Manitoba women honoured

YMCA-YWCA presents ten with awards


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They are women. Hear them roar, coach, mentor and champion causes that have made Manitoba a better place.

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This article was published 29/04/2010 (4658 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

They are women. Hear them roar, coach, mentor and champion causes that have made Manitoba a better place.

Ten Manitobans were honoured at a ceremony Wednesday night at the 34th annual YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Awards at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

They come from all walks of life and backgrounds but share a common talent for improving their community.

PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Some of the 45 women nominated for the 34th annual Women of Distinction Awards Wednesday, presented at the Winnipeg Convention Centre by the YMCA­YWCA.

The awards are a celebration of talent, achievement, imagination and innovation, honouring Manitoba women who have made a "unique and exemplary contribution to the development of others in our community," according to the organization.

The annual presentation of these awards reflects the Y’s commitment to increase public recognition of these women who have earned our admiration and respect.


Arts and Culture

Marie Bouchard

The freelance art curator, art historian, futurist and champion of women’s equality has helped marginalized women artists from the Inuit, aboriginal, ethnocultural, francophone and disability communities for more than 25 years.

The Winnipeg Foundation community grants co-ordinator "listens to and raises the voices of those who are unheard," the awards committee said. Bouchard supports projects that bridge the gap between cultures through art. She dedicates her time and expertise to many women artists and arts and cultural groups.


Business and the Professions

Janet Ingersoll

The agency director at Macdonald Youth Services paved the way for women who want to work in the social services sector with at-risk youth by advocating and ensuring they have equal rights and opportunities in an area that used to be male-dominated. She developed new, innovative treatment facilities for youth, notably one for adolescent male sexual offenders — only the second in Canada outside of a locked justice facility. She founded the all-women’s treatment facility in St. Pierre in 1997. Ingersoll achieved new government funding models, so that youths moving into independent living get the support they need.


Community Voluntarism

Gudrun Viola Bjarnason Hilton

Vi Hilton is a leader in both the Icelandic and broader communities where she has helped raise funds for many organizations, including the Canadian Cancer Society and Heart and Stroke Foundation. Hilton also helped raise $1.5 million to keep the Icelandic newspaper Lögberg-Heimskringla going. She volunteers for the CJNU Nostalgia Radio Station, Manitoba Art Show, Manitoba Freeze Frame Film Festival and as a Gold Wing Ambassador greeting travellers at the Winnipeg airport. She’s part of Icelandic Canadian Frón, an organization that strengthens Icelanders’ commitment and accountability to each other and their community. And she’s a calendar model. At 70, Hilton posed for the 2006 Beauty is Timeless calendar which raised $43,000 for the St. James Senior Centre.

From top, Marie Bouchard, Janet Ingersoll, Gudrun Viola Bjarnason Hilton, Nancy Chippendale and Linda Bulka.


Creative Communications

Nancy Chippendale

The public relations strategist is credited with creating and co-ordinating the Gordon Bell Field of Dreams public awareness project getting students, the community, politicians and the media to persuade Canada Post to relocate to make way for Gordon Bell High School’s new athletic fields. The former communications co-ordinator for Siloam Mission created communications strategies for the opening of Hannah’s Place Emergency Shelter and Saul Sair Health Centre. She also created and co-ordinated the annual Ultimate Frisbee tournament fundraisers in Winnipeg and several other major Canadian cities, collecting clothing, and raising funds and awareness for homelessness organizations.


Education and Training

Linda Bulka

Since 1984, Bulka has worked in the Winnipeg School Division teaching history, English and women’s studies. For the past 10 years she’s been a school administrator whose ideas and initiatives have helped kids get ahead. As principal of St. John’s High School, Bulka established the Gowns for Grads program, Empowering Young Women’s Support Group for sexually abused girls and introduced $80,000 worth of scholarships to help students obtain post-secondary education. In 1997, Bulka was recognized by the Governor General of Canada for Excellence in Teaching. She also received the 1999 Government of Manitoba Award for Outstanding Service in the field of education.


Health and Wellness

Dr. Patricia Martens

The director of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy is an internationally known researcher and one of the first in Canada to show the health care and status differences between First Nations and all other Manitobans. Martens directs a research team of university academics working with planners from Manitoba’s regional health authorities and Manitoba Health. In 2005, the team received the Canadian Institute of Health Research’s national Knowledge Translation Award for Regional Impact.


Research and Innovation

Dr. Karmin O

The mentor and pioneer in the use of nutraceuticals and herbal medicines to help people with vascular disorders has made key discoveries leading to the treatment of metabolic disease syndrome and associated vascular diseases. O was awarded the CIHR’s National Research Forum for Young Investigators in Circulatory and Respiratory Health Thematic Symposium Award in 2005. An accomplished scientist and mentor, O received the Outstanding Research Student Supervisor Award from the University of Hong Kong. In 2009, she received the University of Manitoba Health Sciences Graduate Students Association’s Ed Kroeger Award for Distinction in Mentoring.


From top, Dr. Patricia Martens, Dr. Karmin O, Oluwatomilayo Daodu, Kaitlin Alexander and Sarah Ens.

Young Woman of Distinction

Oluwatomilayo Daodu

The Nigerian-born young woman who goes by Tito has lived up to her given name, "excellence and joyful." The outstanding student who immigrated to Canada with her mother 20 years ago began volunteering in elementary school. She joined the school patrols and served as master of ceremonies at school events. She was the first student from her elementary school to be admitted to St. Mary’s Academy, where she maintained an A average to university level. Daodu works with several community organizations, tutors children aged 12 to 18 and works as a youth facilitator at the Spence Neighbourhood Association. Today she leads the Children and Youth ministry at Immanuel Fellowship Church.


Gerrie Hammond Memorial Award of Promise

Kaitlin Alexander

A year ago, the confusion surrounding climate change prompted the JH Bruns High School student to start a website,, aimed at improving the communication of climate science. Her website allowed her to interact with scientists worldwide, and make presentations everywhere from the University of Winnipeg to the PowerShift conference in Ottawa. Alexander has been active in her school’s environmental community, initiating the division’s first composting program, establishing a school forest, and participating in the Manitoba Envirothon.


Prairie Award of Promise

Sarah Ens

The Landmark Collegiate Institute student has written and published her own book of poetry and helped lead Grade 7 and 9 band classes. She scored 100 per cent on the Manitoba Grade 12 English Language Arts Standards Test, served as a student council member for four years, including as president, and Inter-Scholastic Christian Fellowship Group president. The school yearbook editor has also had major roles in school musicals for the past two years. She started an Eco Club trying to eliminate the use of Styrofoam and plastic materials. The active member of the Eastman Youth Choir also has volunteered at Union Gospel Mission in Winnipeg.


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