This award recognizes female and female identified nominees under the age of 35 who have made a difference in their organization, field, or industry and exhibit undeniable promise.
Vice President, People & Culture
Leslie is a trailblazer who has achieved 50/50 Gender Parity at the high-tech, high-growth software company Unbounce. Leslie has built an inclusive, accepting corporate culture, based on a people-first business philosophy, throughout significant change and growth, all based on the values of Courage, Ambition, being Real, Empathy, and Diversity. She increased employee retention from 72% to 86% and achieved an 80%+ overall employee engagement score in one 24-month period. Leslie has set the gold standard in the B.C. Tech industry and beyond.
In her role at TELUS STORYHIVE, a community-powered program that supports storytellers in B.C. and Alberta, Lizzy offered vision and direction in launching STORYHIVE's Female Director Edition in Fall 2016. The Edition's success inspired the establishment of the eligibility requirement for all projects to have at least one female in a key creative role and commitment to award 50 percent or more of STORYHIVE funding to women. Additionally, Lizzy created jobs for female-led companies and consulates by strategically hiring wherever possible. More than 50% of STORYHIVE's community partners are female.
Lizzy has been a board member of Women in View, a national organization dedicated to the research and action on the role of women in Canadian media. As a small-business owner, she co-hosts multiple gatherings of women, focused on building resilience for female entrepreneurs.
PhD Student and Researcher
Simon Fraser University
Careesa Liu is a biomedical engineer with nearly 10 years of experience in ground-breaking research to advance medical technologies aimed at improving disease diagnostics and therapeutics. Careesa researches non-invasive evaluation of brain function with applications to dementia, brain injury and other neurological disorders. She recently ranked in the top three per cent among more than 700 candidates competing nationally for grant funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). Careesa makes time for colleagues and clients alike, building relationships and mentoring emerging leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. She is co-founder of SCORE – the Surrey Collaborative Outreach and Research Experience -- training students from high school to graduate levels in medical technologies. SCORE received a 2016 Global Best Award for excellence in STEM education – and Careesa recently received the Spirit of Canada 150 Award for outstanding community service.
Senior Communications Officer
Media and Issues Management, B.C.
Jessica Gares is a passionate storyteller and communications strategist. Her skills were developed and strengthened over five years at CKNW where she worked as a Senior Producer for The Bill Good Show. During this time, Jessica used the radio platform to shine light on stories that would otherwise go unheard on issues ranging from social justice, drug addiction and access for people with disabilities.
Today, as a Senior Communications Officer at BCLC, Jessica is responsible for bolstering the corporation's reputation and achieves this through proactive storytelling, effective issues management and identifying different ways of telling BCLC's story and its positive contributions to the Province.
Jessica is dedicated to championing women and since joining BCLC co-founded AIM, a women's group that in one year has grown to more than 160 members, both male and female, across the organization. The group's purpose is to create professional development, mentorship and networking opportunities for its members.
Jessica is a volunteer for YWCA Metro Vancouver which allows her to support women and girls in the community. She is also a long-time supporter and volunteer for the CKNW Orphans' Fund.
Jessica is the recipient of an RTDNA journalism award for a documentary on drug addiction, recovery and hope in the Downtown Eastside, and is a recipient of the Gina Steeves award for her dedication and contributions to the CKNW Orphans' Fund.
Jessica has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Simon Fraser University majoring in Communication and studied Broadcast Journalism at BCIT.
Bachelor of Applied Science
Veronica Knott is a current student at the University of British Columbia pursuing a degree in Mining and Mineral Processing from the Faculty of Applied Science.
Veronica serves as one of three student members of the UBC Board of Governors, overseeing the non-academic governance of the $2.2 billion organization. Veronica has served on many committees and working groups including being Vice-Chair of the Land Use Committee.
Before this role, Veronica was President of the UBC Engineering Undergraduate Society. She oversaw the EUS Inclusion Project which resulted in a governance overhaul and the creation of the Iron Pin Ceremony, a new event incorporating ethics and professionalism into the first-year curriculum. Being President was not Veronica's first role serving engineering students as she chaired the National Conference on Women in Engineering 2013. This conference brought together over 150 delegates from engineering societies across Canada to discuss and inspire the recruitment and retention of women in engineering.
Within her department, Veronica currently holds the role of Captain of the UBC Mining Games Team. Along with her co-captain, Veronica oversees organizing the team through 23 technical competitions. The team is currently building on their 1st place finish last year. This competition is in additional to Veronica's recent 3rd place finish at the World Mining Competition 2016.
Veronica has shown a passionate commitment to student leadership, aiming to make her surrounding community more welcoming and inclusive.
Lawyer and Co-Founder
Embarkation Law Corporation
In the six years Laura has been practicing law, she has contributed positively to the lives of her clients, her community and the legal profession. Laura specializes in immigration and refugee law – an area that she is passionate about primarily because it allows her to help individuals and families from diverse backgrounds in securing a better life in Canada. Laura began her career working tirelessly to secure the release a number of women, men and children who were arrested when the MV Sun Sea, a cargo ship that brought 492 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees fleeing the civil war arrived in British Columbia. Laura is also board member of the Vancouver Association for the Survivors of Torture ("VAST"). Despite being a young lawyer, Laura owns and operates a modern boutique law firm in downtown Vancouver that has four staff and three lawyers.
Lions Gate Hospital
Annie has made a significant difference in her community and profession. Cardiology is a competitive, highly-challenging and male-dominated specialty of medicine with only 20 percent being women and 5 percent being 34 years old and under. Annie has had 7 peer-reviewed studies published and is active in her community as a committee member of the Children's Oncology Department of the Ronald McDonald House. Annie has volunteered her professional medical services in Thailand, Uganda and South Africa, as well as, teaching international medical students cardiac physical exams; educating first-year residents on reading electrocardiograms and is a mentor for female students in the UBC Faculty of Science, Women in Science and Engineering.
Andrea is an engineer turned-entrepreneur, autism health advocate, and exponential technology geek. Awake Labs is an autism health company committed to improving the lives of those living on the autism spectrum. Andrea graduated from Mechanical Engineering at UBC in May 2015 and has focused her efforts since then on social impact, quantified health care, and democratizing technology. Her product, Reveal, was recognized as "the most innovative product to impact the lives of 1,000,000 Canadians in the next 3-5 years" at the Canadian Global Impact Competition in 2015. Andrea has won several awards and is dedicated to building and mentoring companies and to creating strong entrepreneurial communities.
CEO and Co-founder
MetaOptima Technology Inc.
MetaOptima Technology Inc. is a female-led bright light in B.C.'s biotechnology and life sciences industry. Maryam and her team invented MoleScope, the first home-use mobile dermoscope - a game changer in the early detection of skin cancer. It is an easy-to-use, beautifully packaged, affordable smartphone attachment that provides a high-resolution, detailed view of the skin through magnification and specialized lighting. The reach of this product is global. Maryam continues to contribute to her community including organizing conferences and mentoring high school and undergraduate students at SFU's Let's Talk Science program.
Sharon Kaur Singh
Bennett Jones LLP
Sharon began her professional career with Rio Tinto in 2007 and since then has quickly moved up the ranks. In her role with Rio Tinto she worked closely with communities, governments, suppliers and Aboriginal peoples. In many of the engaged Aboriginal communities, Sharon created a Women's Circle to encourage the women to learn about the resources sector so they could gain the confidence to voice their opinion in the public consultation process. As self-confessed policy wonk Sharon strives to encourage a diverse (sex, ethnicity, ability) range of next leaders to learn and engage in public policy to help grow the province.
Business Development Manager
BC & Yukon, Futurpreneur Canada
Paulina's impact in the community began while in her 3rd year of University, where she co-founded the BC-based non-profit organization, Young Women in Business (YWiB). The vision behind the creation of YWiB in 2008 was to create an organization that would provide young rising female leaders with the opportunities to build their networks, engage in personal and professional development, and create a path of success for themselves. Under her leadership, the organization supports over 2000 young women, engages with over 200 mentors + community leaders each year, runs over 50 events a year, and has radically shifted how young women think about their careers. She is also a committed mentor and valuable connector, and generously shares her time, expertise and network to further support young women. While establishing YWiB, Paulina obtained her Chartered Accountant designation at KPMG Vancouver as the youngest graduate. In 2011, she was recognized by KPMG's National Senior Executive team for her leadership and community contributions and was awarded the National Leadership Award.
Dr. Farah Remtulla
Dr Terry Mah Inc.
Farah is a staunch advocate of promoting women into decision-making roles, and leads by example through her board work. She is also passionate about improving access to dental care. Farah has provided dental care to troubled youth at the Burnaby Youth Custody Centre in Burnaby, and in 2009 was awarded the Dental Undergraduate Society Award in recognition of her commitment to volunteer dentistry in the Bronx, New York. Most recently, Farah volunteered three months of her time with Aga Khan Health Services in Tanzania , where she set up a dental clinic which now offers the highest standard of dental care in the country.. In this short period of time, Farah overcame what she initially felt were insurmountable challenges: finding her voice as a young female leader in a male dominated workplace, creating a social movement to motivate complacent staff members to strive towards excellence, mentoring a local dentist whose skill level was overwhelmingly sub-par on North American standards, equipping an empty clinic to be fully operational and teaching herself Swahili in order to be more effective as a leader.
RAW Beauty Talks & The Studio
Treloar Physiotherapy Clinic
Erin started RAW Beauty Talks (a collection of interviews, no makeup photo shoots and more) because of her own experiences as a teenager. A perfectionist by nature, she was greatly influenced by the media's limited portrayal of beauty and the value that it held. At the age of 16 she developed an eating disorder that shifted her perception of herself so drastically that she ended up hospitalized for three months. Throughout her recovery she was forced to dig deep, do "the work", and rebuild a positive relationship with herself so that she would be able to accomplish her most audacious goals – who has time to change the world when they are obsessing over numbers on the scale?!"
Partner and Chief Inclusiveness Officer
Lawson Lundell LLP
As a young woman working in both an industry (mining) and a field (government relations) that have traditionally been dominated by men, Alexa has been pushing against boundaries and the status quo from day one. At meetings, she is often the only woman present, but always ensures her voice is heard and adds significant value to the discussion. The career progress Alexa has made, the respect she has earned, and the leadership she has demonstrated across both sectors illustrates how she truly embodies Wendy's famous spirit and is helping strengthen the representation of women in business. She is seen a role model by many women within Teck and throughout the sector.
Quirky tech culture is well known and adapted by Hootsuite but Ambrosia goes deeper than the beanbag chairs and yoga classes. Using her understanding of the motivators in these target employees she created a completely new performance evaluation system that was sensitive to the Gen Y culture but gave her the information she needed to monitor employee output. She also purposefully linked community service to the socializing functions of the company because research shows the millennial's desire to "give back". And rather than limit social media time for the employees she encouraged it – allowing employees to tell the good brand stories Hootsuite wanted told. (see next section) Ambrosia's mission to use "Social HR" as a company culture creator has resulted in coverage across this continent and in Europe.