Local women recognized at Women of the Year awards

By CityNews Kitchener Staff

Local women were celebrated Tuesday night for the work they do here in Waterloo Region to make our community better. 

The 47th annual Oktoberfest Rogers Women of the Year awards were handed out in Cambridge at Tapestry Hall hosted by Country 106.7 morning show hosts Robin and PJ. 

A record 71 nominees were honoured.

The 2022 Arts and Culture Award went to Betty Ann Keller.

Nadine Green was honoured with the Community Service Award while the Entrepreneur Award went to Donna Litt.

The young adult award went to Sarah Odinotski. She also received the Jennifer Campbell Youth Scholarship Award in memory of Jennifer Campbell who emceed the event in years past and inspired so many local women. 

The complete list of award winners can be found below:

Arts & Culture (sponsored by Central Views Property Management) recognizes women for enriching the culture of our community through the creation or promotion of the arts on a volunteer or professional basis.

Betty Ann 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.

Community Service (sponsored by Rogers TV) recognizes women for generously volunteering time to programs and services that make our community a better place.

Nadine (Udanapher) Green

Nadine is truly an extraordinary woman. Her selfless support of vulnerable people in our community is well known. For five years she sheltered and cared for people experiencing homelessness in her downtown Kitchener convenience store until she was evicted in January 2020. In April 2020 Nadine was invited to help establish and live in A Better Tent City. Nadine continues to go out at night with the help of her group Going Mobile KW to care for hundreds of people in our community who remain unsheltered.

Entrepreneur (sponsored by Piller's Fine Foods) recognizes women for initiating and/or administering an enterprise or business.

Donna Litt

Donna is an extraordinary leader, a humble yet experienced startup founder and a tireless champion for female entrepreneurship and diversity in the tech sector. As Uvaro’s COO, she has established a culture of diversity and inclusion. Under Donna’s guidance, the Uvaro Community Fund through the KW Community Foundation has grown past $40,000 in value in just 3 years. She is empathetic. She is a champion for the marginalized. An extraordinary human, and approaches every thing she does with a whole heart.

Group Achievement (sponsored by Tapestry Hall) recognizes achievements by a group of women that impact and/or improve our community or society.

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

The Canadian Federation of University Women Kitchener-Waterloo (CFUW K-W), is celebrating its 100th Anniversary. The club’s purpose is to promote human rights, cultivate educational excellence and encourage higher education of women. Each year the club provides scholarships to outstanding students in local area secondary schools, universities, colleges, adult learning centres and the K-W Symphony Youth Orchestra through the CFUW K-W Charitable Fund which has grown to $1.67M. Among other activities, the club advocates in our community on issues such as Housing & Homelessness, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and conditions in Long-Term Care. It encourages involvement in public service, marks International Women’s Day with a clothing drive, and supports the commemoration of the National Day of Remembrance and Action to End Violence Against Women.

Health & Wellness (sponsored by Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce) recognizes women for promoting and helping others achieve and promote mental, physical or spiritual well-being in her career or community involvement.

Rachel Radyk (WaabanoKwe)

Rachel Radyk (WaabanoKwe) is an AnishinaabeKwe, proud member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island. She is an award-winning health care provider & Registered Nurse. Guided by her passion for Indigenous health, Rachel is committed to applying her education and lived experience as an Indigenous woman to her professional practice and local community advocacy for culturally sensitive healthcare. Rachel is an inspirational leader, striving to raise awareness and influence positive change within nursing education and all medical organizations.

Lifetime Achievement (sponsored by Schlegel Villages) recognizes women for being role models, mentors and/or advocates for positive and social change throughout their lifetime.

Vickie Murray

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.

Professional (sponsored by Home Hardware) recognizes women for dedicating themselves to the pursuit of excellence in their chosen careers.

Susan MacQueen

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.

Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (sponsored by Enbridge) recognizes women for outstanding advancement to the field of STEM.

Adele Newton

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.

Young Adult (14 to 23) (sponsored by CHYM 96.7, Country 106.7 & CityNews 570) recognizes young women for leading by example and being a role model to their peers.

Sarah Odinotski

During Sarah’s 5 years at Conrad Grebel, she has acted in the capacity of resident, orientation leader, student ambassador, and apartment superintendent. Sarah became the Speaker Relations Director for the Waterloo Nano Conference: a student-founded international conference open to the public. Sarah worked to bridge the gap between students and employers by creating interactive breakout rooms and networking sessions, allowing students to meet employers and learn about the skills they value. Sarah’s openness to share her experience, and her support for other students is truly inspiring.

The award ceremony will be broadcast on Rogers TV on Saturday, May 28 at 5:30 p.m. (details at www.rogerstv.com).

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