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Past Award Winners

2019 Women of Distinction Winners

Meet the remarkable Award Winners of 2019.

Maddie Brockbank: Young Woman of Distinction

Maddie Brockbank is a passionate, funny, kind, and warm fourth-year Honours Bachelor of Social Work student at McMaster University. Maddie has demonstrated a commitment to sexual violence prevention through continued research, activism, and advocacy, with a specific focus in conceptualizing and making tangible male allyship. At the young age of 21, Maddie dreams of being a “TED-talker,” professor, researcher, and public educator, and has already begun to take up this work through numerous pursuits. Maddie is a loving daughter, sister, friend, dog-mom, and community activist. A driven and compassionate individual, Maddie has dedicated much of her university career to creating a safer space in the Hamilton community.

Lisa Pijuan-Nomura: Arts | Culture | Design

Lisa Pijuan-Nomura is a Hamilton-based artist, storyteller, creativity coach and community builder. For 30 years her artistic practice has been focused on telling stories, whether it be creating and performing one-woman shows or through multimedia collage pieces. She has performed across Canada, in Mexico and Europe. She is the recipient of grants and awards including the 2014 Hamilton Arts Award for Performance. After moving to Hamilton in 2012, Lisa has initiated arts events including Handmade Hamilton (2012), a yearly community craft show exhibiting some of Hamilton’s finest artisans, The Hamilton 7, a collective of professional storytellers, Stories from Hamilton where she teaches storytelling workshops to local residents and most recently Mighty Brave, a youth arts collective.

Tammy Hwang: Business Leadership | Entrepreneurship

Tammy Hwang has the perfect mix of ambition and humility, of optimism and realism, and of leadership and diligence. She is an active participant and leader within the community, group facilitator, and chief enabler to all types of local companies. She works for the City of Hamilton during the day, employing a three prong approach to create jobs and wealth for immigrants, newcomers and existing diverse populations. First, streamline city services so current entrepreneurs and newcomers can access resources and tools; Second, create new entrepreneurs, and third, attract entrepreneurs and international businesses. She spends her evenings with her small business she cofounded, managing a co-working space called CoMotion on King.

Clare Freeman: Community Leadership

Clare was born and raised in Hamilton and has been an active community and provincial leader and volunteer in the area of community engagement, social justice and health for more than 35 years. She holds a master’s degree in social work and has extensive clinical, research and leadership experience in the area of violence against women, trauma and grief. Since 2015 she has been the executive director for the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice and is spearheading a community engagement strategy to open the conversation of death and dying, advance care planning, hospice palliative care, grief and bereavement.

Dr. Anna Moro: Education | Mentorship

Dr. Anna L. Moro is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Languages at McMaster University. Dr. Moro is also the director for McMaster English Language Development (MELD) program and McMaster English Readiness for Graduate Excellence (MERGE) program, two well-designed programs intended for international students whose primary language is not English and who wish to improve their oral and written communication skills, and succeed in an English-speaking university environment. Dr. Moro has received recognition for her teaching, including the MSU Teaching Award (2003), the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2005), and the OCUFA (Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations) Teaching Award, 2006.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco: Outstanding Workplace

ArcelorMittal Dofasco over its 106-year history has always been an employer that has displayed leadership and innovation through an engaging workplace. Its famous tag line “Our Product is Steel. Our Strength Is People.” is more than a slogan! It is how it operates as an organization. Employee engagement is in every aspect of its business and is vitally important. Employees, because they are engaged, are fully involved and enthusiastic about their work. They are inspired and inspiring others. Passionate and committed every day to investing the discretionary effort that is needed for both the individual to succeed as well as the organization. ArcelorMittal Dofasco has been recognized as an Outstanding Workplace by independent third party organizations like Canada’s Top 100 Employers, Canada’s Top 100 Employers for Young People, Hamilton-Niagara’s Top Employers and Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces.

Louisa Drost: Health

Louisa Drost’s commitment to promoting mental health and wellness, together with the initiatives she has led have had an enormous impact on students and colleagues at Mohawk College, and in her community. Under Louisa’s leadership, the conversation at the college has shifted from mental illness to mental wellness. Louisa has spearheaded programs and initiatives that are making a difference in other areas as well, including more awareness and education around sexualized violence, and was recently appointed to a committee tasked with developing national standards for wellness and mental health for postsecondary students. Louisa also co-created Strides2Wellness, an organization committed to helping individuals find wellness through movement.

Jamie McMillan: Science | Technology | Trades

Jamie McMillan is a journeyman ironworker/boilermaker and founder of KickAss Careers. Her mission: Engage, educate and encourage youth to consider careers in skilled trades and technology through school and community outreach. She speaks to more than 20,000 grade 5-12 students every year, and has gained international notoriety. She has opened doors and minds to the career possibilities in the skilled trades, and shows youth an alternate pathway to rewarding and well-paid careers in the trades. Growing up Jamie wanted to be a miner like her father but was discouraged by its absence of women, so she followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a health care professional. Jamie spent years working in health care facilities, homecare, and restaurants. Discovering the trades changed her career path and gave her a feeling of self-worth and empowerment, and since then she has become extremely passionate about encouraging others to seek out similar pathways.

Col. Marguerite Ward: Lifetime Achievement

Colonel Marguerite Ward has significant overseas experience and has served in Pakistan, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. She has worked largely for women’s issues and HIV/AIDS, and has faced the challenges of violence, discrimination, critical shortages and 10,000 percent inflation. Her final role with The Salvation Army was Executive Director of Ellen Osler Home in Dundas, Ontario from which she retired in June 2018. Marguerite continues to serve community in retirement, assuming the role of President of the Rotary Club of Dundas in January 2019.

Candace Gagne: Honourary Woman of Distinction Award

For her courage, resilience and dedication to the self-empowerment of survivors of domestic violence.

Women of Distinction Award Recipients
2006 – 2019

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 the Year

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
We ROCK

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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What you can expect at
Women of Distinction

Meet the remarkable award winners of 2019

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YWCA Hamilton will be closed on Monday February 17 for Family Day. Have a great weekend!