2019 Award Recipients


maxine bailey

maxine bailey

Arts

Jana Girdauskas

Jana Girdauskas

Health

Diane Goudie & Eleanor Moore

Diane Goudie & Eleanor Moore

Education

Alia Hogben

Alia Hogben

President’s Award

Judy Huber

Judy Huber

Technology

Huda Idrees

Huda Idrees

Young Woman of Distinction

Attiya Khan

Attiya Khan

Social Justice

Lisa Kimmel

Lisa Kimmel

Corporate Leadership

maxine bailey


Arts
maxine bailey is a deeply committed member of Toronto’s arts community. For 18 years, maxine served as the Vice-President of Advancement at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), creating critical opportunities for women in film and raising awareness about the systemic barriers facing women filmmakers, script writers and producers.

maxine was the principal liaison and chief fundraiser for the organization’s government partners, donors, and members in their support of TIFF’s festivals and year-round programming. She is particularly proud of founding Share Her Journey, TIFF’s five year commitment to achieving gender parity both behind and in front of the camera.

Launched in 2017, Share Her Journey has already driven significant change at TIFF. The 2018 Festival showcased a record number of films by women directors — 121 in total. And, over 100 women filmmakers have participated in Share Her Journey programming.

Prior to TIFF, maxine worked in theatre. Recently, Sistahs, an award-winning play she co-wrote, was remounted to critical acclaim. An active representative in arts and community-based projects, maxine co-founded the Black Artists Network in Dialogue (BAND), which showcases black cultural contributions nationally and internationally.

A committed volunteer, maxine has served on the advisory boards and steering committees of the Toronto Arts Council/Foundation Advocacy Committee; ArtsVote; the City of Toronto’s Film, Television and Digital Media Board; The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery Board; and, the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund. A voracious reader, maxine sat on the jury for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize and was recently named one of NOW Toronto’s Local Heroes.

Through her initiatives at TIFF and beyond, maxine’s efforts have provided real opportunities for women in Canada, and around the world, to share their stories and be heard. maxine’s unwavering commitment to gender and racial equity is paving the way for women in film to assume their rightful spotlight.

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Jana Girdauskas


Health
Jana Girdauskas is standing up for health and gender equity. By starting The Period Purse, a volunteer-run non-profit organization dedicated to providing menstrual products and comforting items to the marginalized community, Jana is challenging the negative stigma associated with menstruation and advocating for equal access to period products.

The idea for The Period Pursue was borne from an encounter Jana had with someone experiencing homelessness. Understanding that menstrual products may be financially prohibitive, Jana filled one purse with products and kept it in her car for someone in need. Within a month, and with the help of social media, Jana received 350 purses filled with donated products. Thus, The Period Purse was conceived.

With the help of a dedicated team of volunteers, The Period Purse has supported over 16,000 menstruators through nine chapters in Ontario and Saskatchewan. The organization is now working with local leaders in a rural Indigenous community to support the needs of their young people.

Trained as a Special Education Teacher, Jana has used her passion for education to create a school program to decrease the stigma around periods. Through Menstruation Nation, which advocates for menstrual equity in schools, Jana and a teenage volunteer are organizing period product drives within schools and starting healthy conversations around menstruation. In May 2018, Jana partnered up with Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam for the City of Toronto to proclaim May 28 as Menstrual Hygiene Day. This was a bold step for our city to highlight the importance of menstrual equity. In 2019, together they successfully advocated for the City to support some funding for menstrual products in all city-funded shelters. Also in 2018, Jana was named one of the Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada.

Addressing a critical issue that impacts health for cis-women and transmen is what drives Jana to tackle barriers. Her commitment to gender equity has ensured support for thousands of people and is fundamentally changing the discourse around periods.

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Diane Goudie & Eleanor Moore


Education
In 1993 Diane and Eleanor brought their inspirational vision of an independent, girls school centred on feminist pedagogy to life by co-founding The Linden School. Since then, the school has provided its girls with the skills and confidence to enable them to become questioners, risk-takers and change-makers.

Diane and Eleanor, with much support, especially from the inspiring and passionate teachers and staff, built a socially progressive educational community. The focus on creating innovative best practices in girls’ education is based on research developed in leading faculties of education and women’s studies in North America. Additionally, the school incorporated a feminist structure in both its governance and administration. The Linden School actively welcomes a diverse student population and has an equity-based bursary programme. The school has developed a unique curriculum rooted in feminism, anti-racism and LGBTQ+ theory.

Diane and Eleanor’s passion for feminist pedagogy and girls-centered programming reverberates across classroom structure and curriculum. In teaching women’s rights and marginalized histories, Diane and Eleanor have created a beacon of educational excellence. Many public and private schools have begun to adopt the practices and philosophies that The Linden School has been honing for 26 years.

Their groundbreaking work was recognized in 2007 when they received Honorary Doctorates from York University. Diane and Eleanor were co-principals of the school until 2008 and then provided mentorship to new leadership of the school until 2012.

Their energetic spirit is still felt at all levels of the school’s operation and governance. The two women currently serve on the Board of Trustees as members of the board’s finance, archives, human resources and governance committees as well as the school’s bursary committee.

In making the grand vision of a progressive, girl-centred school guided by feminist principles of social justice and intellectual risk-taking, Diane and Eleanor have created a formidable ripple effect in Toronto’s educational landscape.

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Alia Hogben


President’s Award
Known for her brilliant work to empower Muslim women, Alia Hogben is a trailblazing feminist. Born to Indian parents in Myanmar, Alia lived in several countries before immigrating to Canada more than 50 years ago. She has a strong track record of defending the rights of Muslim women, both within and outside faith communities, promoting progressive values, and advocating for religious tolerance, diversity and inter-faith dialogue.

Alia was actively involved with the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) from its onset in 1982, a non-profit, women-run organization dedicated to empowering Muslim women and their families. Alia recently retired as the Executive Director, a position she held for more than a decade. During her tenure Alia spearheaded campaigns to promote the equal status of women within Muslim communities. She also provided policy expertise on a variety of matters affecting Muslim communities and advanced a progressive agenda.

Originally trained as a social worker, Alia worked for many decades in Ontario at various service agencies for child welfare, children’s mental health, and adults with developmental disabilities. She has also taught at St. Lawrence College and worked with organizations that address violence against women and girls. Alia writes a regular column on issues affecting Canadian Muslims for the Kingston-Whig Standard.

Among the many awards she has received, Alia is a proud recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Queen’s University School of Divinity. In 2012, Alia became the second Canadian Muslim woman to be awarded the Order of Canada for her work in the area of women’s rights.

Alia’s enriching contributions to social justice, women’s rights, and the rights of Muslim women serve as a proud example for feminists everywhere.

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Judy Huber


Technology
As a steadfast supporter of equity in the workplace, Judy Huber has championed the role of women in technology throughout her illustrious career that spans over three decades. In her role as Vice-President of World Wide Growth Analytics and the Director for the IBM Laboratory, Judy made history as the first woman software development executive at IBM Canada in 2000.

Every day, Judy led a large international team of software engineering professionals with worldwide development missions in all of IBM’s software units to deliver innovative solutions to a global clientele. In all of her endeavors and with every accomplishment, Judy has always made it a priority to champion women in the technology industry.

Throughout her nine-year tenure as the lBM Canada Software Lab Director, Judy coached and mentored several women in new roles at IBM. Judy is not afraid to use her leadership to influence and drive social change. She was instrumental in starting the IBM Networking Group for women and she is a strong supporter of the IBM LGTBQ Network group and is an LGTBQ ally. Judy has intentionally created pathways to give women opportunities to succeed at all levels of the technology sector.

Judy believes in the talent of this country and is an avid promoter of science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives for girls and women. The IBM Laboratory has been the site of many programs for girls including coding competitions and partnerships with local schools and non-profits. The impact on the girls who partake in them has proven to be profound.

She is a multi-year activator of SheEO, an organization of women raising venture capital for women-led start-ups. Those who have had the privilege of working with Judy will attest that she ‘walks the talk’ and never shies away from asking tough questions. Judy retired from IBM in 2018. As long as Judy’s fresh perspective and conviction prevails, the future of women’s careers is bright.

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Huda Idrees


Young Woman of Distinction
Huda Idrees is disrupting the status quo for young women in the technology industry, one bold move at a time. At only 28 years old, she is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Toronto-based Dot Health, a platform that allows Canadians to access their health records in one place.

Huda is using her platform to amplify the message that creating a collaborative and inclusive workplace culture accelerates a company’s growth. Dot Health is a shining example of this. Fifty per cent of its Board of Directors and 80 per cent of the leadership team consists of women. Under Huda’s leadership the company has been named as a BetaKit Spotlight Next Company, a Top 25 Up and Coming Company by the Branham 300, and a CIX Top 20 Company.

Growing up in Saudi Arabia, Huda immigrated to Canada to study at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. Starting at Wattpad, Huda quickly worked her way up to becoming a Chief Product Officer at Wealthsimple before founding Dot Health.

Throughout her burgeoning and impactful career, Huda has spoken extensively in the media, at conferences and at symposiums about the challenges she has faced as a Muslim woman entrepreneur, and has called on the technology industry to make deliberate changes to address its lack of diversity and gender equity.

She has been recognized amongst the Top 5 CEOs in Toronto Life, a Top 25 Women of Influence in 2017, and named Top 30 Under 30 by the Bay Street Bull in 2018.

A dedicated mentor to young entrepreneurs, Huda generously gives of her time to organizations such as Ladies Learning Code, Kids Learning Code and TechStars. She is a board member at Sinai Health System’s Business Innovation and Development committee and a member of the Federal Economic Strategy Table for Health and Biosciences.

Drawing on her personal experiences, Huda passionately advocates for diversity, inclusion and progress in an industry she has taken by storm.

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Attiya Khan


Social Justice
Attiya Khan is a Toronto-based filmmaker, anti-violence activist, and longtime counselor and advocate for women and children who have experienced abuse. After escaping a two-year abusive relationship at just 18 years old, Attiya resolved to dedicate her life to ending gender-based violence.

Attiya graduated from the University of Toronto and obtained additional training from George Brown College before spending more than 15 years working with women and children who have experienced violence. Her career highlights include serving as the director of child and youth services at a shelter in Boston and overseeing the YWCA December 6 Fund, which offers interest-free loans for women fleeing domestic violence.

Recently, Attiya brought increased attention and a new perspective to the conversation around intimate partner violence through her ground-breaking documentary, A Better Man which she co-directed and wrote. The film bravely documents Attiya’s personal experience of reconnecting with her abusive ex-partner to shed light on the survivor experience, examine why men choose to use violence, and explore what can happen when people who harm take responsibility. The film’s interactive companion, It Was Me, was nominated for a Canadian-Screen Award for best original interactive production. It features personal stories from six men who have participated in programs for people who use violence, who remain committed to forming healthy caring relationships.

A Better Man has been screened internationally at festivals and community events on five continents and has been endorsed by a wide range of prominent community leaders as a critical tool in ending gender-based violence. Attiya is now working on her second film called Weathering, which addresses the impact of racism on pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum experience.

Attiya’s body of work has combined front-line service, advocacy, activism, and the arts – all towards the goal of achieving gender justice and eliminating racism.

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Lisa Kimmel


Corporate Leadership
As President and Chief Executive Officer of Edelman Canada, Lisa Kimmel passionately supports women’s leadership and champions women’s rights.

A natural leader and mentor, Lisa represents the importance of women in leadership positions and voices ways organizations can support women’s growth and development. Through her collaborative approach, Lisa fosters a culture of gender equity at Edelman Canada.

As Chair of Edelman’s Global Women’s Equality Network (GWEN), Lisa leads tangible action for positive change. With nearly 2,000 members worldwide, including representation from all regions and job levels, GWEN is a global community that is committed to ensuring women are empowered to become leaders. Lisa has successfully created safe, equitable spaces that foster open dialogue on tough topics, and she is an exemplary model of excellence for women in the company.

Lisa’s championing of gender parity in the workplace does not stop with Edelman. She recently traveled to Argentina to work with delegates of the G(irls)20 Summit, an enterprise modelled after the G20 that is placing girls in decision-making positions and cultivating the next generation of women leaders in business, government and social profit. She is also Vice Chair of the Dean’s Council at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, serves on the Board of Directors for Harbourfront Centre, and is a member of the United Nations Women’s Empower Advisory Group.

Passionate about supporting future leaders, she is actively involved with mentorship programs through the Women’s Executive Network, American Marketing Association and Women in Communications and Technology. She has been inducted into the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada Hall of Fame, and is a Financial Times and HERoes Female Champion of Women in Business.

With her many accomplishments, it is clear that Lisa’s tenacity and confidence are equaled only by her integrity and innovation.

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