YWCA Women of Distinction Awards 2017 Nominees

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Today, on International Women’s Day, YWCA Metro Vancouver has announced 85 outstanding nominees for the 34th Annual Women of Distinction Awards.

YWCA Women of Distinction Awards

YWCA Women of Distinction Awards 2017 Nominees

This year’s nominees for the Women of Distinction Awards are:

Arts, Culture & Design

  • Caroline Adderson – Author and Activist
  • Kathleen Bartels – Director, Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Katharine Carol – Artistic and Executive Director, Vancouver International Children’s Festival
  • Yolande Martinello – Director, Artists for Kids
  • Alexandra Montgomery – Director and CEO, Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
  • Joan Richoz – Honorary Chair, Arts Whistler
  • Gail Suderman – Founding Artistic Director, Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir and Director, Voice and Choral Music, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Business & the Professions

  • Laura Best – Director and Principal Lawyer, Embarkation Law Corporation
  • Elisabeth Finch – Partner and BC Region Diversity and Inclusion Leader, PwC
  • Kay Gray – Partner, Grant Thornton Consulting
  • Mary Hamilton – Associate Counsel, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP
  • Tamara Napoleon – Associate Counsel, Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP
  • Anne Stewart – Partner Emeritus, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
  • Tracy Theemes – Co-Founder, Sophia Financial Group
  • Cathy Thorpe – President and CEO, Nurse Next Door
  • Katie White – Executive Director, Communications, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
  • Maili Wong – First VP and Portfolio Manager, The Wong Group, CIBC Wood Gundy

Community Champion

  • Catherine Atyeo – President, CLICK
  • Karen Joseph – CEO, Reconciliation Canada – A New Way Forward Society
  • Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia – Co-Founder, Pacific Autism Network
  • Andrea Paquette – Executive Director, Stigma-Free Society
  • Cheryl Young – Founder and Executive Director, Fibromyalgia Well Spring Foundation

Education, Training & Development

  • Mary Lynn Baum – Immediate Past Chair, Vancouver Public Library Board
  • Lindagene Coyle – District Governor Elect, District 5050, Rotary International
  • Jan Hare – Associate Dean of Indigenous Education, Faculty of Education, UBC
  • Karin Lee – Filmmaker and Educator
  • Sarah Lubik – Director of Entrepreneurship, SFU
  • Deborah MacNamara – Faculty, Neufeld Institute and Founder, Kid’s Best Bet
  • Nancy Olewiler – Professor, School of Public Policy, SFU
  • Gwyneth Olwyn – Founder, The Eating Disorder Institute
  • Michelle Pidgeon – Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, SFU
  • Kate Ross – Associate VP, Enrolment Services and Registrar, UBC

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

  • Natalie Cartwright – Co-Founder and CEO, Finn.ai
  • Catherine Dahl – CEO, Beanworks
  • Mandy Gill – Founder, MGM Fitness and Fit Foods
  • Kim Hall – Owner and Founder, Physio2U
  • Laura Hansen – President, Image Group Inc.
  • Meredith Powell – Co-Founder, The Next Big Thing

Environmental Sustainability

  • Carol McDonald – Executive Assistant and Board Liaison, Ecojustice Canada Society
  • Jennie Moore – Associate Dean, School of Construction and the Environment, BCIT
  • Jean Pogge – President and CEO, Ecotrust Canada
  • Jessica Woolliams – Sustainability and Outreach Lead, Government of BC

Health & Wellness

  • Louise Green – Personal Trainer, Body Exchange
  • Pippa Hawley – Palliative Medicine Specialist, BC Cancer Agency and Division Head of Palliative Care, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
  • Marla Kiess – Director, Pacific Adult Congenital Heart Clinic and Clinical Professor of Medicine, Department of Cardiology, UBC
  • Christine Loock – Developmental Pediatrician, BC Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of BC and Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UBC
  • Dina Panagiotopoulos – Pediatric Endocrinologist, BC Children’s Hospital and Clinical Professor, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
  • Hazel Park – Medical Director, Vancouver Coastal Health Regional Trauma Program
  • Bal Pawa – Co-Founder, Westcoast Women’s Clinic
  • Linda Shaw – Program Director, Charlford House Society for Women
  • Cynthia Verchere – Head, Division of Plastic Surgery; Director of Burn Unit, BC Children’s Hospital and Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
  • Elena Vikis – Colorectal Surgeon, Royal Columbian and Eagle Ridge Hospitals and Clinical Instructor, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
  • Shirley Weir – Founder, MenopauseChicks.com


  • Stacy Ashton – Provincial Program Coordinator, Volunteer Resources, Alzheimer Society of BC
  • France-Emmanuelle Joly – Executive Director, Vancouver Women’s Health Collective
  • Janet Landucci – Board Member, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
  • Jennifer Pearson Terell – Board Member, BC TEAL and Chair, BC TEAL Charitable Foundation
  • Emily Thorner – Director, Finance and Operations, Vancouver Foundation
  • Miranda Vecchio – Executive Director, Charlford House Society for Women
  • Patricia Woroch – CEO, Immigrant Services Society of BC

Public Service

  • Mary Ackenhusen – CEO, Vancouver Coastal Health
  • Lisa Castle – VP, Human Resources, UBC
  • Kathy Denton – President, Douglas College
  • Kerry Lawson – Integrated Service Manager, Upper Fraser, Community Living BC
  • Catherine Roome – President and CEO, BC Safety Authority
  • Ellen Woodsworth – Founder and Chair, Women Transforming Cities and past Vancouver City Councillor

Research & the Sciences

  • Lara Boyd – Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
  • Kanna Hayashi – Research Scientist, BC Centre of Excellence in HIV/AIDS
  • Judy Illes – Professor of Neurology and Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
  • Danuta Skowronski – Epidemiology Lead, BC Centre for Disease Control and Clinical Professor, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
  • Terry Thomas – Chief Scientific Officer, STEMCELL Technologies Inc.
  • Clara van Karnebeek – Principal Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute

Young Woman of Distinction

  • Cecilia Bao – Founder, TedxYouth@Granville
  • Winona Bhatti – President, Enactus SFU
  • Golsa Golestaneh – Social Justice Activist
  • Alyssa Leung – Student, Peter A. Allard School of Law, UBC
  • Lindsay Richter – Co-Founder, YNOTFORTOTS Society
  • Emma Ronsley – Student, Peter A. Allard School of Law, UBC
  • Minnie Teng – Founder, Aquafit for All Association and UBC Occupational Therapy Student
  • Nicole Ticea – Founder and HIV Researcher, OneWorld Diagnostics
  • Vivian Tsang – Founder, HOPE

Outstanding Workplace

  • Clearly
  • DLA Piper (Canada) LLP
  • Eventbase Technology Inc.
  • Project House

Be sure to pick up your copy of the Vancouver Sun and Business in Vancouver to see our full page announcements of the nominees.

Announcing the Nominees Celebration

Tonight, YWCA Metro Vancouver will host a private reception at Mercedes-Benz Vancouver to formally announce all the nominees in honour of International Women’s Day.

YWCA Women of Distinction Awards

Where: Vancouver Convention Centre West
When: Monday, May 29, 2017 from 5:00pm to 9:30pm
Tickets are available at the early-bird rate until Sunday, April 9th. Regular prices will go into effect on Monday, April 10th. Until April 9th: $235 per person ($2,350 for a table of 10); As of April 10th: $285 per person ($2,850 for a table of 10).

Follow the YWCA of Vancouver on Facebook and Twitter for more information along with the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards @YWVanWODA on Twitter.


YWCA Metro Vancouver is dedicated to achieving women’s equality. Their mission is to touch lives and build better futures for women and their families through advocacy and integrated services that foster economic independence, wellness and equal opportunities.

Miss604 is the proud Social Media Sponsor of the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards, since 2010

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