Catherine Fife MPP, Waterloo

Government of Ontario

Leading Women, Leading Girls, Building Communities Recognition Program

Event Announcement: 


MPP Fife's Statement on Monday, February 27, 2023: 

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the winners of this year’s Leading Women/Leading Girls, Building Communities Recognition Program. This program acknowledges and celebrates the remarkable contributions of women and girls who live in Waterloo and have demonstrated exceptional leadership to improve the lives of others.   The Ford Government cancelled these awards, but NEVERTHELESS WE PERSISTED.

Duaa Al-Aghar works to establish services for the Muslim community as well as new Canadians who have come from predominantly Muslim countries as the executive director of Muslim Social Services. 

Paris Cai is instrumental in developing Homework Hub, a youth-led, non-profit organization dedicated to providing free, accessible, and quality educational resources to all students and families in need. 

Sara Geidlinger is the co-creator of the Bonn Park Podcast, an ongoing living oral history of Waterloo Region which has interviewed hundreds of artists, activists, creators, and community leaders. 

Michelle Heyer is a nurse who advocates for appropriate resources and wrap-around services to ensure internationally educated nurses have the support they need to succeed. 

Edl Lemlen and Sophie McConnell are grade six students who model inclusion, compassion and kindness by providing unwavering support and friendship to their classmate Sebastian, a child with autism who is non-verbal. 

As Associate Director of WRDSB, Lila Read has been an integral part of developing and leading the Women in Leadership Group that supports BIPOC women to see their true value and potential.

As a board member of the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Rebecca Short created the Sharing Experiences program, where community groups come to the gallery to do ceramics and share their experience living in Waterloo Region.  

Jennifer Stager Piatkowski is a key figure responsible for bringing the Ontario Nurses Union into the Waterloo Regional Labour Council, strengthening the labour movement in our community. 

Sarah Wilson helped advocate for the free menstrual products from the Ministry of Education and Shoppers Drug Mart that were provided to WCDSB schools after advocating with the Ontario Student Trustee Association.

Congratulations to the award winners. I have no doubt your contributions will continue to inspire others to take a leading role in our community. 

Note: An earlier version stated that Sarah Wilson developed a menstrual equity pilot program for WCDSB elementary schools called Changing the Flow. Sarah’s campaign received guidance from Changing the Flow, which is a pre-existing organization

MPP Fife's office will be hosting an event to celebrate these remarkable women and girls when it’s safe to gather. Details to follow. 


Past Calls for Nominees:

Leading Women, Leading Girls, Building Communities awards are back for 2022/2023!

MPP Catherine Fife is thrilled to announce the return of the Leading Girls, Leading Women Awards. This program recognizes the remarkable contributions of women and girls who live in Waterloo and have demonstrated exceptional leadership to improve the lives of others.  

There are two separate categories: Leading Girls awards are for nominees 17 years of age or younger; Leading Women awards are for nominees 18 years of age or older. To be eligible, women or girls must reside within the boundaries of the Waterloo riding and must not have received the award in the past. The award recognizes women and girls for:                

  • Breaking down barriers and encouraging women and girls to get involved in non-traditional careers 
  • Championing or actively promoting issues such as equality, diversity, healthy equal relationships 
  • Preventing violence against women and girls 
  • Reducing racism and discrimination 
  • Encouraging girls to participate in any part of public service 
  • Acting as a positive role model by mentoring, coaching, leading events or organizations 
  • Providing a positive example to women and girls in their communities 

Nominations require the submission of a nomination form and two letters of support, which could be from a teacher or principal, community leader, mentor, employer, or others who have volunteered with the nominee. For more information on the nomination process, including eligibility criteria, download a copy of the nomination package here. Nominations can be submitted by email to [email protected] or in person at MPP Fife’s Constituency Office, located at 100 Regina Street S., Suite 220.

The nomination period closed on Sunday, January 15, 2023. 

Looking for more information about this program? Have questions? Email [email protected] or call 519-725-3477.