YWCA Metro Vancouver announces nominees for 2020 Women of Distinction Awards

Winners to be announced May 11 at Vancouver awards dinner

Photo by YWCA Metro Vancouver

YWCA Metro Vancouver has announced 78 nominees in 12 categories for its 37th annual Women of Distinction Awards.

This year’s nominees, announced Wednesday, are:

Arts, Culture & Design

Beth Carter, curator, Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art

Carmen Rodriguez, writer, educator and activist

Carol Mayer, head of curatorial, interpretation and design at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC

Danica Djurkovic, director of facilities planning and development, City of Vancouver

Janice Morris, founder and festival director, KDocsFF

Lisa Wolfin, director, Vancouver Visual Art Foundation and Art Vancouver

Prem Gill, CEO, Creative BC

Wendy Mould, artist


Business & the Professions

Angela Calla, owner, The Angela Calla Marketing Team

Bridgitte Anderson, president and CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

Cheryl Nelms, general manager, project delivery, Metro Vancouver

Melissa Higgs, principal, HCMA Architecture + Design

Shirley Samujh-Dayal, director of operations, Coast Mountain Bus Company


Community Champion

Aisha Amijee, founder and executive director, Voices of Muslim Women Foundation

Amy Robinson, founder and executive director, LOCO BC

Antonia Beck, executive director and founder, Burnaby Neighbourhood House

Barbara Aidelbaum, Co-founder and Board director, HEROS

Devinder Maan, founder, The Saheli Foundation

Karen Lai, Consultant

Katheren Szabo, founder, Cedar Bark Poets and co-facilitator, Friends of the Grove

Margaret Mubanda, Resource Social Worker, Ministry of Children and Family Development

Sonia Andhi Bilkhu, founder and executive director, Shakti: Empowerment of Women, Children and Families


Sussanne Skidmore, secretary treasurer, BC Federation of Labour


Education, Training & Development

Beth Applewhite, vice principal, Coquitlam School District

Carolyn Roberts, Indigenous faculty lecturer in the Department of Education at SFU

Kory Wilson, executive director, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships, BCIT

Leonie Sandercock, professor, UBC School of Community and Regional Planning

Lisa Langevin, director, Women in Trades, Industry Training Authority

Louisa Lam, head instructor, Floristry Program, Langara College

Theresa Burley, project manager and Canada Research Chair & Equity in Research Lead, SFU


Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Amiee Chan, president and CEO, Norsat International Inc.

Christina Marcano, CEO and founder, Silver Icing Inc.

Elise Huisman, co-founder and director of Business Development, Arbutus Medical

Ella Jotie, co-founder and CEO, Barre Fitness

Laura Patrick, CEO and founder, Kids Physio Group

Madeleine Shaw, co-founder, Lunapads

Merideth Schutter, founder and CEO, PROtect. Smart Personal Safety

Teara Fraser, founder and CEO, Iskwew Air

Zahra Rasul, founder, owner and director, Rasul Learning Group Inc.


Environmental Sustainability

Connie Linder, founder and president, Intengine Enterprises

Elaine Leung, founder and executive director, Sea Smart

Meredith Adler, executive director, Student Energy


Health & Wellness

Joelle Bradley, doctor, Royal Columbian Hospital           

Sharon Selby, registered clinical counsellor and founder of Toddler to Teen Anxiety Solutions

Thalia Field, fellowship program director, Vancouver Stroke Program



Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade

Barbara Grantham, president and CEO of CARE Canada

Caroline Andrewes, president and CEO, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC-BC)

Christina Wong, executive director and co-founder, Employ to Empower Foundation

Debbie Bell, CEO and president, Mothers Matter Centre

Genesa Greening, president and CEO, BC Women's Health Foundation

Jill Tipping, president and CEO, BC Tech Association

Kim Lockhart, cultural officer, United Way of the Lower Mainland

Mebrat Beyene, executive director, WISH Drop-In Centre Society

Neelam Sahota, CEO, DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society

Rosalin Miles, founder and executive director, Indigenous Physical Activity & Cultural Circle

Shachi Kurl, executive director, Angus Reid Institute

Tina Strehlke, CEO, Minerva BC


Reconciliation in Action

Angela Sterritt, journalist, CBC

Brenda Morrison, director, Centre for Restorative Justice & Associate Professor, School of Criminology, SFU

Chastity Davis, principal and lead consultant, Chastity Davis Consulting

Courtney Daws, vice-president, governance and policy, Castlemain Group

Jeska Slater, Indigenous social innovation coordinator, Skookum Lab, City of Surrey

Lisa Upton, principal, North Vancouver School District 44

Marion Buller, BC Provincial Court judge, retired

Mary Point, Manager, Indigenous relations, Vancouver Airport Authority


Research, the Sciences & Technology

Christin Wiedemann, president, Radical I/O

Joy Johnson, vice-president, Research and International, Simon Fraser University (SFU)

Karen Cheung, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UBC

Megan Levings, professor, University of British Columbia and Researcher, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute

Young Woman of Distinction

Gaganjit Phulka, executive director and co-founder, Vitality for the Vulnerable

Michelle Kwok, co-founder and CEO, Female Laboratory of Innovative Knowledge (FLIK)

Taylor Hui, founder, BeaYOUtiful Foundation.


Outstanding Workplace

British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA)


Sage Software Canada



The YWCA Women of Distinction Awards honours individuals and organizations whose outstanding activities and achievements contribute to the well-being and future of the community. Since 1984, YWCA Metro Vancouver has paid tribute to more than 320 award recipients and 1,875 nominees.

Award recipients will be announced on May 11, 2020, at the Awards dinner at JW Marriot Parq Vancouver.

The 2020 Awards are presented by Scotiabank. Legacy Sponsors are BC Housing, BCAA, Clio, iA Financial Group, MDA, Nature’s Path, Pacific Blue Cross, Reciprocal Consulting, SAP and UBC Sauder School of Business.

In addition to the 12 nomination categories, the individual nominees are eligible for the Connecting the Community Award. Nominees will select a YWCA program area in which they are interested and use social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook to promote votes. From March 4 to April 24, the public can cast votes online and the nominee with the most votes will receive the Connecting the Community Award. Scotiabank will donate $10,000 to the YWCA program area of their choice.