LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT NOMINEES
For over 25 years, has been a role model, mentor and/or advocate for positive social change.
Award Presented by:
Gillian Alexander, Schlegel Villages
Janet is a passionate volunteer and entrepreneur devoted to inclusion. Decades of volunteering and working in the community have fueled Janet’s enthusiasm to provide strength-based education while prioritizing the mental wellness of children and youth. Janet opened Beechwood Brainery in Cambridge in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit. Although Beechwood Brainery has not been eligible for any Provincial or Federal assistance, the community need is great, resulting in Janet opening a second location in Waterloo in September 2021. Janet’s perseverance in providing an accepting environment for everyone is one of her greatest strengths.
Mary Beth Kennedy
Mary Beth is a big supporter of the Waterloo Region through her community service, sponsorships and with selling other local businesses’ products at her stores. She owns three small businesses. Two floral companies and a tanning business. Mary Beth has been a part of KW Oktoberfest for many years by sponsoring, volunteering and attending the events. She is a part-time professor at Conestoga College and also makes time to mentor youth in our community. She is a leader and inspiration to many.
Vickie Murray is the Integrated Director of Pharmacy for Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital. After organizing the Grand River Hospital vaccine clinics, Vickie took over leadership for all of the Region of Waterloo’s vaccine roll out. Vickie took on her role with caring tenacity and positive outlook, while overseeing thousands of staff, physicians and volunteers to be able to make COVID vaccine accessible for our community. During the vaccine roll out, Vickie continued to give back to our community as Chair of Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region where rising incidents of domestic violence are also making headlines.
Sherryl’s active community service in Waterloo Region for over 30 years is nothing short of impressive. You name it, Sherryl has done it - A block parent, neighbourhood watch captain, parent-teacher committee member, minor sports coach and administrator, breakfast/cooking program founder, meals on wheels driver, local government advocate, tech ecosystem builder, fierce fundraiser, and mentor to far more people than she knows about. Sherryl’s tenacious community-building spirit never rests. Sherryl’s extensive community work, leadership, and mentorship have made meaningful contributions within the region of Waterloo. Sherryl has a long history of supporting mentorship programs, advocating for sports development, and campaigning with high potential local leaders.
Nichole is a piano teacher and pedagogue. She has two bachelor degrees, in piano and clarinet with a focus on music education, as well as one in music therapy. She began playing piano at 6 years old, and began teaching while studying in university. Her students have all achieved high levels of success in festivals/competitions at the regional and provincial level, successful exams, and going on to study music at the post-secondary level. Nichole is completely blind and has been since birth.
Dr. Selda Sezen is an academic, a researcher, spiritual-care provider and psychotherapist, the Muslim Chaplain, community organizer and activist, and Ebru/Water Marbling artist. Selda teaches in the field of psychotherapy and theology at Martin Luther University of College in Wilfrid Laurier University. She is dedicated professional to serve her campus and larger community through her individual and group works, teaching, and research. She is currently a vice president of Canadian Council of Muslim Women and a board member of Canadian Muslims Research and Resource Center.
Tracy is a strong business and community leader. Her focus and drive have positioned Valko Financial among the top mortgage brokerages in Canada. Even while growing nationally, Tracy’s heart is in the community. During the pandemic she demonstrated resilience and resourcefulness in her outreach activities to continue to support local business owners and homeowners. She took her community spotlights online, and continued efforts with local charities to bring in donations for those in need.
Betty Anne Keller
For more than five decades, Betty Anne worked tirelessly both as a volunteer and as a municipal employee to build, support, and promote a strong, diverse, and visible arts community in Waterloo Region. From 1972 to 1995, she worked as a concert promoter and touring manager for recording artist Loreena McKennitt. She served as Manager of Culture at City of Waterloo from 1999 until 2013. Betty Anne is the producer of the documentary ‘Rock this Town’, which celebrates the history of K-W’s local rock scene.
Sue has been a physiotherapist for 41 years, recently retiring from her role as an Advanced Practice Physiotherapist with the Arthritis Society after 33 years. Her passion has been to develop innovative models of care to improve access to care for people living with arthritis. Sue served as the President of the Arthritis Health Professions Association from 2018-2020, collaborating with professional and patient advocacy groups. She has been awarded the AHPA Extraordinary Service and Lifetime Achievement awards and the Ontario Physiotherapy Association Leadership and Advocacy award. Sue has paved the way for future generations of arthritis health professionals.
Adele Newton graduated from Math at the University of Waterloo in 1978, Adele was a rarity in a male-dominated faculty. At a time when women generally weren’t encouraged to study math, Adele began a forty-year mission to change that. Her professional experiences span some of the most reputable academic institutions and companies in Canada, with the majority of her work central to Waterloo Region. A connector, mentor, and trailblazer, Adele has inspired women en masse to consider technical career paths.
As the owner of both Fresh Look Design and Harp and Fin, Ainsley is a tireless entrepreneur who champions the local approach. In both businesses she thrives on her relationships, and promotes and carries products from other local companies throughout the region. Her desire to be a role model for other female business owners and an inspiration to her two daughters is what keeps her moving forward and continually growing in business.Ainsley continues to give back to organizations and support the community any way she can. Including SASCWR, Habitat, Humane Society, Cancer Association, Best Friends and Oktoberfest, most recently making donations to a local Ukrainian organization.
Dr. Claudia Schubert
With over 20 years of experience teaching in the Pre-Health Sciences department at Conestoga College, Claudia’s dedication to teaching speaks for itself. As the Coordinator of the program, she not only coordinates the department, but also commits to teaching a number of classes each year in order to stay connected to the students. Claudia’s students note her ability to create engaging lectures as well as create a safe space for all learners as reasons that they’ve gravitated to the program. Her ability to inspire students and keep them motivated in a demanding field supports the overall advancement of the Health Sciences field in the region.
Mary Henein Thorn
As a first generation Canadian, Mary is proof what is possible, as a visible minority who has demonstrated leadership through politics, she has inspired many to walk in her shoes and take more leadership roles in their communities. She is the first to make herself available to assist anyone who is interested to take a path she has traveled. She dedicates all of her time to making our community a better place to live. She is a dedicated friend, community member, leader and pioneer.