North York Post : 2018-12-01
Inspired : 23 : 23
T.O.’S MOST INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN OF 2018 The Activist OLIVIA NUAMAH ELIZABETH CALEY Building bridges for the LGBTQ2SIA community As a politician, I passed more LGBTQ bills than anyone in Canadian history, performed the first legalized same-sex marriage in North America and was the only woman to sign the We Demand statement (the first gay rights lobby effort in Canada), so I’ve seen my share of activism and activists. Few people stood out as exemplary spokespeople for those of us in the LGBTQ2SIA community at that time. Olivia is one of them. She has been accessible, courageous and effective.
She has made difficult political calls with integrity. I’ve always admired her tenacity and her principles. It’s beyond difficult to manage our various interests with honesty, diplomacy and bravery.
When it came to the concern the LGBTQ2SIA community and the Black Lives Matter movement had with uniformed police involvement in the Pride Parade, Olivia’s role proved exemplary. She listened to the community. Then she involved herself in attempting to resolve some of the issues with the Toronto Police Service. Both required tact. Not everyone was or can be satisfied in such a process, but the fact that she was able to traverse some very real grievances and work toward healing shows her peacemaking skills in practice. We need more peacemakers, peacemakers that listen and maintain their principles but steer conflict toward resolution. Olivia is one. Olivia is, in all things, someone you can call. Olivia is also a role model. Perhaps most importantly, when I watch her, I think of all those young girls who will lead better lives both because of her and by following in her footsteps. Using technology for good and mentoring women in STEM areas Technology for good, for all. That’s the heart of Elizabeth Caley, quintessential science and technology geek. She builds big technology products, used by millions of people, often infused with cutting-edge artificial intelligence. But her work has always been grounded in helping people solve real problems, particularly scientists.
She co-leads Meta, part of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a free, real-time discovery tool that helps scientists read and analyze millions of technical papers. It has the potential of reshaping the pace of scientific discovery across the world. Elizabeth is just like Meta — always voraciously consuming information, the latest scientific papers, technical blogs, books and more.
That appetite is only matched by her quiet ambition to mentor women in STEM areas. I was fairly new to tech when I first met Elizabeth at Microsoft. We were different in many ways, but she always celebrated our differences while harnessing and deepening our common ground. That’s her superpower — making everyone feel uniquely recognized, heard and understood and brilliantly building consensus.
That time with Elizabeth ignited my passion for technology and was at the core in solidifying my passion for the technology industry. She continues to use almost every free moment to inspire and lead women like me, as well as budding entrepreneurs. Elizabeth, in addition to her remarkable intellectual depth and talent, is best known for her steadfast commitment to helping others reach their full potential. BY REV. CHERI DINOVO MINISTER CHRYSTIA FREELAND Conquering the challenge of the NAFTA trade negotiations I can remember quite vividly my first meeting with Chrystia Freeland. I had stepped down as the MP for Toronto Centre, and when she decided to run for the nomination, we went for coffee. We knew each other by reputation but had never met. What impressed me most was her curiosity. A professional journalist, she made a point of jotting things down as she peppered me with questions. This wasn’t a pro forma exercise. She wanted to know what it would take to win a nomination, how I balanced my life and work, what she could expect when she got to Ottawa.
I warned her that her first days in Ottawa would be difficult because the House of Commons has a way of testing newcomers. She survived the comments about her voice being too high and the challenge of handling the heckling. If she was daunted by it, she never showed it.
The election of Donald Trump and the emergence of NAFTA as a key issue led to Chrystia becoming minister of foreign affairs. She mastered the web of details on that issue and reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to building a world where rules mattered in trade and the rule of law needed to count in our dealings with the world. Articulate and unfazed by the challenge of dealing with the unpredictable, Chrystia has emerged as a key voice, not just for the government, but for Canada.
Through it all, she is a wife and mother, down-to-earth, disarmingly straightforward and direct. Working with her on the Rohingya file, I saw her show compassion and a willingness to go the extra mile for what she believes in. And she still writes stuff down when we chat. Because she’s curious, and she cares. BY ERIN ELOFSON COUNTRY MANAGER, PINTEREST CANADA BY BOB RAE LAWYER & FORMER MP HAYLEY WICKENHEISER OSRA LINDO LESLEY HAMPTON WEYNI MENGESHA One of Canada’s most celebrated hockey players, Hayley Wickenheiser is breaking down barriers on and off the ice. After retiring as a player last year, she was named assistant director of player development for the Leafs in August. At age 79, Osra Lindo is showing everyone that it’s never too late to pursue further education. The grandmother graduated from York University this year with a degree in gender, sexuality and women’s studies after 52 years in the workforce. Toronto-based First Nation fashion designer Lesley Hampton is known for promoting inclusivity and body diversity in her collections. In an industry that so often focuses on unrealistic beauty standards, Hampton is changing the game. Weyni Mengesha, the Dora Award–winning director of and was named Soulpepper’s new artistic director in October. She’ll be coming home to T.O. from L.A. to start her new role this January. Kim’s Convenience Da Kink in My Hair, 23
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