, he has also appeared on various national television shows including Rich Bride Poor Brideand 100 Huntley Street.

AWARDEES

GLOBAL EXCELLENCE AWARD

The nominee has made a significant mark internationally. She has been a substantial positive force in the international exchange of culture, knowledge and ideas and has built bridges between cultures through international activities.

Anne Marie Hayes

ANNE MARIE HAYES
GLOBAL EXCELLENCE AWARD

Born in Toronto in 1965, this individual comes from a diverse heritage, with an Italian mother and a British father. As the youngest of three children, growing up in Etobicoke, they attended public school in the area.

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From an early age, they developed a deep passion for music. They studied piano and violin, and even learned to play the guitar on their own. Music became a significant part of their life, leading to volunteer work that revolved around music, such as organizing a dedicated folk mass at their church and establishing music programs for a long-term care facility and a school for emotionally disturbed children. Through these experiences, they discovered the power of music to communicate and connect people, especially when words fall short.

Their educational journey took them to The Toronto Institute of Medical Technology (now the Michener Institute), where they pursued studies in Respiratory Therapy. They have held a Respiratory Therapist license for over 35 years. Their career began in critical care at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto, and they later transitioned to homecare due to the challenges of shift work while raising a family. Over the years, their professional experiences expanded to include chronic care, long-term care, palliative care, and sleep medicine. During this time, they realized the profound impact they could have on individual patients, but they also recognized the importance of influencing healthcare policy to address systemic inequities.

Transitioning into the healthcare industry gave them a broader perspective on health policy and systems, both locally and globally. They became deeply committed to improving health equity and advocating for more humane healthcare systems. Their organization and networks provided opportunities to contribute to various initiatives, such as an international Women’s Health Strategy, Patient Programs during times of conflict and natural disasters, and mentorship programs empowering women to pursue their aspirations.

In addition to their professional commitments, they have dedicated significant time to volunteer work. They served for 13 years on an advisory board for Mackenzie Health and currently sit on the Board of Directors for Caledon Community Services. Their volunteer experiences have not only benefited their community but have also enabled them to influence local health policy through the lens of health equity and human health systems.

Internationally, they have undertaken impactful initiatives, including creating a toolkit for healthcare professionals in Bangalore to educate illiterate parents of children diagnosed with asthma and conducting “train the trainer” sessions across the Middle East to establish local capabilities for asthma diagnosis. These efforts not only advanced medical care but also broke cultural barriers.

On the personal front, they have shared a 32-year journey with their husband and best friend, Ian. Together, they have raised a brilliant daughter named Laura, who, along with her husband, Nick, has given them two delightful granddaughters, Evie and Zoe. They have also cared for their aging parents, a challenging yet rewarding experience. They reside in the small hamlet of Terra Cotta, where they played a pivotal role in creating the Terra Cotta Women’s Network, a community of remarkable women with a strong sense of community and support.

As they contemplate retirement, they do so with a sense of adventure, eagerly looking forward to the new opportunities and experiences that lie ahead.

MICHELE-ELISE BURNETT
GLOBAL EXCELLENCE AWARD

Michele-Elise Burnett, Métis of Ontario citizen with Algonquin roots, Bear Clan, is President of Kakekalanicks, an Indigenous arts and consultancy company which helps promote and educate Indigenous art and artists to a broad audience.

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Ms. Burnett is the president of Landscape of Nations 360°, a unique national Indigenous education and tourism initiative; Artpark’s Indigenous Producer of Arts; the creator and Artistic Director of the Celebration of Nations, and the Artistic Producer of Artpark’s Annual Strawberry Moon Festival, curator and producer of The Red Dress Exhibit: If only these Dress Could Tell their Story and Mino Bimaadiziwin: An Indigenous Journey Through the Arts, all providing a far-reaching platform for the community to embrace and honour the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of Indigenous peoples.

Michele-Elise has been very involved in several Indigenous public installations over the past few years. She served as Co-Advancement Director and Inaugural Unveiling Producer for Landscape of Nations: The Six Nations & Native Allies Commemorative Memorial, at Queenston Heights, committee member for the Carlisle Street Public Art Project which chose the exquisite Curtain Call installation created by Lilly Otasevic that is proudly displayed on the outside wall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre and serves as a legacy project of the Celebration of Nations and the City of St. Catharines. In addition, Michele-Elise conceptualized and oversaw the building of the Native American Peace Garden installation at ArtPark, The Indigenous Unity Garden in Thorold Ontario and produced two 65-minute Indigenous site reactive audio journeys along Artpark’s trails called Her Moccasins Talk and Rekindling All our Relations, a journey into the Niagara Glen.

Ms. Burnett started her career in the radio industry. After graduating from Ryerson University’s School of Radio and Television Arts, she became a third-generation radio business owner in an industry pioneered by her father and grandfather. Later, partnering with her mother, she owned and operated the most powerful signal in the Niagara Region, Spirit 91.7 FM Radio. The accomplished mother/daughter team was the first Indigenous people to be granted two private broadcasting licenses in Canada. Ms. Burnett applied her radio experience in sales, marketing, production, and event planning to LON 360°, which has been entrusted by several Niagara partners to help curate, develop and implement Indigenous Experiences, educational programs, events and site tours.

Terar Dum Prosim (May I be consumed in service) motto from her education at Ridley College is a way of life for Michele-Elise. She is the Co-Chair of the Indigenous Health Conference 2020, after serving seven years as a Board of Trustees at Brock University and Co-Chairing the Aboriginal Education Council, she has been bestowed the great honour to become a Board of Trustees Emeritus at Brock University. She serves as a Board member of the Ridley College Fund USA and on the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games Board where she created and chair’s the Indigenous Partnership Council for the 2022 Canada Summer Games being held in Niagara.

In 2018, she was the recipient of the Culture Arts Award from the GNCC Women in Niagara for her success and contributions to the community; in 2020 was recognized as one of Welland Historical Muesum’s Notable People in their virtual tour, in 2022 onored with Leadership Niagara’s Distinguished Alumni Award and presented with the 2023 International Women’s Day Award by the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.

Fiercely proud of her heritage, Ms. Burnett has demonstrated that an individual like her, who is inspired and passionate about making positive changes in our world, can wake up every day and follow and achieve their dreams. A strong proponent of Indigenous aspirations, she fosters a dream to unite, share, and respect each other’s Nations and to build a stronger Indigenous future filled with pride, dignity, and honour that will carry on for seven generations.

lila_quezada
ANNA DOBOSZYNSKA

MICHELE-ELISE BURNETT
GLOBAL EXCELLENCE AWARD

Michele-Elise Burnett, Métis of Ontario citizen with Algonquin roots, Bear Clan, is President of Kakekalanicks, an Indigenous arts and consultancy company which helps promote and educate Indigenous art and artists to a broad audience.

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Ms. Burnett is the president of Landscape of Nations 360°, a unique national Indigenous education and tourism initiative; Artpark’s Indigenous Producer of Arts; the creator and Artistic Director of the Celebration of Nations, and the Artistic Producer of Artpark’s Annual Strawberry Moon Festival, curator and producer of The Red Dress Exhibit: If only these Dress Could Tell their Story and Mino Bimaadiziwin: An Indigenous Journey Through the Arts, all providing a far-reaching platform for the community to embrace and honour the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of Indigenous peoples.

Michele-Elise has been very involved in several Indigenous public installations over the past few years. She served as Co-Advancement Director and Inaugural Unveiling Producer for Landscape of Nations: The Six Nations & Native Allies Commemorative Memorial, at Queenston Heights, committee member for the Carlisle Street Public Art Project which chose the exquisite Curtain Call installation created by Lilly Otasevic that is proudly displayed on the outside wall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre and serves as a legacy project of the Celebration of Nations and the City of St. Catharines. In addition, Michele-Elise conceptualized and oversaw the building of the Native American Peace Garden installation at ArtPark, The Indigenous Unity Garden in Thorold Ontario and produced two 65-minute Indigenous site reactive audio journeys along Artpark’s trails called Her Moccasins Talk and Rekindling All our Relations, a journey into the Niagara Glen.

Ms. Burnett started her career in the radio industry. After graduating from Ryerson University’s School of Radio and Television Arts, she became a third-generation radio business owner in an industry pioneered by her father and grandfather. Later, partnering with her mother, she owned and operated the most powerful signal in the Niagara Region, Spirit 91.7 FM Radio. The accomplished mother/daughter team was the first Indigenous people to be granted two private broadcasting licenses in Canada. Ms. Burnett applied her radio experience in sales, marketing, production, and event planning to LON 360°, which has been entrusted by several Niagara partners to help curate, develop and implement Indigenous Experiences, educational programs, events and site tours.

Terar Dum Prosim (May I be consumed in service) motto from her education at Ridley College is a way of life for Michele-Elise. She is the Co-Chair of the Indigenous Health Conference 2020, after serving seven years as a Board of Trustees at Brock University and Co-Chairing the Aboriginal Education Council, she has been bestowed the great honour to become a Board of Trustees Emeritus at Brock University. She serves as a Board member of the Ridley College Fund USA and on the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games Board where she created and chair’s the Indigenous Partnership Council for the 2022 Canada Summer Games being held in Niagara.

In 2018, she was the recipient of the Culture Arts Award from the GNCC Women in Niagara for her success and contributions to the community; in 2020 was recognized as one of Welland Historical Muesum’s Notable People in their virtual tour, in 2022 onored with Leadership Niagara’s Distinguished Alumni Award and presented with the 2023 International Women’s Day Award by the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.

Fiercely proud of her heritage, Ms. Burnett has demonstrated that an individual like her, who is inspired and passionate about making positive changes in our world, can wake up every day and follow and achieve their dreams. A strong proponent of Indigenous aspirations, she fosters a dream to unite, share, and respect each other’s Nations and to build a stronger Indigenous future filled with pride, dignity, and honour that will carry on for seven generations.

REBECCA CHU,
GLOBAL EXCELLENCE AWARD

www.impeccableimage.ca
Rebecca Chu, AICI CIP, is a Global Certified Image Consultant, a trainer and speaker for the past 20 years. President / Owner of Impeccable Image International. Certified by Association of Image Consultants International, currently holding Image Professional status. Certified Swiss Nova consultant.

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Rebecca has helped certify hundreds of image consultants in the image industry on behalf of (AICI) Association of Image Consultants International. She has been showcased in many news media including Toronto Fairchild Chinese Television, CFMT TV, Shanghai City Radio, Canada Chinese Radio, and was interviewed by various Newspapers, such as Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Ming Pay Chinese Newspaper, Sing Tao Chinese Newspaper and Miami Herald USA. Her clients include Corporations, Public Icons, Politicians and many successful Individuals in Asia and Canada.

Rebecca was born in Hong Kong when it was a British Colony and received her education in both Hong Kong and USA. She graduated from Sacred Heart Canossian College in Hong Kong with a major in Business and Commerce, and then finished her Post Graduation Diploma from Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, USA in International Marketing. She immigrated to Canada in 1998 and is currently located in Toronto. Rebecca enjoys exercise. Her interests include music and dance, specifically Latin dance. She was a former dancer and performer with the International Alma Latina dance group and Dance ConneXion Ladies Styling Bachata. Career: REBECCA IS REGARDED AS AN INNOVATIVE LEADER IN BUILDING TOTAL IMAGE FROM THE INSIDE OUT. Certified Image Professional by AICI (Association of Image Consultants International) Positions served: AICI Canada Chapter VP Education 2019 – present Nova Profile Certified Consultant 2020 – present Global AICI Board of Directors VP Education 2005 – 2006 Former President of AICI Canada Chapter 2001 – 2002 Former AICI China Ambassador 1998 – 2004 Former Education/Training Manager for Estee Lauder Group Global Nominated again as AICI Global VP Education for 2023-2025 ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS AICI Canada Chapter Outstanding Leadership 2021 – 2022 AICI Canada Chapter Outstanding Leadership 2019 – 2020 AICI Toronto Chapter Member of the Year 2002 Chinese Family and Health Co-operative Best Business Award 2002 Honorary Citizen of New Britain, Connecticut USA 1993

SERVICES

Corporate: Rebecca provides Corporate and Individual Training through her customized Image Management Program (IMP). Clients include: Corporate: front line Executives, Public Figures, Politicians, Sales and Marketing representatives, Financial Industries, Hospitality Industry, Lawyers, CEOs and Executives. Beauty Industry: She has acted as an Honorary Judge of the Beauty Institute for Make-Up Artist competitions for over 10 years. She has been an Image and Etiquette Trainer for Fairchild Television’s “Miss Chinese Toronto Beauty Pageant” since 1995. PROGRAMS INCLUDE Effective Communication Skills International Protocol and Etiquette Personal Style and Wardrobe Strategies Colour Psychologies Personal Image Profile Assessment Professional Image Management

Rebecca Chu
Rebecca Chu

REBECCA CHU,
GLOBAL EXCELLENCE AWARD

www.impeccableimage.ca
Rebecca Chu, AICI CIP, is a Global Certified Image Consultant, a trainer and speaker for the past 20 years. President / Owner of Impeccable Image International. Certified by Association of Image Consultants International, currently holding Image Professional status. Certified Swiss Nova consultant.

Read More

Rebecca has helped certify hundreds of image consultants in the image industry on behalf of (AICI) Association of Image Consultants International. She has been showcased in many news media including Toronto Fairchild Chinese Television, CFMT TV, Shanghai City Radio, Canada Chinese Radio, and was interviewed by various Newspapers, such as Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Ming Pay Chinese Newspaper, Sing Tao Chinese Newspaper and Miami Herald USA. Her clients include Corporations, Public Icons, Politicians and many successful Individuals in Asia and Canada.

Rebecca was born in Hong Kong when it was a British Colony and received her education in both Hong Kong and USA. She graduated from Sacred Heart Canossian College in Hong Kong with a major in Business and Commerce, and then finished her Post Graduation Diploma from Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, USA in International Marketing. She immigrated to Canada in 1998 and is currently located in Toronto. Rebecca enjoys exercise. Her interests include music and dance, specifically Latin dance. She was a former dancer and performer with the International Alma Latina dance group and Dance ConneXion Ladies Styling Bachata. Career: REBECCA IS REGARDED AS AN INNOVATIVE LEADER IN BUILDING TOTAL IMAGE FROM THE INSIDE OUT. Certified Image Professional by AICI (Association of Image Consultants International) Positions served: AICI Canada Chapter VP Education 2019 – present Nova Profile Certified Consultant 2020 – present Global AICI Board of Directors VP Education 2005 – 2006 Former President of AICI Canada Chapter 2001 – 2002 Former AICI China Ambassador 1998 – 2004 Former Education/Training Manager for Estee Lauder Group Global Nominated again as AICI Global VP Education for 2023-2025 ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS AICI Canada Chapter Outstanding Leadership 2021 – 2022 AICI Canada Chapter Outstanding Leadership 2019 – 2020 AICI Toronto Chapter Member of the Year 2002 Chinese Family and Health Co-operative Best Business Award 2002 Honorary Citizen of New Britain, Connecticut USA 1993

SERVICES

Corporate: Rebecca provides Corporate and Individual Training through her customized Image Management Program (IMP). Clients include: Corporate: front line Executives, Public Figures, Politicians, Sales and Marketing representatives, Financial Industries, Hospitality Industry, Lawyers, CEOs and Executives. Beauty Industry: She has acted as an Honorary Judge of the Beauty Institute for Make-Up Artist competitions for over 10 years. She has been an Image and Etiquette Trainer for Fairchild Television’s “Miss Chinese Toronto Beauty Pageant” since 1995. PROGRAMS INCLUDE Effective Communication Skills International Protocol and Etiquette Personal Style and Wardrobe Strategies Colour Psychologies Personal Image Profile Assessment Professional Image Management

HONORABLE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

The nominee, in the duration of her lifetime living or posthumously, had a transformative impact on the lives of her community and/or business. Her legacy will be remembered among future generations.

FRAN RIDER
HONORABLE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Fran Rider CM OOnt is a Canadian ice hockeyexecutive, and former player. She has made a substantial impact on the growth and development of the modern game of female hockey, and is one of the founders of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association.

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Rider has been both an ice hockey player and organizer for the women’s category of the sport. She began playing ice hockey in 1967, with the Brampton Canadettes, the predecessor to the Brampton Thunder. Rider was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2015.

  • Invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2015
  • Inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2015 (first female builder)
  • Inducted into the Mississauga Sports Hall of Fame in 2001
  • First recipient of the Hockey Canada Female Breakthrough Award in 1998
  • Received Ontario Ministry of Culture and Citizenship Contribution to Sport Award in 1998
  • First female recipient of the Hockey Canada Order of Merit in 1994
  • Received the OHA Gold Stick Award in 1992
  • Runner-up team at Esso Women’s Nationals was presented the Fran Rider Cup
lila_quezada
lila_quezada

FRAN RIDER
HONORABLE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Fran Rider CM OOnt is a Canadian ice hockeyexecutive, and former player. She has made a substantial impact on the growth and development of the modern game of female hockey, and is one of the founders of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association.

Read More

Rider has been both an ice hockey player and organizer for the women’s category of the sport. She began playing ice hockey in 1967, with the Brampton Canadettes, the predecessor to the Brampton Thunder. Rider was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2015.

  • Invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2015
  • Inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2015 (first female builder)
  • Inducted into the Mississauga Sports Hall of Fame in 2001
  • First recipient of the Hockey Canada Female Breakthrough Award in 1998
  • Received Ontario Ministry of Culture and Citizenship Contribution to Sport Award in 1998
  • First female recipient of the Hockey Canada Order of Merit in 1994
  • Received the OHA Gold Stick Award in 1992
  • Runner-up team at Esso Women’s Nationals was presented the Fran Rider Cup
Jean Augustine

DR. JEAN AUGUSTINE
HONORABLE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Jean Augustine (born September 9, 1937) is a Grenada-born Canadian politician. She was the first Black Canadian woman to serve as a federal Minister of the Crown and Member of Parliament.

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From 1993 to 2006, Jean Augustine was a Liberal member of the House of Commons of Canada, representing the district of Etobicoke—Lakeshore in Toronto, Ontario. She served as the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women in the Cabinet of Canada from 2002 to 2004 and was the Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien from 1994 to 1996. Before her election, she had been a school principal.

From 2007 to 2015, she served as the first Fairness Commissioner of Ontario. Following her retirement, she has served as the patron of several non-profit organizations across Canada.

Augustine was born on September 9, 1937, in St. George’s, Grenada, but immigrated to Canada in 1960 under the West Indian Domestic Scheme.[1] She studied at the University of Toronto where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education. After university she worked as an elementary school principal with the Metropolitan Separate School Board in Toronto. She was also actively involved in Toronto’s Caribbean community, sitting on the first committee to organize the Caribana Festival in 1967.[1]

She has become engaged in numerous organizations for education and social justice, serving with the National Black Coalition of Canada, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR), the board of governors of York University, the board of trustees for The Hospital for Sick Children, the board of directors of the Donwood Institute, the board of Harbourfront, and chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority. She was also named national president of the Congress of Black Women of Canada in 1987.[2]

Jean Augustine’s story is a testament to the power of hard work and devotion in pursuit of social justice.

She was born in St. George’s, Grenada in 1937. She lost her father at a young age and blossomed into an outstanding young student raised by a wise grandmother. In 1960, already a qualified teacher, she immigrated to Canada on the Canada-Caribbean Domestic Program. With focus, she attended Toronto Teachers’ College before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. She earned her Masters in Education while working as an elementary school teacher with the Metropolitan Separate School Board in Toronto. She was later promoted to principal, then Supervisory Officer, where she helped shape the lives of a number of young students; all the while deeply involved in grassroots efforts out in the community. She was married and had two daughters who she continued to raise as a single mother.

Augustine’s contribution expanded to many social causes through her involvement on boards such as that of York University, The Hospital for Sick Children, the Stephen Lewis Foundation and Harbourfront Corporation. She also served as the National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada. Her capacities and work ethic were recognized by political leaders who began to call upon her for various tasks ranging from the development and launch of Canada’s official multiculturalism policy in 1971; to providing advice on cabinet level appointments.

In 1988, she was appointed to chair the Metro Toronto Housing Authority, a multi-million dollar social housing authority serving 300,000 residents in rent-geared to income housing.

In 1993, Jean Augustine made history as the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to Canada’s House of Commons as the Member of Parliament from the Greater Toronto Area constituency of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. She served with distinction winning four consecutive elections until she decided to move on to new challenges in 2006.

Over this period in Parliament, her work included Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Minister of Multiculturalism and the Status of Women; Chair of the Foreign Affairs and International Trade committee; Chair of the Human Rights Committee, three-time Chair of the National Women’s Caucus; and in her last year, she was elected Deputy Speaker by her peers. Amongst her notable achievements was legislation to protect disadvantaged low-income individuals including single mothers raising children; securing unanimous legislative support to pass a historic motion designating February as Black History Month in Canada; securing unanimous legislative support to pass a landmark motion to erect the only statue featuring women on Parliament Hill, the Famous Five Monument; and extensive travel and engagement in countries around the world on action and initiatives to ultimately improve the human condition.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

The nominee has long-termly impacted the lives of her community, fellowship, family, and business. She displays wisdom and depth of service that has made a significant difference to individuals or groups.

ANNA DOBOSZYNSKA

NISHIKA JARDINE
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Colonel (Ret’d) Nishika Jardine served almost 37 years as an officer in the Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (RCEME). She enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in 1982 and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada with a Bachelor of Science in Math and Physics.

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She has served and led in Maintenance organizations with the Army in Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gagetown, the Navy in CFB Esquimalt, and the Air Force at 19 Wing Comox. She commanded the RCEME School in 2008-2010. She was promoted to Colonel in 2014 and served one year as Director Armament Sustainment Program Management before her final posting as Deputy Commandant at Canadian Forces College. She completed her service in May 2019.

She has completed several important professional development courses including both the Army and the Canadian Forces Staff College programs. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Defence Studies from the Royal Military College, and most recently earned the Chartered Director designation.

Other notable staff appointments include RCEME Officers Career Manager, Staff Officer to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Program Officer National Security Studies Program, Deputy Project Manager Medium Support Vehicle System, and the senior staff officer responsible for the strategic sustainment of the Joint Task Force for Operation ATHENA in Afghanistan.

Since leaving the CAF, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston, the Board of Governors of the Air Cadet League Ontario Provincial Committee, the Board of Directors of the Order of St. George, and the Board of Directors for the RCEME Museum and Heritage Foundation.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AWARD

The nominee has been instrumental in the rapid growth of her organization at home and abroad. She and her team help educate the wider community about best practices in that regard.

RINA ROVINELLI
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AWARD

Rina Rovinelli named Top 25 Women of Influence™, is Co-Founder of Speaker Slam, North America’s Largest Inspirational Speaking Competition and Speaker Development Agency committed to helping Entrepreneurs, Speakers, Authors and Coaches be seen, build momentum and monetize their speaking.

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As a Speaker Coach, she empowers individuals to unleash their speaking potential. She has coached many speakers to victory or viral success. Rina co-created the Emerging Speakers Academy, Booked and Paid Academy and Viral Sensations Program to amplify emerging talent.

Passionate about empowering marginalized voices, she founded Platform, empowering individuals to reclaim their narrative. Partnering with Canadian nonprofits, Rina runs impactful programs.

lila_quezada
lila_quezada

RINA ROVINELLI
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AWARD

Rina Rovinelli named Top 25 Women of Influence™, is Co-Founder of Speaker Slam, North America’s Largest Inspirational Speaking Competition and Speaker Development Agency committed to helping Entrepreneurs, Speakers, Authors and Coaches be seen, build momentum and monetize their speaking.

Read More

As a Speaker Coach, she empowers individuals to unleash their speaking potential. She has coached many speakers to victory or viral success. Rina co-created the Emerging Speakers Academy, Booked and Paid Academy and Viral Sensations Program to amplify emerging talent.

Passionate about empowering marginalized voices, she founded Platform, empowering individuals to reclaim their narrative. Partnering with Canadian nonprofits, Rina runs impactful programs.

MAUREEN (MO) HAGAN
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AWARD

Maureen Hagan, or Mo as she is best known, is a global fitness ambassador, recognized for her work and leadership in the fitness industry that spans 4 decades. Mo’s passion for moving people extends beyond the fitness industry as a licensed physiotherapist and, with her work on the Canadian National Board of Directors for Prescription To Get Active, she is committed to inspiring positive change worldwide.

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She was recognized as Canada’s Top 10 Women of Power in 2020 and as a Top 100 Health Influencer many times over. She is also the recipient of multiple fitness industry awards including: IHRSA’s Women Leader Award (2016) and the Canadian Fitness Industry Council’s Leader of the Year (2109).

Mo’s journey as a business leader was ignited when she took a part-time job during physiotherapy school at #1 Nautilus fitness club in London ON in 1984. This was the third club of her boss, David Patchell-Evans (“Patch”), which later grew into the iconic Canadian brand GoodLife Fitness a few years later. It was here that Mo’s passion for teaching and leading fitness classes evolved, and she spent many evenings, weekends, and vacations teaching fitness classes locally and abroad—eventually training others how to teach fitness classes. Within three years she graduated and became a licensed physiotherapist and landed her dream job at University Hospital in London, Ontario. However, Mo was not meant to stay in the hospital as her life and leadership journey would bring her back into the fitness industry full time four years later.

After a trip of a lifetime to the South Pacific in 1991, Mo returned to Canada and joined GoodLife as Director of Group Fitness. In this role she was responsible for innovation and growth of the group fitness instructor teams across Canada and was influential in bringing the Les Mills group fitness programming to Canada. GoodLife became an early adopter of the pre-choreographed group fitness format, and the exclusive provider of Les Mills in Canada which changed the Canadian fitness landscape. Mo has received numerous international industry awards for her outstanding teaching and leadership including IDEA Program Director of the Year in 1998 and IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year in 2006. In 2015 Mo was promoted to Vice President of Program Innovation and Fitness Development with GoodLife where she continued to innovate and work collaboratively with fitness professionals in Canada and around the world. Mo is the creator of the GoodLife exclusive program NEWBODY, a class that helps inspire women to build whole-body strength while developing endurance and confidence. She regularly choreographs and leads master classes and new releases for this program which are shared with instructors and members across the country.

Since 2019, Mo has held the esteemed position of Chief Operating Officer at canfitpro, a prominent fitness education authority and organization in Canada, which she co-founded alongside Patch in 1993. Throughout her tenure, she has displayed unwavering dedication to enhancing the training and professional growth of fitness experts, while also fostering a profound passion for promoting fitness as a career and a fulfilling lifestyle choice. Mo leverages her strengths as a motivator, a strategic leader, and a connector to support 60,000 fitness professionals and business owners in Canada and around the world. Mo conceived of the idea and is the creator of canfitpro’s annual Women Who Influence Event, the first of its kind event for women leaders in the fitness industry that started over ten years ago.

In 2020, when the world went into lock-down with the onset of COVID-19 Mo had to find ways to pivot business operations for canfitpro quickly. Fitness professionals were out of work indefinitely, there would be no way to maintain their credentials and their clients would have no support to stay active. Mo was able to salvage the annual event by converting it to a four-part virtual series in the first year, which meant canfitpro could keep many of its sponsors and education partners, employ many of its presenters, and keep fitness professionals engaged and connected. It took many long days and nights but ultimately the shift online lowered costs, boosted profits and opened a new digital training channel for canfitpro to reach and serve its members and still bring in revenue throughout the pandemic.

This year, Mo is thrilled to spearhead canfitpro’s momentous 30th anniversary, marking three decades of exceptional growth and progress in both canfitpro and the fitness industry. It is a true testament to her courage, confidence, and innovative mindset that canfitpro has made it this far, through highs and lows, to continue to thrive and set a standard of excellence for fitness in Canada and around the world. In recognition of her contributions to business growth and development at canfitpro and in the fitness industry and her courageous leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Mo was nominated as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 – C-Suite Executives in 2023.

Mo’s vision is for a world where we can all work together to build a healthier society—a society where people choose fitness and wellbeing as a proactive means of improving themselves—physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Fostering change, she admits can be challenging but Mo embraces challenges as opportunities to grow. Being a challenger is part of her personality. Mo’s mother describes her daughter as ‘stubborn’, but Mo found a way to foster her “never give-up attitude” to help MO’tivate her to pursue tough challenges, influence others to join her and together succeed. This approach cultivated a level of self-confidence and self-belief in Mo that serves well today as a business leader who MO’ve people and businesses forward by helping them see possibility and embrace potential.

lila_quezada
lila_quezada

MAUREEN (MO) HAGAN
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AWARD

Maureen Hagan, or Mo as she is best known, is a global fitness ambassador, recognized for her work and leadership in the fitness industry that spans 4 decades. Mo’s passion for moving people extends beyond the fitness industry as a licensed physiotherapist and, with her work on the Canadian National Board of Directors for Prescription To Get Active, she is committed to inspiring positive change worldwide.

Read More

She was recognized as Canada’s Top 10 Women of Power in 2020 and as a Top 100 Health Influencer many times over. She is also the recipient of multiple fitness industry awards including: IHRSA’s Women Leader Award (2016) and the Canadian Fitness Industry Council’s Leader of the Year (2109).

Mo’s journey as a business leader was ignited when she took a part-time job during physiotherapy school at #1 Nautilus fitness club in London ON in 1984. This was the third club of her boss, David Patchell-Evans (“Patch”), which later grew into the iconic Canadian brand GoodLife Fitness a few years later. It was here that Mo’s passion for teaching and leading fitness classes evolved, and she spent many evenings, weekends, and vacations teaching fitness classes locally and abroad—eventually training others how to teach fitness classes. Within three years she graduated and became a licensed physiotherapist and landed her dream job at University Hospital in London, Ontario. However, Mo was not meant to stay in the hospital as her life and leadership journey would bring her back into the fitness industry full time four years later.

After a trip of a lifetime to the South Pacific in 1991, Mo returned to Canada and joined GoodLife as Director of Group Fitness. In this role she was responsible for innovation and growth of the group fitness instructor teams across Canada and was influential in bringing the Les Mills group fitness programming to Canada. GoodLife became an early adopter of the pre-choreographed group fitness format, and the exclusive provider of Les Mills in Canada which changed the Canadian fitness landscape. Mo has received numerous international industry awards for her outstanding teaching and leadership including IDEA Program Director of the Year in 1998 and IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year in 2006. In 2015 Mo was promoted to Vice President of Program Innovation and Fitness Development with GoodLife where she continued to innovate and work collaboratively with fitness professionals in Canada and around the world. Mo is the creator of the GoodLife exclusive program NEWBODY, a class that helps inspire women to build whole-body strength while developing endurance and confidence. She regularly choreographs and leads master classes and new releases for this program which are shared with instructors and members across the country.

Since 2019, Mo has held the esteemed position of Chief Operating Officer at canfitpro, a prominent fitness education authority and organization in Canada, which she co-founded alongside Patch in 1993. Throughout her tenure, she has displayed unwavering dedication to enhancing the training and professional growth of fitness experts, while also fostering a profound passion for promoting fitness as a career and a fulfilling lifestyle choice. Mo leverages her strengths as a motivator, a strategic leader, and a connector to support 60,000 fitness professionals and business owners in Canada and around the world. Mo conceived of the idea and is the creator of canfitpro’s annual Women Who Influence Event, the first of its kind event for women leaders in the fitness industry that started over ten years ago.

In 2020, when the world went into lock-down with the onset of COVID-19 Mo had to find ways to pivot business operations for canfitpro quickly. Fitness professionals were out of work indefinitely, there would be no way to maintain their credentials and their clients would have no support to stay active. Mo was able to salvage the annual event by converting it to a four-part virtual series in the first year, which meant canfitpro could keep many of its sponsors and education partners, employ many of its presenters, and keep fitness professionals engaged and connected. It took many long days and nights but ultimately the shift online lowered costs, boosted profits and opened a new digital training channel for canfitpro to reach and serve its members and still bring in revenue throughout the pandemic.

This year, Mo is thrilled to spearhead canfitpro’s momentous 30th anniversary, marking three decades of exceptional growth and progress in both canfitpro and the fitness industry. It is a true testament to her courage, confidence, and innovative mindset that canfitpro has made it this far, through highs and lows, to continue to thrive and set a standard of excellence for fitness in Canada and around the world. In recognition of her contributions to business growth and development at canfitpro and in the fitness industry and her courageous leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Mo was nominated as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 – C-Suite Executives in 2023.

Mo’s vision is for a world where we can all work together to build a healthier society—a society where people choose fitness and wellbeing as a proactive means of improving themselves—physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Fostering change, she admits can be challenging but Mo embraces challenges as opportunities to grow. Being a challenger is part of her personality. Mo’s mother describes her daughter as ‘stubborn’, but Mo found a way to foster her “never give-up attitude” to help MO’tivate her to pursue tough challenges, influence others to join her and together succeed. This approach cultivated a level of self-confidence and self-belief in Mo that serves well today as a business leader who MO’ve people and businesses forward by helping them see possibility and embrace potential.

Paula George

PAULA GEORGE
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AWARD

It was a journey filled with twists and turns, but one thing remained constant – the immense joy I derived from helping people discover their inner beauty.

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From a young age, I was fascinated by the transformative power of makeup. I used to sneak into my mother’s vanity, clumsily applying her lipstick and eyeshadow, turning myself into a colorful canvas of curiosity. Little did I know that this innocent exploration would blossom into a lifelong passion.

As I grew older, working as a pharmacist I realized that makeup was more than just a cosmetic tool; it was a means to boost confidence, express individuality, and radiate self-love. That realization led me to pursue a career in makeup artistry.

AMANY MANSOUR
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AWARD

I am Amany Mansour, and my life has been a journey filled with love, family, education, and entrepreneurship. Born on September 4th, 1983, I took the significant step of getting married in 2005, setting the stage for the wonderful family life I enjoy today.

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With the birth of my three children, my role as a mother became a central part of my identity. The eldest, born in 2006, marked the start of my beautiful motherhood journey, followed by the second in 2013 and the youngest in 2015.

In 2010, I made a life-changing decision to move from Egypt to Canada. This move was the catalyst for many new opportunities in my life. Canada offered me a chance to pursue my passion for hairstyling, which I grasped eagerly. Over two years of dedicated training, I not only learned the art of hairstyling but also gained the skills and confidence to become a professional in the industry and earned a diploma in cosmetology.

Even before my journey in Canada, my commitment to education was evident. Back in Egypt, I successfully passed various literacy tests in French, English, and Arabic. Additionally, I earned a degree in anthropology and a French diploma from university.

Inspired by my hairstyling education in Canada and the desire to be an entrepreneur, I decided to open my own salon. I turned this dream into a reality, and today, I am proud to be the owner of two thriving salons known as “Amy Salon.” This journey from a student in Canada to a successful businesswoman reflects my determination, creativity, and hard work.

My story is one of resilience and ambition, from my roots in Egypt to my flourishing business in Canada. It is a testament to the power of pursuing one’s passions and dreams with unwavering dedication, as well as the ability to shape one’s destiny through hard work and perseverance.

AMANY MANSOUR
AMANY MANSOUR

AMANY MANSOUR
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AWARD

I am Amany Mansour, and my life has been a journey filled with love, family, education, and entrepreneurship. Born on September 4th, 1983, I took the significant step of getting married in 2005, setting the stage for the wonderful family life I enjoy today.

Read More

With the birth of my three children, my role as a mother became a central part of my identity. The eldest, born in 2006, marked the start of my beautiful motherhood journey, followed by the second in 2013 and the youngest in 2015.

In 2010, I made a life-changing decision to move from Egypt to Canada. This move was the catalyst for many new opportunities in my life. Canada offered me a chance to pursue my passion for hairstyling, which I grasped eagerly. Over two years of dedicated training, I not only learned the art of hairstyling but also gained the skills and confidence to become a professional in the industry and earned a diploma in cosmetology.

Even before my journey in Canada, my commitment to education was evident. Back in Egypt, I successfully passed various literacy tests in French, English, and Arabic. Additionally, I earned a degree in anthropology and a French diploma from university.

Inspired by my hairstyling education in Canada and the desire to be an entrepreneur, I decided to open my own salon. I turned this dream into a reality, and today, I am proud to be the owner of two thriving salons known as “Amy Salon.” This journey from a student in Canada to a successful businesswoman reflects my determination, creativity, and hard work.

My story is one of resilience and ambition, from my roots in Egypt to my flourishing business in Canada. It is a testament to the power of pursuing one’s passions and dreams with unwavering dedication, as well as the ability to shape one’s destiny through hard work and perseverance.

ANNA DOBOSZYNSKA

DANUTA BARTOSZEK
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AWARD

Danuta Bartoszek, born on 19 August 1961 in Pyrzyce, Poland, is a former long-distance runner. Originally hailing from Poland, Bartoszek represented Canada at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. During the Atlanta Olympics, this resident of Mississauga, Ontario, finished the women’s marathon in 32nd place with a time of 2:37:06. In 2001, she also participated in the women’s marathon at the 2001 World Championships in Athletics held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

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In the year 2001, Danuta Bartoszek made the decision to retire from competitive running. Her impressive athletic career included competing in the Olympics in ’96, participating in World Championships four times, and even achieving a Top 3 placement in the Chicago Marathon. With her running shoes retired, she was prepared to embark on a new journey.

It was during this time that Danuta and her family took over a banquet hall named Banquet Royale in 2001. They ventured into this new business, with each family member actively involved, learning the ropes of the trade.

Fast-forward two decades, and their business has grown significantly. They now operate from the current Millennium Gardens location, which can accommodate twice the number of guests and caters to a diverse clientele, extending beyond the Polish community.

The expansion and success of their business stand as a testament to Danuta’s unwavering commitment, dedication, and perseverance—qualities reminiscent of her persistence and endurance during her competitive running career.

GOHAR SHAHRAKI
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AWARD

In 2017, I landed in Canada from Iran, carrying all my hopes and wishes for a new life.

Upon arrival, I embarked on a career as a landscape architect associate, dedicating 16 months to this role.

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During this time, I had the privilege of being involved in over 120 park design projects for esteemed organizations such as the City of Toronto and, City of Markham.

However, I soon realized that the sedentary nature of the job, spending long hours behind a computer in silence, was taking a toll on me. Additionally, the financial aspect was not meeting my needs. Determined to find a better fit, I made the decision to transition into the mortgage industry.

For the past four years, I have been working as a mortgage agent and now as a mortgage broker, honing my skills and expertise in this field. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, I utilized this time to expand my professional network rapidly. I actively participated in various networking events, contributing my knowledge and establishing connections within the industry. I have embraced change, adapted to new challenges, and seized opportunities to grow both professionally and personally.

My network is my net worth.

Being a recent immigrant, my initial social network consisted of just a few acquaintances and family members. However, I am pleased to share that I have now expanded my connections and proudly count over 500 wonderful friends and business partners from various industries.

Gohar Shahraki
Gohar Shahraki

GOHAR SHAHRAKI
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AWARD

In 2017, I landed in Canada from Iran, carrying all my hopes and wishes for a new life.

Upon arrival, I embarked on a career as a landscape architect associate, dedicating 16 months to this role.

Read More

During this time, I had the privilege of being involved in over 120 park design projects for esteemed organizations such as the City of Toronto and, City of Markham.

However, I soon realized that the sedentary nature of the job, spending long hours behind a computer in silence, was taking a toll on me. Additionally, the financial aspect was not meeting my needs. Determined to find a better fit, I made the decision to transition into the mortgage industry.

For the past four years, I have been working as a mortgage agent and now as a mortgage broker, honing my skills and expertise in this field. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, I utilized this time to expand my professional network rapidly. I actively participated in various networking events, contributing my knowledge and establishing connections within the industry. I have embraced change, adapted to new challenges, and seized opportunities to grow both professionally and personally.

My network is my net worth.

Being a recent immigrant, my initial social network consisted of just a few acquaintances and family members. However, I am pleased to share that I have now expanded my connections and proudly count over 500 wonderful friends and business partners from various industries.

SELF-DEVELOPMENT AWARD

The nominee has dedicated years to actively and intentionally developing herself. Through her success she gives back to her community, offering mentorship and encouragement that would allow others to follow in her footsteps and live their best selves. The nominee exemplifies awareness, encouragement, grace and poise.

SARAH MCLEOD
SELF-DEVELOPMENT AWARD

Sarah McLeod is from a small northern Ontario town called Red Lake. Her love for health and wellness lead her to create her dream of a health spa, which is located in London Ontario. Sarah is the CEO and Founder of Mint Health Spa.

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She has over 25 years experience as a Registered Massage Therapist. And is proud to be a International Brand Ambassador for Comfort Zone Skin Care.

lila_quezada
Sarah McLeod

SARAH MCLEOD
SELF-DEVELOPMENT AWARD

Sarah McLeod is from a small northern Ontario town called Red Lake. Her love for health and wellness lead her to create her dream of a health spa, which is located in London Ontario. Sarah is the CEO and Founder of Mint Health Spa.

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She has over 25 years experience as a Registered Massage Therapist. And is proud to be a International Brand Ambassador for Comfort Zone Skin Care.

sara kardooni

ANNA LOLOMARI
SELF-DEVELOPMENT AWARD

Anna Lolomari is the joyful and positive-spirited style director and fashion stylist at Zesty Lifestyle. Her passionate love and mission is to see all women from all walks of life and backgrounds feel worthy and confident through her personal styling and image branding consultation services.

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Anna Lolomari is the joyful and positive-spirited style director and fashion stylist at Zesty Lifestyle. Her passionate love and mission is to see all women from all walks of life and backgrounds feel worthy and confident through her personal styling and image branding consultation services. Anna believes every woman deserves to feel uniquely beautiful and successful regardless of their age, race and background.

Due to her creative love and experience for fashion through her personal entrepreneurial journey, Anna also coaches style confidence and self-esteem workshops with organizations and businesses in the city both virtually and in person. She volunteers her time with Dress for Success Toronto as well as offers masterclasses and mentorship with other organizations like black mentorship Inc., Mothers and Daughters etc.

Anna is also a certified interior refiner and decorator and started her Interior re-designer entrepreneurial journey in Calgary, Alberta in 2008. Anna believes our positive well-being and lifestyle start from our homes and currently offers her interior home makeover services on the Houzz design platform where she has won Best of Houzz service awards over the years and also the black designers recognition award in Toronto.

Anna has lived in six continents with over 20 years of lifestyle and fashion experiences and has worked with diverse clients starting in her homeland Nigeria where are fashion styling career started then London England, Calgary, the Caribbean, Houston, Texas and now Toronto for the past 4 years. She is inspired by the diverse beauty of cultures and influences as she travels the world.

She has been featured on Voyage lifestyle Houston, Miso Living magazine Atlanta, Online E-Magazine with Style Canada and Living Luxe as a style trend expert and lifestyle influencer as well as featured in Toronto City Life magazine. She was also a nominee for the Leadership Community Award by Rogers Women Empowerment Awards in 2022 alongside other inspiring women and a red carpet independent stylist on Style App.

She loves exploring nature and the outdoors, dancing, swimming, cycling, travelling and exploring diverse cuisines in the city. Uplifting herself with worship songs and scriptures is how she finds strength on her purpose-driven journey to give love and light through her styling services and empowerment coaching.

She believes self-love is the most powerful tool to be our best version and living with positive intention and mindfulness so much more. Anna brings love and light to all who cross her path so they can feel fabulous, worthy and unstoppable in living their purpose. Giving back her styling gift & talent has been her greatest joy as a mother to 3 young adults ages 20, 19 and 17.

PHILANTHROPIST OF THE YEAR AWARD

The nominee has actively promoted the welfare of others through giving generous financial and in-kind support to communities in need. She demonstrates outstanding civic and charitable responsibility and encourages others to share their generosity in similar ways.

ANNA DOBOSZYNSKA

MARCIA AGIUS
PHILANTROPHIST OF THE YEAR AWARD

Marcia Agius was born in Toronto and raised just to the north in Markham, Ontario. Her parents were first-generation immigrants from Guyana. Marcia’s mom and dad planted the first seeds of generosity and were extraordinary role models, showing Marcia the path to kindness and giving back. Growing up as part of a large, close-knit family, Marcia was surrounded by love and a strong sense of community from her youth.

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Throughout her life, Marcia has been inspired by many incredible women, which led her to establish Inspire Always in 2021. Inspire Always is a platform that highlights and features remarkable women, showcasing their strengths and struggles. It serves as a supportive community of women who motivate and uplift each other, where kindness and positivity spread throughout this beautiful community.

Marcia is a published author in “Uncover Your Light,” where she co-authored a chapter on The Gift of Giving. She also contributes to Ask Us Beauty magazine and serves as the Kindness Ambassador for the podcast “She’s a 10×5.” In recognition of her inspirational efforts, Marcia was honored with the 2023 Inspiration Award by Glorious Is She.

Philanthropy has always been a significant part of Marcia’s life, and with the launch of Inspire Always, she has continued to give back. She was actively involved in a major fundraising campaign for Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre. More recently, she initiated the Kindness Circle, a growing movement committed to “Spreading Kindness” and supporting two charities: Make-A-Wish, which grants wishes for children with critical illnesses, and Million Dollar Smiles. To date, Marcia and her community have granted five wishes for Make-A-Wish and have built two playgrounds for Million Dollar Smiles. The Kindness Circle is poised to further expand this impactful movement of giving to these two incredible causes.

In her personal life, Marcia Agius is happily married to her best friend and is the proud mother of three wonderful children. Over the past 25 years, living in three different countries, she has managed a busy household while supporting her husband’s career journey. While it wasn’t always easy, she has always believed it was worth it and takes pride in her essential role in her family’s successes and the life they have built together.

KRYSTAL RIDDELL
PHILANTROPHIST OF THE YEAR AWARD

Krystal’s upbringing took her across various parts of the Niagara Region. She attended Orchard Park Public School, AN Myer, and Thorold Secondary School during her school years. Immediately after high school, she made her way to Toronto to enroll at Humber College, where she pursued her goal of becoming a Licensed Funeral Director.

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Krystal successfully completed her internship and subsequently worked at the George Darte Funeral Home in St. Catharines for an impressive 10 years. During this decade, she gained invaluable experience and cultivated an exceptional level of service and care that she was proud to provide to the families she assisted.

Throughout her journey, Krystal remained involved in various organizations that were dear to her heart, such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters of St. Catharines-Thorold & District, as well as actively contributing to the Campaign for the United Way St. Catharines & District. In 2016, Krystal decided to join the Bocchinfuso Funeral Home in Thorold. With Thorold holding a special place in her heart, she felt honored to work in her small hometown community. During her tenure there, Krystal gained insight into the responsibilities of operating a small family-owned business and came to appreciate the significance of community engagement.

As Krystal continued to grow in her role as a funeral director, she began to contemplate ways in which she could make a positive impact on her community. Currently, Krystal holds the position of Vice President within the Niagara District Funeral Service Association. Additionally, she serves as the Spiritual Development Chair and President-elect for the Catholic Women’s League of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church. Krystal also takes pride in her involvement with the St. Catharines South Rotary Club, where she recently assumed a board member role.

Throughout the years, Krystal has nurtured a deep-seated desire to be a leader both in her profession and within her community. She possesses an unwavering passion for assisting families during their times of need and is dedicated to providing the highest level of professionalism and care to all families she serves. For Krystal, this profession has never been merely a business; it has always been about helping and caring for people in all aspects. Over the past decade, she has witnessed the evolution of economic conditions and funeral traditions and firmly believes in the importance and necessity of offering effective and affordable death care services.

In her personal life, Krystal is happily married to her husband, David. Together, they are proud parents to two beautiful and spirited boys, William (who aspires to follow in his mother’s footsteps as a funeral director) and Alexander Riddell (who has dreams of becoming a police officer). They also share their home with a furry family member, their dog, Flynn.

lila_quezada
lila_quezada

KRYSTAL RIDDELL
PHILANTROPHIST OF THE YEAR AWARD

Krystal’s upbringing took her across various parts of the Niagara Region. She attended Orchard Park Public School, AN Myer, and Thorold Secondary School during her school years. Immediately after high school, she made her way to Toronto to enroll at Humber College, where she pursued her goal of becoming a Licensed Funeral Director.

Read More

Krystal successfully completed her internship and subsequently worked at the George Darte Funeral Home in St. Catharines for an impressive 10 years. During this decade, she gained invaluable experience and cultivated an exceptional level of service and care that she was proud to provide to the families she assisted.

Throughout her journey, Krystal remained involved in various organizations that were dear to her heart, such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters of St. Catharines-Thorold & District, as well as actively contributing to the Campaign for the United Way St. Catharines & District. In 2016, Krystal decided to join the Bocchinfuso Funeral Home in Thorold. With Thorold holding a special place in her heart, she felt honored to work in her small hometown community. During her tenure there, Krystal gained insight into the responsibilities of operating a small family-owned business and came to appreciate the significance of community engagement.

As Krystal continued to grow in her role as a funeral director, she began to contemplate ways in which she could make a positive impact on her community. Currently, Krystal holds the position of Vice President within the Niagara District Funeral Service Association. Additionally, she serves as the Spiritual Development Chair and President-elect for the Catholic Women’s League of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church. Krystal also takes pride in her involvement with the St. Catharines South Rotary Club, where she recently assumed a board member role.

Throughout the years, Krystal has nurtured a deep-seated desire to be a leader both in her profession and within her community. She possesses an unwavering passion for assisting families during their times of need and is dedicated to providing the highest level of professionalism and care to all families she serves. For Krystal, this profession has never been merely a business; it has always been about helping and caring for people in all aspects. Over the past decade, she has witnessed the evolution of economic conditions and funeral traditions and firmly believes in the importance and necessity of offering effective and affordable death care services.

In her personal life, Krystal is happily married to her husband, David. Together, they are proud parents to two beautiful and spirited boys, William (who aspires to follow in his mother’s footsteps as a funeral director) and Alexander Riddell (who has dreams of becoming a police officer). They also share their home with a furry family member, their dog, Flynn.

ANNA DOBOSZYNSKA

ROSANNA PAGLIARO
PHILANTROPHIST OF THE YEAR AWARD

My Name is Rosanna Pagliaro I was born in Alessandria, Piemonte Italy by the alps and close to the sea on August 12, 1961. My parents were born in Sicily and after getting married and having my brother moved to northern Italy where my father spent a year in the military.

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I lived in Alessandria with my family surrounded by my grandparents and aunts and cousins until I came to Canada on September 7 th , 1975 with my parents and brother. We lived a great life in Italy and traveled every summer to different destinations for the month of August. One of my favorite trips was to Morocco. I was 14 yrs old when I arrived in Toronto and I went to High School the next day while not speaking a word of English. My brother and I were bullied and made fun of but I did graduate from grade 12 and spoke English fluently by then.

After high school I embarked with my parents to start a family business since I was the only one who learned to speak the language. I ran the business with my dad at 18yrs (a bakery in Port Colborne) until I got married in 1982 and moved back to Toronto. I worked for TMN The Movie Network, one of the first pay television stations in Canada for 15 yrs. I started as a girl Friday but moved to different departments and finally oversaw marketing and advertising. After leaving the corporate world I went back to my roots and started my own business called Pasta Vita where I sold fresh pasta, homemade sauce and prepared meals as well as catering for 15 yrs. My grandmothers were both entrepreneurs and my nonna Vita gave me the zest and love for food and taught me how to make homemade pasta at a very young age.

When I started Pasta Vita in Markham I became more involved in the community and various charitable initiatives which I could support with my business. My husband and I have supported Sick Kids since 1985 in a monthly donation as well as sponsoring different children in Europe. When I retired from Pasta Vita I had more free time so I made fundraising and spreading love and kindness a mission in my life. I also joined a Direct Sales company called Stella and Dot which again gave the means and connection to a whole new world of heart centered souls who had the same life mission. I am currently an executive for a charity in Tanzania called the Village of Hope, the Village was established by two priests and 2 nuns over 15 yrs ago to support orphan children who are HIV positive. We provide a home and food and medicine as well as schooling. All the money is raised through Fundraising. We are a non-profit and not registered community of volunteers.

I am also a big supporter of Million Dollar Smile and help raise funds for the playground and bear drive program. I support Make a Wish foundation, I have been involved with 100 women in Markham for the last 5 years. I donate chemo care poufs every year in october to the Cancer Centre at Markham Stouffville Hospital, I am involved with our church and on different committees through the St. Patrick’s Catholic Women League, I recently joined The Rosary Apostolate ministry teaching kids in school to pray the rosary, Communion ministry to the sick in the hospital. I am also involved in various women’s groups including FemCity of Markham, The Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association Ladies Auxiliary, The Inspire Always and Spread Kindness Circle. And Lastly caregiving to older sick immigrant parents and babysitting my grandchildren while the parents work has been at the forefront of my daily life in the last 8 years.

Lastly I raise money for various shelters, homeless and initiates throughout the year including Autism, and Human Trafficking, The local food bank and the out of the cold program. My mission is to continue and do as much as possible to make a difference or just share love and kindness to everyone and anyone who needs it.

BEST COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

The nominee assisted local service-oriented organizations, including educational, cultural, or sporting initiatives. Her efforts meaningfully contributed to community development. Through dedicating her time, talent, and actions she serves as a role model.

Silvana Tibollo

SILVANA TIBOLLO
BEST COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

Silvana Tibollo was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is the eldest of five children to Delia and Bernardo Sicilia who immigrated to Canada in 1953. Silvana is a wife to Michael, and mother to three children, Frances, Michael, and Mercedes.

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Silvana earned her Bachelor of Arts with Honours from the University of Toronto, followed by her Bachelor of Education at Brock University. Silvana spent 30 years of her life as an elementary school teacher inspiring the young minds of the next generation. In 2015, Silvana decided to make a shift in her career for another cause she is passionate about, mental health and addictions challenges.

In the past, Silvana was the President of the National Congress of Italian Canadians Toronto District and she is currently the Vice President of the National Executive for the National Congress of Italian Canadians. Silvana is an active member of the Woodbridge Rotary Club and a Director for the Canadian Italian Heritage Foundation. Silvana is extremely grateful for her family and friends who support her through one of her biggest challenges in her life, battling cancer over the last ten years. This experience led her to become an ambassador for the After Breast Cancer Foundation, an organization assisting individuals living with breast cancer where Silvana shares her experience and continues to inspire those affected to keep fighting. 

Silvana is the recipient of the Volunteer Service Award from the City of Vaughan and the Community Hero Award from the Newman Global Initiative. 

Silvana loves life, her family, and her community. She is passionate about making the world a better place for all and believes the first step is showing kindness and compassion to all those we meet.

CLOVER STERLING
BEST COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

Clover Sterling is a renowned Canadian Broadcast Journalist, recognized for her contributions in the field. She currently serves as a writer and reporter at Peel Weekly News. In addition to her journalistic endeavors, Sterling is the visionary founder and executive producer of the popular TV talk show titled “Coffee with Clover.”

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In 2012, Sterling embarked on her journey in television by creating her own talk show, and by 2016, it was officially launched on Rogers TV. “Coffee with Clover” had its second debut in 2018, this time with another network, CHCH TV in Hamilton. The show enjoyed significant success with two seasons and continued to gain international acclaim.

Sterling’s career began to take shape when she interned at 680News Toronto. Later, she joined HAZE FM Radio in Mississauga, where her writing skills quickly made her the voice behind the network’s public service announcements. Her role also involved interviewing some of the community’s most cherished figures, including musicians, authors, politicians, athletes, actors, and notable newsmakers.

Currently, Clover Sterling is an active member of the Mississauga writers group and has taken on the role of a Publisher. In the spring of April 2022, she released the inaugural issue of “CLOVER” Magazine, featuring engaging lifestyle content.

In December 2022, Sterling added the title of “Author” to her list of accomplishments. She co-authored the book “Leaders with Impact,” which swiftly became a #1 International Best Seller. This full-colored coffee table book is filled with empowering life-changing stories, earning Sterling well-deserved recognition.

Beyond her journalistic and literary pursuits, Sterling is also involved in coordinating fashion and charity events. She has a deep passion for travel and photography. Her overarching mission is to amplify the voices and stories of the world’s most vulnerable women and children, one meaningful conversation at a time. Clover Sterling’s dedication and impact in the media and publishing industry make her a notable figure in her field.

lila_quezada
lila_quezada

CLOVER STERLING
BEST COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

Clover Sterling is a renowned Canadian Broadcast Journalist, recognized for her contributions in the field. She currently serves as a writer and reporter at Peel Weekly News. In addition to her journalistic endeavors, Sterling is the visionary founder and executive producer of the popular TV talk show titled “Coffee with Clover.”

Read More

In 2012, Sterling embarked on her journey in television by creating her own talk show, and by 2016, it was officially launched on Rogers TV. “Coffee with Clover” had its second debut in 2018, this time with another network, CHCH TV in Hamilton. The show enjoyed significant success with two seasons and continued to gain international acclaim.

Sterling’s career began to take shape when she interned at 680News Toronto. Later, she joined HAZE FM Radio in Mississauga, where her writing skills quickly made her the voice behind the network’s public service announcements. Her role also involved interviewing some of the community’s most cherished figures, including musicians, authors, politicians, athletes, actors, and notable newsmakers.

Currently, Clover Sterling is an active member of the Mississauga writers group and has taken on the role of a Publisher. In the spring of April 2022, she released the inaugural issue of “CLOVER” Magazine, featuring engaging lifestyle content.

In December 2022, Sterling added the title of “Author” to her list of accomplishments. She co-authored the book “Leaders with Impact,” which swiftly became a #1 International Best Seller. This full-colored coffee table book is filled with empowering life-changing stories, earning Sterling well-deserved recognition.

Beyond her journalistic and literary pursuits, Sterling is also involved in coordinating fashion and charity events. She has a deep passion for travel and photography. Her overarching mission is to amplify the voices and stories of the world’s most vulnerable women and children, one meaningful conversation at a time. Clover Sterling’s dedication and impact in the media and publishing industry make her a notable figure in her field.

Carmela Laurignano

CARMELA LAURIGNANO
BEST COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

Carmela Laurignano is Vice-President and Radio Group Manager at Evanov Radio Group (ERG). She is also part owner of four of the company’s radio properties and serves on the company’s board.

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Carmela Laurignano joined the company over 25 years ago during which time she also became a minority shareholder in some of its radio stations. In her current capacity, she oversees the legal and regulatory branches of the company as well as other areas of its operation. She is a past recipient of The Rosalie Trombley Radio Trailblazers Award as well as a Canadian Women in Communications Leadership Excellent Trailblazer Award. Throughout her tenure, Carmela has served on community and industry boards and councils. She is currently, among other appointments, a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.

CHARITY OF THE YEAR AWARD

The nominee has made a significant impact on her own charity and delivered sustainable benefits to communities. Her charitable work will leave a footprint for future charities to follow and for future generations to remember.

ALICIA VIANGA
CHARITY OF THE YEAR AWARD

Alicia is a compassionate entrepreneur in Toronto, known for her unique blend of expertise in trend forecasting, bra fitting, and fashion. Her mission is to offer women an authentic and educational shopping experience, particularly those who have faced breast cancer.

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Before venturing into entrepreneurship and championing women who have battled breast cancer, Alicia spent an impressive 19 years in the hospitality industry. As a catering and sales specialist, she worked with prestigious organizations such as the University of Toronto, Colony Hotel, Hotel Plaza II, and the Marriott Hotel Bloor Yorkville. While her time in hospitality contributed to her business acumen, Alicia felt a calling to start her own business and fill a niche that many women were unaware of.

This calling led her to establish Premier Jour Lingerie and Swimwear, a boutique that not only offers unique lingerie and swimwear but also provides certified bra fittings. Since the inception of her business, Alicia has gained recognition for her expert bra fitting skills and knowledge. Her expertise has been sought after by perplexed husbands shopping for loved ones and readers of her blog for the Huffington Post and Revive Magazine. Alicia’s largest and most interactive audience was at Dundas Square, where she conducted a bra fitting workshop for over 1,000 women.

Alicia and Premier Jour have been featured in various media outlets, serving as pre and post-breast augmentation bra fitters on Hollywood’s 10 Best This Week, Entertainment Tonight Canada, CFRB 1010, Rogers Day Time TV, Weddingbells Magazine, Toronto Star, Slice TV’s Plastic Makes Perfect, LOVE INC, Jeanne Beker Post News, SNAP Magazines, and Avenue Magazine. In 2012, Premier Jour was honored with the title of “Best of the Best Readers Choice Lingerie Boutique.”

Alicia is deeply committed to giving back to her community. She actively serves as a board member of the Corso Italia BIA, an organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the St. Clair West neighborhood in Toronto. Alicia also lends her support to non-profit events like The Jeanne Lottie Pink Bedroom Party and Covenant House-Celebrate Mom.

In conjunction with Premier Jour, Alicia was asked to review the official Bra Fitting Guide for a major hospital chain in Toronto. This collaboration revealed a significant gap in the healthcare system: a lack of programs that provide necessities for financially strained women who have battled breast cancer. This realization inspired Alicia to establish After Breast Cancer, a charity aimed at ensuring breast cancer survivors with limited financial resources have access to essentials like bras and prostheses. Alicia recognizes that the transition from being a breast cancer patient to a survivor brings profound changes, and properly fitted prosthesis and bras can help survivors regain self-confidence and a sense of wholeness.

After Breast Cancer was launched on October 14, 2012, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month at a Toronto Argos Game. The charity has received media coverage in outlets such as Toronto Is Awesome, OMNI Television’s Culture Avenue, Samaritan Magazine, Girls of T.O, Urban Moms, CP24 Breakfast, and Global News’ Susan Hay Making a Difference segment.

In addition to founding After Breast Cancer, Alicia is the creator of Bras for Congo, a charitable organization that collects donated bras for distribution to women in the Congo. Each year, Alicia collects hundreds of bra donations from the public to support hospitals in the Congo.

Alicia is a socially responsible, passionate, and determined businesswoman who lives her life with a mission to make a difference, one bra at a time. Her dedication to empowering women and her philanthropic efforts have made her a remarkable advocate for those facing breast cancer and in need around the world.

lila_quezada
lila_quezada

ALICIA VIANGA
CHARITY OF THE YEAR AWARD

Alicia is a compassionate entrepreneur in Toronto, known for her unique blend of expertise in trend forecasting, bra fitting, and fashion. Her mission is to offer women an authentic and educational shopping experience, particularly those who have faced breast cancer.

Read More

Before venturing into entrepreneurship and championing women who have battled breast cancer, Alicia spent an impressive 19 years in the hospitality industry. As a catering and sales specialist, she worked with prestigious organizations such as the University of Toronto, Colony Hotel, Hotel Plaza II, and the Marriott Hotel Bloor Yorkville. While her time in hospitality contributed to her business acumen, Alicia felt a calling to start her own business and fill a niche that many women were unaware of.

This calling led her to establish Premier Jour Lingerie and Swimwear, a boutique that not only offers unique lingerie and swimwear but also provides certified bra fittings. Since the inception of her business, Alicia has gained recognition for her expert bra fitting skills and knowledge. Her expertise has been sought after by perplexed husbands shopping for loved ones and readers of her blog for the Huffington Post and Revive Magazine. Alicia’s largest and most interactive audience was at Dundas Square, where she conducted a bra fitting workshop for over 1,000 women.

Alicia and Premier Jour have been featured in various media outlets, serving as pre and post-breast augmentation bra fitters on Hollywood’s 10 Best This Week, Entertainment Tonight Canada, CFRB 1010, Rogers Day Time TV, Weddingbells Magazine, Toronto Star, Slice TV’s Plastic Makes Perfect, LOVE INC, Jeanne Beker Post News, SNAP Magazines, and Avenue Magazine. In 2012, Premier Jour was honored with the title of “Best of the Best Readers Choice Lingerie Boutique.”

Alicia is deeply committed to giving back to her community. She actively serves as a board member of the Corso Italia BIA, an organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the St. Clair West neighborhood in Toronto. Alicia also lends her support to non-profit events like The Jeanne Lottie Pink Bedroom Party and Covenant House-Celebrate Mom.

In conjunction with Premier Jour, Alicia was asked to review the official Bra Fitting Guide for a major hospital chain in Toronto. This collaboration revealed a significant gap in the healthcare system: a lack of programs that provide necessities for financially strained women who have battled breast cancer. This realization inspired Alicia to establish After Breast Cancer, a charity aimed at ensuring breast cancer survivors with limited financial resources have access to essentials like bras and prostheses. Alicia recognizes that the transition from being a breast cancer patient to a survivor brings profound changes, and properly fitted prosthesis and bras can help survivors regain self-confidence and a sense of wholeness.

After Breast Cancer was launched on October 14, 2012, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month at a Toronto Argos Game. The charity has received media coverage in outlets such as Toronto Is Awesome, OMNI Television’s Culture Avenue, Samaritan Magazine, Girls of T.O, Urban Moms, CP24 Breakfast, and Global News’ Susan Hay Making a Difference segment.

In addition to founding After Breast Cancer, Alicia is the creator of Bras for Congo, a charitable organization that collects donated bras for distribution to women in the Congo. Each year, Alicia collects hundreds of bra donations from the public to support hospitals in the Congo.

Alicia is a socially responsible, passionate, and determined businesswoman who lives her life with a mission to make a difference, one bra at a time. Her dedication to empowering women and her philanthropic efforts have made her a remarkable advocate for those facing breast cancer and in need around the world.

AGAPAS

CHARITY CENTRE AGAPAS
CHARITY OF THE YEAR AWARD

Exactly one month after the war in Ukraine started, two families with roots in Canada, Russia, and Ukraine started collecting clothes and household items for Ukrainian arrivals. The Rector of Russian Christ the Saviour Cathedral of Orthodox Church in America blessed them for organizing assistance to displaced Ukrainians at the Cathedral.

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So, the charity center appeared on March 24th, 2022, and later was registered and called after the biblical word in the Latin version AGAPAS, love.

During the first month, dozens of people wanted to support families fleeing the war and began bringing clothes and necessities. In May 2022, the centre welcomed the first 20 families. Their number was growing exponentially every month, has reached two thousand in October 2023 and continues to increase.

Now the centre has accumulated assistance from 5 churches of various concessions, 8 non-profit organizations, almost two dozen businesses and organizations, and hundreds of caring Canadians from all over the Greater Toronto Area. 

The centre team includes almost 100 volunteers from 10 to 80 years old. About half are Ukrainians who arrived under the CUAET program and joined to help co-citizens. The other half are Canadians who immigrated from Russia and other countries or were born here. 

In general, AGAPAS has united the goodwill of the people initially from at least 20 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. 

For us, there are no nationalities or other differences in skin color, religion, etc. We unite all merciful, kind, caring people and are open to help everyone who needs it. In an emergency, 98% are Ukrainians. In the future, our charity will be transformed and continue to follow its mission.

The activity of the centre has a twofold focus. On the one hand, AGAPAS helps and supports people who find themselves in a difficult situation and are not sufficiently socially protected, especially women with children, young people, and the elderly. On the other hand, the centre gives people living here a real opportunity to show their best qualities, such as mercy, humanism, and empathy. AGAPAS provides the natural need of a large part of society to do something good.

We strongly believe people who do good should be together; even a little input is significant, and only love, mercy, and kindness can save the World.

ART AND ENTERTAINMENT AWARD

The nominee has impacted others to grow as artists and entertainers by inspiring communities to explore their work. She raises awareness of the important role arts and entertainment play in the development of the community.

Larissa Kerbel

LARISSA KERBEL
ART AND ENTERTEIMENT AWARD

Larissa Kerbel is a former Professional Ballroom dancer, coach, adjudicator, and choreographer whose expertise lies in International Style Standard.

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Larissa and partner Alexandre Chalkevitch were finalists of the Rising Star Professional Standard Championships at the Blackpool Dance Festival and runners-up at the Professional Rising Star Standard Championships at the International Championships in England. Together, Larissa and Alexandre became the 8-time undefeated Canadian Standard Champions and 2-time Ohio Star BallAmateur Standard Champions.

After retiring from competition, Larissa now devotes her time to coaching and adjudicating. In her spare time, she also enjoys Salsa and reading.

Larissa is a member of Canada DanceSport and the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) as an adjudicator and instructor.

SARA KARDOONI
ART AND ENTERTEIMENT AWARD

Sara Kardooni is a highly regarded portrait photographer based in Toronto, renowned for her specialization in crafting contemporary portraits that leave a lasting impression. Her work is characterized by an exceptional attention to detail and a remarkable ability to establish genuine connections with her clients, thereby creating a comfortable and empowering environment in which individuals can authentically express themselves.

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Sara’s overarching mission is to cultivate a space where everyone feels Heard, Seen, and Valued for their unique beauty and individuality. Through her expert lens, she adeptly captures the very essence of her subjects, unveiling the inner light that radiates from within. Whether it’s a branding session, an intimate boudoir experience, the joy of maternity, or a celebration of authenticity with an empowering Fifty plus and Fabulous session, Sara’s artistic prowess shines through in every image.

Recognizing the transformative power of photography, Sara is dedicated to reshaping how individuals perceive themselves. Her captivating visuals not only empower her subjects but also elevate their businesses and personal brands. When working with Sara, clients can anticipate a personalized experience that not only celebrates their true selves but also produces timeless, breathtaking portraits that will be cherished for a lifetime.

lila_quezada
lila_quezada

SARA KARDOONI
ART AND ENTERTEIMENT AWARD

Sara Kardooni is a highly regarded portrait photographer based in Toronto, renowned for her specialization in crafting contemporary portraits that leave a lasting impression. Her work is characterized by an exceptional attention to detail and a remarkable ability to establish genuine connections with her clients, thereby creating a comfortable and empowering environment in which individuals can authentically express themselves.

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Sara’s overarching mission is to cultivate a space where everyone feels Heard, Seen, and Valued for their unique beauty and individuality. Through her expert lens, she adeptly captures the very essence of her subjects, unveiling the inner light that radiates from within. Whether it’s a branding session, an intimate boudoir experience, the joy of maternity, or a celebration of authenticity with an empowering Fifty plus and Fabulous session, Sara’s artistic prowess shines through in every image.

Recognizing the transformative power of photography, Sara is dedicated to reshaping how individuals perceive themselves. Her captivating visuals not only empower her subjects but also elevate their businesses and personal brands. When working with Sara, clients can anticipate a personalized experience that not only celebrates their true selves but also produces timeless, breathtaking portraits that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Dawn Bowman

DAWN BOWMAN
ART AND ENTERTEIMENT AWARD

Originally from Elmira, I moved to London, Ontario 23 years ago and work full time as a Paramedic. Over the years the job has challenged me physically, mentally & emotionally, but I have learned so many valuable tools that I continue to implement in my life today. Not only have I learned the full meaning of resilience & strength, I continue to practice, compasion, understanding and love.

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This job has taught me not only incredible life saving skills, but also the ability to adapt and change.  I grew up playing sports and music, but always was attracted to photography. Every family trip, vacation and activity was recorded on film.  I have enjoyed photographing various events and individuals over the years which have included Jenalyn & Luka from World of Dance, David Patchell-Evens, CEO of Goodlife Fitness, The Survivor Lunch for Middlesex-London Paramedic Service and most recently the Legacy Album for Brilliant Minded Women.   I am passionate about fitness and movement and teach group fitness 4 times a week with Goodlife Fitness.  Through movement I am able to maintain a strong mental & physical health and continue to motivate others.   I live to inspire people through the lens of my camera to capture their strength, beauty & purpose.

I am drawn to life and expressions of love through my photography practice! I want to continue to inspire the world with physical movement, photography and most of all, leading by example.   Live in the present moment – Ika Pono Mea – Everything is happening perfectly on time.

NATALIE CAMPBELL-DJEDJE
ART AND ENTERTEIMENT AWARD

Natalie Campbell-Djedje is a talented brand and portrait photographer based in Toronto, renowned for her ability to capture the inherent beauty of life. She is deeply devoted to her Christian faith, and her unwavering belief in Jesus Christ serves as the foundation of her existence.

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Natalie is blessed with two wonderful sons who bring boundless joy and excitement to her journey through motherhood. They serve as her motivation in all her various endeavors.

As an introvert, Natalie finds solace in moments of quiet reflection and embraces the Hygge lifestyle. She treasures her family and the close-knit circle of friends who bring warmth and companionship to her life.

Natalie possesses a deep love for languages, cultures, and travel. She fluently speaks four languages and can navigate basic phrases in ten others. Her aesthetic sensibilities draw inspiration from various forms of art and creativity, including cinema, fashion, literature, music, and all things beautiful and unique. Natalie is a classically-trained pianist who can’t resist playing the piano whenever she encounters one.

Her fascination with warrior cultures, from Vikings to Samurai, Zulus to Highlanders, is a testament to her deep appreciation for the epic. She holds a special place in her heart for what she describes as the best movie ever, “Braveheart.”

Natalie has a spirited sense of humor and a penchant for laughter. Her playful, slightly dark sense of humor adds a distinctive charm to her personality. One of her guiding principles is loyalty, as she remains faithful to those close to her until given a reason not to be.

lila_quezada
lila_quezada

NATALIE CAMPBELL-DJEDJE
ART AND ENTERTEIMENT AWARD

Natalie Campbell-Djedje is a talented brand and portrait photographer based in Toronto, renowned for her ability to capture the inherent beauty of life. She is deeply devoted to her Christian faith, and her unwavering belief in Jesus Christ serves as the foundation of her existence.

Read More

Natalie is blessed with two wonderful sons who bring boundless joy and excitement to her journey through motherhood. They serve as her motivation in all her various endeavors.

As an introvert, Natalie finds solace in moments of quiet reflection and embraces the Hygge lifestyle. She treasures her family and the close-knit circle of friends who bring warmth and companionship to her life.

Natalie possesses a deep love for languages, cultures, and travel. She fluently speaks four languages and can navigate basic phrases in ten others. Her aesthetic sensibilities draw inspiration from various forms of art and creativity, including cinema, fashion, literature, music, and all things beautiful and unique. Natalie is a classically-trained pianist who can’t resist playing the piano whenever she encounters one.

Her fascination with warrior cultures, from Vikings to Samurai, Zulus to Highlanders, is a testament to her deep appreciation for the epic. She holds a special place in her heart for what she describes as the best movie ever, “Braveheart.”

Natalie has a spirited sense of humor and a penchant for laughter. Her playful, slightly dark sense of humor adds a distinctive charm to her personality. One of her guiding principles is loyalty, as she remains faithful to those close to her until given a reason not to be.

MIND, BODY, & SPIRIT AWARD

The nominee has contributed to the wellbeing of many by working with aspects of the natural human experience, including wellness, spirituality, and balance.

Sonia Palleck

SONIA PALLECK
MIND, BODY, AND SPIRIT AWARD

Sonia Palleck was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. One of five children, she was an avid athlete and excelled in school. She went to school at Western in London, Ontario and graduated from Dentistry in ’93 and Orthodontics in ’99.

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She became a clinical instructor and taught residents for ten years at the Graduate Department of Orthodontics. She pioneered the use of digital orthodontics in practice and has lectured all over the world to share her knowledge with others.

After marrying her dental school sweetheart, Sonia moved to this small bedroom community and welcomed her one and only child, Djuka, to the world.

In 2018, following her divorce and the death of her parents, Sonia searched for healing to bring meaning and peace to her life. In 2020, Sonia wrote a series of four books called “Leave the Little Light On,” each volume named after the four cities where she has lived and worked. They are based on her life but she maintains they are a fictional representation. They are her contribution to the world; a new modern love story. She designed and painted their covers. She is an advocate for love.

RESILIENCE AWARD

The nominee has overcome significant personal challenges with perseverance and grace. She shares her wisdom on the journey of recovery with others seeking hope and strength to overcome their challenges.

CLAUDIA ARDELEAN NEAGU
RESILIENCE AWARD

Claudia was born in Brasov, Romania. She was raised in a Christian Orthodox family. Education and discipline were important values and she embraced her biggest passion of working with children and became an elementary school teacher.

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She works now helping children with challenges in Toronto District School Board.

She married her husband Emil in 2002 and immigrated to Toronto, Canada, where they live now. She is the mother of two amazing daughters: Elizabeth, her dancer, who is now 14 years old and Emma, her gymnast, who passed away in 2019, when she was 15 years old, after 3 years of fighting the same type of cancer as Terry Fox.

During Emma’s illness, Claudia prayed a lot, and she believed with all her heart in the power of prayers and even in miracles. She still does. She was never upset with God and never believed that “He took her daughter.” However this experience made her determined to find the purpose for what happened. She believes now that there is no death and there is no hell. There is one loving God, and we are all a sparkle of God. She believes that we come here on this Earth with a mission, and when we accomplish it, we are ready to go back “Home.”

Claudia remains grateful for what she has and doesn’t dwell on “what she lost” because she never considered that she lost Emma. Instead, she stays grateful for the 15 amazing years in Emma’s presence from which she learned how to live purposely every day of her life.

Claudia knows that one day she will see Emma again, but until then she refuses to live in any way other than how Emma taught her. Emma always used to say “Live your life to the fullest. Spread love, Give hugs, make compliments” and she lived up to her word. While fighting cancer Emma became a Sick Kids ambassador and an advocate for pediatric cancer. Claudia continues Emma’s legacy and she still participates in Sick Kids fundraising events.

Claudia finds ways to help others by volunteering for Emma’s favourite charities: Million Dollar Smiles, which builds playgrounds to children with life threatening illnesses, and Heater’s Heroes, which also helps children affected by cancer and other lifelong illnesses.

In 2022 Claudia co-founded the Toronto-based non-profit organization Walking in the Light of Our Kids. The organization provides grief support to local grieving parents who walk together the rocky path of healing. The organization provides a safe space for grieving parents where open discussions about the afterlife are welcomed, where parents can find hope and learn to live again. She co-authored the anthology with the same name and she is about to publish “Emma’s LEGacy book” in memory of Emma, a book about courage, determination, love and finding the way.

Claudia Neagu
Claudia Neagu

CLAUDIA ARDELEAN NEAGU
RESILIENCE AWARD

Claudia was born in Brasov, Romania. She was raised in a Christian Orthodox family. Education and discipline were important values and she embraced her biggest passion of working with children and became an elementary school teacher.

Read More

She works now helping children with challenges in Toronto District School Board.

She married her husband Emil in 2002 and immigrated to Toronto, Canada, where they live now. She is the mother of two amazing daughters: Elizabeth, her dancer, who is now 14 years old and Emma, her gymnast, who passed away in 2019, when she was 15 years old, after 3 years of fighting the same type of cancer as Terry Fox.

During Emma’s illness, Claudia prayed a lot, and she believed with all her heart in the power of prayers and even in miracles. She still does. She was never upset with God and never believed that “He took her daughter.” However this experience made her determined to find the purpose for what happened. She believes now that there is no death and there is no hell. There is one loving God, and we are all a sparkle of God. She believes that we come here on this Earth with a mission, and when we accomplish it, we are ready to go back “Home.”

Claudia remains grateful for what she has and doesn’t dwell on “what she lost” because she never considered that she lost Emma. Instead, she stays grateful for the 15 amazing years in Emma’s presence from which she learned how to live purposely every day of her life.

Claudia knows that one day she will see Emma again, but until then she refuses to live in any way other than how Emma taught her. Emma always used to say “Live your life to the fullest. Spread love, Give hugs, make compliments” and she lived up to her word. While fighting cancer Emma became a Sick Kids ambassador and an advocate for pediatric cancer. Claudia continues Emma’s legacy and she still participates in Sick Kids fundraising events.

Claudia finds ways to help others by volunteering for Emma’s favourite charities: Million Dollar Smiles, which builds playgrounds to children with life threatening illnesses, and Heater’s Heroes, which also helps children affected by cancer and other lifelong illnesses.

In 2022 Claudia co-founded the Toronto-based non-profit organization Walking in the Light of Our Kids. The organization provides grief support to local grieving parents who walk together the rocky path of healing. The organization provides a safe space for grieving parents where open discussions about the afterlife are welcomed, where parents can find hope and learn to live again. She co-authored the anthology with the same name and she is about to publish “Emma’s LEGacy book” in memory of Emma, a book about courage, determination, love and finding the way.

Rose Munroe

ROSE MUNROE
RESILIENCE AWARD

As a Psycho-Spiritual Life Coach, Rose believes that when we heal ourselves, we heal those around us. Through her struggles with both her children’s unique illnesses, Rose learned to let go of her victim mentality and ultimately redefine her narrative. As a result, she began to build a life and career centred around compassion, empathy, and her purpose to help others illuminate their light within.

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Rose understands the darkness of life’s challenges. But she also knows the power of unconditional love. From dealing with her baby’s medical needs, losing her mother to cancer, leaving a marriage, and dealing with her son’s addiction, she has overcome many challenges to emerge as a powerful Life Coach who has been changing the lives of those she works with for over 12 years.

Rose’s daughter endured over ten brain surgeries since birth, overcoming all the odds. Rose tirelessly advocated for her daughter’s unique needs and felt compelled to give back. Since 2000, Rose has been a Parent Ambassador for Sick Kids Foundation and chaired a fund in her daughter’s name. She has raised awareness at several charity events, spoke at Parliament to an audience of over 400 attendees, including all Canadian children’s hospitals’ presidents, secured retail endorsements, and organized high-profile events benefitting Sick Kids.

In addition to dealing with her daughter’s ongoing illness, her son was fighting an addiction that put him in and out of hospital for several years. Rose understands the painful journey of dealing with loved ones and their addictions and has used her experiences of co-dependent relationships and generational trauma to help others release these holds.

After 14 years of marriage and feeling wholly depleted, Rose suffered from her own mental breakdown. She knew the only way out of the darkness was to focus on the light. Deep inside, Rose knew she was more than just a wife and Mother. She decided to embark on her healing journey and redefine her identity beyond these roles. Rose realized that self-love is not selfish but necessary. Learning to love herself unconditionally was essential to loving and healing her children.

Rose’s children have been her most significant teachers. She has learned to love and support them unconditionally, no matter the challenges. Rose has worked to reset her vibrational energy and create a safe space for them to heal. These personal experiences inspired her concept of “Heal the mother, heal the child,” which became her purpose-filled work.

Rose was raised in Windsor, Ontario, by her father, who was born in Malta, and her mother, a 7th generation Canadian. She obtained a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Windsor and completed coaching education at Adler School of Psychology. Rose engages in meditation, painting, and more daily as a spiritual creator. She finds great joy in being a forever student in this classroom of life.

Rose’s life and career experiences have included:

  • Becoming a Parent Ambassador for Sick Kids Foundation (2000 – Present)
  • Studying Psychosynthesis, positive psychology (Adlerian practice), and Eastern disciplines
  • Becoming an accredited Psychosynthesis Life Coach, an accredited Huna Practitioner, an Expert Practitioner with Points of You® and a SuccessFinder Expert Level Practitioner
  • Supporting the God’s Glory Children Orphanage (2013 – Present) in Kampala, Uganda through fundraisers and donations
  • Creating paintings and jewellery from her studio
  • Launching her private coaching practice in Glen Williams, Ontario
  • Helping the Colours of Love International Concert (2016) as a Committee Member
  • Leading program development and teaching in the Creative Core Founder – Positive People Army (August 2017 – May 2019)

With a sincere focus on self-development, connection to God, and continuous education, Rose has filled her life with purpose and joy that is shared with others. Her most profound purpose is to use her experiences to help others overcome obstacles and struggles.

Throughout Rose’s journey, her unconditional love concept has helped her live her best life and set an example of how women can rewrite their stories, live in alignment with their truth, and heal themselves so their children can heal, too.

CINDY STRADLING
RESILIENCE AWARD

Cindy Stradling is a multi-faceted professional with over 25 years of hands-on business experience, excelling as a facilitator, coach, speaker, sales consultant, and author. Her remarkable journey has shaped her into a resilient individual, and she has channeled her experiences into a program aimed at helping others build unwavering resilience.

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Cindy’s life path has been marked by various challenges. As a single mother with limited formal education, she faced numerous difficulties but developed the mental strength to persevere through adversity. She returned to school as an adult and, at times, juggled three part-time jobs to make ends meet. Her story serves as a testament that anyone can overcome obstacles with the right mindset and determination.

On her journey from humble beginnings to her current position, Cindy took on a variety of jobs, including shining shoes, waiting tables, cleaning houses, and working as a parking lot attendant, all while building her business. She truly understands what resilience means and fills her program with real-life stories and examples to demonstrate that with the right mindset, anything is achievable. Cindy’s goal is to inspire others to reach their personal best, keep pushing towards their goals, and understand the challenges of getting started, staying motivated, and ultimately succeeding.

Cindy’s list of accomplishments includes:

  • Professional Sales Leader designation (CSL) in 2018 and Certified Sales Professional (CSP) in 2002 from the Canadian Professional Sales Association.
  • Certified coach (CPC) from Erickson College.
  • Card-holding member of the Canadian Professional Sales Association.
  • Member of the International Coaching Federation.
  • Completion of the Adult Education program with High Honors from Seneca College.
  • DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) from Toastmasters International, the highest academic achievement possible in the Toastmasters organization.
  • Author of “Becoming a Self-Defined Woman” and a guest author in books like “Blind Spot” and “BYOB.”
  • Founder and Executive Director of the charitable organization “Courage in Action Inc.,” which hosts national annual events for women in need.
  • Involvement in charitable work, including training and coaching women through Scarborough Women’s Centre and Women’s Place.

Cindy brings a wealth of experience and depth to her training and coaching sessions, offering a deep commitment and understanding of what it takes to achieve breakthrough sales results. She works with a diverse range of clients, including entrepreneurs, individuals, and corporations like Wakefield Canada, 3M Canada, Scotia McLeod, CIBC, CGI, Express Scripts, Kenaidan Contracting, and MMM Group.

Cindy’s infectious energy and positivity create a fun and uplifting learning environment that fosters sustainable growth and development.

lila_quezada
lila_quezada

CINDY STRADLING
RESILIENCE AWARD

Cindy Stradling is a multi-faceted professional with over 25 years of hands-on business experience, excelling as a facilitator, coach, speaker, sales consultant, and author. Her remarkable journey has shaped her into a resilient individual, and she has channeled her experiences into a program aimed at helping others build unwavering resilience.

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Cindy’s life path has been marked by various challenges. As a single mother with limited formal education, she faced numerous difficulties but developed the mental strength to persevere through adversity. She returned to school as an adult and, at times, juggled three part-time jobs to make ends meet. Her story serves as a testament that anyone can overcome obstacles with the right mindset and determination.

On her journey from humble beginnings to her current position, Cindy took on a variety of jobs, including shining shoes, waiting tables, cleaning houses, and working as a parking lot attendant, all while building her business. She truly understands what resilience means and fills her program with real-life stories and examples to demonstrate that with the right mindset, anything is achievable. Cindy’s goal is to inspire others to reach their personal best, keep pushing towards their goals, and understand the challenges of getting started, staying motivated, and ultimately succeeding.

Cindy’s list of accomplishments includes:

  • Professional Sales Leader designation (CSL) in 2018 and Certified Sales Professional (CSP) in 2002 from the Canadian Professional Sales Association.
  • Certified coach (CPC) from Erickson College.
  • Card-holding member of the Canadian Professional Sales Association.
  • Member of the International Coaching Federation.
  • Completion of the Adult Education program with High Honors from Seneca College.
  • DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) from Toastmasters International, the highest academic achievement possible in the Toastmasters organization.
  • Author of “Becoming a Self-Defined Woman” and a guest author in books like “Blind Spot” and “BYOB.”
  • Founder and Executive Director of the charitable organization “Courage in Action Inc.,” which hosts national annual events for women in need.
  • Involvement in charitable work, including training and coaching women through Scarborough Women’s Centre and Women’s Place.

Cindy brings a wealth of experience and depth to her training and coaching sessions, offering a deep commitment and understanding of what it takes to achieve breakthrough sales results. She works with a diverse range of clients, including entrepreneurs, individuals, and corporations like Wakefield Canada, 3M Canada, Scotia McLeod, CIBC, CGI, Express Scripts, Kenaidan Contracting, and MMM Group.

Cindy’s infectious energy and positivity create a fun and uplifting learning environment that fosters sustainable growth and development.

ANNA DOBOSZYNSKA

SUE FORCIER
RESILIENCE AWARD

Sue Forcier holds the esteemed position of Vice-President of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs, as well as the role of Chief Conservation Officer, at Niagara Peninsula Energy (NPEI). NPEI is responsible for providing local electricity distribution and related services to approximately 59,000 customers in the City of Niagara Falls, Town of Lincoln, Town of Pelham, and Township of West Lincoln.

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Before joining NPEI, Sue accumulated over 15 years of experience in both Provincial and Municipal government, primarily focusing on Communications and Public Affairs/Relations. She has been actively involved in the electricity sector for 18 years and has demonstrated her dedication and commitment, earning leadership roles within her utility and the energy industry as a whole.

Sue’s primary goal is to raise awareness and engage stakeholders, both municipal and provincial, as well as the utility’s customers, in the energy sector, with a specific focus on her utility. She is an engaged member of the Electricity Distribution Association (EDA) and the Canadian Public Relations Society. Throughout her career, she has held several key positions, including Chair of the EDA’s Communicators Council, Vice Chair and Chair of the Conservation & Sustainability Council, and has served as a Mentor in the mentoring program of the Canadian Public Relations Society’s Niagara/Hamilton Chapter for multiple years. Sue’s dedication to Conservation and Sustainability in the utility industry earned her the EDA Foreign Study Tour award, leading her to travel to Australia for her leadership contributions.

Sue has also been deeply involved in her community throughout her life. She has served on numerous boards and notably held the position of the first woman President of Club Italia Cultural Centre. Currently, she is an active member of several non-profit Boards within her community and serves as the 2nd Vice Chair of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy of Canada. This organization is dedicated to celebrating Italian heritage, community, service, and charitable efforts.

In terms of her education, Sue holds a Masters degree from the Schulich School of Business at York University and a Finance Certificate from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. She is also a graduate of McMaster University’s The Directors College – Chartered Board of Director of Canada program, demonstrating her commitment to professional growth.

Sue Forcier’s notable achievements also include being recognized as a YWCA Woman of Distinction in the field of Communications & Public Relations. However, her proudest accomplishments revolve around her family, including her enduring marriage of over 25 years to Paul and her two sons, Lucas and Marcus, who continually keep her on her toes.

POLITICAL LEADERSHIP AWARD

The nominee, in the duration of her political tenure or posthumously, has impacted the lives of her community, caucus, family, and business. Her role has brought positive change wherein her legacy will carry on for future generations to honour.

CHARMAINE A. WILLIAMS
POLITICAL LEADERSHIP AWARD

In 2018, Charmaine Williams became the first black woman elected to Brampton City Council. As MPP, she will focus her efforts on making our streets safer, ensuring that families have access to the social and recreational services that they need and want, and advocating for an integrated transportation plan in the region.

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Charmaine’s beliefs, values and courage to advocate for people are shaped by her professional and personal experiences. Prior to entering politics, Williams had a 19-year career as a certified Multi-Systemic Therapist, Behavioural Consultant and Counsellor. She has been a voice on behalf of families and children of all ages coping with domestic violence, mental illness, substance abuse, neglect, trauma and other personal challenges. Charmaine has also worked with several therapeutic programs and organizations like Associated Youth Services of Peel, Youth Substance Abuse Program, Peel Children’s Center and the Reach Out Center for Kids in Peel and the Halton Region.

Hon Charmaine A. Williams
Hon Charmaine A. Williams

CHARMAINE A. WILLIAMS
POLITICAL LEADERSHIP AWARD

In 2018, Charmaine Williams became the first black woman elected to Brampton City Council. As MPP, she will focus her efforts on making our streets safer, ensuring that families have access to the social and recreational services that they need and want, and advocating for an integrated transportation plan in the region.

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Charmaine’s beliefs, values and courage to advocate for people are shaped by her professional and personal experiences. Prior to entering politics, Williams had a 19-year career as a certified Multi-Systemic Therapist, Behavioural Consultant and Counsellor. She has been a voice on behalf of families and children of all ages coping with domestic violence, mental illness, substance abuse, neglect, trauma and other personal challenges. Charmaine has also worked with several therapeutic programs and organizations like Associated Youth Services of Peel, Youth Substance Abuse Program, Peel Children’s Center and the Reach Out Center for Kids in Peel and the Halton Region.

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