K-W Oktoberfest Rogers Women of the Year took time last night to recognize and pay tribute to some outstanding women in the community.
At an awards ceremony at LOT 42 Global Flex Campus, with the assistance of our Master of Ceremonies, Jennifer Campbell from Country 106.7 and guest speaker Tara Slone from Rogers Hometown Hockey, Sportsnet, the following women were recognized for their outstanding contributions to this community:
Arts & Culture (sponsored by Piller’s Fine Foods) recognizes women for enriching the culture of our community through creation or promotion of the arts on a volunteer or professional basis.
Hilary Gauld-Camilleri is a professional photographer who has committed her decade-long career to working with and supporting local families, businesses, and organizations. Through her volunteer photo projects featuring children and adults with Down Syndrome, as well as her recent series highlighting the challenges faced by transgender youth, Hilary uses her connections, talent, and skills to encourage advocacy and awareness for marginalized members of this community.
Community Service (sponsored by Rogers TV) recognizes women for generously volunteering their time to programs and services that make our community a better place.
Nancy Koebel is a driven business-woman, philanthropist, motivator, leader, wife, mother, and friend with a big heart whose leadership skills have positively affected the lives of people in our region for decades. Through her successful financial services career, she specializes in providing financial security planning advice to business owners, entrepreneurs, families, and individuals. In addition to her professional success, Nancy is an avid community volunteer, which includes 28 years volunteering with Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.
Entrepreneur (sponsored by RE/MAX Solid Gold Realty Ltd. Ken Cameron) recognizes women for initiating and/or administering an enterprise or business.
Diane founded, built, and leads SportFitz, a Waterloo-based startup wearable technology company, with global expansion into 50 countries, in 3 languages, across 10 industries. SportFitz addresses the #1 undiagnosed health challenge in the world: concussion. More than 90% of people who are concussed do not know it. SportFitz measures brain impacts and biometrics and notifies the user if they require medical attention.
Group Achievement (sponsored by Guelph Infiniti) recognizes achievements by a group of women that impact and/or improve our community or society.
Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo
The Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo is a service club of professional women working together to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy. For 40 years, they have given back to the community in grants totaling more than $1.5 million to improve the quality of life for women. They also support international service programs through Zonta International and the United Nations. Zonta envisions a world where women’s rights are human rights, every woman is able to achieve her full potential, and no woman lives in fear of violence.
Health & Wellness (sponsored by Greater KW Chamber of Commerce) recognizes women for promoting and helping others achieve and promote mental, physical or spiritual well-being in her career or community involvement.
After a life-changing event in 2014, when Tara witnessed a young man die by suicide, she decided to use her voice, education, and passion for community to raise awareness of the impact of stigma surrounding mental health. From 2014 to today, Tara has passionately shared her own story of struggling daily with mental illness, which silenced her for so long, in hopes that we can build a healthy community where no one else lives in silence, shame, or takes their life because of mental illness.
Lifetime Achievement (sponsored by S.G. Cunningham) recognizes women for being a role model, mentor and/or advocate for positive and social change throughout her lifetime.
A local business and civic leader with national and international reach, Brenda Halloran is a strong advocate for seniors, women, children, the homeless, victims of human trafficking, and new Canadians. She believes in coaching and mentoring others and helping them achieve their highest potential. With more than a dozen honours and awards, Brenda is known for her community and advocacy work. As a strong supporter of innovation, she continues to build successful opportunities internationally.
Professional (sponsored by Rogers radio Group CHYM 96.7/Country 106.7/570 News) recognizes women for dedicating themselves to the pursuit of excellence in their chosen career.
Margaret is long retired but not retiring! Her career as an occupational therapist, administrator, and educator provides a great platform to advocate for Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre (SRHC). After studying Occupational Therapy in Edinburgh, Scotland, Margaret began her career as a Sole Charge Occupational Therapist. She then moved to Canada and continued in the field, working tirelessly to deinstitutionalize health care and advocate for better accessibility to resources. Throughout her long career, Margaret has held the philosophy of occupational therapy close to her heart.
Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math – STEAM (sponsored by S.G Cunningham) recognizes women for outstanding advancement to the field of STEAM
Carol Leaman has become a Canadian icon for female technology entrepreneurs. She has built a solid reputation as the most successful female technology entrepreneur in Waterloo Region through 20 years of building successful tech-based ventures from the ground up and supporting the region’s thriving technology start-up sector as a mentor, thought leader, investor, and community representative on the world stage.
Sports & Recreation (sponsored by Movati Athletic) recognizes women for actively participating, coaching or volunteering in sports or recreation.
Alyssa is a motivated, hardworking, dedicated young woman, whose skills have allowed her to follow her dream of playing professional soccer internationally. Her many successes on and off the field have shaped the confident and caring woman she has become. In May 2018, she made the difficult decision to end her soccer career to pursue a Masters of Sports Management through FIFA. Her goal is to serve the next generation of women footballers by enhancing opportunities for women.
Young Adult (14 to 23) (sponsored by the Kitchener Fire Department) recognizes young women for leading by example and being a role model to her peers.
Chloe is a pre-med student at the University of Waterloo dedicated to serving her community. With a passion for healthcare, her goal is to advocate for vulnerable populations. She volunteers at Sanctuary Refugee Health Center and University Gates Long Term Care Home. She started ASCEND – a not-for-profit camp geared towards kids learning English – in 2017 and runs ESL programs to empower young Canadian newcomers. Inspired by Dr. Patch Adams, she conducts Humanitarian Clowning workshops to encourage mental wellness, building communities and social change.
Residents of the Region were encouraged to nominate their choice for Women of the Year and were invited to enjoy this evening with these distinguished women.