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 gala recognizes eight extraordinary women whose outstanding contributions positively impact the vitality of the local, regional, or global community.

Funds raised from this event directly support the Community Starts Here campaign, helping to create opportunities so no one in our communities gets left behind.

YMCA Women of Excellence Awards Gala
May 16, 2023
RBC Place London

BMO Blue Lounge Reception: 5:00 pm
Dinner: 6:00 pm

Raffle Winner
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2023 Honourees

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Dr. Lauretta Frederking

Dr. Lauretta Frederking

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.

Dr. Lauretta Frederking is recognized as a true leader and a strong women’s advocate ensuring students can access an inclusive and empowering education above all else.

Deb Matthews

Deb Matthews

Business & Professions
Sponsored by PwC

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

Deb Matthews is recognized for a rapid political rise, building positive, inclusive and engaging work and volunteer cultures in politics, and taking every opportunity to support other women in their own journeys.  

Kathleen Holland

Kathleen Holland

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.

Kathleen Holland is recognized as a leader and role model in the LGBTQ2+ community, ensuring everyone receives access to equal benefits, fair treatment, and safe spaces in the workplace. She has been a role model to countless women over the past 30 years.  

Allison DeBlaire

Allison DeBlaire

Social Justice
Sponsored by RBC

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

Allison DeBlaire is recognized as a determined, inspirational, and empathetic advocate for those living in extreme poverty, and as community connector, Allison develops strong partnerships, mentors many, and transforms lives.  


Karen Fryday-Field

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. 

Karen Fryday-Field is recognized as a powerful example for female entrepreneurs, working to address governance effectiveness and strategy, enabling results by advancing integrity, prudence, and equity, while sharing her energy and compassion with all. 

Dr. Jackie Schleifer-Taylor

Dr. Jackie Schleifer-Taylor

Health, Science & Technology
Sponsored by Lerners

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

Dr. Jackie Schleifer Taylor in her role as President and CEO of London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is recognized for her holistic and inclusive vision to think beyond the scope of LHSC as a London organization.

Victoria Paraschak

Dr. Victoria Paraschak

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. Victoria Paraschak is recognized as a leader in teaching a feminist perspective of sport, challenging traditional, gender-based norms in the face of resistance. She champions change to transform culture in sport and education, creating more equity and inclusivity for women.  

Maggie Mac Neil

Maggie Mac Neil

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.

Maggie Mac Neil is recognized for her dedication and achievement as one of the world’s best female competitive swimmers, inspiring a new generation of young women by reaching incredible milestones while excelling academically.  

See past recipients from other years.  

 View the 2021 Program