LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT NOMINEES
For over 25 years, has been a role model, mentor and/or advocate for positive social change.
Award Presented by:
Katie March, Director of Lifestyle Options, Schlegel Villages
Coral is a writer and arts advocate whose work has appeared in many publications over the past four decades. On the national stage, she’s been featured in: Saturday Night, Take One, Graffiti, The New Quarterly, Canplay, Music Express, Performing Arts & Entertainment in Canada, Samaritan Magazine, and Harrowsmith. On the local scene, she’s been featured in: Waterloo Region Record, Grand Magazine, Echo Magazine, and Most Magazine. Coral has recently published her first full length book “The Back Door.” She also promotes the arts community on two radio shows on CKWR 98.5 FM – The Afternoon Drive and Coral Rockks.
Growing up, Desta learned firsthand the importance of supporting the community from her father, Dr. Stanley F. Leavine. His passion for helping others and his commitment to the K-W community led her to create a memorial scholarship at the University of Waterloo, which is given to a third- or fourth-year undergraduate student pursuing a medical career. Desta is no stranger to the medical community as she is the first woman dermatologist in Kitchener-Waterloo. Throughout her 39-year career, Desta dedicated herself to mentoring other women in the medical profession, eager to grow female representation in the medical community.
Diane (Dee) Fortier
Becoming a mom of an adopted daughter from Haiti at 44 and, with over 40 years in the industry as a sought-after hairstylist, Dee spent much of her career sharing knowledge, mentoring and teaching. Never one for standing still, Dee explored every aspect and avenue this industry has to offer. She quickly moved from being behind the chair to becoming a salon owner, working on photoshoots, and participating in both photograph and live competitions. Dee has won several awards, including Hair Worlds in Korea, where she took home silver. For 16yrs , as the Artistic Director for Eufora International ,she also styled for New York Fashion Week and celebrities at TIFF.
Doris has been with Walmart Canada for over 50 years. She started at Woolco as a teenager, then transitioned to Sam’s Club & Walmart as an HR Manager. She has a wealth of knowledge of the company and has helped open several stores. Doris is dedicated to her job, her team members and her family. She is an asset to the company and has helped create an amazing culture for the employees of any store she has worked in. She is always welcoming, encouraging and supportive to all those she hires and works with.
Jacquie has dedicated her life to the youth of Waterloo Region through her involvement with The Ventures Winter Colour Guard. In 1980, as a member of the drum corps, Jacquie and the team won their first of five world championships. In 1995, Jacquie became director of the organization and has provided leadership, coaching, and mentorship to thousands of youth ever since. In the program, young people from age eight to 17 learn a combination of dance, movement, baton, and performance. Beyond the physical aspects of the sport, these youths learn responsibility, dedication, and teamwork - lessons they carry for life. Jacquie’s passion for Winter Guard and dedication to the young people of the Region have made a critical and lasting impact.
Jennifer has been an active community member for over 25 years. She manages her family (2x active boys), while juggling her privately owned pet product company (home based business). She works full time for a local waterproofing company called The Crack Specialists Inc and is an integral member to our team. Jen's involvement with multiple charities over the past 25 years is widespread. She has personally raised money for multiple programs - Public Schools, Football organizations, our local Stuff'n Stockings program and more recently, our local Guest House - in support of Ukrainians.
Dr. Jo, feels like home for so many. She started her practice as a naturopathic doctor in 2006 and has created an incredibly special place in Waterloo called George Street Naturopathic. This space is an extension of the feeling Jo provides in her everyday interactions; a place embodying the feeling of home, safety, and support. But her career isn't where that feeling sparked. Jo has been volunteering since age 19, from being a Big Sister here in Waterloo to supporting an NGO in Madagascar, Jo brings her spirit and love wherever she goes.
Kim is a dynamic woman and the owner of Distinctly Patio. Kim has a background in palliative care and understands the necessary requirements for creating a tranquil environment. Kim is not just a very successful Entrepreneur; she is a person with a heart who gives back to support her community. She reflects the qualities of some of our greatest business leaders being a visionary and possessing some incredible business skills. Kim stands out because of her compassion for others and quest to form lasting relationships with her customers. Kim’s impact in business and community continues to expand and her support of Hospice and Long-Term Care continues.
For Lori Payne, volunteering in community is a way of life. She is committed to making Waterloo Region a better place to live, work, play and stay. She has been supporting not for profit organizations in Waterloo Region for over 25 years, serving as a Board Member, advisor, advocate and educator. She quietly, confidently and capably lifts others up to do their best work while competently leading or assisting as required. She believes in the strength of people coming together to solve big issues and makes an impact in all she does. All while actively listening and caring for others.
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.
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.
Nadine is a registered social worker with a passion for health and wellness who recently joined the University of Waterloo, as a leader on the Campus Wellness Team with a focus on equity strategies. She is an amazing community activist and organizer and is co-founder of Malton Moms -- a community advocacy group in Malton , Mississauga. Before the pandemic, Nadine also led initiatives such as the Black Health Challenge and Black Experience research project in areas across Peel and Toronto. She is excited to continue her activism and volunteering in the KW. She has an indomitable spirit that has allowed her to raise a family, give back to the community, educate others on health disparities and social justice, all while fighting the effects of MS herself.
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.
Independence comes naturally to Sandra. Since arriving in Cambridge from the island of Santa Maria Azores in 1990 the independence trait grew stronger. From learning a new language and living a brand-new lifestyle, Sandra never gave up! For the past 4 years Sandra has been operating her fulltime business Sousa Bookkeeping & Taxes. Specializing in Bookkeeping and Income Taxes, but for 18 years prior Sandra was building her skills working for a variety of clients while having her business on the side. Going that extra mile for her clients and the community is something she takes seriously!
Sara Geidlinger is a longtime photographer and more recently, a podcaster, filmmaker, and digital media specialist in Waterloo. She is currently working on a documentary film called Hip Hop Hope about the local Hip Hop music scene, in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University and the Kitchener Public Library, with support from the Waterloo Region Community Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In 2022, Sara produced two documentary films which sold more than 1000 seats at the premieres, screening at Landmark Cinemas and Princess Twin Cinemas in Waterloo.
Children, youth, women, community - these are Sherryl’s priorities. Her volunteer work with organizations focused on nutrition, access to education and personal safety has helped children learn, feel safe and thrive. As a coach and mentor, Sherryl has modeled how to be a teammate, learn from mistakes, and lose and win with grace. She has inspired and advanced women as co-founder of the region’s largest free, monthly mentorship program and as producer of a month-long series of events to celebrate IWD. And, as a local government advocate, tech ecosystem builder and passionate fundraiser, Sherryl has demonstrated her fierce dedication to community-building.
Stephanie Machado has been a realtor in the area for many years and was born and raised in Waterloo Region. With her passion for helping out the Autistic Youth in our community she is an advocate for so many other notable charities. Stephanie has helped many people achieve the dream of home ownership, is a leader in the entrepreneur space having spoken on panels about the topic. She has helped shape many careers and is a big supporter to several young realtors who want to emulate her success one day.
Suzie has always had an entrepreneur spirit. Her love of food and quest to prepare excellent tasting food led her to starting businesses that have been around for 34 years. While married with young children, she started Pizza Junction @ St. Jacobs Farmers Market. Not long after, Sue was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. For many years she worked at developing exceptional gluten free products that leave her customers saying, “I can’t believe it’s gluten free!” She has developed a following in the community because of the taste of her products. Her new venture is a bakery located at the Boardwalk.
Tina Roberts dedicated her 40-year career to the University of Waterloo and its community. As the university’s director of marketing and undergraduate recruitment, Tina championed a collaborative and unified approach, turning Waterloo into a powerhouse in how it recruits undergraduate students from around the world. She was an early advocate in recognizing the importance of research in developing recruitment strategies. Her focus on evidence-based strategies led to many successful and award-winning projects and to significantly increased enrollment. Tina's strengths were always about creating connections. She was involved in many cross-campus initiatives, such as helping to pilot a campus mentorship program for staff and leading the marketing committee for the university’s 50th anniversary.
Tracelyn Cornelius devotes her professional and academic career to tackling systemic racism. She applies an EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion) lens to engage communities by challenging oppressive narratives to ensure that communications are inclusive. A former educator and journalist, Tracelyn has navigated diverse stakeholder networks to build professional relationships with diverse teams. She is a wife and mother of three children. Tracelyn lives by this credo by poet and author Maya Angelo: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style.”
With over 25 years working in the region, Tracy is known for being a pillar of service to the community and industry. After decades of being a top-performing mortgage agent, Tracy decided to open her own brokerage in 2018, winning “Top New Mortgage Brokerage” shortly after. Tracy has co-authored two books and is a sought-after speaker on the topics of finance, economy, and resilience as a female entrepreneur. She is a proud Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) and has served as Executive Secretary on the MPC Board. She's a passionate advocate for mental wellness and suicide prevention.