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Breaking Barriers, Empowering Communities, Mobilizing Change: Meet the 2023 Top 25 Women of Influence® Recipients 

The annual awards program recognizes exceptional women leaders who, in the last year, have inspired meaningful change and progress in their industries and communities


TORONTO, ON, March 7, 2023 — Today, Women of Influence+, a leading global organization dedicated to promoting gender equity in the workplace, has revealed the honourees for its yearly Top 25 Women of Influence® Awards. Recipients will be honoured during the Top 25 Women of Influence Luncheon on April 4, 2023, in Toronto.

The Top 25 Women of Influence Awards celebrate women who have made significant contributions to their respective fields. This year’s recipients represent a diverse range of industries and sectors, each with their own unique stories of success and impact. Women of Influence+ is committed to celebrating and promoting women’s achievements and advocating for gender parity in all areas of work and life. 

“We are thrilled to be honouring and celebrating the remarkable work of this year’s recipients,” said Dr. Rumeet Billan, CEO, Women of Influence+. “Each woman on this year’s list has made their mark in the past year, whether by spearheading initiatives for the greater good, achieving inspiring feats on a global scale, or utilizing their influence to effect tangible change. Our list includes women from all walks of life who have dedicated their work to breaking boundaries, setting new standards, and rewriting the narrative of what is possible. We are excited to shine a spotlight on their achievements and know that their stories will inspire others and future generations.”

This year’s Top 25 Women of Influence Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Senator Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard. Senator Bernard is a highly regarded social worker, educator, researcher, community activist, and advocate for social change. She is the first African Nova Scotian to hold a tenure track position at Dalhousie University and to become a full professor at the school. She is the recipient of the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada, among many honours and accolades. 


The 2023 Top 25 Women of Influence recipients are:

  • Cheyenne Arnold-Cunningham, Researcher at the Indigenous Law Research Unit and In-House Counsel at Union of BC Indian Chiefs
  • Louise Aspin, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer, UHN Foundation
  • Kirstin Beardsley, CEO, Food Banks Canada
  • Linda Biggs, Co-Founder, joni
  • Elvalyn Brown, the Black Ontario Public Services Employees (BOPSers) Network
  • Dr. Vivien Brown, Award-winning Physician
  • Margaret Coons, Founder and CEO, Nuts For Cheese
  • Jan De Silva, President and CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade
  • Lovepreet Deo, Athlete and Disability Advocate
  • Natalie Evans Harris, Executive Director, Black Wealth Data Center
  • Allison Forsyth, two-time Canadian Olympian, Safe Sport Advocate, and Partner and COO, ITP Sport and Recreation
  • Senator Rosa Galvez
  • Haben Girma, Disability Rights Lawyer
  • The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development
  • Eva Havaris, Vice-President of Partnerships and Participation, Tennis Canada
  • Nicole Janssen, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, AltaML
  • Janet Ko, President and Co-Founder, The Menopause Foundation of Canada
  • Maya Kotecha and Carly Shuler, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs, Hoot Reading
  • Dr. Rachel Ollivier, Maternal and Women’s Health Specialist 
  • Bobbie Racette, Founder and CEO, Virtual Gurus and AskBetty
  • Paulette Senior, President and CEO, The Canadian Women’s Foundation
  • Domee Shi, Oscar-winning Director, Pixar Animation Studios
  • Christine Sinclair, four-time Canadian Olympian and Professional Soccer Player
  • Suzie Yorke, CEO and Co-Founder, The Better Chocolates

About the Top 25 Women of Influence Awards

The Top 25 Women of Influence Awards recognizes and celebrates the notable accomplishments of self-identified women and gender-diverse role models. The awards acknowledge the unique achievements of diverse women representing various sectors, career stages, and contributions to the advancement of women. The awards consider the following criteria:

  • Initiative. From grassroots campaigns to global programs, recipients have demonstrated that they are role models leading the charge when it comes to impactful, inclusive, and inspiring action.
  • Inspiration. Recipients are breaking barriers to reach impressive heights on a global stage, they are inspirational examples of what it means to “define success on your own terms.”
  • Influence. From sparking important conversations to setting a positive example, recipients use their influence to drive wide-reaching change.

To learn more about this year’s Top 25 Women of Influence, visit:


About Women of Influence

For almost 30 years, Women of Influence+ (WOI+) has been the community where ambitious women with wide-ranging expertise, and innovative ideas go to create a new future for themselves and for the world of work at large. A future where women-led leadership thrives. At WOI+, our ethos is rooted in making meaningful and impactful change. We do this by placing ourselves and our community in positions of influence and power — places where we can drive transformation. 

We measure influence by impact — the ripples that are made, the doors that are opened, the number of seats that are added to the proverbial decision-making table. Influence is about how decisions, innovations, and systems create a more inclusive and equitable world for everyone. At WOI+, we are unafraid to shake the status quo to transform society’s expectations of our capabilities.

We are dedicated to sharing and elevating the unfiltered success stories of a diverse group of role models. We know that when done right — from the podium or the page — these stories not only inspire, educate, and connect — they start to redefine our perceptions of gender roles and abilities. We are changing the narrative. The result? Our community is equipped with the connections, support, training, and tools to carve new pathways, and excel within their careers on their own terms.

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Media Contact:

Maricel Joy Dicion, Head of Media

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