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Meet the 2024 Women of Distinction Award Nominees

Below are the 2024 Women of Distinction Award nominees who have been nominated by their peers and communities. Please join us in congratulating all of the nominees!

On June 12, 2024, at Whistle Bear Golf Club, we will recognize six recipients of Woman of Distinction awards as decided by an external selection committee. 

Buy your tickets now!

Allana Boussey

Allana is a registered social worker with a Bachelors in Social Work from the University of Calgary and a Masters in Social Work from The University of Waterloo. She recently completed her degree in Mediation from York University.

Alongside being a dedicated social worker, Allana is a mother to two brilliant, funny, creative neurodivergent children.

Allana’s love for her community has always transferred into her career as a social worker. She currently provides psychotherapy to children and their families with the wonderful support of her employer Camino Wellbeing + Mental Health. She has also worked with other prominent local social service agencies like Lutherwood and Front Door. 

Headshot of Allana Boussey

Over the past year, Allana has led or supported initiatives to develop more services for underfunded, underserved communities. While she has always been a vocal advocate for the neurodivergent community, partnering with politicians like Catherine Fife and joining other parents on the lawn of Queen’s Park, she has accelerated her advocacy by participating in a local project – the first of its kind –  to train over 75 therapists to provide psychotherapy to autistic populations here in Waterloo Region. 

Allana has also developed and piloted a novel project to support families impacted by gender-based violence, family conflict and separation/divorce. With the support of her workplace, she has implemented a system to support families who are otherwise turned away by private therapists and smaller agencies due to the risks associated with providing children’s therapy in the midst of parental conflict. She has been able to successfully support families through their conflict to ensure their children receive care and treatment for the difficulties they have experienced.

Angela Vandommele

Angela Vandommele is a stalwart advocate for the well-being of frontline professionals, shaping narratives of resilience through her roles as a documentary filmmaker, trauma therapist, and community leader. Since August 2020, Angela has directed her creative talents towards producing the “Healing Trauma Documentary,” a poignant exploration of the experiences of first responders and healthcare workers across Ontario.

Beyond the lens, Angela continues having an impact in her role as the Director and Founder of Ways to Wellbeing, where she provides tailored therapy to individuals grappling with trauma.

Her therapeutic approach, grounded in evidence-based modalities like DBT, CBT, and EMDR, reflects her unwavering commitment to personalized care. Angela’s advocacy extends to government circles, where she tirelessly champions initiatives to increase access to psychotherapy and dismantle systemic barriers to care. Through her unwavering dedication to storytelling, therapy, and advocacy, Angela embodies the transformative power of compassion and resilience, ensuring that the voices of those on the front lines are heard and their traumas addressed.

Cheryl MacInnes

Cheryl was a dedicated healthcare professional for over 40 years at Cambridge Memorial Hospital and has continued that dedication in service to her community and others. She is the President of CFUW Cambridge, a Volunteer and Management Committee member at Trinity Community Table, a Member and Past President of Probus, the Past President and member of the Executive Committee for a local political party and tireless in her donation of time to fundraise for Cambridge Memorial Hospital.

Headshot of Cheryl MacInnes

Ellyn Winters-Robinson

Ellyn Winters-Robinson is a recent breast cancer survivor, speaker, women’s health advocate, author of the bestselling book, Flat Please Hold the Shame, and co-creator of AskEllyn.ai the world’s first digital AI companion for those on the breast cancer journey. She is also the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Ignition Communications, a boutique marketing communications firm, and a longtime mentor at The Accelerator Centre. Ellyn’s story and AskEllyn.ai has been featured in People Magazine, Globe and Mail, CTV, and Fast Company

Lee Ann Hundt

Lee Ann Hundt is genuine, compassionate and humble. She is an extraordinary leader who has worked endlessly her entire life to help improve the lives of Indigenous community members throughout the Region of Waterloo. She believes that for individuals to achieve well-being, there must be balance in the medicine wheel, spiritual, mental, physical and most importantly, a place to call home, a community of support and a sense of belonging.

Headshot of Lee Ann Hundt

Lee Ann is a very proud Anishinaabe from Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation. Mother of four and Nokomis of four. She is from Great Blue Heron Clan, 60s Scoop survivor, and a generational residential school survivor. The legacy that Lee Ann carries with her as a result of her experiences is one of personal empowerment, reclamation of culture, strength and perseverance. She is an inspiration to a generation of survivors and their families here in Waterloo Region. 

Lee Ann is the Executive Director of KW Urban Native Wigwam, a non-profit transition housing organization that offers housing and supports and is soon to be opening a 30-unit building in Cambridge, all under her leadership. She is also the President of Healing of the 7 Generations and has been building partnerships and community in Cambridge for many years. 

 There are some very valued members of our community who work on such huge, life changing projects for our community. Lee Ann Hundt is without a doubt one of them.

Marswa Blossom Yarmeto

Marswa Blossom Yarmeto has prevailed over war, racism, and various challenges in life. Born in Liberia during the infamous Civil War, Marswa now lives in Canada and is a best-selling African-Canadian author. Blossom,  as she is affectionately called, survived the brutal civil war. She is a mother of two beautiful young girls. She has also been blogging over the years and is skilled in creative writing. She has an unmatched passion and gift for supporting the growth of younger minds, using her Social Service Work diploma from Centennial College and her degree in Sociology from York University. 

Jill Summerhayes

Jill Summerhayes is a pillar of the Cambridge arts community, with a remarkable 30-year legacy of dedication and creativity. She is a founding member of the Waterloo Arts Foundation and the Mayors’ Celebration of the Arts, showcasing her commitment to fostering artistic endeavours. Jill’s involvement in the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra is profound, having been a founding member and chair of the Board of Directors. Her influence extends to the Cambridge Centre for the Arts, where she was instrumental in its completion. 

Throughout her life, Jill Summerhayes has been hit with some staggering surprises, but she has always found a way to conquer adversity. Chronic arthritis forced her to forfeit her hard-earned career and depend on a cane to walk. Undeterred, she created a fashion cane business and attained international recognition as “The Cane Lady” through plentiful media coverage, regular TV series, radio interviews, magazines, and newspapers. She became a sought-after guest speaker educating people about canes and their interesting history. For this, she was awarded a YWCA Woman of Distinction award in business in the first year of their awards.

In 1990 after being approached by a publisher to tell her story, her small paperback Supporting Myself in Style, Confessions of the Cane Lady was published. She travelled across Canada for book signings and became an award-winning author for her short stories and a community activist for the arts.

Jill founded the Cambridge Writers Collective to encourage aspiring local writers. An annual competition was held regionally publishing short stories and poems. Ten volumes of Writers’ Undercover were introduced to the community allowing many writers to be published for the first time. 

For 20 years Jill wrote a weekly column entitled Piece of Mind for the local newspapers which was widely read and enjoyed. This column recently made its return and can be read online at Cambridge Today. 

Jill, on her own initiative, and with no funds, office or official support, established The Centre for the Arts, taking it from a concept to establishing a committee to raise funds, to a fully realized project within three years. It was hundreds of hours of unpaid, volunteer work, fueled by her passion and determination. Never before had a group with no official status raised so much money. The Summerhayes Studio and workshop space at the Centre is named after her. The first prize for juried artwork has been renamed the Jill Summerhayes Award in her honour.

With Jill’s encouragement, the Cambridge Community Orchestra was founded by three musicians in 2004, and in 2006, she became the chair of the Board of Directors of the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, a position she held for three years, after which she was promoted to the role of ambassador. Here she helped secure funding, hired a professional music director, and saw it grow to the well respected Cambridge Symphony Orchestra of today. 

In retirement, Jill has gained new recognition as a watercolour artist and member of Studio 30. In 2020, she secured a grant and worked with Rick Murphy of D3 Arts to print a calendar of artists’ bios and their work to be distributed in the community.

She has been recognized by a Bernice Adams award for communications and a Special Trustees award, in addition to receiving Canada’s 125 medal, and the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals for outstanding community contributions. In 2006 she was inducted into the Cambridge Hall of Fame. In 2012 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award from the Region of Waterloo Arts Foundation.

Jill continues to promote the arts in her beloved community of Cambridge. She has been and continues to be a sought-after guest speaker on a variety of topics.

Kellea Corriveau

Kellea Corriveau has been a ray of sunshine in the lives of so many, not just locally, but across the globe. Kellea: friend, co-worker, volunteer, mission trip buddy.

She’s spent time In Cambodia, painting, doing health checks, supporting garment workers and in Tanzania where she helped at a local school with a ready smile, wonderful laugh and a genuine caring heart despite language barriers.

Within the Cambridge community, she continues to honour her mom by volunteering with the Bernice Adams Awards for over 20 years in numerous capacities. Through her work at Forward Serving at the Cambridge Neighbourhood Table, as a greeter, she is always ready to give a mom a break and have her supper in peace while Kellea looks out for the little ones.

Hedashot of Kellea Corriveau

As she facilitated a Celebrate Recovery Program over a three-year period, Kellea was such a champion of those to whom she offered a safe, confidential, judgment-free space, where those attending would find healing and support.

Kellea is a woman dedicated to a number of causes she believes in. She is someone who, beyond her work, supports and stands by those whose paths cross hers. She is loyal to those who need her and to the causes she gets involved with, whether supporting and understanding someone through the grieving process, providing meals, helping tidy a house, supporting families with food, and furniture, or something as simple as dropping off a bag of cat food!

Kellea is inclusive and hardworking and her love of people is a part of everything she does.

Kim Fowler

Kim’s career and volunteer work have always involved children, youth, and the community.

Her career has spanned almost four decades.  She has held a variety of positions from a national therapeutic treatment centre for youth – The Robert Thompson Youth And Family Centre, as well as working for the Peel Catholic District School Board as a trainer for staff engaging with children on the autism spectrum, and as a Direct Care Worker with Family and Children’s Services at their largest assessment and receiving home. For the last 20 years, she has held the role of Executive Director of the Fiddlesticks Community Centre.  

Headshot of Kim Fowler

After years of working with children and youth who were experiencing trials in their lives, Kim decided she wanted to move upstream in her career and work in prevention.  Her work with Fiddlesticks focuses on community development, early years, and youth leadership development.

As a volunteer, Kim is a uniformed Scouter who has spent countless hours in program, outdoors at Scout Camps and working with parent committees.  She has volunteered since 1993 with both Scouts Canada and the Baden Powell Service Association.  She has held various positions as a Leader, Group Commissioner and Area Commissioner organizing Area and Provincial Events.  She is also a volunteer community representative on two local parent elementary school councils in her neighbourhood and the Vice President of the Cambridge Gaming Association for the past nine years.

Additionally, Kim has held a volunteer position with the Cambridge and North Dumfries Community Foundation (now Waterloo Region Community Foundation) Kids to Camp grant review committee since 2009, taking only one year off due to health issues. 

Most recently, Kim was asked to and accepted a volunteer position with Cambridge Memorial Hospital as a Patient Advisor on the Oncology Medical Daycare and Emergency Department Quality and Operations Committee. 

Kim has received two awards for her work in the community – In 2018, she travelled to Ottawa to receive the Senate of Canada 150+ Commemorative Medal which is awarded “to unsung heroes, which are Canadians or permanent residents who have actively committed their time with generosity, dedication, volunteerism and hard work to make their hometowns, communities, regions or province a better place to live.”

This year Kim was awarded the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing more than 15 years of significant contributions she has made to the community.

Marjorie Knight

Marjorie has a lot of lived experience when it comes to the challenges and consequences of poverty. She has struggled as a member of the working poor, experiencing precarious work while raising a family. She is passionate about advocating for those who struggle due to inadequate income and services. In 2018, Marjorie took her first step into politics and remains active in the Riding of Cambridge for the NDP. She continues to be engaged in her community, a founding member of Rhythm and Blues Cambridge, working with community partners to create opportunities for our Black, Indigenous and racialized communities. She may be found working as Community Faculty with the Lyle Hallman School of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University where she engages with the upcoming social workers in our community. Marjorie currently serves on the boards of The Cambridge Shelter Corp, and the Aids Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area (ACCKWA). She is presently employed as a Family Outreach Worker with the House of Friendship in Cambridge.

Ruth Cameron

Ruth Cameron is the Executive Director of the Aids Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area, she is a trailblazer, and a community champion and leads through a commitment to justice, anti-oppressive practices, and the importance of lived expertise in social services. Through her leadership, both the agency she leads and the community at large have been positively impacted. Ruth’s commitment to the community that she serves has been instrumental in ensuring that public policy, and social service program implementation are created through recognizing lived expertise.

Stephanie Soulis

Stephanie Soulis is the founder & CEO of Little Mushroom Catering & Dining Lounge in Cambridge. Stephanie and her company have won numerous Business Excellence Awards, including the Young Entrepreneur Award, Sustainability Award, Service Excellence in Hospitality, and two 2019 Small Business (11-50 employees) of the Year Awards. In 2015, she was inducted into the Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame as the first Junior Achievement Alumni of Distinction. 

Stephanie has been the Chair of the Hospitality Program Advisory Committee at Conestoga College for the past six years. She has served on the Libro Credit Union Board, the ExploreWaterloo Board, and the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce Board. She chaired the Kitchener Public Library Board for 3 years, serving a total of 9 years. Stephanie is an advisor for the Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable and Tourism SkillsNet Ontario. 

Stephanie spends a lot of her volunteer time speaking to grade 7-12 students about entrepreneurship through both Junior Achievement and the Business Education Partnership. She is a Mentor with the Futurpreneur program, as well as with TIAO (Tourism Industry Association of Ontario).  She is a certified living wage employer who is passionate about being a values-based business owner. She is often called on as an industry expert and disruptor in the hospitality sector and is a sought after public speaker.

Stephanie is a huge advocate for Waterloo Region and runs Food Tours around the region through Stroll Walking Tours. Steph is an oenophile, a world traveler, mom of three teens, trivia buff, and a karaoke enthusiast. 

Join us at the 3oth Anniversary Women of Distinction Awards on June 12, 2024, at Whistle Bear Golf Club!

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