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Previous Women of Distinction

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Shaila Jamal, 2023 Hamilton Winner

2023 Women of Distinction Award Winners

Marybeth Leis Druery

Marybeth Leis Druery

Marybeth Leis Druery is a community organizer, artist, Spiritual Companion, and Expressive Arts facilitator. She went from teaching high school Math to co-founding the charity Student Open Circles in 2001, where she facilitates and mentors McMaster students from diverse backgrounds to explore personal and spiritual reflection, community service, and leadership development. Through Student Open Circles, hundreds of students volunteer weekly with Hamilton’s underserved communities and reflect on their service, values, and personal development. She donates her art proceeds to support this work. Her love of Hamilton and its communities inspires many students to get involved. She is committed to working towards a world in which we value and care for each other, while living lightly on the earth.

Dr Natasha Johnson

Natasha Johnson

Dr. Natasha Johnson is a pediatrician and Adolescent Medicine Specialist. After graduating from McGill University, she completed a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She joined McMaster’s Department of Pediatrics in 2006 and is an Associate Professor. Dr. Johnson has developed a clinical, educational, and research focus in adolescent sexual health – specifically with marginalized, historically oppressed youth, and equity-seeking populations. She established a clinical service for trans and gender diverse youth – the first interdisciplinary service of this kind in the region. In 2021, she was appointed the inaugural Associate Chair, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. She was previously Division Lead for Adolescent Medicine and medical co-director of the Eating Disorder Program at McMaster Children’s hospital.

Shaila Jamal

Shaila Jamal

Shaila is a Ph.D. researcher at McMaster with training in geography and planning. She is also a STEM enthusiast who loves to teach data science to the Hamilton community. She has taught courses on data analysis at McMaster, developed open-source educational resources, and is currently doing data analysis consultancy with McMaster Library. Her research interest includes the transportation of vulnerable population groups such as seniors, youths and immigrants in Hamilton. She is passionate about community-engaged research and has published more than 20 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Shaila is currently involved in two projects concerning older immigrants and youths of South Asian origins in Hamilton. She has been very active in the Hamilton community by working as a volunteer researcher, educator and mentor.

Sonia Anand

Sonia Anand

Dr. Sonia Anand is internationally recognized for her research and advocacy for women’s cardiovascular health and populations of diverse ancestral origins. Over her esteemed career, the McMaster University professor of medicine and epidemiology, and senior scientist of the Population Health Research Institute, has earned a global reputation for prioritizing research into women’s cardiovascular health, identifying health risk factors in diverse ethnic groups and for developing new therapies that benefit high-risk vascular patients globally. Her work in these areas has substantially impacted public policy and clinical practice locally, nationally, and globally. Dr. Anand is a mentor and advocate for women in academic medicine and champions equity and inclusion within academia, healthcare, and the broader Hamilton community.

Victoria Mancinelli

Victoria Mancinelli

Victoria Mancinelli is the Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships for the Labourers International Union of North America (LiUNA), Ontario Provincial District Council and the Region of Central and Eastern Canada. Through the establishment of strategic partnerships, her role is extended to outreach including a significant focus on empowering opportunities for youth and underrepresented communities. As an Advisor to LiUNA’s Indigenous Relations Department and the Chair of LiUNA Central and Eastern Canada Women in the Trades Department, she remains committed to empowering opportunity, dismantling structural barriers, and challenging the assumptions and implicit biases that have traditionally prevented women from entering the workforce.

Lifetime Achievement Winner


Janice Shearer

Janice is a long-time passionate leader and volunteer in our community with a particular emphasis on vulnerable communities. As a strategic professional with over 30 years of experience in consumer products marketing, post-secondary education and not-for-profit fundraising, she is currently serving as Board Chair of Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice. She also consults in the non-profit sector, offering grant writing and communications expertise to local non-profits. Janice is also an active volunteer with a number of charities and is one of the three Canadian authors on the best-selling marketing textbook used in college and university classrooms across Canada. Janice is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, and remains an active runner and triathlete. She is the proud mother of two daughters and three delightful grandsons.

Young Trailblazer


Shayna Earle

Shayna Earle is a fourth-year student in McMaster’s integrated biomedical engineering and health sciences program (iBioMed) where she focuses on Chemical Engineering. She is the passionate Co-President of the McMaster Women in Engineering society and a dedicated advocate for reducing the barriers in engineering for women and non-female identifying students. Her work in this area has been shared on the international stage and is contributing to shifts in pedagogy that will shape the future of engineering. In addition, Shayna is an accomplished early-career researcher focusing on models of viral manufacturing processes in cancer immunotherapy. In 2022, Shayna was awarded the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation’s Enbridge 2022 Undergraduate Ambassador Award for her leadership in advocacy for women in engineering.

Honourary Woman of Distinction

Tamika Tulloch, 2023 Honorary Women of Distinction Award Recipient

Tamika Tulloch

Women of Distinction Award Recipients
2006 – 2021

Hamilton Winners

Laurel Trainor | Art, Culture, Design Winner
Renata Hall | Education, Training, Development Winner
Kristine Leadbetter-Gold | Business Leadership, Entrepreneur, Innovation Winner
Sarah Jama | Community Leadership Winner
Dawn Bowdish | Health, Recreation Winner
Dr. Zobia Jawed | Research, Science, Technology, Trade Winner
Lianna Genovese | Young Trailblazer Winner

Halton Winners

Elaine Delsnyder | Art, Culture, Design Winner
Julie Cole | Business Leadership, Entrepreneur, Innovation Winner
Nancy Romic | Community Leadership Winner
Navita Dyal | Research, Science, Technology, Trade Winner
Lauren Cutaia | Young Trailblazer Winner

Lifetime Achievement Winner

Susan Denburg

Honourary Woman of Distinction Winner

Charaya Thach

Hamilton Winners

Olivia Mancini | Frontline Worker Winner
Dr. Elizabeth Richardson | Health Care Hero Winner
Andriana Lukich | Pandemic Innovator Winner
Lisa Nussey | Community Champion Winner
Joëlle Kabisoso | Young Trailblazer Winner

Halton Winners

Christina Mulder | Frontline Worker Winner
Andrea Pohl | Health Care Hero Winner
Lisa Lunski | Pandemic Innovator Winner
Julia Hanna | Community Champion Winner
Ashwini Selvakumaran | Young Trailblazer Winner

Lifetime Achievement Winner

Colleen Mulholland

Honourary Woman of Distinction Winner

Abrar Mechmechia

Diana Weir: Arts | Culture | Design
Emily O’Brien: Business Leadership | Entrepreneurship
Monique Lavallee: Community Leadership
Alfredine (Linda) Plourde: Education | Mentorship
Dr. Audrey Hicks: Health
Blueberry Therapy: Outstanding Small Business
Dr. Heather Sheardown: Science | Technology | Trades
Chyler Sewell: Young Trailblazer
Kayonne Christy: Young Woman of Distinction
Lena Sutton: Lifetime Achievement
Selbina Mwendwa: Honourary Woman of Distinction

Lisa Pijuan-Nomura – Arts|Culture|Design
Tammy Hwang – Business Leadership|Entrepreneurship
Clare Freeman – Community Leadership
Dr. Anna Moro – Education|Mentorship
Louisa Drost – Health
Col. Marguerite Ward – Lifetime Achievement
Maddie Brockbank – Young Woman of Distinction
ArcelorMittal Dofasco – Outstanding Workplace
Jamie McMillan – Science|Technology|Trades
Candace Gagne – Honourary Woman of Distinction

Marlaise Dawson – Arts|Culture|Design
Erin Dunham – Business Leadership|Entrepreneurship
Grace Mater – Community Leadership
Dr. Kimberley Dej – Education|Mentorship
Jill Wiwcharuk – Health
Anju Joshi – Lifetime Achievement
Chelsea Mackinnon – Young Woman of Distinction
Alectra Utilities – Outstanding Workplace
Kathy Lerette – Science|Technology|Trades

Diana Panton – Arts|Culture|Design
Amy Back – Business Leadership|Entrepreneurship
Nancy Smith – Community Leadership
Emily Ecker – Education|Mentorship
Dr. Carys Massarella – Health
Anne Tennier – Lifetime Achievement
Shruti Ramesh – Young Woman of Distinction
REfficient Inc. – Outstanding Workplace
Deborah Sloboda – Science|Technology|Trades

Patti Cannon – Arts, Culture or Design
Dr. Brenda Vrkljan – Business, Education & Mentorship
Sarah Glen – Community Leadership
Dr. Maroussia Hajdukowski-Ahmed – Lifetime Achievement
Rachael Finnerty – Health
FirstOntario Credit Union – Outstanding Workplace
Alba Guarne – Science, Technology or Trades
Rebecca Babcock – Young Woman of Distinction

Kaime Woody Sherman
Lenore Lukasik-Foss
Ann Herring
Laura Michele Fortino
Brenda Symons-Moulton
Annette Hamm
Dr. Joanna Wilson
Louise Noel-Ambrose
Myriam Builes Lopez
Zaynab Al-Waadh
Romita Sur

Alexis Fletcher
Alyssa Lai
Astrid Hepner
Bernice E. Downey
Debbie Bang
Hailey Milligan
Juliet M. Daniel
Katherine Kalinoski
Maggie Steele
Mannat Malik
Nancy McMillan
Patricia Akers

Colina Maxwell
Maxine Carter
Emily Hart
Helen Martin
Helen McLeod
Jan Park Dorsay
Julia Scozzari
Karen Shea
Kim McCarthy
Laura Babcock
Sharon Babineau

Cheryl Jensen
Jan Lukas
Jeanette Eby
Krista Warnke
Loretta Hill-Finamore
Lorna Zaremba
Lucene Charles
Marni Flaherty
Mary Koziol
Patricia Jordan
Linda Dayler

Anna Sponer
Casey Johnson
Diane Chiarelli
Dr. Cheryl Ann Levitt
Leah Schwenger
Lisa Hepfner
Lorraine Chapman
Medora Uppal
Susan Tian

Donna Skelly
Dr. Jean Clinton
Emily Clark
Janice Locke
Kathy Archer
Queen Cee
Sally Palmer
Sandy Shaw
Sharon Marafon
Taunya Laslo
Woman Abuse Working Group

Barbara Milne
Emmaline Houston
Florence Sicoli
Jennifer Powell-Fralick
Joe-Anne Priel
Linda Ense
Mildred Gould
Ruby Amog
Shirley Elford
Hamilton Police Services 50th Anniversary Steering Committee

Debbie Crickmore
Dr. Alexandra Papaioannou
Joanna Chapman
Judith Bishop
Karyn Callaghan
Lynda Lukasik
Nomi Cuneo
Sandie Heirwegh
Susan Fowler
North Hamilton Community Health Centre

Ardyth Webster Brott
Betty Ann Bushell
Cathy Ferreira
Elizabeth Beader
Jessie Stoneman
Lauren Wallace
Madina Wasuge
Nancy DiGregorio
SACHA- Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton and Area)

Annette Brennan
Betty Mullin
Carole MacVicar
Elize Hartley
Krys Croxall
Krystena Wan
Nathalie Xian Yi Yan
Patricia Daenzer
Susan Clairmont
The Robert Land Mom’s Group

Women of Distinction Award Recipients
1975 - 2005

Brandy Gowling
Geraldine Voros
Judi Patridge
Mary Lamb
Renee Simone Wetselaar
Ruth Greenspan
Sara Lukacin

Betty Bechtel
Elizabeth Weaver
Hillary Smith
Joanne Ruggieri
Lyla Miklos
Mary Pocius
Melanie McFarlane
Myra James

Carolann Fernandes
Dr. Marie Bountrogianni
Elham Farah
Eva Marsh
Laura Ludwin
Mary Lou Weir
Renate Manthei
Shelley Scott

Barbara Jane Cowan
Dr. Lori Whitehead
Jean Yvonne Miles
Joyce Oliver
Margaret Warriner
Pamela Tracz
Pat Mandy

Andrea Henry
Connie Smith
Elizabeth Latner
Katie Alexandra Hui
Kelly Hayes
Ollie Thompson
Phylis Tresidder
Rhona Trott
Sura Abdul-Razzak

Antoinette Mongillo Howson
Barbara Patterson
Caroll Wiggens (nee Montag)
Carrie Bell
Esther Pauls
Gillian Leek
Patti Beckett

Anne Bain
Aznive Mallett
Bonnie Stayzer
Jasmine Kaur Aujla
Jill Rumble
Mary Gallagher
Sharon Easton

Carrie Sinkowski
Carron Barbas
Ceed Stapleton
Charlene Lockhart
Cumuli Arcand
Dr. Irene Turpee
Eleanor Rodney
Hilena Zylstr
Judy Kloosterman
Kelly Heaney
Lana Lowe
Linda Jacobs
Magenta Chernets
Marie Tuttle
Marjory Nairn
Mary Kiss
Mary Long
Meghan Burke
Odette Clarke
Pat Coward
Patricia Naber
Stephanie Morrison

Andrea Lynne Horwath
Ann Sloat
Anne Vallentyne
Dr. Barbara Gowitzke
Joyce Brown
Paulina Veronique Cote
Sunni Genesco
Vincenza Travale

Birgitt Williams (nee Bolton)
Candace Malott
Evelyn Myrie
Irene Stayshyn
Joyce Caygill
Leonor Sorger
Marlene Thomas Osborne
Sheila Copps
Virginia Binko

Doris Sanchez
Dr. Heather Johnson
Janice Brunet (nee Freckleton)
Marie Peebles
Sharon Bonham
Sr. Agnes Ward

Angela Maloch
Catherine Gibbon
Christine Silverberg
Denise Giroux
Patricia Kozowyk
Ruth Williams
Therese Quigley
Wendy Moore Spors

Doreen Johnson
Jude Johnson
Lydia Coy
Priscilla De Villiers
Shameela Karmali-Rawji
Thelma McGillivray

Doris Clark Ludwig
Florence Irvine
Gwen Lee
Jacqueline Pearce Harbour
Joan Bean
Shirley Turkstra
V. Jane Gordon

Basanti Majumdar
Denise Davy
Gwynneth Hawse Cook
Hoda El Maraghy
Patricia Wallace
Shirley Elford

Joan Coldwell
Joan Rapsavage
Marietta Pupo
Marion Farnan
Marnie Paikin
Sister Joan O’Sullivan

Barbara Chambers
Dr. Gene Sutton
Eleanor Morrow
Eunice Swanborough
Jeannette Walkem
Joy Warner

Brig. Elizabeth Peacocke
Diana Stewart
Elizabeth Holbrook
Lesley Russell
Marjorie Baskin
Shirley Molot

Alvina Werner
Betty Lou Lee
Irene Pearce
Judith Bishop
Mary Chantrell
May Cohen
Sheila Davies

Cecelia Carter-Smith
Eileen Morrow
Heather Murphy
Lynn Marie Spencer Duncan
Pat Ford
Patricia Rolston

Edith Schooley
Hanna Newcombe
Joan DeNew
Jody Orr
Mary Keyes
Olive Newcombe

Christine Hamilton
Emily Smith-Cain
Grace Harris
Joan Berta
Lynne Powell
Muriel Beatty

1983 – Joan S. McKee
1982 – Dorothy Thomas
1981 – Gloria O’Connor
1980 – Ruth Cornwell
1979 – Joan McKee
1978 – Mary Gibbon
1977 – Norma Berti

Dolores Marks
Doris Short
Elizabeth Lee
Elizabeth MacKay
Flora Nicholson
Jenny Hilstead
Joan Balinson
Mildred McGilivray
Nib Johnson
Patricia Lopresti
Shirley Gibbon

Dr. Roberta Bondar
Elizabeth Page
Carmeta Gentles
Roberta Jamieson
Anne Jones
Ellen Fairclough
Gwendolyn George
Patricia Wallace
Karen Cimba
Phylis McAvoy
Irmagard Westman
Denise Roger-McQuilkin
Bettina Campbell

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Winners from previous years

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