Congratulation’s to 2020’s Women of Distinction!
All of these women encompass what it is to be strong, talented, and selfless individuals and they are in OUR community.
Ashley is the Co-founder, President, CEO and Principal Geologist at Orix Geoscience Inc. a company that incorporated in 2012 and has exponentially grown during a market downturn. Ashley is an award-winning entrepreneur with 12 years’ experience in the exploration and mining industry. She has worked throughout North and South America, including projects in Nunavut, Nevada and Ecuador. Ashley attributes Orix Geoscience’s success to their diverse team, which is comprised of 50% women and 26% newcomers to Canada, a rarity in the mining industry. Ashley is a proud Alumni of Laurentian University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in geology and a Master of Science degree in Mineral Exploration. She believes the best way to bring gender balance to the mining industry is to build confidence in young women and help them find their voice to compete for their respective positions in a male-dominated workforce. Ashley is known for being assertive and engaging and promotes the benefits of a gender diverse industry through participation on panel discussions, presentations and mentorship. In 2019, under Ashley’s leadership, Orix received the Employee Recommended Workplace Award from Morneau Sheppell and the Globe and Mail. This young mother, entrepreneur, and industry leader will continue to achieve success in transforming workplace culture and diversity.
Leslie is known as a life-long learner, humanitarian, educator, wife, mother and strong advocate for mentorship in young women and women in leadership. She started out her learning experience by receiving a degree in Environmental Earth Sciences from Laurentian University. Leslie then continued her education to complete a Master’s Degree in Integrated Studies specializing in Work, Organization and Leadership. Looking to advocate for women, Leslie focused her Master’s thesis on Gender Diversity and Performance Management in Corporate Leadership. Currently she works for Greater Sudbury Utilities and is a sessional professor at Cambrian College in the School of Business. Described as a natural leader who is tenaciously driven and fiercely passionate about her work, Leslie not only helps to build women in the business community, she contributes toward the development of young female leaders. Leslie is Treasurer to the Board of Directors for the St. Leonard’s Society of Sudbury, active member of the Catholic School Council, Director to the Business Administration Program Advisory Committee at Cambrian College, and was featured on the She&Her Spotlight which showcases and highlights exceptional female leaders who are changing the dialogue in our community. In the past, Leslie has dedicated her time as a program mentor for young aspiring female leaders through AmbiSheous and has travelled around the North officiating for Skate Canada. Leslie is truly an inspiration and is creating a legacy that inspires other females to dream more, learn more, do more and become more on the pursuit to leadership in our community.
Tannys is the current Executive Director of the Northern Cancer Foundation. Under her leadership the organization has raised over $21 million to support cancer research and patient care in Northeastern Ontario. She has also taken a leadership role in the multi-million dollar fundraising campaign for the Sam Bruno P.E.T. Scanner fund. Anyone who knows Tannys will agree that she is driven by a desire to help make her community a better place to live and is actively involved where her passion leads her. Whether it be community services such as the House of Kin, Celebrate Women, Kivi Park Neighbourhood Association, LEAF, CKLU, Sudbury Community Foundation, Children’s Aid Society, YWCA, and Laurentian University’s Status of Women Committee or Associations that involve her children such as the School Parent Council, Sudbury Minor Hockey Association, and Greater Sudbury Soccer, Tannys gives her all. She has been recognized for her community contributions and achievements with Northern Life’s 40 under 40 award, Laurentian University’s Status of Women Award and the Bernadine Yackman Award. We are honoured to add the prestigious YWCA Woman of Distinction Award to recognize this community leader.
Mary is a retired teacher who is committed to making the City of Greater Sudbury a better place for everyone. She has devoted countless volunteer hours through her work as Director of Volunteer Sudbury, member of the Seniors’ Advisory Panel, the planning committee for the Aging in Place Symposium, 2019 Seniors’ Summit planning committee, Age Friendly Committee, and President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 564 Lockerby. She is also the Chair of the Legion’s Seniors and Youth Education Committees. As Youth Education Chair, Mary implements programs that foster remembrance, instill confidence and build the next generation of community leaders. She organized the Keeping Seniors Warm 24-hour walk-a-thon fundraiser, which initiated the Outdoor Exercise Park at Pioneer Manor. Mary was recognized as the 2018 Legionnaire of the Year, 2019 Civic Award Recipient and 2019 Sudbury Wolves Hometown Hero. She is an exceptional leader and role model and continues to inspire other women and girls. Mary’s personal philosophy, “be the change you want to see in your community” rings true in the impact she has made.
Jalee is a 3rd year student at Collège Boréal in the Physio & Occupational Therapy Assistant program. She is described as a young woman who loves her family and her dogs and someone who wants to make a positive change for people with disabilities. After being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of ten, Jalee has dedicated countless hours raising awareness, fundraising and supporting others afflicted by this disease. Jalee is a strong mentor and advocate for young women with muscular dystrophy as well as individuals with other disabilities. Jalee is very passionate about giving back. She is a member of the Greater Sudbury Accessibility Advisory Panel, a spokesperson for the Sunshine Foundation, an ambassador for the Walk4MD and an honorary firefighter. Jalee was honoured with the Craig Nobel Independence Award from i-CAN and the Sally Spence Achievement award for her accomplishments and volunteer work. Jalee’s personal motto is “nothing and nobody can drag me down.” This Young Woman of Distinction has already accomplished so much.
Gillian is a woman of faith who lives her life in service to others. As an educator, Gillian devoted her time toward students who were struggling in the classroom and helped prepare them for the path ahead. She taught at many secondary schools throughout Sudbury and at Cambrian Collage and Laurentian University. As a teacher, Gillian was, for many years, a member of the Council for Exceptional Children and her work with exceptional students earned her the Barbara Konarek Award for Special Education from the Rainbow District School Board. Her service to others extends well beyond the education sector. Gillian chairs the Manitou Intentional Learning Community which offers workshops and events addressing timely issues such as medical assistance in dying (MAID), Impact of Residential Schools, Racism, etc. Gillian Co-Chairs the St. Peter’s United Church Refugee Sponsorship committee and has been assisting a family of 9 from Syria for the past three years. Her understanding of the education system, experience teaching English and knowledge of the community and its resources has blessed this family with an abundance of support. Gillian is kind and supportive mother, mother-in-law and grandmother who takes an active role in the healthy development of her family. As a member of the coordinating committee for the ‘Out of the Cold’ program she helps prepare hot meals for those in need and helped to arrange Naloxone training for volunteers at the St Peters United Church. Gillian is also active in child and youth leadership at St. Peter’s Church and an active volunteer with Sudbury Youth Orchestra. She is a strong social justice advocate and can be seen at many local events including the December 6th Vigil, Take Back the Night, Celebrate Women and the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards Gala. Gillian has helped to decorate the room for this prestigious event in past years and it is a pleasure to prepare it for this remarkable Woman of Distinction.
The Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Sudbury Chapter is a volunteer-run organization that is dedicated to the advancement of women in science, engineering, trades, and technology (SETT) fields. Their aim is to not only encourage women to consider careers in SETT, but also to provide them with a support network with the purpose of embracing a more diverse work culture.
WISE is involved in the Sudbury community as volunteers, mentors, advocates, and educators. Their largest annual event, the Science and Engineering Olympics, provides girls in grades 4 to 7 with the opportunity to experiment with SETT related challenges. The second-largest annual event is the Career Café, which focuses on engaging and encouraging local high school students and young adults to pursue careers in SETT industries. WISE events throughout the year involve motivational talks from distinguished women in SETT. Most of the events are associated with activities such as book exchanges, community outreach, and networking. WISE focuses on ‘choice’ so that women consider these fields as options for them and their future careers. WISE is a team of diverse professional women breaking down barriers for women to succeed in careers in science, engineering, trades and technology as well as a group of Women of Distinction.