Connecting the Community Award

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Voting for the Connecting the Community Award is now closed. 

Stephanie Allen

As someone who works to build safe, supportive housing for marginalized and equity-denied groups, I see firsthand the challenges faced by women leaving violence. I support YWCA Vancouver’s work to deliver affordable housing for single mother-led families because it is making a real and meaningful difference in the lives of women who are hardest hit by Metro Vancouver’s housing crisis.

Armin Amrolia

My passion and advocacy comes from the belief that access to adequate housing is a fundamental right for all Canadians. That people are homeless and at risk or that families have to choose between paying rent and feeding their children is not something we can be complacent about or accept. Therefore, I support YWCA’s affordable housing for single mother-led families.

Tracy Antoine

Building equitable communities is my passion. It drives me to support economic development and innovative housing solutions for First Nations. Adequate housing is out of reach for many BC women. That’s why, as a single mom myself, I support access to affordable housing for single mother-led families and YWCA’s work to provide long-term housing for those hardest hit by the housing crisis.

Jo-ann Archibald

As a mother, grandmother and educator, I chose to champion universal child care, which aligns with an Indigenous teaching that a child is a valued gift, to be lovingly nurtured so that they thrive. The YWCA’s advocacy and provision of quality early learning and affordable child care will contribute substantially to the future success of children, families and our society.

Aly Armstrong

I choose to support affordable housing for single mother-led families and have seen first-hand the need that exists in our community. The reality is, too many single moms and their children are suffering in BC due to the high cost of living. Mothers are struggling to provide basic needs and some are forced back into violent situations, leaving children at risk.

Alyssa Barry

Advancing gender equality is one of the most important issues humanity faces. As an advocate for women in boardrooms and leadership positions, it is rewarding to see gender equality at the forefront of many organizations – starting at the very top! If corporate Canada wants a full economic recovery, then it should focus on making room for more women in leadership.

Rhiannon Bennett

As an Indigenous woman, I advocate to end gender-based violence, which is deeply rooted in colonization and extends to all aspects of life affecting women, children, Two-Spirit, trans and non-binary people: from birth to end of life. I am pleased that YWCA Vancouver offers programs supporting survivors and victims, following the grassroots leadership and resistance that Indigenous women continue to demonstrate.

Sanna Bhayana

As the Co-Chair for the Hot Potato Initiative Foundation, a non-profit educating and engaging young Canadians in the conversation about homelessness, I believe that affordable housing is necessary to tackle Vancouver’s housing crisis. I choose to help deliver affordable housing for single mother-led families alongside YWCA Vancouver to promote stable living situations for women, and to encourage an equitable future.

Reeva Billy

As a First Nations woman, I have witnessed how gender inequality disproportionately effects the lives of Indigenous women (locally and globally). I choose to advance gender equality because YWCA Vancouver is working to support women, girls and gender diverse people with a range of integrated services like housing, child care, mentorship and employment.

Rebecca Bollwitt

Being in the technology and digital publishing industry, I have witnessed the challenges that women experience in terms of the gender pay gap, sexualization and more. These are just a few of the barriers that exist. I support the YWCA’s vision to advance gender equality which includes supporting the rights, safety and wellbeing of Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary and gender diverse people.

Gurleen Kaur Brar

As a Registered Nurse and Community Leader, I see the challenges women experience in their daily lives and the disproportionate violence they experience. These experiences further create challenges and barriers in accessing health care. I choose to support ending gender-based violence because YWCA Vancouver is working to raise awareness regarding this issue and providing critical support and services to individuals.  

Dr. Lori Brotto

Equity in women’s health is possible only when all women, including trans and non-binary persons, have equal access to women’s healthcare, and are proactively engaged in research despite decades of exclusion. In my role as lead of the Women’s Health Research Institute, as a women’s sexual health researcher, and clinician, I’ve been a fierce advocate for advancing gender equality.

Faye Brownlie

Access to justice begins in our work with children.  In my work with educators, I strive to model strengths-based language, respect for all, embracing diversity. Our learners learn to collaborate and find their personal voices. Justice requires each of us recognizing our rights and our potential and working together to make our homes, classrooms and communities a better place.

Vivian Chan

Let’s hold each other accountable — by making critical thinking, empathy, and kindness the fundamental traits to enable a more equitable and just society. I choose to advance gender equality, because YWCA Vancouver brings to light that equality of opportunity is often not possible when women face overlapping oppressions. We need to clear the way by recognizing our own biases.

Julia Chung

I founded both of my companies with female partners because I saw their talent being almost criminally wasted in traditionally male-dominated industries like finance and accounting. Every day I choose to support advancing gender equality by supporting women, allowing them to learn, support their families, and live outside of major cities, while still growing, developing, and taking on impactful roles.

Catherine Clement

My work documenting stories of a once-marginalized community reminds me that sometimes important but less visible needs can be easily overlooked. I support access to justice. I commend the YWCA Vancouver for its efforts to provide legal services to women in need, and for its leadership in advocating for and creating a more responsive, supportive system for all women.

Bremiella De Guzman

My family immigrated to Canada when my brothers and I were still little. Through childcare, my mom was able to go back to school to become a care-aid and is now a frontline worker fighting the pandemic. I support universal childcare because it allows women the opportunity to enter the workforce, benefitting families, communities, and our economy.

Quynh Doan

The pursuit of gender equality (acknowledging intersectionality to other markers of identities), has been integral to my career advancement as a physician scientist. Through my research team and projects, I intentionally provide enriching opportunities for youth with unearned disadvantages, to stimulate their curiosity, create safe spaces for them to find their voice and hone their skills to claim their successes.

Trish Dolman

I support the YWCA’s work to advance gender equality. As an established female director and producer, I’m painfully aware of the gender inequalities within the film and television industry. At Screen Siren Pictures, we proudly champion female-driven narratives on projects led by female talent, while also pushing for better representation and support to emerging filmmakers and BIPOC creators. 

Ann English

Engineering is a dynamic, fulfilling career that impacts nearly all aspects of life but women are still under-represented. I choose to advance gender equality because diverse viewpoints lead to greater understanding and inclusive solutions that will benefit all people. In order to protect the public, we need to ensure the profession of engineering truly reflects our diverse society.

June Francis

My mother was a woman of incredible talents and intellect. Yet her gender limited her from achieving her aspirations. She fought to ensure the next generation, her daughters, would have education and opportunities. As a Black woman, and following her example, I support the YWCA in advancing gender equality through fighting to dismantle the intersecting barriers caused by systemic racism.

Yamila Franco Pena

I look at the millions of womxn that are held back from reaching their full potential, preventing many from gaining an education, and deciding their futures. My vision is for a place where womxn, regardless of their background, can look up to us and be reminded they are capable, strong, courageous and powerful. This is why I support advancing gender equality. 

Shelley Gray

Though women have made great strides in breaking barriers towards equal opportunities, there’s still work to be done. I choose to support advancing gender equality as I’ve been passionate about helping young women find rewarding careers. In my work, I’m inspired by the tradeswomen who are achieving success in a male-dominated industry and paving the way for the younger generations.

Balbir Kaur Gurm

Relationship violence is a health pandemic with no vaccine. One way to address it is through preventing violence against women and children! I support the YWCA programs to end gender-based violence because its goal is to prevent tragedies, by teaching other ways of being. Let’s endorse this program and work together to create a violence-free society for all. 

Noorjean Hassam

2020 has brought extra hardship to single mums, many in minimum wage work that was suspended, and to kids who had unstable education and child care. I choose to support initiatives that deliver affordable housing for single mother-led families, as the YWCA has been a lifeline to many families by offering immediate and long-term safe solutions to precarious housing. 

Nikki Hill

As an advocate for equity in my business and community work, and through UWLM Period Promise, YWCA Metro Vancouver's advocacy for meaningful and long-term policy change is why I support their programs that advance gender equality. The voice of the YWCA is even more important as decision-makers address the disproportionate impact on women of the pandemic.

Isabel Jackson

As a First Nations lawyer access to justice is an important issue for me, especially on behalf of Indigenous people. There can be no Reconciliation without justice and there can be no justice without access to justice. I appreciate the YWCA's efforts toward Reconciliation through access to justice.

Imaan Jiwa

As an ardent advocate of providing support to vulnerable women, I advocate for the YWCA’s initiative to provide long-term, affordable housing for single mother-led families, allowing them to stay safe and escape abusive situations. Affordable housing is paramount to the well-being of at-risk women and is often a critical first step toward personal and economic security

Margo Kane

Working towards affordable housing for single mother-led families, will provide stability and security for them and ensure these families have every opportunity for full and meaningful lives!

Serena Kassam 

As a pediatric dentist, I work with children from infancy to adolescence, including those with special healthcare needs. I have seen the significance family, community and a supported environment plays on the child and family. I choose to champion universal child care because YWCA Vancouver is working to equalize and provide quality and affordable access to early childhood education and care.

Karen Kobel 

Gender-based violence permeates throughout our society, in our neighbourhoods, schools and communities. The reality for many is violence behind closed doors. I choose to support the YWCA’s work to end gender-based violence. We must stand, up, shout out and educate, there can no longer be an unspoken conversation, which keeps the violent reality of so many individuals secret. 

Precilia Kong

My role has taught me the importance of recognizing our position of privilege–the kind where many of us do not need to question our rights to have a roof over our heads. I support YWCA Vancouver’s mission to deliver safe & affordable housing for single mother-led families because no one should have to choose between affording rent or their safety.

Joyce Lam

As a neuroscientist and a former volunteer assistant for a child care program, I champion universal child care. Access to high-quality, affordable child care has a significant positive impact on children’s development, the economy and working mothers. The YWCA operates four successful child care centres across Vancouver, while also tirelessly advocating for public investment in universal child care in BC.

Dianne Lapierre 

As an information technology leader in the software industry and the mother of a non-binary individual, I am a gender minority in my profession and an advocate for my child. I support advancing gender equality because YWCA Vancouver is a leading voice for gender equality and supports women, girls and gender diverse individuals to build momentum for gender equality.

Vanessa LeBourdais

As we work closely with the power of kids to transform their families, I see first-hand the barriers that lack of daycare creates in the empowerment of women, and therefore girls. I choose to support universal child care because YWCA Vancouver advocates for it, as it is fundamental to women's equality and the well-being of all citizens.   

Carol Liao

Women, especially racialized and Indigenous women, are significantly underrepresented in leadership roles. These roles influence how communities thrive and how our most vulnerable are protected. I am proud to support the YWCA’s work in advancing gender equality. As the mother of three young girls, my hope is that impactful change in gender and racial equity will be realized in their lifetimes.

Sheryl Lightfoot

As an Indigenous woman, scholar and advocate for Indigenous human rights, I have witnessed the deep societal impacts of violence against Indigenous women. I choose to end gender-based violence because YWCA Vancouver is working to challenge the attitudes and social norms that perpetuate cycles of violence and to support women who have experienced violence.  

Melody Lim

Being a WOC, I’ve experienced first-hand the challenges and barriers to running a business in a male-dominated industry. I support the advancement of gender equality with YWCA Vancouver as they are working to engage with our government leaders to change policies and practices, support women, girls, and gender diverse people, and act as a leading voice for gender equality.  

Ana Maria Llanos

Community is where you find support to work through challenges and happiness for fulfilling lives. Community buildings foster shared experiences, provide support to others and cultivate relationships. They are places that bring life to communities and foster equality. As an architect, it is a privilege and honour to dedicate my life to shaping both. I support advancing gender equality.

Patti MacAhonic

Gender equality and inequality impacts everyone on our planet. As executive director of a feminist organization, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, I have borne witness as COVID contributed to women losing ground. More than ever we must stand our ground in calling out across the planet that women and girls are equal and deserving of equal treatment in all areas at all times.

Joy MacPhail

I have been an activist for 40 years advocating for women's economic equality. All the data show that affordable (free!) child care is the best investment for a strong, equality-based economy. YWCA has championed universal child care for decades through word and deed. YWCA Crabtree Corner in DTES is a perfect example of what is needed.

Mei Madden

In my work with the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, I’ve witnessed the incredible challenges that gender-based violence has on our local communities – especially during this pandemic.  I share YWCA Vancouver’s commitment to challenge attitudes and social norms that perpetuate this violence and to build innovative solutions for advocacy, collective action and critical supports to end gender-based violence.

Leena Manro

I direct film projects in a predominately male-dominated production world, and I've seen first-hand the effects of gender inequities. As such, I choose to support ending gender-based violence because we cannot advance in this world if half the population lives in fear. I support the YWCA's efforts to create awareness and safe spaces for all to thrive.

Michele Matthews

I believe gender equality is a fundamental human right and critical to all areas of a healthy society.  Greater female representation translates into enhanced economic prosperity, improved business performance, better-educated and healthier children, and ultimately leads to a more peaceful world. The work the YWCA does to advance gender equality benefits everyone.

Anne McMullin

They are often the hardest hit by Vancouver’s housing crisis – single mothers and their children. In a region facing high rents and low vacancies, we must be bold as we seek to deliver affordable housing for single mother-led families. Nothing is more important to me than being a champion for them as we work to deliver safe, affordable housing options.

Natasha Mhuriro

I support the YWCA’s initiatives to end gender-based violence. The global COVID-19 pandemic has increased gender-based violence and risks associated. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, this means that there’s a decrease in resources to support women in and outside their homes. Therefore, at this time it is crucial to commit to ensuring that women can access the support they need.

Krista Milne

As an advocate for people with diverse abilities and a YMCA child-minding volunteer, it is important that people have access to child care so that women can go back to work and know their children are safe, healthy and happy.  This is why I chose to champion universal child care.

Eloise Moss

Through my work with women’s organizations during the COVID pandemic, I have seen the direct impact of intimate partner violence on the health and wellbeing of women and families. As a future physician, I choose to support the efforts of YWCA to end gender-based violence so women can experience far better health outcomes before presenting to clinic.

Patrice Mousseau

Sexual, physical, mental or economic harm based on gender.  It's happened to me. It's probably happened to you. Statistics say it’s 1 in 3 of us. The personal impact can be devastating, and the generational trauma well documented. National economic costs are massive. I created Satya to end gender-based violence and show my little girl a better, safer world.

Heather Odendaal

In order to ensure that more women rise to positions of power, we must support women at every stage of their leadership journey. That is why I support YWCA Vancouver’s advocacy work to advance gender equality and the work they do to ensure everyone has equal access to opportunities.

Teresa Perri

As a woman in the Financial Services industry, I strongly support the efforts of the YWCA to educate, raise awareness of, and end gender-based violence in the business community. I am proud to stand beside the work of the YWCA to create change in policy and practices and strengthen legislation to help Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ2S+ people and women with disabilities.

Katy Player

I, like most women, have seen how inequality can rob people of the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Today, I see first-hand the power of diversity and inclusion within a global organization. These are the reasons I support advancing gender equality. Let’s put inequality behind us and see people of all genders thrive in the workplace and our communities.

Rochelle Prasad

Connecting the community through empowering people of underrepresented genders via life education programs/workshops is what our world needs to build a sustainable future. Advancing gender equality needs to be at the forefront of social change. 

Shakti Ramkumar

As a youth advocate for a just energy future, I believe that advancing gender equity must be at the core of the global energy transition to tackle climate change, as women face disproportionate challenges and injustices within our current energy system. Student Energy aims to shift the reality of who has access, resources, and decision-making power to change the energy system.

Jennifer Randall Nelson

We can't talk about child poverty without addressing women's poverty. Collectively, providing essential items for both mothers and children ensures better outcomes for our community. I support the YWCA Vancouver's goal to secure affordable housing for single mother-led families as housing improves health and education outcomes for children by creating stability and freeing resources for food and other essentials.  

Jean Rasmussen

Many of the women who attend our programs at CFEC, face numerous barriers to success. Access to affordable housing is at the top of the list. The YWCA provides a multitude of services for these young families - but critical to their well-being is a safe place to call home. I choose to support affordable housing for single mother-led families.

Annett Rozek

Throughout my career, it has been my experience that we only achieve what we believe we can. Our beliefs about ourselves shape the opportunities we take. That’s why I support advancing gender equality and the YWCA’s work to fight stereotypes in advertising that limit women and girls’ beliefs in who they are – and who they could be.

Sukhi Sangha

As a media personality, I push to have a powerful influence in shaping perceptions on the gender equality agenda. Women continue to be underrepresented in economic, social, cultural and political development. Barriers can be removed to create a world of infinite possibilities. I will forever be passionate about working together to ignite the power of females and advancing gender equality.

Melina Scholefield

As a Professional Engineer, I am committed to community welfare, environmental sustainability and advancing gender equality and diversity within the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Gender equality and diverse perspectives are strengths to be embraced and foundational to the YWCA, which builds community and capacity in support of a sustainable and just society for current and future generations.

Jane Jae Kyung Shin

Access to timely and responsive legal information and services is integral to women’s safety, security and wellbeing. By empowering women to understand and exercise our sociocultural, economic, political and civil rights, the YWCA Metro Vancouver’s work for access to justice helps advance gender equality. Your support for this often overlooked and underfunded cause will make a meaningful difference and deeply appreciated!

Victoria Shroff

Access to Justice is a fundamental right. It's the very foundation of a just society. We all play a part in ensuring that our legal system is inclusive, so that everyone is served and empowered.  I've devoted much of my career as an animal law lawyer and educator increasing access to justice for all.  I encourage you to join me.

Stephanie Simmons 

Model. Mentor. Move. To address the under-representation of women in the most extreme edges of STEM disciplines, we must do all three. Advancing gender equality in STEM is partly about modelling to our next generation of inventors and leaders a wide range of roles to shine in, mentoring them from early ages through their careers, and moving narratives from exclusivity to inclusiveness.

Laura Sly

As an Associate Dean and Associate Professor at UBC, I recognize the extraordinary benefits already achieved by diversity and inclusion efforts AND that we must continue this crucial work to strengthen our community.  I support our fundamental goal to advance gender equality because the YWCA Vancouver is a dynamic proponent for equity supporting women, girls, and gender diverse people throughout Metro Vancouver.

Stephanie Smith 

As an early childhood educator and the first woman elected to lead one of BC's largest unions, I know the benefits of quality childcare in supporting gender equity. I choose to champion universal child care because the YWCA advocates for investing in a quality childcare system that helps women, children and families thrive. That work resonates deeply for me.

Tammara Soma

As a passionate advocate for food justice, I know that one of the major barriers to achieving food security is affordable housing. I choose to support the delivery of affordable housing for single-mother-led families because mothers should not have to choose between food and shelter for their kids.

Dr. Sheryl Staub-French 

As an educator of the next generation of engineers, I want to ensure that girls, Indigenous and Black youth, and underserved communities have equal access to the STEM fields – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. I support advancing gender equality because the YWCA, as a leading voice, is engaging business, community and government leaders to change policies and practices.

Nadine Westerbarkey

By providing children with opportunities to see themselves represented in positive, authentic ways through animation, we can celebrate diversity and help shape stronger communities where gender is no longer a barrier to success. Everyone deserves a safe place to belong, grow and learn from each other. That’s why it’s my honour to support the YWCA’s cause of advancing gender equality.  

Roanne Weyermars

Too many women face social and economic barriers that prevent them from accessing our justice system when they need it most. I choose to support access to justice to provide assistance to women today - while also advancing a more equitable, accessible system that truly supports the safety and wellbeing of women and their children moving forward.

Denise Williams

Womxn and girls have the right to live free of violence and in a community that is actively challenging oppressive and violent narratives and systems that have created harm. I choose to support the ending of gender-based violence in support and solidarity with all our Indigenous sisters leading this work courageously and all those we hold forever in our hearts.

Charlotte Yong-Hing

The gender gap in Radiology has not changed significantly in 30 years. I created Canadian Radiology Women to advance gender equality in medicine. I lead a community of women Radiologists and Radiologists-in-training who advocate for diversity in Radiology so that the physician population better reflects the population served, which will improve patient care.