“Show up as you are” shared Kia Nurse, a Hamilton legend, basketball player for the Seattle Storm of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the Keynote speaker for RISE & Shine Trailblazers Breakfast in partnership with the 2023 Grey Cup Festival.
Back for the first time in-person since 2019, this special edition event was organized to provide young women, non-binary and gender fluid youth with the unique opportunity to hear directly from trailblazers and advocates in the sports industry to learn about the tools and resources to advocate for inclusive sport within their schools and communities.
To kickstart the event, attendees enjoyed a fresh and nutritious buffet breakfast of fruits, yogurt, croissants, and Ontario-grown eggs, courtesy of our breakfast sponsor, Egg Farmers of Ontario, and prepared by our venue sponsor, LiUNA Station.
The breakfast was followed by remarks from our co-emcees Rylee Szabo, Manager, Youth Programs and Rae Locke, 2SLGBTQIA+ Activities Coordinator and our CEO Medora Uppal. Medora shares, “When I look out to everyone gathered here this morning, I feel tremendously inspired. There is so much potential in this room! You are the next generation of Hamilton’s leaders, and you have immense power to help shape both your own destiny, the future of our city, and our world at large”.
The Rumble Family also shared the history of RISE & Shine and Jill Rumble, who served as the CEO of YWCA Hamilton from 1992 to 2003 and was an intrinsic part of the community and shared the vision of a future where all students are valued and can achieve their full potential. Jill also worked on a gamut of programs that empowered, and still do, youth and women through literacy and mentoring. We want to extend heartfelt gratitude to the Rumble Family who continue the tradition of this event in Jill’s honour.
Following the remarks, Kia Nurse, the keynote speaker, took to the stage to share her inspiring journey.
Kia has represented Canada at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. She is also a Pan American Games Gold Medallist and a two-time FIBA Women’s AmeriCup Gold Medallist. She shares, “When we embrace each other’s differences, we find success”. She also shared inspiring anecdotes and funny experiences on how to create inclusive spaces by respecting one another, creating welcoming spaces, and using one’s voice.
Kia then welcomed the panel, courtesy of our panel sponsor KGMP, who discussed inclusivity in sports and reflected on their experiences as young women and women of colour in sports. The panel consisted of Ligaya Stinellis, Lead Instructor at Global Martial Arts Academy and provincial wrestling champion, Deidre Donaldson, Manager of Athletics at Athlete Institute and a National level gymnast for 10 years, and Emily Todd, Director of Development and Administration at Football Ontario and a board member of the Ontario Women’s Football league.
After the panel discussion, the youth completed their youth pledges and shared the ways in which they will work to make spaces more inclusive within their schools and communities. Many youths shared their pledges with all the attendees on the stage.
Apart from the remarks and the youth pledge, the youth also partook in a vision board (draw yourself playing your favourite sport) activity, made memories at the photobooth, and engaged with our community partners present at the event. After the event, all the guests also took home Holiday Smile Cookies, provided by Binbrook Tim Hortons, proceeds from the sales supporting YWCA Hamilton’s life-changing and life-saving services.
We want express our gratitude to all of our sponsors and partners for making this event happen – your support will go a long way to inspire and nurture the lives of young women and gender-diverse youth in Hamilton.
Thank you to
110th Grey Cup Festival – Event Partner
KPMG – Panel Sponsor
Egg Farmers of Ontario – Breakfast Sponsor
LiUNA Station – Venue Sponsor
Joe Apps Technology Support – Activate Sponsor
Soundbox Productions – Activate Sponsor
Zonta Club of Hamilton 1 – Activate Sponsor
HWSBD – School Board Partner
We also wanted to thank every student who attended RISE & Shine Young Trailblazer’s Breakfast presented by the Grey Cup Festival. Your talent, creativity and commitment to build inclusive spaces amazes us. Good luck with all your endeavors!
RISE & Shine is part of the RISE collective, a YWCA Hamilton youth program that amplifies the voices of young women, non-binary and gender fluid youth in Hamilton. To learn more about the RISE collective and our youth programs, visit
Watch Kia Nurse’s interview with CHCH-TV, where she talks about being a keynote speaker for RISE & Shine and being a Hamiltonian, here: https://www.chch.com/hamiltons-kia-nurse-proud-to-be-keynote-speaker-at-ywca-young-trailblazers-breakfast/
View the event’s digital program here: https://www.flipsnack.com/CB89E9CC5A8/riseandshineprogram/full-view.html
To view more images from the event: https://ywcahamilton.smugmug.com/Events/2023-November-Rise-Shine-Young-Trailblazers-Breakfast/