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2018 Women of Distinction Nominees | Business & the Professions

Recognized nationally, the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards honours individuals and organizations whose outstanding activities and achievements contribute to the well-being and future of our community.

Congratulations to the 2018 nominees in the category of Business & the Professions


Christine, Executive Lead (SVP), Member Experience and Community Engagement at Vancity, has spent her career allocating capital to influence positive change. Her experience in male dominated industries started in her 20s with venture-capitalist investing in clean tech as a founding team member of Chrysalix Energy, then as a co-founder of a multi-strat hedge fund. Now she leads Vancity’s lines of business and community engagement work, and is recognized across Canada for her knowledge and leadership on the topics of values based banking, sustainability and finance and impact investing. Her many accolades include BC’s Top 40 under 40 and winner of the Clean 16. Christine is a frequent speaker and panelist at events throughout North America such as MaRS Social Finance Forum and the Responsible Investment Association.



Leslie is a principled leader, committed to championing diversity and inclusion across Vancouver’s tech sector. As Director of People and Culture at Unbounce, Leslie overhauled the company’s hiring practices to combat systemic biases and reworked its compensation structure to achieve gender parity. As part of her volunteer work with the Minerva Foundation, Leslie encouraged Unbounce to take the Diversity Pledge in 2017. As a result, the company diversified its all-male senior leadership team and technical management positions. Under Leslie’s leadership, Unbounce launched innovative family-friendly workplace practices like paid parental leave, reintegration plans for new parents, flexible work arrangements and child care. Leslie is also co-founder of the Glass Ceiling Demolition Company, an organization dedicated to mentoring young women professionals.



Wendy is a corporate governance champion and a leader in promoting the advancement of women in the professions. As Vice President, Legal, Risk and Governance, Wendy helped transform corporate governance and risk reporting at Capstone Mining to improve risk identification, risk reporting and mitigation throughout the organization globally. Wendy was instrumental in helping to develop Capstone’s first diversity policy on recruitment and retention. An advocate for diversity on boards and management teams, she also frequently speaks and writes on the advancement of women in law. Wendy’s contributions to the legal profession were recognized nationally with the 2017 Lexpert Zenith Award.



Vice President and Investment Advisor at TD Bank, Carol, is uniquely qualified as both an accountant and an investment advisor (IA). When Carol joined TD in 1995, she became the first female Asian IA in the Vancouver office and has been a top producer ever since. Speaking English, Cantonese and Mandarin enabled her to deliver seminars on Canadian investment and taxation to Chinese newcomers in their own language. For Carol, teaching financial literacy and helping people from all stations in life achieve financial independence is an act of social responsibility. Carol is best known for her radio segment, Financial Dialogue, a Cantonese-language radio program she has voiced for 22 years. As the first female Asian financial commentator in BC, she pioneered an educative approach to promoting financial literacy.



Kirsten is an unconventional tech leader who navigated a significant career pivot from professionally trained chef to become one of Vancouver’s most celebrated tech execs. As Vice President and Managing Director of SAP Labs Canada, Kirsten is one of only two women holding this position within the global SAP Labs Network. She is also the Global Head of Engineering for SAP Jam, leading a multinational development team creating a cloud-based social collaboration platform with more than 47 million subscribers. An advocate for girls in tech, she supports initiatives like Templeton STEM and GIRLsmart4tech, and has led SAP Canada’s adoption of Autism@Work, an initiative to hire 650 individuals on the autism spectrum globally by 2020. Kirsten was named to the 2015 Diversity 50 and is Board Chair of the Minerva Foundation for BC Women.



As Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer at Pacific Blue Cross, Heidi has applied her vision and talent to transform the brand and generate record sales growth. She created the first Product and Innovation team at Pacific Blue Cross last year, which has already launched a Canadian-first, flexible retirement insurance product. Heidi was the critical driver of a shift in strategic focus from Business-to-Business to Business-to-Consumer. In only her first year at Pacific Blue Cross, Heidi restructured the individual insurance and marketing divisions and transformed the company’s branding, leading to unprecedented, double-digit growth in B2C sales. As an accomplished marketing executive who was the only woman on the team in her early positions, she shares this experience as she mentors young women in the UBC Sauder School of Business MBA program.​

Meet the 2018 Women of Distinction Award nominees in other categories