Star Cluster

Award Winners

2019 - PAST AWARD WINNERS

Women of 2019

The 32ND annual Westman Communications Group YWCA Women of Distinction Awards Gala took place inside the MNP Hall at the Keystone Centre on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019. The dinner and awards gala (started in 1985) honours the achievements of women from the Brandon, Westman and Parkland regions. It is a major fundraising event for the YWCA Brandon.

There are nine awards categories including Leadership in Business, Arts & Culture, Agriculture, Social Action & Community Service, Excellence in Education, Healthy Living, Wellness & Recreation, Lifetime Achievement, a Youth Award (16-21 years) and a Young Woman Award (22-29 years).

See below for the 2019 Women of Distinction Winners!

Social Action &
Community Service

AWARD

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Ngaire Abernethy

Brandon, MB

 

Ngaire was born in New Zealand and came to Canada in 1959 as an infant, her family settled in Thompson, MB. She graduated with her Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Manitoba in 1979. Ngaire married George who was an esteemed member of the RCMP. This union took Ngaire on adventures throughout northern Canada including the Arctic.

 

Ngaire worked as a Social Worker for the Department of Social Services in the Arctic. She worked for C.F.S. in Ontario and Thompson, MB. She has a 27 year career with PMH working in Palliative Care and Mental Health. Ngaire also served as a Magistrate for 10 years. She has been retired for 5 years now but still continues to seek new and exciting adventures.

Social Action &
Community Service

AWARD

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Kathy Cleaver

Justice, MB

 

Kathy is the type of volunteer who is not just there for the planning, she is on hand for the setup, the teardown and the entire week of the event.

 

Kathy had a demanding career in agriculture research when she started with the Provincial Exhibition and is also a farmer with her husband Keith. Even with the farm she is always willing to take on another challenge. Her retirement from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada coincided with the beginning of the Restoring the Glory campaign.

 

Over the years Kathy and other volunteers have transformed the arena during the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair into a wonderland of spectacular jumps and décor. Kathy is the type of volunteer that when she sees something that needs to get done, she just jumps right in.

Excellence in
Agriculture

AWARD

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Mona Cornock 

Brandon, MB

 

Mona Cornock, PHEc is a Director within Manitoba Municipal Relations and a previous Director within Manitoba Agriculture. She was designated a Professional Home Economist in 1979 and has provided strong leadership within the agriculture and rural communities across the province, believing in the strength of the rural people.
 

Mona and her husband Remi DeCosse live in Brandon, they are the proud parents to daughter Jillian DeCosse and her husband Mike Swim, as well as son Ryan DeCosse and his wife Dayna. Mona and Remi are also the proud grandparents of grand-daughters Harper and Ruby.

Lifetime Achievement

AWARD

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Lorna Cowan

Brandon, MB

 

Lorna was born in Dauphin, however she has called Brandon home now for the last 60 years. She graduated from Grace Hospital as a registered nurse and worked as a nurse for 38 years.


Lorna has 2 sons, 6 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. Her true passion, spanning 7 decades has been volunteering.

 

Her volunteering has been beneficial to infants, child development, women’s health, seniors support, communities in need and more. Lorna is always willing to work hard and has proudly been on the board of directors with IODE, BRHC, BRHA, Fairview PCH, Big Brothers and more. She truly has committed to a lifetime of giving of herself to better the lives of others.

Youth (16-21)

AWARD

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Hillary Derewianchuk

Brandon, MB

 

Hillary was born into a Ukrainian-Canadian family and with that she takes great pride in her culture taking part in her church, Ukrainian dance and spreading her culture awareness in the community.

 

Hillary is the eldest daughter of three sisters.


Hillary is involved in many groups within her school and makes sure to be a role model for fellow classmates, she is also very committed to girls taking leadership roles. Hillary is an outstanding individual who goes above and beyond anything that is expected of her.

Leadership in Business

AWARD

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Trish Fjeldsted

Brandon, MB

 

Trish is a mother of 3 and co-owns and operates The Bloombox with her husband.

 

Beginning as a student at the age of fifteen, 2019 will mark her 27th year in the industry. Her unique personalized designs are award winning whether they be traditional or contemporary. She purchased the shop in 2008, after managing it for 10 years. Flowers are a passion that is her lifestyle, from career to volunteer, having spent many years building florals and decorating for the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. She has 2 credentials CFD and AIFD which will assist her in the next steps in her career as a presenter, influencer and teacher.

Social Action &
Community Service

AWARD

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Carly Gasparini

Brandon, MB

 

Carly moved to Brandon in 2014 with her husband and their 2 wonderful sons. She is a proud graduate from the University of Waterloo with a degree in Sociology and a Masters of Public Service.

 

As she made Brandon her home, she took on the position of Executive Director of the Brandon Neighborhood Renewal Corporation. She is an active board member for the YMCA of Brandon, the Brandon Downtown Development Corporation, and the Brandon Bluefins swim team.

 

She believes strongly that a community only moves forward when we move everyone forward and is proud of a career firmly planted in building community capacity and supporting people to be the best version of themselves.

Excellence in Education

AWARD

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Crystal Jensen

Brandon, MB

 

Crystal began her nursing career in Brandon in 2001 after graduating from the Practical Nursing Program at Assiniboine Community College. She has furthered her education by
obtaining her Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Manitoba and her Critical Care Certificate from Mount Royal College. In 2009, Crystal became a nursing instructor in the Practical Nursing Program at A.C.C., and has since attained her Certificate in Adult Education through Red River College.

 

Crystal received recognition from the Canadian Association of Practical Nurse Educators in 2015 for her contributions to innovative teaching methods. She has also received the Atom-Jet Group Community Hero Award. In 2017, she received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the ACC Alumni Association. She has served on many committees within the college that aim to provide exceptional learning experiences.

Excellence in Agriculture

AWARD

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Sandi Knight

Macdonald, MB

 

Sandi lives by a couple of simple guidelines, “stand up for what you believe in” and “do what you can to improve the world”.


It’s a declaration that’s allowed her to embrace prairie life and all it has to offer through her blog, writing and photography as well as her unending volunteer work in the community.

 

She grew up in central and northern Manitoba before finding her perfect ‘farmer’ Brad and marrying him in 1989. Over the last 30 years, they have raised 2 fantastic children, Brady 26 and Carlee 24, and many, MANY crops on their farm near Macdonald, MB.

Youth (16-21)

AWARD

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Chantel Lim

Brandon, MB

 

Chantel Lim is a 4th year Brandon University Honor student. She researches a group of parasites with potential global implications for millions of people. Chantel shows girls that women can excel in the STEM field by presenting her research at the YWCA Power of Being a Girl and Crocus Plain’s High School Women in Science.

 

Chantel is a high-level dancer with over 15 years’ experience, she founded the Brandon University Dance Club, an accessible, affordable and diverse program. In her free time, Chantel volunteers at Fairview Personal Care Home, Let’s Talk Science, Westman Area Traditional Christmas Dinner and Brandon Regional Health Centre.

Healthy Living,
Wellness and Recreation

AWARD

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Jennifer Ludwig

Brandon, MB

 

Jennifer was born and raised in Brandon, one could say that she was destined to be in the business of health and helping people. Jennifer is continuing a family tradition of pharmacists serving the community, with two great-uncles and her uncle Joss March all in pharmacy practices.

 

She graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2005. In 2011, she became the owner operator of Super Thrifty Pharmacy. Jennifer loves the challenges of being a pharmacist and local business owner. She has volunteered on committees that have community-focused benefits such as the YMCA Strong Kids Program and the Westman Dream for Kids.

Youth (16-21)

AWARD

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Camryn McMillan

Carberry, MB

 

Camryn was born in Brandon on March 21st, 2000 and graduated as a gifted student from Carberry Collegiate on June 20, 2018. Camryn was a top academic student in 7 different grade 12 level subjects, was awarded female athlete of the year in June 2018 and received the Governor General’s Award.

 

Camryn received the honor of direct entry into the University of Manitoba’s Engineering Faculty program, which is highly male dominated. She also happened to be 1 of only 5 engineering students selected to attend the national conference in Montreal in January of 2019. Camryn’s future plans include Biosystems and Biomedical Engineering.

Social Action &
Community Service

AWARD

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Doreen Moellenbeck-Dushnitsky

MacGregor, MB

 

Doreen is the Executive Director of the Dakota Ojibway Child & Family Services. Doreen has approximately 14 years experience in the field of Child and Family Services. Over 10,000 children are in C.F.S. care in Manitoba alone.

 

Doreen has been advocating to implement changes in how the agencies assess risk by using various methods including signs of safety, advocating for prevention of children coming into care by implanting family group conferencing as a pilot for the agency. She has a Master’s degree in social work from the University of Manitoba and is a member of Shoal Lake #40.

 

Doreen has one son, and is the proud grandmother of her 2 grandchildren, Erich and Ella.

Excellence in Education

AWARD

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Linda Newton

Shoal Lake, MB

 

Linda was born and raised in Shoal Lake and became involved in her community at a very young age. Her dedication and passion to help others began with Girl Guides and then as a Sunday school teacher.

 

Linda entered the field of nursing that saw many avenues of patient care. Her passion for helping people led her to a lifetime of mentorship, education of local health care providers, and First Responders and EMTs. Linda’s dedication to teaching is not only limited to the medical profession, she can also be seen at any one of our local sporting venues guiding future sports enthusiasts.

Social Action &
Community Service

AWARD

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Dr. Marie North

Austin, MB

 

Dr. Marie North was born and raised in Elie, MB. A farm girl surrounded by cattle, cats and dogs, Marie’s love of animals was easily nurtured.

 

Marie’s original passion was for a large animal veterinary practice however, once out into her field pursuing her career, she soon realized her calling was with companion animals. Marie has worked hard to make her dreams come true.

 

She has a family of her own with husband Arthur and 4 wonderful children. She’s volunteered with Veterinarians Without Borders in South Africa, and she built her own successful 5-Star practice in Carberry.

Leadership in Business

AWARD

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Rhonda Pardy

Brandon, MB

 

Rhonda Pardy met her husband Craig in Newfoundland more than 30 years ago, and together they shared the desire of introducing the Tim Hortons brand to the City of Brandon.


Rhonda enjoyed 25 amazing years of marriage before the passing of Craig Pardy in 2016. Together they had 2 children, Brad 25 and Taylor 22, both work along side her in the business. Her “passion project” is her involvement with Helping Hands Soup Kitchen, she enjoys being involved in the daily operations, serving lunch.

 

Beyond work, Rhonda’s goal in life is to make the day count.

Social Action &
Community Service

AWARD

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Lisa Ramsay

Brandon, MB

 

Lisa Ramsay is the coordinator of the Elspeth Reid Family Resource Centre, a proud Metis woman, a community volunteer, a mother, wife, sister and aunt. Lisa has been a social worker for 25 years and is involved in many collaborative ventures both in her career and in a volunteer capacity.

 

Lisa is a “doer” in our community and has the gift of seeing the larger picture and how impacting the individual has positive impacts on the community as a whole. She has been pivotal in her work with the Brandon Bear Clan, the Westaway Bay Family Resource Centre, Honoring the Good Road Gala, Wiijiiwan, New Legacy and S.H.I.F.T. Lisa’s philosophy is to go about your work and trust in the plan.

Leadership in Business

AWARD

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Dr. Deanna Rexe

Brandon, MB

 

Dr. Deanna Rexe lives in Brandon, is married, has 3 children and 5 stepchildren.

 

Deanna came to ACC as the new Vice President Academic to contribute to community capacity building. Deanna was born and raised near Petersborough, ON on a cow-calf operation. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership from Simon Fraser University, where she taught educational leadership in the Faculty of Education, after a successful career in college administration and management consulting in British Columbia.

 

An active volunteer and researcher in her profession, Deanna mentors young professionals, and continues to teach and contribute research to her field nationally & internationally.

Social Action &
Community Service

AWARD

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Stephanie Sansom

Brandon, MB

 

Born November 3rd 1986 this amazing woman has always been one to make a change for the better. Growing up, Stephanie worked hard to graduate early and still found time to be a peer tutor and volunteer. Over time Stephanie has gone out of her way to help various local charities with bake sales and every year she participates in “Adopt a Family” for Christmas.


Stephanie also does her best to motivate others around her to volunteer or donate to those in need as well. When her son was born back in 2013 and diagnosed with Autism, Stephanie made it her mission to ensure those dealing with the Autism spectrum had access to the services and support they sorely needed by developing the website www.prairiespectrum.com. This amazing mom of 2 soon to be 3 works very hard to improve the lives of everyone around her.

Leadership in Business

AWARD

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Cathy Snelgrove

Brandon, MB

 

Cathy grew up in Brandon and while she spent a few years away, has always been drawn back. She is proud of the community and will do pretty much anything when it comes to promoting the ventures of our region.

 

She is the proud aunt to 6 amazing nieces and nephews and enjoys spending time watching them turn into even more incredible adults. In her spare time, she enjoys camping and learning new things.


Over the years, she has travelled extensively through the United states, into Europe, Mexico and Guatemala and plans to continue to see all the world has to offer.