Mary Katherine first became involved with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure in 1998, two years after losing her mother to breast cancer. Her unwavering support for the cause has led to a long record of volunteerism with the Foundation, culminating in five years of dedicated work as the Co-Run Director for the Sudbury event. She has built connections with community partners, sponsors and the media, allowing the event to continue to grow. The expanded reach and success of the annual event owes much to Mary Katherine’s efforts. The Run for the Cure is one of the most successful community events in Sudbury, with an average annual participation of 1 out of every 100 Sudburians, raising roughly $2 for every resident of our community. This event and others year-round have helped to raise funds for research and support for those living with breast cancer and their loved ones.
Mary Katherine has been heavily involved in the organizing of year-round fundraising events such as Think Pink Week, Paint Canada Pink and the Pink Bus Tour. She has also spearheaded initiatives to develop new fundraising streams. In 2011, she worked tirelessly to mobilize votes for Olympic hockey player Tessa Bonhomme in the Battle of the Blades competition, resulting in a $100,000 donation to Sudbury Run for the Cure, and ultimately, to the Foundation. Just last year she led the planning and organization of the Stand Up For The Girls comedy night, which raised over $12,000 in its first year.
Mary Katherine has encouraged those around her to join the committee and to take on additional responsibilities, building a strong and effective team and nurturing leadership capacity in those around her. She has done all this in addition to her full-time work as Supervisor of Nephrology Outpatient Programs and satellites at Health Sciences North, demonstrating an outstanding level of commitment and energy.
As she moves on to focus on increased responsibilities in her work at Health Sciences North, we are proud to recognize Mary Katherine as a Woman of Distinction in our community.
Chantal has been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2002, when she completed a student placement with the organization as part of her Travail Social diploma through College Boreal. After her graduation, Chantal joined Big Brothers Big Sisters as the In-School Mentoring Coordinator, increasing her responsibilities through the years in roles such as Case Worker and Case Worker / Supervisor before becoming Executive Director in 2008.
As Executive Director of BBBS, Chantal has been highly visible in the community. Many will remember the hot summer day when Chantal camps out in a makeshift castle on Barrydowne Road made of cases of coca-cola products until all are sold or sleeping on a scissor lift for 44 hours, 60 feet in the air raising funds and awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters. With a waiting list that can stretch out two years for potential little brothers and six to 12 months for little sisters, the need for community awareness of BBBS’ services is great, and Chantal has raised awareness tirelessly.
Chantal’s passion for youth extends beyond her professional responsibilities. She herself became a Big Sister in 2007, partnered with Laura Field. When Laura’s mother became unable to physically care for her children, Chantal brought Laura into her home to join her own daughter, Steffanie. Laura’s younger sister, Naomi, has since joined their household as well.
Chantal’s volunteerism has touched countless lives, including work with children, youth, seniors, and the homeless. She has volunteered with Finlandia Nursing Home, with the Out of the Cold Program, and the Women of the Future program. Chantal has also been involved in the United Way’s efforts to raise funds for charities in our community, serving on the Community Development Committee and twice on the United Way Campaign Cabinet. She is also a small business owner, often contributing her balloon animals and face painting to various charities’ fundraising efforts. Her dedication has won her the Governor General’s Award in 2002 as well as a “Etoile du College Boreal” award from her alma mater. YWCA Sudbury is proud to honour Chantal as a Woman of Distinction in our community.
Since a young age, Stacey Kosmerly has been motivated by a desire to deepen our understanding of eating disorders and improve the lives of others through their prevention and treatment. Even in a relatively brief period of time, Stacey’s impact can be seen. Stacey shines academically and in her volunteerism, demonstrating an all-encompassing passion for her cause.
As a gradate student in Laurentian University’s Master of Arts in Applied Clinical Psychology Program, Stacey’s research efforts in this area have been published widely and have already influenced her field. As she completes her degree, Stacey has claim to a list of publications, scholarships, awards and achievements that are outstanding for a student at her level of education. She is a promising clinical trainee, demonstrating a high degree of empathy and compassion. Her efforts have already gained her acceptance into two PhD programs.
Stacey has demonstrated her mentorship abilities through work as a teaching assistant at Laurentian and by providing guidance to numerous students interested in pursuing studies in clinical psychology. As a survivor herself, she has worked to raise awareness of eating disorders with the Miss North Ontario Regional Canada Pageant.
Stacey has also been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sudbury, volunteering as a Big Sister to one young woman and a role model to many more. Stacey’s Little Sister Meghan Akiwenzie credits Stacey with helping her overcome bullying at school by offering an empathetic ear and giving her the confidence to speak up against bullies and to advocate for herself with teachers and principals. Through Big Brothers Big Sisters, Stacey has also worked to raise funds for the program and has acted as a co-facilitator of the Go Girls! Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds program. Her work with Big Brothers Big Sisters has earned her a Youth Volunteer Services Award in 2011. Stacey is a worthy recipient of the 2014 Young Woman of Distinction Award.
Ali Loney is the owner and director of the Dance Evolution studio in Sudbury. Her professionalism, skill, humour, caring and kindness are evident in her work with students ranging from toddlers to adults. She encourages all dancers to achieve their potential and continually fosters the development of healthy body images and healthy lifestyles. Through her studio she promotes a spirit of collaboration and co-operation ensuring staff and students are valued and affirmed. Being conscious of both the hyper-sexualization of children and the over-training of young dancers, Ali values the importance of keeping dance developmentally appropriate through both the sophistication of technique and content.
Ali shows great community mindedness being the first business owner to sign on this year to the Dalron Group’s Commercial Real Estate Food Bank Fundraiser. In addition she has been actively involved in fundraising for the Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer (NOFCC) and is a sponsor of the Father/Daughter Ball in support of this organization. She has worked in artistic collaboration with the Sudbury Youth Orchestra and conducts an annual tour of senior’s homes bringing dance to the community.
Named the 2010 Young Professional of the year by the Young Professional Association of Sudbury and recipient of the 2012 Bell Excellence Award’s Venture of the Year by the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce Ali is already well regarded in the community for her business skill as well as her excellent ability to mentor and guide young dancers. Ali is respected by her staff for her collaborative and creative approach which honours and nurtures everyone’s talents. She treats parents and students at her studio with great respect and displays integrity in everything she does. Ali’s vision and dedication are an inspiration to many in our community.
As teacher, consultant, principal and mentor, Shirley O’Neil had a tremendous impact on the lives of teachers and students in the Rainbow District School Board. Shirley is passionate about promoting science and technology to female students and was a guiding light behind the Math Science and Technology Olympics, the Entrepreneurship Trade Show and assisted in the organization of the joint Cambrian College/Sudbury Board of Education Technology Fair.
In addition, Shirley was the founding chair of the Sudbury Regional Heritage Fair which she spearheaded for many years and, along with her committee, organized a National Heritage Fair in Sudbury. Further, Shirley acted as a mentor to female staff encouraging them to participate in board wide committees and to assume leadership roles within the board.
Shirley is also passionate in her commitment to promoting sport and healthy lifestyles especially for girls and women.
Not only did Shirley play with the Valley East Ladies Volleyball League for 25 years, acting as president for 15 of those years, but also spent twenty years in leadership roles promoting baseball at local, regional and provincial levels. As president of the Carol Richard Park Playground Association, she ensured that local amenities for children were safe and well-maintained.
Shirley remains active in retirement. She serves as President both of Unit 238 for the American Contract Bridge League and the Elizabeth Fry Chapter IODE, a women’s charitable organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for those in need through education, social services, and citizenship programs.
Shirley’s achievements have been recognized by numerous awards at local and national levels. She was inducted into the Valley East Sports Hall of Fame; she was recognized by the National Heritage Fair Committee; she received the Apple Award – the highest award given by the Rainbow District School Board; and in 2002 received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (Citizen Service) from the Governor General of Canada.
Shirley’s boundless energy, her wisdom, her generosity, her high principles, her sense of justice and willingness to fight for a cause, along with her exceptional organizational and leadership abilities make her truly a woman of distinction.
The Iris Addiction Recovery for Women is an important part of the fabric of our health system, providing a safe and respectful place for women in recovery from substances to heal and transform their lives with dignity and respect. The collective commitment of this group of women has enhanced the lives of women and girls in the Sudbury area for 38 years. Iris is a not-for-profit organization providing support and programming designed to address the needs of women recovering from alcohol and drug dependency, and to assist them in rebuilding their lives. This agency has grown from providing the first ever women’s detox and recovery home in Sudbury; to the first and only specific treatment centre for women, north of Toronto; to now, offering: a 35 day residential/day treatment program; a residential after care program (4-8 months); an outpatient after care program; a Pregnancy/Parenting Outreach Program (PPOP); an Addictions Supportive Housing Program (ASH); and have Substance Abuse Workers in the HSN Emergency Department.
The purple iris symbolizes a new beginning, a new season – and hope, faith, wisdom, valour, recovery and healing.
They women who govern, work and volunteer at Iris provide treatment from a women’s perspective, focusing on collaboration, building partnerships and applying best practices. Iris has helped over 6000 women from our community, in its history. This organization has also been responsible for providing substance abuse awareness and training to staffs of numerous agencies such as the Children’s Aid Society, Public Health, and Our Children Our Future, to name just a few. In addition, Iris participated in the development of “Best Practices in Action” an Ontario Best Practices review of women’s addiction treatment, sharing results both provincially and nationally at conferences and have co-written articles for the CAMH publication “Cross Currents,” outlining best practices in the treatment of women. As well, Iris has been part of the Sudbury Woman Abuse Screening Project, sharing and collaborating with mental health, VAW groups and CAS, to look at screening practices for women accessing services in substance abuse, mental health and violence against women agencies.
Members of the Iris staff are known for their competent, kind and compassionate manner as they accompany women who have chosen to work towards health and well being on their journey. The Iris Addiction Recovery for Women is truly a group of women of distinction.