YMCA Women of Excellence

Presented by BMO

The YMCA Women of Excellence Awards is a unique event hosted every two years by the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario. The awards program recognizes women whose outstanding activities contribute to the vitality of the local, regional, or global community. Funds raised from this event directly support the Community Starts Here campaign which helps create opportunities so no one gets left behind. It is one of the many ways the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario fulfills its goal of developing spirit, mind and body in people of all backgrounds, beliefs and abilities in our community.

Nominations for 2023 Honourees closed Monday, December 12, 2022. All honourees will be announced on February 8, 2023, at a media announcement.

Save the Date!

The 2023 YMCA Women of Excellence Awards ceremony will be held in person on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. Ticket sales start February 8, 2023.

See our previous 2021 Honourees:
Michele Beaudoin

Michele Beaudoin

Arts, Culture, Education & Training
Sponsored by TD

Recognizes impactful contributions to the creative arts, culture, or heritage in the community; or leadership in education through teaching, research, training and development or alternative learning programs.

Michele Beaudoin, Arts, Culture, Education & Training, is recognized as a champion in higher education for her advocacy work and empowerment of future leaders, and as a driver for change through her extensive contributions in community service. 

Michelle Baldwin

Michelle Baldwin

Business & Professions
Sponsored by PwC

Recognizes achievement in a business or profession in the public, private or non-profit sector.

Michelle Baldwin, Business and Professions, is recognized for her commitment as a social innovator and community connector. She is congratulated as a change-maker and sought after nationally for her visionary leadership. 

Amanda Kennedy

Amanda Kennedy

NEW! Breaking Barriers
Sponsored by Scotiabank

Recognizes a self-identified woman of colour, LGBTQ2+ member, or woman with a disability who through their personal or professional experience, has broken down barriers for themselves or made significant improvements that benefit others in their profession, industry or community.

Amanda Kennedy, Breaking Barriers, is recognized as an educator and leader, bringing people and communities together in the spirit of healing, truth, and reconciliation, and creating spaces and opportunities for Indigenous youth and women to thrive. 

Aruna Koushik

Aruna Koushik

NEW! Social Justice
Sponsored by RBC

Recognizes impact and advocacy in Social Justice through work or by taking action against social, ethnic, or gender inequalities.

Aruna Koushik, Social Justice, is recognized as a skilled and effective human rights advocate, a catalyst for positive impact locally, nationally, and internationally, and lives by the responsibility to leave our world a better place. 

Kyle MacDonald

Kyle MacDonald

Sponsored by Ivey Business School at Western University and Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Recognizes achievement in organizing and operating a business or businesses, taking on considerable financial risks and other initiatives to do so. 

Kyle MacDonald, Entrepreneurs, is recognized as a powerful example for female entrepreneurs shattering barriers in the tech industry, revolutionizing self-service banking, and for her commitment as a mentor and employer to hundreds. 

Elana Johnson

Elana Johnson

Health, Science & Technology
Sponsored by 3M

Recognizes outstanding achievement or contributions to the health, wellness, science, or technology industries.

Elana Johnson, Health, Science & Technology, is recognized for her leadership in midwifery, gaining official recognition for the profession under the Regulated Health Professions Act, and her ongoing community efforts to improve the lives of children and youth. 

Marg Holman

Dr. Margery Holman

Sport, Fitness & Recreation
Sponsored by EY

Recognizes significant impact and contribution to fitness and athletics, through recreation community programs, education and amateur or professional sports.

Dr. Margery Holman, Sport, Fitness & Recreation, is recognized as a trailblazer in Sport as a coach, official, and academic. She has been called on nationally and internationally for her expertise and advocacy regarding challenges and opportunities for women in this field. 

Maame De-Heer

Maame De-Heer

Young Woman of Excellence
Sponsored by Brescia University College

Recognizes a young leader (18 to 30 years of age) who demonstrates inspiring commitment, achievement, and leadership in their community, school, or workplace.

Maame De-Heer, Young Woman of Excellence, is recognized for her commitment, achievement, and leadership in providing young women in low-income settings the tools for success, as well as serving as a role model for many young Black women.

See past recipients from other years.  

 View the 2021 Program