About the 2010 Women of Distinction Recipients
Arts, Culture & Design
Ardell Brophy - Founder and Producer, Laff Riot Girls Comedy
Ardell is a unique and distinct force within the Canadian comedy scene. In 1997, discouraged by the lack of inclusiveness for women in comedy, she started her own troupe called the Laff Riot Girls which has established itself as Canada’s longest-running female comedy group. Ardell has generated a wealth of opportunities for women to grow their craft and her commitment to the community is legendary. Giving back is second nature to Ardell and over the years she has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for many worthwhile charities. In 2001 Ardell was honoured by the Government of Canada for her outstanding volunteer contributions and the City of Burnaby awarded her the Local Hero Award in 2006 for her exceptional gifts to the community.
Business & the Professions
Barbara Hislop - Executive Director, Variety – The Children’s Charity
Barbara, an award-winning senior executive and community leader, has led a life of excellence. At Canfor, Barbara became the first female officer and the first female Vice President of Operations leading thousands of employees and managing revenues of 2 billion dollars annually. Barbara now directs her talents to the role of Executive Director of Variety – The Children’s Charity benefiting children who have special needs in BC. Barbara’s strong business background has led to the development of a new strategic direction, enabling Variety to increase revenue and therefore annual grants disbursed, from 800 to over 1,300 in the last two years. Barbara has chaired numerous committees and boards, volunteered actively in her community and mentored countless young women in business.
Donna Stewart - Founding Board Member, A Place to Call Home Housing Society
Donna’s work over five decades has made great strides to support women’s quest for equality. Donna has dedicated herself to supporting women through the eradication of violence, the promotion of non-traditional employment, the awareness of elder abuse and the creation of affordable housing. As an impassioned advocate for affordable housing, Donna developed A Place to Call Home Housing Society which acquires affordable housing units on the North Shore. These properties are then rented to low income, working families at affordable rates. Donna is a long-serving volunteer and dedicated community activist who is highly respected by her community.
Education, Training & Development
Iona Whishaw - Principal, David Thompson Secondary
An accomplished and long-serving educator, Iona is the Principal of David Thompson Secondary and a champion for all learners and sees potential barriers as opportunities. While Principal of Sir Charles Tupper Secondary, she was the catalyst for positive transformation, creating a safe and supportive school climate and a lasting legacy of accessible community learning and genuine student leadership. She embraced new and alternative approaches that would allow all learners to not only succeed, but to flourish. In 2008, Iona was featured in Principal Leadership as one of six principals in North America who exemplify ethical leadership.
Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Linda Coady - VP Sustainability, VANOC for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
An agent of social change, Linda has led strategic corporate social responsibility initiatives for business, government and non-governmental organizations for 25 years. Following a remarkable career in the forest industry where she played a critical role in developing collaborative practices, Linda most recently undertook the challenging role of VP Sustainability for VANOC. At VANOC, she empowered her team to embed sustainability into the organization, initiated social enterprise partnerships with local businesses and convened Games that showcased BC and Canadian leadership in clean, green technology. These Games have already been recognized by the International Olympic Committee as one of the most environmentally innovative in Olympic history.
Health & Active Living
Dr. Janice Eng - Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, UBC
As a professor, clinical scientist and international researcher, Janice has made significant advances in the treatment of individuals with stroke and spinal cord injuries. She has successfully translated her research into substantial health benefits for patients, such as the Fitness and Mobility Exercise Program, used to help thousands of patients in more than 75 locations. Constantly building bridges between the research, academic and clinical worlds, Janice is a devoted mentor and active volunteer in her field. She was a driving force behind the development of the UBC Physical Therapy doctoral program which now trains the next generation of rehabilitation scientists.
Non-Profit & Public Service
Shirley Chan - CEO, Building Opportunities with Business Inner City Society
For 40 years Shirley has shaped policies and demonstrated outstanding leadership in community-based advocacy, national housing, health and sustainability programs and inclusive social and economic development. She organized her community to save the historic Strathcona and Chinatown neighbourhoods from demolition and freeway development. Shirley was the first woman Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Vancouver, supported the first woman President of UBC as Chair of the Board of Governors and received the Public Service Commission Award for her commitment to mentoring upcoming professionals. Shirley is now a leader in healthy and inclusive inner-city economic development as CEO of Building Opportunities with Business.
Technology, Science & Industry
Karimah Es Sabar - President, LifeSciences BC; Senior VP, Business and Strategic Affairs, The Centre for Drug Research and Development
Karimah’s leadership has raised the profile of BC’s life sciences industry and world-class research community - resulting in additional investment and partnering opportunities. With her extensive global expertise, Karimah has successfully brokered opportunities for effective collaborations between academics, government and the private sector. Through her efforts, Lifesciences BC was chosen in 2007 as one of the top 10 life sciences clusters in the world. Through the training program at the Centre for Drug Research and Development and as an advisory board member for both the BCIT and UBC biotechnology programs, Karimah has a direct impact on future life sciences leaders.
Young Woman of Distinction
Saara Bhanji - Board Member and Researcher, Justice for Girls International
With a passion for social justice and creative arts, Saara is a gifted leader who has already made a tangible difference in the world. During university, she proved herself not only a gifted academic, earning a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, but a dedicated volunteer and mentor. At age 21, Saara founded the Association of Women’s Action, Research and Empowerment (AWARE), a feminist organization that provides young women with opportunities for self-development, leadership and activism. Through AWARE, Saara strives to be a vocal champion for equality. Saara has also been recognized as a compelling role model for young Ismaili-Muslim women.
Connecting the Community
Amanda Tapping - Actress; Executive Producer, Sanctuary 3 Productions
Through her passionate and very real portrayal of strong female characters, Amanda has inspired countless women both in and out of the television industry. She mentors women both informally and formally through WIFT-V’s Flash Forward. She was recently awarded Women in Film’s “Woman of Vision” Award. Amanda spent a record-breaking and award-winning 12 years starring as Samantha Carter in Stargate: SG1 and the popular spinoff Stargate: Atlantis. Following on the heels of that success, Amanda took on the role of lead actor and Executive Producer in the television series Sanctuary. This creative visionary was recently inspired to launch her own charitable foundation, Sanctuary for Kids that supports local and international charities providing vital aid to children and youth in crisis.
Nurse Next Door Home Healthcare Services
Nurse Next Door offers a full spectrum of care for seniors, and the company has been recognized as one of BC’s top 10 employers for the past three years in a row. In 2009 Nurse Next Door was rated the number one employer in the province by BC Business magazine. The company’s focus on work-life balance, volunteerism, philanthropy and leadership development has made Nurse Next Door a model for similar organizations. Workplace features include emergency on-site child care arrangements, tailored "mommy shifts" of 9:00am to 2:00pm to promote balance in the family, leadership development training, structured mentorship programs and a new Dreams Program, which is aimed at helping employees fulfill their personal goals.