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Business Leadership, Entrepreneur, Innovation category

Business Leadership | Entrepreneur | Innovation

Presented by:

Celebrating the women and girls who build Hamilton and Halton

Hamilton and Halton’s most prestigious event honouring women and girls

Meet the 2022 Award Nominees and Winners

Winners from the previous years

Have questions? Contact a member of our team.

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Presented by:

Business Leadership - MNP

This award honours a woman whose achievements in the corporate sector or as a business owner show her commitment to excellence in the business world. She has a proven track record of innovation, sustainability, and profitability in her field, leveraging her success to advocate for and to elevate other women in business. She has demonstrated leadership within her company or among her employees, facilitating change and opportunities whenever possible.

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Hamilton Winner:

Kristine Leadbetter-Gold

Kristine Leadbetter-Gold - Business - Hamilton

Kristine Leadbetter-Gold

Kristine Leadbetter-Gold is Founder of the Women’s Network, TV Producer and Host of “Lead Better with Kristine”, and is the Business Development Manager for Gowling WLG Hamilton. Kristine is passionate about connecting people to things that matter, lifelong learning, and supporting the advancement of women. Known as a rainmaker with an entrepreneurial spirit, Kristine has a keen ability to execute and curate mutually beneficial opportunities. She is an accomplished strategist with 15+ years of experience in reputation management, business development, and community stewardship. Kristine is a speaker, consultant, and published author recognized for her expertise in social capital, leadership, and  women’s networks. Kristine has a Masters in Communications Management, was listed as a 2021 Top 40 Under 40 winner, and is a 3x nominee for WXN’s Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women awards.

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Halton Winner:

Julie Cole

Julie Cole - Business - Halton

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is a recovered lawyer, mom of six and co-founder of Mabel’s Labels. She has helped her company bring their product to a worldwide market, gain media recognition and win countless awards. Cole is a passionate entrepreneur, published author, and sought after speaker. Julie is no stranger to the media, having appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, HLN’s Raising America, Breakfast Television, The Marilyn Denis Show, CP24, among many others. As a blogger and writer, her articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, Today’s Parent, The Globe and Mail, Profit Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, Chicken Soup For the Soul – Power Moms and numerous websites. When she’s not juggling her busy family and professional life, Julie is an engaged community member serving on boards and volunteering. She is passionate about women’s issues, mentoring young entrepreneurs, and social justice.

Hamilton Nominees

Cathie Puckering - Business - Hamilton

Cathie Puckering

Cathie was born and raised in Hamilton, is a CPA, CGA, and holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from Laurentian University. Cathie joined John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport and TradePort in 1999. As a seasoned airport executive, Cathie has held progressively senior roles at Hamilton International, most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer. In 2021, Cathie was appointed to the role of Vice President and Head, Canadian Network for Vantage Airport Group while continuing to serve on the TradePort Board. Cathie was appointed as Honorary Colonel of 436 Air Mobility Squadron at 8 Wing Trenton in 2019 and is a proud supporter of Canada’s military. Cathie is an active volunteer with Liberty for Youth and CityKidz.

Elisha Schafer - Business - Hamilton

Elisha Schafer

Elisha is a Psychotherapist approaching a decade of experience providing leadership, supervision, and clinical care in the mental health/addictions field. Throughout her career, she has had the opportunity to work in numerous health care settings including community outreach, withdrawal management, acute psychiatry, and private inpatient centres. Elisha’s passion to help people and entrepreneurial spirit have led to the development of Lotus Counselling Services, a rapidly growing private mental health and addictions clinic based in Waterdown, Ontario. Elisha and her team focus on ensuring quality therapeutic services to clients and a healthy workplace for staff. Her ability to drive her business forward to continue to meet the growing demands of mental health care is what sets her apart from other practices.

Heather Fontez - Business - Hamilton

Heather Fontez

With 20 years of global hospitality experience, Heather focuses on areas of operations which require retraining, restructuring, or full redesign. Thinking outside the box, she independently leads these changes, supporting departments in transition and ensuring a full analysis of results are reflected upon. Her strengths as a leader are to approach challenges in a calm and empathetic manner, skills she developed through her graduate education in psychology and ongoing work within the mental health field. She is heavily focused on developing teams from within and making sure these candidates are properly coached and being provided with all resources to be set up for success with both practical and personal skills. Heather and her family now call Hamilton home!

Heather Kemp - Business - Hamilton

Heather Kemp

Heather Kemp is a young hospitality professional and has worked in the hospitality/events industry for nearly a decade. Graduating from Niagara College, she has a diploma in Restaurant and Hotel Management, as well as a post-graduate certificate in Event Management. Throughout her three years with Carmen’s Group, she has worked on events ranging from weddings and conferences to high-scale events such as political conventions and the 2021 Grey Cup. Her passion for events and strong work ethic makes her an excellent leader and asset to any team.

Kara Alicia Kennish - Business - Hamilton

Kara Alicia Kennish

Kara Kennish is a successful Tim Hortons franchisee, public speaker,  philanthropist, advocate for equal opportunity, and one of Universal Women’s Network’s : 100 Women of Inspiration 2021. As a third generation Tim Hortons Franchisee, Kara is always finding ways to utilize her platform for the good of the local community. Kara is advancing the conversation of equal opportunity and shining a light on emerging needs in our community locally and internationally. When Kara is not trying to change the world, she enjoys hiking with her two dogs or running on one of Hamilton’s gorgeous trails. With travel at a standstill, Kara finds solace at her favorite restaurants with a glass of wine and a book.

Karena Osborne - Business - Hamilton

Karena Osborne

Karena is a hard-working witch who is always there to help her community. She is always collecting donations for different charities such as moontine sisters and sending boxes of art supplies and clothing to children in northern regions of Canada. Karena is hands on, knowledgeable, an ally. Karena puts her heart and soul into everything she does. from work to day-to-day life. Through her business, The Witch’s Inn, she makes her services available and accessible for all, whether it be travelling to her clients or offering discounts for those in need. She is always learning and teaching others, and  is a true light in this often dark world.

Kristine Leadbetter-Gold - Business - Hamilton

Kristine Leadbetter-Gold

Kristine Leadbetter-Gold is Founder of the Women’s Network, TV Producer and Host of “Lead Better with Kristine”, and is the Business Development Manager for Gowling WLG Hamilton. Kristine is passionate about connecting people to things that matter, lifelong learning, and supporting the advancement of women. Known as a rainmaker with an entrepreneurial spirit, Kristine has a keen ability to execute and curate mutually beneficial opportunities. She is an accomplished strategist with 15+ years of experience in reputation management, business development, and community stewardship. Kristine is a speaker, consultant, and published author recognized for her expertise in social capital, leadership, and  women’s networks. Kristine has a Masters in Communications Management, was listed as a 2021 Top 40 Under 40 winner, and is a 3x nominee for WXN’s Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women awards.

Tracy MacKinnon - Business - Hamilton

Tracy MacKinnon

Tracy MacKinnon is passionate about small business success. As the Executive Director of both Westdale Village BIA and Downtown Stoney Creek BIA, she has spent countless hours going above and beyond her job description to ensure these business communities survive the pandemic. Tracy is responsible for seizing on the City of Hamilton’s “Spend It Here” campaign, organizing and driving this idea across all the BIAs in the city through a coordinated marketing initiative. Tracy is responsible for creating the outdoor dining district in Westdale that kept many small businesses afloat throughout the pandemic, and she is responsible for brining ArtsFest to Westdale, as well as countless other arts and music opportunities for local performance artists in Westdale and Stoney Creek.

Halton Nominees

Anita Lloyd - Business - Halton

Anita Lloyd

Anita has spent over 30 years working for and leading STRIDE, where she has held the role of Executive Director since 1999. Under her leadership, STRIDE’s impact in Halton Region has been significant. She has supported several hundred clients, including our youth, who have been suffering from mental health and addiction issues. She continues to grow the organization through meaningful grants and funding, advocacy and participation with community stakeholders. During Covid-19 Anita helped pivot STRIDE’s service delivery model, ensuring that clients received the support they needed while isolated. The organization switched to a hybrid model ensuring virtual contact was made. During the Give Oakville campaign, Anita facilitated the delivery of 600 Stress Survival Kits to clients!

Brooke Eady - Business - Halton

Brooke Eady

Brooke Eady, President of Broadcast Services International Inc, has passionately led in this role since 2007 with dedication, ambition, and strong leadership skills. Completing her studies in both HR Management and Project Management at McMaster University, she holds a Certified Human Resources Leader designation (CHRL) from the Human Resources Professionals Association. She forged her way through a male-dominated industry, gaining respect from her peers as she continually finds ways to elevate, hire and support women in business. Brooke has served on the board of directors for the Hamilton Community Foundation since 2019 and she is a member of the Women in Sport Media Initiative with (SVGW). In 2018 she co-founded Sweet Peas Baby Co that supports new parents and Canadian small businesses.

Julie Cole - Business - Halton

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is a recovered lawyer, mom of six and co-founder of Mabel’s Labels. She has helped her company bring their product to a worldwide market, gain media recognition and win countless awards. Cole is a passionate entrepreneur, published author, and sought after speaker. Julie is no stranger to the media, having appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, HLN’s Raising America, Breakfast Television, The Marilyn Denis Show, CP24, among many others. As a blogger and writer, her articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, Today’s Parent, The Globe and Mail, Profit Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, Chicken Soup For the Soul – Power Moms and numerous websites. When she’s not juggling her busy family and professional life, Julie is an engaged community member serving on boards and volunteering. She is passionate about women’s issues, mentoring young entrepreneurs, and social justice.

Maude Leger - Business - Halton

Maude Leger

Sold Right Away started in 2008 with just Maude Leger and her passion for business and marketing. Maude’s eye for innovation and commitment to truly help realtors grow their business is what made Sold Right Away successful. Sold Right Away has grown tremendously in 14 years, expanding from one realtor client to over 500. With dedication and integrity, Maude has proven that Sold Right Away is a leader in service and innovation in a highly competitive market. Originally from Montreal, Maude started her first job at fifteen, and has become an educated and successful business woman who considers her greatest accomplishments in life to be the empowering and positive changes she can make in others and her community.

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