2023 Recipients

Arts & Culture

Angela Onuora

Angela Onuora

Angela Onuora is an award-winning filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist based in Waterloo Region. She is a first-generation Nigerian immigrant to Canada, and a mother to three dynamic young children, one of whom is on the Autism spectrum. Angela embraces resiliency and a passion for equity and inclusion, fueling her mission to ensure that all people experience a culturally vibrant, inclusive, empowered, and engaged Waterloo Region. Through her work in film and the arts, she showcases and empowers others to share stories of underrepresented and racialized people to raise awareness and shed light on their abilities to overcome, and inspire others.

Community Service

Monica Himmelman

Monica Himmelman

Monica is a lifelong advocate of building community and providing care. Throughout her over 50-year career and through her volunteer work, Monica has made an undeniable impact on people. Monica’s volunteer work spans all facets of her community including the Breakfast Club, the Alzheimer’s Society, and Community Support Connections, as well as private citizens for whom Monica provides day-to-day care. In 2018, she coordinated Conestoga’s United Way campaign, which raised over $39,000 in one month, receiving the Rising Star Award from United Way Waterloo Region Communities. Now retired, Monica works part-time at Conestoga as a Standardized Patient for the School of Health & Life Sciences.

Entrepreneur Under 40

Rachel Bartholomew

Rachel Bartholomew

A multi-venture founder, local tech leader, and passionate women’s health advocate who has inspired many, Rachel Bartholomew is a powerhouse on the Waterloo Region entrepreneurship scene. Rachel has transformed herself from a soft-spoken young woman of promise to a profoundly courageous and entrepreneurial leader who is making significant contributions to women’s health and the Waterloo Region. Rachel’s personal experience with cervical cancer inspired her to create Hyivy Health, a Waterloo venture that provides and advocates for patient-centred pelvic health care services.

Entrepreneur Over 40

Jolene MacDonald

Jolene MacDonald

Jolene is a life-long entrepreneur opening her first business at 12 years old, selling homemade arts and crafts and flowers roadside at the family cottage. Today, Jolene leads a team of accessibility champions at her company, Accessibrand, empowering and educating other companies to integrate accessibility into their business operations. Jolene’s business model is about creating equitable access for all and meaningful work for professionals with disabilities. Jolene supports the success of others through value alignment and leading by example. Making a positive difference and being passionate about the work she is doing, is what motivates Jolene as an entrepreneur.

Group Achievement

Community Support Connections

Community Support Connections'
Exercise Team

Community Support Connections (CSC) is a non-profit organization that promotes the health of the whole person through our support services. Using a client-centred approach we offer personalized care to help people to live a healthy life in the comfort of their homes. The CSC Exercise Team is comprised of a group of 15 women who provide the Virtual Exercise Program. These ladies daily exude joy, enthusiasm, kindness, commitment, and know how. One can easily feel that each person is noticed, welcomed, accepted, valued and loved. They create intentional relationships and mutuality with all of us while providing gentle exercises that target all ages and ability levels.

Health & Wellness

Marian Best

Marian Best

Marian is a compassionate, innovative community leader who has dedicated her 27-year career to advocating for individuals struggling with substance use, alcoholism, and mental health in Waterloo Region. She currently serves as the Addictions Clinical Supervisor at Porchlight, having worked with those experiencing homelessness in Cambridge since the 1990s. Marian has diligently spent the last two decades building Cambridge Addiction Services, which includes two Recovery Homes providing supportive recovery living for up to 15 individuals at a time. Marian meets people where they are, and through a person-centred approach, helps them learn to believe in themselves again.

Professional Under 40

Amy Cyr

Amy Cyr

Chef Amy Cyr is the Kitchen Project Coordinator and Chef for Tiny Home Takeout, a non-profit organization removing the social barriers associated with food insecurity for those in the region by providing them access to restaurant-quality food at no cost. Amy has built and expanded the program to include partnering with Going Mobile and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. She has cultivated a team of 170+ volunteers with a positive work culture and brought food insecurity and poverty to the forefront of regional conversation.

Professional Over 40

Clarice Ward

Clarice Ward

Clarice Ward is a multi-career construction professional and 17-year industry veteran. Currently an independent contractor, Clarice is an advocate for the extensive opportunities within the Canadian Construction industry. Prior to emerging into construction/ account management, Clarice worked on construction sites for a decade completing the carpentry apprenticeship and in high-rise site health & safety. Clarice was the first woman to receive the prestigious Premier’s Award in 2019 for the Apprenticeship category; Colleges Ontario’s highest honour and was recently named Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Skills Ontario.

Lifetime Achievement

Sandra Henein

Sandra Henein

For the past 26 years, Sandra Henein has created legacies in the music industry, with a focus on Racialized communities. As Marketing Director for The JUNO Awards and Canwest, she helped launch 91.5 The Beat and created “Beat Rocks the Block,” a free outdoor concert in downtown Kitchener. Other notable achievements include an “Artists Against Bullying” program in local schools, The Mel Brown Music Festival, and “Black Exposed,” Canada’s only prime time FM radio with all Black Canadian artists on 98.5 CKWR.



Dinah Davis

Dinah Davis originally planned to become a math teacher at her high school guidance counsellor's suggestion because that’s what girls who are good at math do, right?! While at university to become a teacher, Dinah discovered her passion was in computer science and cybersecurity. This led her to a 20-year career in technology. Dinah has overcome many challenges over the years. She has become a fierce advocate for women in technology and an active member of the women in the tech community within the Waterloo Region. In 2015 she founded, an online publication focused on changing perceptions of Women in Technology.

Young Adult (14-23)

Rachel Almaw

Rachel Almaw

As a first-generation Canadian, Rachel is currently completing her undergraduate degree in health studies with a minor in gerontology at the University of Waterloo. Rachel is an exceptional role model who consistently uses her talents and time to volunteer in her local and international communities. Among her many accomplishments, Rachel is known in her communities for creating belonging, advocating for equality, and advancing opportunities for health and wellness. In 2021, Rachel received the prestigious Okafor-Ogbujiagba Award at the University of Waterloo, recognizing her leadership and advocacy around African equity on and off campus. She is currently the Director of Advocacy and Education for the Racial Advocacy for Inclusion, Solidarity and Equity (RAISE) group at the University of Waterloo.

Past Recipients

Arts & Culture - Betty Anne Keller

Community Service - Nadine Green

Entrepreneur - Donna Litt

Group Achievement - Canadian Federation of University Women Kitchener-Waterloo (CFUW K-W)

Health & Wellness - Rachel Radyk (WaabanoKwe)

Lifetime Achievement - Vickie Murray

Professional - Susan MacQueen

STEAM - Adele Newton

Young Adult - Sarah Odinotski

Arts & Culture - Jayme Armstrong

Community Service - Julie Sawatzky

Entrepreneur - Jill Zappitelli

Health & Wellness - Dr. Linda Leee

Lifetime Achievement - Donna Dubie

Professional - Jennifer Gordon

STEAM - Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

Young Adult - Fatmia Awan

Arts & Culture - Nicole Guse

Community Service - Jane Tuer

Entrepreneur - Ada Barlatt

Group Achievement - Coalition of Muslim Women of KW

Health & Wellness - Jackie Gerlach

Lifetime Achievement - Joan Driver

Professional - Wendi Campbell

Sports & Recreation - Loren Gabel

STEAM - Dr. Hilary Bergsieker

Young Adult - Meena Waseem

Arts & Culture Hilary - Gauld-Camilleri
Community Service - Nancy Koebel
Entrepreneur Diane - Matyas
Group Achievement - Zonta Club of K-W
Health & Wellness - Tara Hebblethwaite 
Lifetime Achievement - Brenda Halloran 
Professional - Margaret Brockett 
Sports & Recreation - Alyssa Lagonia 
STEAM - Carol Leaman 
Young Adult - Chloe Jang 

Arts & Culture - Nancy Regehr

Community Service - Tracy Shonk-Lacey

Entrepreneur - Jennifer Knapp

Group Achievement - SHORE Centre

Health & Wellness - Mary Mueller

Lifetime Achievement - Linda Fabi

Professional - Dr. Diana Parry

Sports & Recreation - Rhonda-Marie Parke

Young Adult - Maggie Sutherland

STEM - Dr. Julie Biedermann

Arts & Culture - Rebecca Short

Community Service - Georgia Cunningham

Entrepreneur - Lina Shamoun

Group Achievement - Best Friends of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region      

Health & Wellness - Laura Callum

Lifetime Achievement - Ann Bilodeau

Professional - Cynthia Davis

Sports & Recreation - Kaitlyn Weaver

Young Adult - Nooran AbuMazen

STEM - Dr. Shohin Ghose