Connecting the Community Award

Please read the nominees' quotes and vote.

Abby Pang         

Advancing gender equity is integral to improving the quality of legal services in our community, and in enhancing female self-worth in the workplace. I whole-heartedly battle for our voice to be heard, our point of view to be validated, and our ideas to take hold. Only then will the legal system change in ways to serve the wider society fairly.

Adaeze Oputa-Anu

As an immigrant, a new mother, and a co-creator of an ECEA employment program, I understand the importance of public investment in early childhood education and the support it gives women and families. I support early learning and child care because it creates opportunities for immigrant women like me, who comprise one-third of the professionals in this space.

Adebukola (Bukkie) Adewuyi

As a career-minded mother, I have experienced first-hand the challenges of balancing the care of the home with a desire to contribute to the economic well-being of the family. I choose to support early learning and child care because YWCA Vancouver is advocating for public investment in childcare to support women and families, help children thrive and strengthen the economy.

Dr. Adriana Suarez

As a scientist committed to fostering diversity and inclusion, I fully support YWCA Vancouver’s foundational work to advance gender equity. Women have a place in STEM, and a right to share and benefit from scientific progress. Through breaking biases, we can all ensure that researchers enjoy equitable conditions of work, recruitment, promotion, training and pay without discrimination.

Amina Yasin      

As a City Planner, who is an expert and advocate for affordable housing with integrated childcare, I’ve witnessed the challenges women face in cities. I support affordable housing for single-parent families as they strive to leave domestic violence and find housing because YWCA Vancouver is raising awareness of this issue and providing direct services to house women and their children.

Amy Robichaud

My personal mission is to action practical ways to generate equity, create economic inclusion, opportunity and prosperity for all. Because of this, I choose to support the YWCA's work in advancing gender equity and their bold vision of a just and equitable world for women, families and allies. We are inescapably connected in community and equity is the only path.

Angel Lam

Advancing gender equity is the area of focus at YWCA which aligns with me deeply. Influenced by my BIPOC upbringing; women and womxn need to be represented and granted the equal opportunity for decision-making functions in all facets of leadership. By affirming our seat at the table, we can ensure diverse voices are being heard at the highest level.

Dr. Angela Devin

I have experienced firsthand some of the barriers women scientists face and recognize the importance of including children and women in health research. I choose to support advancing gender equity because gender equity is foundational to all that YWCA Metro Vancouver does and supports their vision of an equitable world for women and their families.

Angela Kermer SGaan Jaad KWahst’aang

I choose to support early learning and child care because the YWCA Vancouver’s work directly contributes to intergenerational connection and success. Young ones in safe and supported child care have opportunity to thrive, while parents reach their potential in education and/or work. Strengthening the cycle, parents become essential role models for their young ones, our future leaders.

Anita Bhandari

The existence of glass ceilings and gender biases are not intended for the world. The world was meant to embody diversity and offer possibilities. We need to know the real person in front of us, and allow them room to shine. If we are still thinking about it, then we still have a lot of work to do to advance gender equity.

Annie Ohana

I wanted to choose this in community. I consulted women and my students who fight for gender justice. With their thoughtful responses I have decided to support the YWCA in delivering affordable housing for single mother-led  families. A housing secure family allows for single mothers to thrive. Housing first supports all to achieve gender equity.

Azra Hussain

As a minority woman and immigrant to Canada, I have experienced the challenges of asserting myself in professional spaces. I am passionate about creating safe, inclusive environments to mentor and empower women to achieve their full potential. I support advancing gender equity, as YWCA Vancouver’s programs encourage women from all walks of life to share their stories, creating equitable communities.

Carrie Tennant

As a conductor working primarily with youth, I believe it is incredibly important for young people to have a place where they are included and valued.  I see first hand the challenges faced by young women and girls today, and am grateful for YWCA’s work in advancing gender equity.  

Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa

As a LGBTQ2+ Latina scientist, leader in genomics, and EDI activist, I am deeply aware of the challenges faced by girls, women, intersectional and underrepresented groups in STEM. I’ve dedicated two decades to advance gender equity through networks, policies and practices in the tech and innovation worlds.  I am proud to support YWCA Vancouver and their efforts to advance gender equity.

Catherine Dahl

It has been my personal passion throughout my career, especially in my CEO role, to advance gender equity and to work to ensure women are not treated or paid less than their male counterparts, as I was in my very first professional role in the 1990s.

Dr. Connie Eaves            

As a strong advocate for women in science, I have firsthand appreciation of the significant challenges that women continue to face as they pursue male dominated professions. I choose to support advancing gender equity because YWCA Vancouver is a leader in its role in promoting broader recognition of this issue and in enhancing efforts to resolve it.

Courtney Mienkina

As an educator in our public school system.  I see first hand how important it is for my colleagues, and friends to have access to early learning and child care.  I choose to support early learning and child care so educators can give the best to their families and careers.

Dr. Evelyn Stewart         

As a child psychiatry clinician researcher, and as the daughter and granddaughter of resilient single-mothers, I am keenly aware of the centrality of a safe home for family mental wellness and child development. I support delivering affordable housing for single mother-led families because YWCA Vancouver is working to give women and their children a safe place to call home.

Ginger Gosnell-Myers

Despite the advancements being made through our growing commitment to reconciliation, the serious matter of gender-based violence facing Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited is still too normalized and not well supported, which is why I choose to support the YWCA’s work to end gender-based violence.

Jean Yuen

As a mother of 2 wonderful children, who are now adults, I know that quality childcare can make a world of difference in the development of young minds.  I choose to support early learning and child care because YWCA Vancouver advocates for public investment in child care to support women and families, help children thrive and strengthen the economy.

Jeanette Jackson

As a global climate champion, education and connecting with youth through progressive learning experiences is fundamental to our net zero future.  I choose to support early learning and child care because I believe a strong learning and child care framework is critical the just and inclusive socio-economic transitions required to tackle climate and sustainability across all communities.

Jennifer LeBrun

Access to engaging and inspiring life opportunities should be available to all. Universal Child Care is an exceptional way to advance gender equality, support growth and development of our young that strengthen communities. Exactly why I support YWCA Metro Vancouver to advocate for public investment in early learning and child care to support women and families, help children thrive and strengthen the economy.

Jennifer Smith

As a lifelong media professional and through my company, Everything Podcasts, I’m on the frontlines of messaging and have a responsibility to breakthrough barriers and carve out space to champion stories that have historically been silenced. If we want to see change, we must create it and do the hard work to celebrate our differences and advance gender equity.

Dr. Karen Tee

As a psychologist, and with my lived experiences at the intersection of gender and racial inequity, I am passionate about reducing inequities in access to mental health care and harms through the health system – with emphasis on advancing gender equity, and including people who experience oppression. This guides me in my work to reimagine health and social services for youth.  

Kendra  Coupland

Homes are not just arbitrary spaces, all important matters of life occur within them. They are the spaces where children learn to live with integrity and dignity. When parents lack access to safe and stable homes, the whole of society suffers. For this reason, I choose to support the YWCA's efforts to deliver affordable housing for single mother-led families

Lauren Simpson

I am a woman with disabilities who’s experienced the struggle to find affordable housing. I want to advocate delivering affordable housing for single mother-led families with YWCA Vancouver. Many women need a safe space. I support those moms and their children because they deserve an affordable place to call their own, be advocated for, and have their voice be heard.

Dr. Lenore Newman

As a researcher, educator, and activist working to foster food security and address environmental change, I see a disturbing lack of representation of women and gender minorities in leadership roles that address these critical challenges. I support advancing gender equity because YWCA Vancouver is challenging structural barriers and supporting those most affected to take on leading roles in these fights.

Lia Moody

As a litigator who loves the courtroom, I support any initiative that makes the courtroom accessible to its community. This is particularly true for individuals who have been historically under-served, including those that identify as female, BIPOC, disabled and/or of limited means. I choose to support access to justice because YWCA is working to provide legal representation to these individuals.

Lillian Tummonds

Having been in the commercial real estate industry for over two decades, I have seen progress made to increase gender diversity/equity within the industry but there is still more work to be done. I choose to support advancing gender equity because as the YWCA Vancouver states gender equity is a basic human right and leads to healthier, more prosperous communities.

Liz Marshall

I've dedicated my career as a storyteller, image maker, and multimedia advocate, to leveraging the powerful platform of film and television to lift and give agency to my sisters. By focusing on change-makers around the globe, documentary filmmaking is a tool to advance gender equity

Margot Young  

An equality lens necessarily pulls into critical focus women’s diversity and the range of contexts in which gender inequality plays out.  The YWCA’s work to advance gender equity reflects this complexity, targeting economic, political and social systems, highlighting intersectionality. My work as educator, activist, and academic is similarly committed to addressing the deeply gendered injustices of our society.

Marina Melanidis

Women, girls, non-binary, two-spirit, and trans folks are always leading the fight for climate justice, despite being on the frontlines of climate impacts globally. Yet, those that hold power to shift our planetary trajectory are often men. I choose to support advancing gender equity because as a young climate activist, I know there is no climate justice without gender justice.

Marisa Espinosa

For almost twenty years, in my field of transportation and infrastructure, I was often the only woman, person of colour, and the youngest person at the table. It was important to me to be a voice for others who were never invited to the table and to act on behalf of future generations impacted by these decisions to advance gender equity.

Mary-Jane Piggott          

I have experienced first hand the challenges faced by women in the engineering profession, especially when it comes to balancing family and career progression. I am passionate in my support of advancing gender equity because I know that retaining women in our profession can have a positive impact on both project and operational teams.

Michelle Duke

I envision a world where all humans are created equal and women are not subordinated, discriminated against, treated unfairly or abused. I choose to support initiatives that will end gender-based violence and commend the YWCA Metro Vancouver who provides a wide range of services and supports for women who have experienced violence and children who have witnessed abuse.

Michelle Sklar

As an entrepreneur and innovation ecosystem champion, I see firsthand the challenges faced by women (identifying) in their pursuit of bringing their business ideas to impact. Their biggest barrier is access to capital and DEI at the executive-level and boardroom. I choose to support access to advancing gender equity because gender equity is foundational to everything that YWCA Vancouver does.

Miranda Lam

Advancing gender equity may be the greatest difference-maker to improving our lives.  With a career in male-dominated fields, I’ve witnessed the improvements – for people of ALL genders, the organizations they belong to, and the communities they live in - when meaningful strides are taken to advance gender equity.  It’s key to unlocking a just and equitable society for all. 

Morgyn Chandler

As a legal advocate for survivors of sexual abuse, I help survivors understand their legal options and make sure they are heard, respected, and have the opportunity to hold perpetrators accountable. But collective action and innovative solutions are necessary for lasting change. This is why I support and believe in YWCA's work towards ending gender-based violence.

Nafoni Modi

Through my lived and observational experience as a woman, I've seen the difference that can be made when we invest in and support women and girls. I support the advancement of gender equity as I believe women and girls deserve to be given the ability to strive to and see their full potential - the glass ceiling must be broken.

Nataizya Mukwavi

As a founder of an organization that focuses on advocating for women, I see firsthand the challenges faced by women as they try to find resources and support when it comes to gender based violence. This is why I choose to support ending gender-based violence because YWCA Vancouver is working to raise awareness.

Natasha Jeshani              

Through Career Contacts, an HR and Recruitment firm, I committed to advancing gender equity through salary transparency, and by building inclusive, flexible job opportunities that remove unnecessary barriers. Through Training Arch, we provide corporate training to ensure leadership and HR are equipped with the tools they need to continue the work internally.

Nerissa Allen

As a community leader with deep roots in both business and culture, I am acutely aware of the barriers and challenges facing women in our communities. Therefore, make a concerted effort to advance gender equity through impactful business programs meant to empower women with the tools they need to support themselves and their families.

Nicole LeMire

As Executive Director of REACH CHC and Board member at Inform’Elles, I choose to end gender-based violence. These organizations promote health and social equity and offer a variety of services to support women of different ethnic backgrounds who are or have been victims of abuse. Violence against women must end. No woman should face abuse in isolation or fear.

Dr. Nina Weisser             

As a research leader and scientist in a clinical-stage biotechnology company, I have witnessed the many challenges faced by women and the lack of diversity in the industry. I choose to support the advancement of gender equity to continue the trajectory of progress, so all voices are represented, and to provide a foundation for diverse role models of the future.

Olivia Reshetylo

As noted by the IEA, the energy industry remains one of the least gender-diverse sectors. Over the last 7 years working in the space, I have seen the lack of representation across the industry, particularly in leadership positions. I support advancing gender equity because we need to see more diverse and underrepresented genders in leadership with the ability to drive a sustainable & equitable energy transition. 

Parm Hari

As the first ethnic C-suite female executive at the port authority, I am an advocate for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. In our male-dominated industry, advancing gender equity is critically important to me. I’m proud that the port authority’s workforce is 52% female and I’m focused on shifting systems and policy to advance gender equity in key leadership positions.

Pasima Sule

As a leader of a gender equity-seeking association comprising of black women entrepreneurs and professionals, I see the systemic barriers these women must overcome to advance economically and professionally. I choose to support advancing gender equity because YWCA Vancouver works passionately, inclusively, and tirelessly to advance a just and equitable world for women from all races and backgrounds.

Pepita Elena McKee

I am fiercely committed to advancing gender equity, especially for Canadian Muslim youth. The YWCA is addressing an urgent need for a collective community response that acknowledges various forms of inequity and intergenerational tension. We can remove barriers to well-being and assist youth-driven programming by empowering them to develop strategies and programming that will promote harmony and prevent harm.

Dr. Poh Tan

You're a scientist, BUT you're a girl?" Representation, belonging, equity, inclusivity, and diversity empowers women and girls to pursue their passion and interests in science. As an Asian scientist, mother, educator, and entrepreneur, I support advancing gender equity to redefine what it means to be a girl in science.  "I am a scientist, AND I am a girl!

Rhianna Millman

As the daughter of a domestic abuse survivor, I have witnessed firsthand the challenges women face as they work to rebuild themselves, their family, and their lives after fleeing domestic abuse. The programs and supports offered by the YWCA are instrumental to help aid in that recovery. For this deeply personal reason, I support ending gender-based violence.              

Sang Le

As a young woman entrepreneur, I grew up witnessing the biases and glass ceiling that women face, especially when they are a person of color or an immigrant. I choose to support the advancement of gender equity because YWCA is tirelessly working to provide support in all aspects that affect a woman's career - housing, child care, mentorship, and employment.

Sara Forte

Lawyer wellness and diversity are necessary for access to justice. Traditional law practice has tended to exclude women, people of colour, and other groups, and has created a crisis of lawyer mental health. Through my grassroots project Not Your Average Law Job™, we are redefining what it means to be a lawyer, to make it more inclusive and health positive.

Sarah Nathanson

I choose to support the delivery of affordable housing for single mother-led families.  Safe, affordable housing sets the foundation for personal and economic security for moms and their children.  Instead of worrying about safe housing these moms have more opportunities to be with their children, teaching, nurturing, guiding and growing.  Safe housing builds thriving communities.

Shannon Susko

With 25 years of experience as a CEO and founder in the tech industry, I have witnessed the negative impact of the underrepresentation of women in STEM careers. I support advance gender equity because YWCA Vancouver engages businesses, communities, and the government to change policies while actively supporting women and girls through mentorship and employment.

Dr. Silke Appel-Cresswell             

As a physician and researcher in brain health, I support early learning and child care as it benefits the child, the mother and whole family as well as society. The YWCA is providing child care services and is dedicated to helping kids have the best possible start in their life journey.

Sonja Baikogli Foley

As Co-Founder of Maturn, I know mothers are disproportionately impacted by maternal bias and the motherhood penalty in our workforce, particularly during the early years of motherhood. I choose to support advance gender equity because I believe we need comprehensive, targeted and equitable solutions for mothers to reach gender equality. 

Stephanie Beck

As a champion for healthcare in our region, I see the direct benefit of providing funding to diverse, local organizations who support women and girls.  I choose to support advance gender equity because YWCA Vancouver supports women and girls with a range of integrated services like housing, childcare, mentorship and employment which have a direct impact on their health.

Stephanie Hollingshead

I support YWCA’s work to advance gender equity because I believe it leads to healthier and more prosperous communities for all who live in them. As a woman working hard to increase gender equality in our tech sector, I know just how glacial our progress has been. Only bold action will get us there.

Tamara Goddard

Our future is demanding that all people, young or old, bring their highest potential to the table. The development of new business models for affordable housing is paramount to providing safe spaces so people can reclaim their mental and physical wellness. It's time we reimagine our future with affordable housing for single mother-led families.

Tara Brown

As an activist for safe, inclusive and equitable communities, I see how gender-based violence disproportionately impacts Indigenous women and girls, LGBTQ2S+ people and women living with disabilities. It also has long-term, intergenerational effects. I choose to support ending gender-based violence because YWCA provides critical services and supports for women who have experienced violence and for children who have witnessed abuse.

Terri Rutty

Gender equity is a basic human right. As an antiracism coach and consultant, I work with leaders in community to build equitable, safe and healthy workplaces, homes, and communities for women of colour. By providing tools to actively dismantle systems of oppression and creating brave and accountable spaces we can advance gender equity and build a just society where women can thrive.

Tessa Danelesko

Community connection is all about creating space - how can we turn up the volume for voices that deserve and want to be more heard? This is what drives me to elevate Indigenous storytellers, and help them tell their own stories. These stories are foundational for our culture, the environment, access to justice and shaping a more equitable future for all.

Tsekonamus, Rosemary Stager

As an Indigenous woman working in health care, I’ve seen the impact gender-based violence has on individuals, families, and communities. It affects all aspects of our health: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. That’s why I support YWCA’s work to end gender-based violence, its advocacy, and strategy of engaging decision-makers to change policy and practices to strengthen legislation around this issue.   

V. Victoria Shroff

Access to justice is a fundamental right and is the very foundation of an equitable and 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 educator and animal law lawyer increasing access to justice for all.  Please join me.

Wendy Hurlburt

Advancing gender equity in the life sciences sector is a key priority, whether it be in research, the health system, or life sciences companies. A diverse and inclusive workforce leads to new ideas, perspectives, and approaches that drive scientific discoveries, innovative products, and solutions benefitting us all. Strong leadership across the sector is essential to making real and meaningful progress.

Yvonne Chartrand          

As an Indigenous woman, I believe our actions today will affect the well being of seven generations ahead of us and that it takes a community to raise a child. I choose to support early learning and child care because YWCA Vancouver is helping raise awareness about the challenges women face with childcare, allowing children to lead healthier and happier lives.

Zoë Craig-Sparrow

As an Indigenous young woman working in human rights, I am deeply concerned about the ongoing genocide of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. I am passionate about ending gender-based violence because, like YWCA Vancouver, I believe that everyone has the right to live free from violence and abuse.