Women of Distinction Awards


YWCA Banff and Soroptimist International of Banff National Park & Canmore are partnering in 2015 to celebrate International Women’s Day and bring ‘Women of Distinction’ awards to the Bow Valley.

“YWCA and Soroptimist share closely aligned missions and values so this is a perfect partnership for us. We wanted to create a project which focuses on women’s leadership, a priority for both organizations,” said YWCA CEO Connie MacDonald.

In the pilot year, these organizations will recognize three women who are change-makers in the Bow Valley – Bev Carrick, Executive Director of CAUSE Canada; Carla Pauls, Canadian Rockies Public Schools counsellor at Exshaw School; and Corrie DiManno, photojournalist and Banff Town Councillor.

The 2015 recipients were chosen for their contribution to the areas of community development, social inclusion, young women leadership, education and mentorship. YWCA and Soroptimist will gradually open the nomination process to the wider community in the future.

“Our goal is to start a legacy for women in the Bow Valley. We want to celebrate the achievements of local women and bring attention to their work in the community,” said Yvonne Machuk from Soroptimist.

The award recipients will be recognized on March 5, 2015 at the International Women’s Day event jointly presented by YWCA and Soroptimist at The Banff Centre’s Margaret Greenham Theatre. “These three outstanding Bow Valley women demonstrate leadership and exemplify the values our organizations share. They will be thanked on stage and will receive a commemorative statue created by local artist Nicole Tremblay,” said Machuk. “Our plan is that this will be an annual tradition.”

The event will feature internationally-acclaimed author, journalist and human rights activist Sally Armstrong as the keynote speaker.
Armstrong has covered stories in zones of conflict all over the world. From Bosnia and Somalia to Rwanda and Afghanistan, her eyewitness reports have earned her the Amnesty International Media Award three times over, as well as acclaim all over the world.

In addition to her journalism, Armstrong is the author of the books Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan; The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor; Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots: The Uncertain Fate of Afghanistan’s Women; and her most recent title, Ascent of Women: Our Turn, Our Way: A Remarkable Story of World-Wide Change.  Armstrong’s speech will bring attention to the global achievements of women, while the awards will celebrate achievements of women from the Bow Valley.

“We want to celebrate International Women’s Day in a meaningful way, by having an extraordinary woman share a story about women’s leadership in a global context, and at the same time by recognizing the extraordinary women in our community,” said Connie MacDonald.

After the event, everyone will be invited to join the speakers and award recipients for a casual reception in Maclab Bistro. To buy tickets and learn more about the event, go to www.banffcentre.ca/events.

In effort to make this event accessible to youth, YWCA and Soroptimist are offering 50 free tickets to local students and young adults (13-23yrs). To book tickets, call 403-760-3201.