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Lifetime Achievement

Lifetime Achievement

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:

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This award honours a woman who is 55 years or older who has made significant and varied contributions to the community in any of the Women of Distinction award categories. She is a role model who has tirelessly contributed to the community in many ways, for many years, as an advocate, volunteer and/or mentor. She exhibits strength, wisdom and character that serve as an inspiration to those around her. Must fall within this age range by December 31, 2021.

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Winner:

Susan Denburg

Susan Denburg - Community - Hamilton

Susan Denburg

Susan Denburg has led a prolific and impactful career as a visionary leader, passionate and inspirational community volunteer and sought-after mentor and role model. A Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and Executive Vice-Dean and Associate Vice-President Academic in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, she oversees the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative and champions the University’s commitment to research in aging. She was instrumental in launching the Faculty’s Indigenous Health Initiative and has supported the advancement of professionalism, diversity and inclusivity at McMaster and beyond. Her extensive community efforts have addressed challenges of innovative and compassionate care for the elderly. Susan leaves a legacy of mentorship and leadership, and her impact will endure for years to come.

Hamilton Nominees

Bernie McCarter - Community - Hamilton

Bernie McCarter

Bernie McCarter has made a broad impact in Hamilton through her lifelong volunteerism, focused on the needs of women and children. Over the years, Bernie has dedicated her energies to supporting children’s literacy as an in-school volunteer, raising funds for City Kidz and the Parent’s Guild at Hillfield-Strathallan College. Bernie spent years supporting women living with breast cancer through Look Good Feel Better, and though donations and fundraising for women’s healthcare. Most recently, Bernie has supported the new YWCA on Ottawa Street. Bernie has co-chaired numerous fundraisers with her husband and has instilled her love of volunteering in both her children. Now as a snowbird in sunny Florida, Bernie can be found on the golf course, beach, or FaceTiming her grandchildren.

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.

Debra Christmas - Research - Hamilton

Debra Christmas

Debra Christmas is a 40+ year veteran of the information technology field. Prior to joining Gartner Canada as an Executive Partner, Debra was VP of Hewlett-Packard Software Technical Sales for North and South America and was formerly Chief Information Officer for the cities of Kingston and Kanata. Debra is the co-author of “Please Stay: How Women in Tech Survive and Thrive.” She is currently co-authoring two other books, “Get Smarter Faster” and “We Rise in Power: Amplifying Women of Color and Her Voices for Change” to help women excel in their careers and to encourage young girls to make technology a career choice. Debra is the founder of Stiletto Gladiators, a not-for-profit and diversity consultancy, and co-founder of Women in Tech Tribe, which supports women in tech.

Jo-Ann Savoie - Community - Hamilton

Dr. Jo-Ann Savoie

Dr. Jo-Ann Savoie has served the City of Hamilton as a police officer since 1997 and served with the Department of National Defence prior to that. Her strong desire to serve her community is demonstrated not only through her professional accomplishments, but also through her commitment to volunteering. In 2021, Jo-Ann founded Project First to Respond, leading a team of first responders through a fundraising campaign that saw over $70,000 in funds raised in support of YWCA Hamilton’s affordable housing initiative. As the Past President, and now current Board Member of Ontario Women in Law Enforcement, she mentors and supports women in policing. Leading by example, she is a role model for those looking to make an impact within their community.

Kelly Lazure-Valconi - Education - Hamilton

Kelly Lazure-Valconi

Kelly is an integral member of the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board, supporting all staff in every role. She is responsible for Employee Assistance Services, providing system in-services; and is also a member of the System Crisis Response Team.  Kelly provides annual statistical reporting for HWCDSB and serves as primary liaison with the community service sector related to adult services. Kelly provides consultation related to staff mental health, including associated protocols and policy and provides support to the Mental Health Strategy of the Board. She is involved in numerous internal and external committees and working groups and is the lead facilitator of the board’s Leadership Program, offering tools for aspiring leaders.

Kerry Beal - Health - Hamilton

Dr. Kerry Beal

Dr. Kerry Beal is a family physician and emergency physician, who turned her personal and work life inside out in March 2020 to protect those experiencing homelessness from the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been deeply dedicated, fiercely focused, and utterly tireless in her effort to invent and deliver a very unique, reliable testing service to all who serve within and are served by the homeless social services sector. And then to advocate for and deliver vaccines to these people as accessibly as possible from the earliest moment they were available up to the present time. Kerry is also a mother, a wife, a creator of a novel piece of equipment for the tempering of chocolate, and an accomplished chocolatier. She teaches medical students and residents, and  is currently in her 3rd year as the Lead Physician for Shelter Health Network, which provides medical, mental health and addiction care to people experiencing homelessness in shelters, encampments and social service agencies in Hamilton.

Laurel Trainor - Arts - Hamilton

Dr. Laurel Trainor

Dr. Laurel Trainor’s pioneering and ground-breaking research demonstrates the importance of music for children’s development, mental health, and for sustaining vibrant and thriving communities. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, she works with scientists and clinicians on applying music to promote wellness; enhancing hearing aids for music listening; and using music-based interventions to improve outcomes in children with developmental disorders. She is the Founding and current Director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind, and the internationally renowned LIVELab research-concert hall, referred to as a national treasure. The LIVELab supports innovative research, musicians and musical performances, training and workshops for many community groups, and exceptional opportunities for McMaster students.

Myrtle Greve - Education - Hamilton

Myrtle Greve

Inspired by a grandmother who obtained a university degree in the 1920’s, Myrtle became a social worker, and has spent 30 years developing VON Markham/Hamilton home support services. Her commitment to women’s education led to volunteering with the Canadian Federation of University Women. Her accomplishments include: CFUW Hamilton past-president; provincial chair legislation/education; Advocate, Graduate Women International, empowering women worldwide through education; Member, National Board of Charitable Trust, along with local clubs provides $1,000,000+ in scholarships annually; Chair, Hamilton scholarship program: McMaster/Brock Universities, Mohawk College, local CAS; Lead, improving home care, through speakers, petitions, MPP outreach; CFUW resolution to add Home Care to the Canada Health Act; and, Representative poverty/homelessness issues, CFUW Ontario’s Advocacy Committee, drawing on knowledge from Hamilton’s Roundtable on Poverty and Basic Income Network.

Paula Baruch - Arts - Hamilton

Paula Baruch

Music and love of teaching have been an important part of Paula Baruch’s life and have taken her to the mountains of Israel, Colombia, northern British Columbia and a handful of cities across Ontario. She is a fully ordained cantor at Hamilton’s Temple Anshe Sholom. Her journey started on a small dairy farm near Owen Sound, Ont. Paula had no idea that Jews existed except for the characters in the Old Testament. Her awareness changed after moving with her mother to metropolitan Owen Sound and being cast in the starring role in a local production of The Diary of Anne Frank. Paula is a creative, visionary, who inspires and motivates positive change. She is a beaming light for any faith or community.

Susan Denburg - Community - Hamilton

Susan Denburg

Susan Denburg has led a prolific and impactful career as a visionary leader, passionate and inspirational community volunteer and sought-after mentor and role model. A Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and Executive Vice-Dean and Associate Vice-President Academic in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, she oversees the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative and champions the University’s commitment to research in aging. She was instrumental in launching the Faculty’s Indigenous Health Initiative and has supported the advancement of professionalism, diversity and inclusivity at McMaster and beyond. Her extensive community efforts have addressed challenges of innovative and compassionate care for the elderly. Susan leaves a legacy of mentorship and leadership, and her impact will endure for years to come.

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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 our clients!

Elaine Delsnyder - Arts - Halton

Elaine Delsnyder

Elaine Delsnyder is a Recreation Programmer for the City of Burlington and is the Associate Manager for Burlington Student Theatre. Elaine began her journey with Student Theatre in 1979 as a student herself. She soon became a student leader and a volunteer until 1986 when she joined the team as a part-time staff member and she has been bringing joy and inspiring a love for the performing arts in Halton-area youth ever since. Elaine is also an accredited Montessori educator and founder and co-owner of Clanmore Montessori school in Oakville, investing in developing young minds while championing the Maria Montessori philosophy.

Glenda Lloyd - Community - Halton

Glenda Lloyd

Glenda Lloyd is the Ontario Community Relations Manager at Cogeco. She epitomizes the ideals of enriching the lives of others in our community. She is a mentor at “Women as Career Coaches” and she has led teams in “Clean Up, Green Up” and the Terry Fox Run for many years. In her professional role, Glenda has spearheaded support of the Oakville Community Foundation, United Way, Halton Learning Foundation, McMaster Children’s hospital, and the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, among others. Glenda also sets an example with her attitude. She approaches every relationship – professional and personal – with warmth, empathy, and an incredibly infectious laugh! She genuinely believes in the causes she supports and cheers them on enthusiastically.

Lorraine Rollo - Community - Halton

Lorraine Rollo

Lorraine Rollo is a survivor of domestic violence and is a passionate advocate for ending violence against women. She is a member of the Halton Violence Prevention Council and serves as Chair of SAFE: Survivor Advocates for Empowerment. Lorraine is a public speaker and educator through lived experience on domestic violence and abuse. She demonstrates courage, strength and drive to advocate for the others that are out there; those who have been victimized by violence. Lorraine serves as a Crisis Phone Line Volunteer & Public Educator with SACHA (Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton and Area), and is also a sworn-in civilian with Halton Regional Police Services – Victim Services Unit.  Lorraine IS the victim’s voice; a ‘ground-warrior’ doing the underground work supporting victims of domestic violence.

Nancy Romic - Community - Halton

Nancy Romic

Nancy Romic is the Executive Director of Shifra Homes, a not-for-profit maternity residence for young, homeless, pregnant women and babies. Her background as the owner of an Oakville nursing agency has given her the business and social service background to change lives. Nancy has been with Shifra since 2012, and under her guidance, Shifra’s programs have expanded to provide complete wraparound services to ensure the success of these young women. What makes Shifra and Nancy special is that they fight for the protection of the most vulnerable members of our community and Nancy works tirelessly, always putting others first. Nancy often acts as a matriarchal figure to the young women in her care, providing them with love and support.

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