In her role as director of programs for the Centre de counselling de Sudbury, Francine plays a key role in the development and delivery of programs and services to women victims of domestic violence and their families. In the thirty years in which she has worked in the field over 7 500 women and their families have benefitted from her support.
Francine’s passion for social justice and for women’s causes is also evident in her volunteer work. She serves on many committees including the Ontario Woman Abuse Screening Project Steering Committee, the Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee and the Greater Sudbury Coalition to End Violence Against Women. In addition, Francine teaches at Laurentian University where her students benefit from her expertise in psychopathological studies and from her mentorship both of which contribute significantly to their professional growth and practice. In all her professional and volunteer roles Francine advocates passionately for the provision of Francophone services. Francine is an inspiration to her clients, her colleagues, her fellow volunteers and her students.
Kate Furlotte is known for her charitable giving and fundraising for organizations throughout the Sudbury community. However, many would be surprised to learn that she and her children were once under the care of the YWCA Genevra House. Kate has never forgotten the kindness, protection and care that she received when she and her children were in need and has been giving back ever since. Kate has now made it a personal mission to publicly advocate to end violence against women by speaking about her experiences to service clubs and high schools. As the president of the Rotary Club Sunrisers, Kate brings the struggles of women and girls around the world to the forefront of each meeting in order to raise awareness and celebrate change.
Kate has also started the Rotaract Club in Sudbury which is made up of youth aged 18-30 committed to community and international service. She is a dedicated fundraiser, raising thousands of dollars for many community groups including the Sudbury Theatre Centre, the Military Families Fund and the Rotary Sunrisers. She is a regular volunteer at the Elgin Street Mission and is a four-year member of the Relay for Life Leadership team. As a founding member of STRIDE (Sudbury Taskforce to Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere), Kate developed and now leads Sudbury’s first city-wide designated driver program. Kate is the Director of Fund Development for Finlandia Village. She led a $3 million capital campaign to build an 82-unit affordable assisted living residence for seniors. Because of her dedication, she was able to surpass this goal four months ahead of schedule. Kate’s strength inspires others to stand up and create change in their own lives and the community.
Although only in her first year as a student, Tanya Maier has already made a significant impact at Laurentian University. Tanya was instrumental in ensuring ongoing funding for the Women’s Centre on campus. As its coordinator, Tanya has been responsible for refurbishing the centre and re-visioning its mandate to include a wider range of persons. In recognition of her leadership and dedication, Tanya has been awarded a prestigious Laurentian 10 grant to assist students with projects which will make positive change within the local, national, and/or global community. Tanya’s influence extends well beyond the university.
As president of the newly established Women’s Studies Association Tanya initiated a program to educate high school students about women’s rights and equality. In the fall of 2012 Tanya initiated and played a key role in the organization of the City of Greater Sudbury’s Day of the Girl event which built awareness of the importance of education for women in changing the world and eradicating poverty, and raised funds for the “Because I Am a Girl” campaign. Tanya is passionate in her opposition to the misrepresentation of women in the media and, being well aware of the power of social media, is actively involved in using Facebook to raise the profile of feminism and to change attitudes.
From a young age, Stella knew she was destined to serve her community. At just 16, long before most women were expected to enter further education, Stella begged a loan from her uncle to put herself through Teachers’ College. This was the first step toward her successful 40-year teaching career, touching the lives of many generations of youth. Although Stella is now retired, she continues to teach and serve the community every day. Her commitment to the arts community is astounding. Stella was the owner and founder of Sudbury’s first commercial art gallery “La Galleria” and Sudbury’s first craft store “The Artisan”. Her passion for encouraging and promoting local artists inspired her to sit on a wide array of boards and committees within the community, including the Sudbury Theatre Centre, Sudbury Symphony Orchestra and Artists on Elgin. She also gives art-based workshops, has published two children’s activity books, and is founder and part owner of Calendart Inc., an art calendar company promoting Canadian artists.
Stella’s workshop is a haven for women (over 100 participants in the past 15 years) who are taking care of aging parents, babysitting grandchildren, juggling families and careers, struggling with terminal illness, recently widowed or who simply need respite from their daily responsibilities. She welcomes everyone with conversation, conviviality, advice and encouragement and through art allows them to relax, to forget about life in general and to explore their own creativity. She is a source of inspiration and motivation to others to become more involved in community fundraising events. She is the initiator and driving force behind the Little Black Dress and Pearls Soiree, an event that brings together 500 women in the community to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer screening and research. This mother of four and grandmother of ten deserves much recognition for a lifetime of astounding achievement.
Debra has shown outstanding achievement in the promotion, education and involvement in the physical, emotional and spiritual health and well-being of others. Throughout the summer Debra can be found rowing on Lake Ramsey at 5:30 in the morning, but her commitment to active, healthy living extends beyond the personal into her professional and volunteer life.
As the Executive Director of the Rainbow Routes Association Debra has had a tremendous impact on the Sudbury community and under her leadership the association has been the recipient of many awards including the Greater
Sudbury Healthy Community Cabinet’s Healthy Communities Award, the Northern Life Community Builders Award and the North Eastern Ontario Recreational Association Initiatives Award. Debra has devoted countless hours to strengthening her community, creating change, and inspiring others. She cares about her city and projects that community-mindedness in everything she does. Numerous organizations have benefitted from Debra’s professional expertise as a Certified General Accountant, from her resourcefulness and skills as a fundraiser and from her commitment as a social activist. She has served on the boards of the Sudbury Food Bank, the Sudbury Community Foundation, and St. Andrew’s Place. She initiated parenting programs and programs to support women returning to work at the Jubilee Heritage Resource Centre and was involved in the inception of the Out of the Cold program. As a director at Camp Manitou and a youth leader at St Andrew’s United Church, she provided leadership and inspiration while nurturing the emotional and spiritual lives of young people. A dedicated member of St. Andrew’s United Church, Debra lives her faith in real work every day.
A visionary leader equally comfortable in high heels and steel toed work boots, Debra is a “Yes, we can” role model who approaches all her professional and volunteer activities with dedication, imagination and humour. Debra is an outstanding leader, volunteer and advocate, who through mobilizing the community, lobbying governments, and inspiring others has a huge impact on the quality of life for the citizens of Greater Sudbury.
Dr. Sheila Cote-Meek is a distinguished academic and administrator who currently holds the position of Academic Vice-President, Academic and Indigenous Programs at Laurentian University, the most senior position ever held by an Aboriginal person at the university. Sheila has worked in close collaboration with Laurentian’s Native Education Council, university personnel and local Aboriginal communities to develop and implement Aboriginal-focused programming at the university and to promote opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. Sheila completed her doctoral studies in Sociology and Equity Studies at the University of Toronto.
Her groundbreaking dissertation examined the impact of colonial violence on Aboriginal peoples in the classroom and the experiences of Aboriginal students and professors in the post-secondary academy. Sheila remains an active researcher and is the author of numerous academic publications. As a teacher, administrator and role model, Sheila has opened doors to post-secondary education for many Aboriginal women who are working to achieve their goals. She has shown that dedication and persistence can overcome adversity, and she is an inspiration to women who must juggle their home, school and work lives. Sheila’s dedication, compassion and selflessness inspire others to achieve their educational goals and pursue their dreams. Sheila is deeply rooted in her community and ensures that her decisions encompass the teachings of the seven grandfathers and the natural laws of creation. Sheila’s vision and strong, inspiring voice make her a powerful agent of change.
As a 19-year-old mother of two, Cathy broke ground when she was one of the first women hired at the INCO refinery, a male dominated environment. In her 30 years at the mining company, Cathy raised issues of unsafe work, was the first woman to teach First Aid and CPR, and the first to become a Safety Surface Instructor. Cathy worked with Women of Steel to organize the annual Celebration of Women and Every Miner has a Mother events and tirelessly promoted awareness of issues related to sexual assault. Cathy was instrumental in the installation of the first “Eye in the Sky” camera in the Elgin Street underpass despite massive opposition.
She volunteered with the Sudbury Women’s Centre, the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre and Extendicare York. In 2003, Cathy was honoured by the Sudbury Business & Professional Women’s Club for her work in paving the way for women entering the male-dominated mining workplace. Her valiant story has been told in a number of academic articles and books. Cathy has lead by example and her influence in our community is monumental. Her story has inspired generations of women to persevere and achieve their goals, despite the obstacles they may face.
Dr. Adèle Lafrance Robinson devotes her professional career to the study and practice of treating young girls and women diagnosed with eating disorders and her work is recognized locally, nationally and internationally. As an avid researcher and skillful clinician, Adèle has presented her research at numerous conferences and recently provided workshops to mothers of children with eating disorders at the Maudsley Hospital in London, UK, the premiere psychiatric hospital in the world for the study and treatment of eating disorders. Much of her work focuses on empowering families and she leads a mentorship program for clinicians in Northeastern Ontario.
As an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Laurentian University, Dr. Robinson is respected and admired by her colleagues and her students. She teaches, supervises, coaches, mentors and facilitates opportunities for young women in the Sudbury area, many of whom would otherwise struggle to develop their potential. Adèle is a role model for students at Laurentian University inspiring students with her dedication and encouraging them to continue learning. Adèle’s passion for her work, and her empathy and understanding lead her to volunteer her time and expertise to many organizations such as the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada and the Ontario Network of Eating Disorders. In addition, she and her family are active volunteers in her home community of Walden. She is recognized as someone who “does not go where the path may lead, but goes instead where there is not a path, and leaves a trail”.