Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Vancouver for 2023. Vancouver's economy boasts a diverse and thriving landscape, making it one of Canada's economic powerhouses. The city's strategic location as a major Pacific port, coupled with its strong sectors in technology, film and television production, tourism, and natural resources, has contributed to its robust economic growth. Emphasizing the importance of gender diversity in leadership, Vancouver has fostered an inclusive environment that harnesses the unique perspectives and talents of women, driving innovation, increasing productivity, and ensuring sustainable growth in the economy. This year’s awardees are well-respected authentic leaders who, possessing self-awareness, garner credibility, empower others and present themselves as a constant and consistent role model to others within their industries.
Among this year’s awardees is Victoria DeBoon, Vice President of Sales for SAP's Midmarket space in Western Canada and Ontario, who stands out as one of the company's top women leaders, renowned for her commitment to fostering the development and growth of individuals in the industry. Her dedication to nurturing and mentoring her teams has yielded year-over-year success throughout her career. Awardee Bronche Cheng, Partner at KPMG, possesses an expertise in taxation services and advising major real estate clients in the Vancouver office, where she has accumulated over 25 years of experience in progressively senior roles. Also awarded is the Group General Counsel of GrowthOps Ltd, Arshpreet Kaur Ranjit Singh, who leads and oversees the in-house legal department, handling legal and compliance matters, acting as a key negotiator for strategic transactions, and providing expert counsel on cross-border mergers and acquisitions.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Vancouver for 2023.
2. Victoria DeBoon
VP of Sales, SAP
Victoria DeBoon is currently the Vice President of Sales for SAPs Midmarket space in Western Canada and Ontario. She is one of SAP's top women leaders and is known for advocating for the development and growth of individuals in the industry. With the right mix of positivity, the ability to tap into others' strengths and think outside the box. Victoria puts her loyalty and passion for the betterment of her colleagues and stakeholders ahead of her own. She has proven results in accelerating business growth. She has a track record of success in delivering record-breaking revenue by building high-performing teams. Victoria has the unique ability to balance process and innovative thinking to discover new business opportunities across complex sales cycles using value-based selling tied to a strategic business approach. She has a passion for growing and mentoring teams. She has shown year-over-year success in all aspects of her career.
Victoria has a Bachelor of General Studies focused on business from Simon Fraser University and is currently working on her MBA in executive management at Royal Roads University.
3. Jennifer Tokarek
Vice President and National Leader, TD
Jennifer Tokarek is the Vice President and National Leader of TD Wealth Private Trust, Tax Services. For over twenty years, Jennifer has focused on providing high-net-worth individuals and their families with proactive tax planning solutions and tax preparation services. Her abiding goal has always been to provide clients with the utmost personalized service, ensuring that they receive genuine “hand-held” guidance every step of the way. Jennifer joined TD in 2009 as a regional manager, leading the Western Canada tax team serving clients in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. In 2014, she became the national leader for TD Wealth Private Trust, Tax Services, overseeing a Tax Centre of Expertise comprised of a team of tax specialists. Under Jennifer's strategic leadership, in both 2022 and 2023, the team was selected for a number of awards.
Before joining TD, Jennifer worked as a senior tax manager at Ernst & Young LLP, where she delivered proactive tax planning solutions and tax preparation services to high-net-worth individuals and their families. In 2008, E&Y selected Jennifer as one of ten of their top performers in North America who traveled to South America as a Corporate Responsibility Fellow to provide tax services pro-bono to an emerging entrepreneur. Her international tax experience included three months in Santiago, Chile, working with a popular South American HR tech company.
In 2013, Jennifer received the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC's Early Achievement Award, which honors CAs who have demonstrated outstanding early career success. The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Canada presented Jennifer with their inaugural award for the highest mark achieved on a Qualified Practitioner Essay, and she earned their TEP designation in 2012. Jennifer is also a past recipient of the Junior Achievement of BC’s prestigious Volunteer of the Year award for Senior High School programs, a multiple TD Star Award recipient, a member of the Canadian Tax Foundation, and she has completed Parts I, II & III of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) In-Depth Tax Course.
6. Bronche Cheng
Bronche Cheng is a Partner of KPMG which employs over 10,000 people across the country and offers a wide range of professional services across Canadian industries. Bronche specializes in taxation services and advises some of the largest real estate clients in the Vancouver office. She has been with the firm for more than 25 years and has held progressively senior positions. In her previous role as the HR partner of KPMG Vancouver’s Tax practice, Bronche was involved in the career development and performance evaluation of over 300 professionals. She is a strong supporter of EDI and women in leadership.
After experiencing significant personal growth with the help of her coach a few years ago, Bronche decided to pursue further education and obtained her Certification in Organizational Coaching at the University of British Columbia. As a lifelong learner, she continues to undertake formal coaching training through Satir Global Network and devotes 10+ hours each week to exploring the psychology behind personality and mindset. Her purpose in life is to support others in their journey of personal growth and transformation into the best version of themselves.
Bronche coaches senior women leaders on overcoming challenges in careers and finding balance in life. She is a longtime mentor of UBC’s Executive Mentorship Program and serves as a Strategic Council member of Ascend Canada’s Vancouver Chapter. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Bronche is a mother of three children. She holds an undergraduate degree in commerce from UBC and a Chartered Professional Accountant designation.
8. Joan Sheehan
Vice President of Sales, STEMCELL Technologies
Trained as a medical technologist and with a background in blood banking and hematology, Joan Sheehan immigrated from Ireland to North America in 1989. Sheehan held positions at the New England Deaconess Hospital, the American Red Cross, and the Markham Stouffville Hospital before settling in Vancouver, Canada in 1993.
In 1993 Sheehan took a position at STEMCELL Technologies Inc., a small startup that was producing a single product line of cell culture media for growing hematopoietic cells out of a dedicated clean room at the Terry Fox Laboratories. Over the next decade, STEMCELL saw annual growth of 15-30%. Sheehan played a key role in driving this growth through various roles in technical support, education, marketing, customer service, and distribution & logistics. She later took on the title of VP of sales in 2004. Today, she serves as the Vice President of STEMCELL. They currently employ 750 people, sell more than 2000 products globally, maintain offices in several countries, and have never seen an unprofitable year.
9. Lorna Clamp
Senior Vice President of Strategy & Culture, Securiguard Services
Lorna Clamp is the Senior Vice President of Strategy & Culture at Securiguard Services Limited. She embarked on her journey with the company in 1993, and her unwavering dedication has played a pivotal role in its enduring success. Securiguard has been at the forefront of the asset protection arena for almost 50 years by being a leading-edge innovative security and safety solutions provider. That is how they have become one of the largest and most trusted private security organizations in Canada. Securiguard has proven expertise in deploying security and safety personnel in a variety of industries including corporate, retail, property management, industrial, aviation, marine, government, educational, and industrial/resource projects, and has the largest and highest accredited K9 detection and screening division in Canada.
In her multifaceted role, Lorna oversees diverse departments, including People and Culture, Health & Safety, Quality Assurance, and Branding & Marketing, as well as Securiguard's commitment to their Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, and Profit. Lorna's visionary leadership has been the driving force behind Securiguard's sustainability initiatives, reinforcing the company's commitment to environmental stewardship and the ambitious goal of achieving Net Zero status by 2050. Her dedication extends beyond sustainability to include active involvement in social responsibility endeavors. Lorna is deeply committed to giving back to communities across Canada through charitable donations and volunteer opportunities.
Lorna's industry-wide recognition stems from her steadfast dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Her transformative approach earned Securiguard recognition as a finalist in the Canadian HR Awards for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion in both 2021 and 2023, along with consecutive Waterstones Most Admired Corporate Culture Awards in 2022 and 2023, and the prestigious Top 100 Employers Award in 2023. Lorna's outstanding contributions continue to influence Securiguard's future, encompassing the company's growth, safety, values, and industry recognition.
14. Arshpreet Kaur Ranjit Singh
Group General Counsel, GrowthOps Ltd
Arshpreet acts as the Group General Counsel of GrowthOps, a multinational digital media, human experience, and technology consulting group with local bases in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Auckland, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Hong Kong, and the Middle East. Arshpreet leads and manages the in-house legal department for the group of companies spread across all 10 global locations, overseeing the legal and compliance matters for the group, and acting as a key negotiator for strategic transactions and strategist for dispute resolution. She brings with her significant expertise in handling a variety of corporate transactions across different industries, delivering commercial solutions, and advising on cross-border mergers and acquisitions.
Arsh was previously in practice in top legal firms in Malaysia, where she has had multidisciplinary exposure to a broad range of legal matters in the corporate and dispute resolution department before joining GrowthOps, Arsh was leading the Corporate & Commercial Practice of her own legal practice; M&A Law, a full-service law firm with offices in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bharu in Malaysia.
Arsh holds an LLB from Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK and she was admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in Malaysia Following the considerable amount of work done in the tech and fintech industry, Arsh obtained accreditation as a Certified Fintech Professional and is currently, a Fellow of the Global Academy of Finance & Management. She is now pursuing the ACBSP and NCMA-accredited MBA program at the University of Canada West Vancouver.
20. Amara Hunt
Vice President of Product Strategy, Integrity Solutions
Amara Hunt is a business strategist with over a decade of experience in the training and development consulting industry. Amara began her career in Corporate Social Responsibility / ESG consulting. Since moving into training, Amara has served as a global facilitator, sales leader, product developer, DEI specialist, and senior executive. In 2023 Amara joined Integrity Solutions - a Selling Power and Training Industry award-winning organization.
Today, Amara leads Integrity Solutions’ newly-created product function, collaborating closely with sales and marketing to support the continued success of the business. Leveraging best-in-class LXP technology and adult learning principles, Amara stewards Integrity’s award-winning products, which balance mindset and skills to transform the way companies approach sales and service. Amara has a BA from the University of British Columbia, and a master’s degree from the University of Calgary. She lives in North Vancouver, Canada with her partner, two young children, and two dogs.
21. Terralynn Forsyth
Co-Founder & Head of Data, FutureFit AI
Terralynn Forsyth is a founder and AI product leader interested in the future of work and workforce technology. She is currently a Co-Founder and the Head of Data at FutureFit AI, a technology provider partnering with Fortune 500s, governments, and workforce development organizations in building tools for career navigation and demand-driven workforce ecosystems.
Previously, Terralynn served as FutureFit AI's head of user success running support, user experience, and reporting and analytics, and head of product where she ran the company's early product and design processes, lead a full product rebuild to support growth efforts, and managed the company's first team of product managers and designers. FutureFit AI has been backed by leading investors including JP Morgan, Techstars, and Acumen, and its work has been recognized by the World Economic Forum, Harvard Review, SHRM, World Government Summit, and a $1M Future of Work Prize.
Terralynn has previously worked in applied predictive analytics and research design for federal employment policy and in product management for early-stage start-ups. Terralynn has led research and contributed to reporting on the future of work with global partners, including the OECD, World Economic Forum, and Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity. Her work has been featured in The Economist, Financial Times, BNN Bloomberg, and BBC.
View the complete list of awardees.
22. Zhenya Beck
Co-Founder and Head of Marketing, Freightera
Zhenya Beck is Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Freightera, a game-changing Canadian startup offering customers in Canada and the USA an online platform to easily access and book freight shipping at the best prices. Freightera works with hundreds of national and local trucking companies and rail carriers to make shipping easier for thousands of small businesses in Canada and the USA. Freightera specializes in domestic Canadian and Cross-Border shipments (between Canada and the USA, both ways), while rapidly expanding operations and coverage in the USA. With Zhenya’s leadership, the company has a solid environmental and social responsibility mission. Freightera and team won many accolades, including Canada’s Top Growing Companies and Changemaker Awards by The Globe and Mail, Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Award, Canada’s Clean 50 Award, Ready to Rocket, BC Tech Technology Impact Award, and many more.
Zhenya’s environmental mission started at age 12 when she was contributing to a small local newspaper, writing about Lake Baikal, the iconic freshwater lake in her native Siberia that was later protected by a special federal decree and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. She and her husband Eric Beckwitt, Freightera’s acclaimed CEO, recommitted to the environment after their newborn son experienced severe air pollution-induced asthma in Northern California and the family had to relocate to Vancouver, Canada for better air. In 2014, when Freightera was founded, the green mission was incorporated from day 1 to clean up freight shipping, one of the highest-polluting industries. Freightera’s team worked with the joint USA EPA/ Environment Canada SmartWay program to feature certified trucking companies and rail carriers in the network. Freightera’s customers can choose by price, speed, and Go Green options. Over 630 firms reduced emissions by over 20% by selecting the lowest cost and lowest emission shipping options in 2022, the most recent year analyzed, and 130 firms reduced emissions by over 50%.
Zhenya holds a master’s degree in journalism and an award of achievement in digital analytics. Before founding Freightera, Zhenya had a successful career as a prominent newspaper journalist, web designer, and digital marketer, and founded and ran a boutique web development company serving small businesses in the USA. Her passion for thriving small businesses, happy and successful employees, and a healthy planet inspires all of her work.
26. Anita Huberman
President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade
Anita Huberman has been the President & CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade for 17 years for one of the top 10 Boards of Trade/Chambers of Commerce in Canada and one of the largest cities in Canada. She has been with the Surrey Board of Trade in a variety of roles for 30 years. Anita and her team serve more than 6,000 member contacts.
In 2022, Anita won SFU’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2021, she was announced as being 1 of 15 Outstanding Canadians for her work in the private sector and through the pandemic. She is an Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy (appointed by Canada’s Minister of National Defence, just re-appointed for her third term till 2024), holds the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, was a Business in Vancouver Top 40 Under 40 award winner, awarded the 2019 Surrey Community Builder of the Year and received a Canada 150 Community Medal.
Anita is a highly visible advocate for Surrey businesses at all levels of government with a demonstrated history of evolving, reinvigorating, and transforming civic, business & social organization industries.
31. Alyssaa Delmars
Managing Partner, Aim Medical Imaging
Alyssaa Delmars serves as the Managing Partner at Aim Medical Imaging, a pioneering private medical imaging facility founded in 2009 in Vancouver, BC. Harnessing the pinnacle of state-of-the-art advancements, Aim Medical has spearheaded a paradigm shift in patient care, bestowing upon the medical realm an awe-inspiring marvel: MRI imaging of unparalleled brilliance, heralding intricate diagnostic revelations, and delivering instantaneous scan results.
Throughout her distinguished career in the Canadian Private Healthcare sector, Delmars has demonstrated exceptional prowess in overcoming complex challenges, spearheading groundbreaking initiatives, and achieving remarkable milestones, earning notable contributions to various ventures, as well as pioneering the inception of one of the premier private surgical and urgent care centers in Canada. Her multifaceted responsibilities extend to managing the firm's network involvement, formulating strategic growth initiatives, and executing all aspects of client relations.
Delmars’ professional journey is deeply anchored in her passion for empowering patients, advocating for preventative care, and enhancing the quality of life for individuals across the spectrum of healthcare needs. Beyond her role at Aim, Delmars is deeply committed to empowering and advancing women in business, fostering the growth of children, and promoting education through active engagement in diverse philanthropic endeavors. Not content with stopping there, Delmars’ active pursuit of a PhD exemplifies her unyielding passion for continuous growth and lifelong learning.
35. Britainny Hari
Director, Marketing & Communications, CBRE
Britainny Hari is an experienced communications and public relations professional from Vancouver, BC. Skilled in media relations, copywriting, and digital marketing, Britainny has cultivated her expertise through the fast-paced and results-driven agency environment as well as working within the public sector, sports, and real estate industries.
Her extensive market knowledge and passion for brand reputation management have allowed her to excel in her current role as Director of Marketing and Communications at CBRE where she effectively executes strategic plans while fostering valuable relationships for the benefit of the company. Her strong leadership, enthusiastic approach, and unparalleled work ethic are proven assets to the brokerage. Britainny continues to further establish the company's client service offering from branding consultation, social media strategy, earned and paid content strategy, and visual design.
Britainny continues to defy conventional norms and innovate beyond the status quo, operating within North America’s first pilot project program, and leading an independent centralized marketing team. Over the past 3 years, she has executed her vision to oversee a diverse team of 10+ creative individuals who service all brokers, asset classes, and product types to enhance the company's overall sales programs and drive new business in BC.
36. Elizabeth Fingler
Human Resources Director, ICON Creative Studio
Elizabeth Fingler is the Human Resources Director at a local animation studio, ICON Creative Studio. She leads the studio’s efforts in recruiting and retaining top talent in Vancouver’s booming CG Industry.
Elizabeth has an extensive and unique educational background from SFU. She first earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree specializing in operations management and international business. She then went on to earn a Post-Graduate Certificate in HR and recently became a Certified HR Professional (CPHR). She utilizes her business acumen to specialize in change and risk management, being a trusted advisor and people specialist.
Elizabeth has made significant contributions in multiple roles by driving organizational success through strategic initiatives and fostering inclusive work environments. With a passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), she has consistently demonstrated her ability to enact positive change and empower individuals at all levels of an organization.
37. Rebecca Pauls
Executive Director, Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network
Rebecca Pauls is an enthusiastic leader and creative facilitator with a broad range of experiences in community development and collaboration with people who have disabilities. She is passionate about seeing the unique gifts each person has and is convinced that our communities will be stronger, safer, and more resilient when each of us is contributing and recognized for our gifts.
Rebecca is the Executive Director of Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN), a Vancouver-based social enterprise that partners with families and people facing social isolation to secure their future by mobilizing relationships and leveraging community assets. Since joining PLAN nine years ago, Rebecca has led a complete re-design of planning practices to integrate principles of person-centered planning, ABCD, narrative practices, and independent facilitation. After demonstrating the strength and flexibility of this community approach, Rebecca is regularly invited to consult with organizations about how it can be scaled and applied to population groups across North America. Rebecca serves as a faculty member with the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University in Chicago.
View the complete list of awardees.
39. Felicia Lo
Founder & Creative Director, SweetGeorgia Yarns
Felicia Lo is the Founder & Creative Director of SweetGeorgia Yarns and the School of SweetGeorgia. SweetGeorgia Yarns is a boutique artisanal yarn company that has become synonymous with exceptional quality, vibrant colors, and unparalleled craftsmanship. Founded in 2005, SweetGeorgia Yarns has been on a mission to bring joy and inspiration to the world of fiber arts, captivating knitters, weavers, and makers from all corners of the globe. Started in 2017, the School of SweetGeorgia is an online learning platform and community for the fiber arts.
As the founder of SweetGeorgia Yarns, she has cultivated a brand that stands for exceptional quality and creativity, inspiring knitters, weavers, and artists to create projects and pieces that reflect their individuality. Beyond her contributions to the crafting world, Felicia is committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive learning community. Through her workshops, courses, and advocacy, she has become an influential educator and guide for aspiring artists and individuals, encouraging them to unleash their creative potential and embrace the joy of making.
Inside the School of SweetGeorgia, Felicia has led the creation of a membership-based online fiber arts school where members learn all the aspects of the fiber arts, including knitting, crochet, spinning, dyeing, weaving, tapestry, and design and color theory. The School helps makers with everything from the challenges of choosing colors for craft projects to juggling time and priorities to managing a creative mindset as well as all of the techniques and skills for each craft. Felicia graduated from The University of British Columbia with an undergraduate degree in pharmaceutical sciences. She was a 2013 nominee for the YWCA Metro Vancouver Women of Distinction Awards in the category of arts, culture, & design.
40. Sylvia van Rooyen
Program Director of Art & Design, LaSalle College Vancouver
Currently residing in Vancouver, Sylvia van Rooyen is a Canadian-Polish designer who was born in South Africa. She holds a BSc Int. Architecture and a Baccalaureus Honor in Int. Architecture from the University of Pretoria, as well as a Master of Arts in Design, with a specialization in interior design from the University of Johannesburg.
At this time, she serves as the Program Director for the Art and Design programs at LaSalle College Vancouver in Canada. In this role, she is responsible for both the long-term strategic planning and daily operations of the fashion design, graphic design, and interior design departments. In this role, she is committed to creating an educational environment that nurtures and develops talent while also promoting a positive learning atmosphere. Her dedication extends to enhancing course quality through quality curriculum development and encouraging instructors to embrace an interdisciplinary teaching approach to foster inclusivity.
Before her career in education, Sylvia dedicated nearly a decade to refining her skills in the interior design and architectural sectors of the building industry. As an educator, she has developed and delivered a variety of interior design courses at both diploma and degree levels, including Building Construction I and II, Architectural Drafting, Colour and Design, Interior Design I and II (Studio), Digital Rendering and Modelling I (SketchUp), Architectural Working Drawings, and Interior Design Portfolio. She has taught both in Africa and North America. Beyond her responsibilities as program director, she remains a member of several professional organizations, including DDA, IDC, IDEC, IIDA, NEWH, and NKBA, and regularly finds volunteering opportunities within these organizations.
41. Tanya Wahbe
Adjunct Professor, University of British Columbia
Dr. Tanya Wahbe belongs to the Shouf Muwahideen people from the mountains of Lebanon. Since 1994, she has lived in the ancestral and unceded Coast Salish Territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Tanya is an ecological and cultural resource management professional contributing to the conservation of species- and ecosystems-at-risk and Indigenous community-based health initiatives for 25+ years. She is an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia (Applied Biology Program, Faculty of Land and Food Systems), President, Co-Founder, and Senior Scientist at Four Corners Biological Consulting, and Senior Indigenous and Conservation Programs Specialist with Impact Resolutions Ltd.
Tanya earned an MSc and PhD in wildlife ecology and population genetics from the Centre for Applied Conservation Research (UBC Faculty of Forestry). Her post-doctoral research addressed environmental health with Indigenous Peoples in the Salish Sea and BC's Central Coast. Tanya has worked for Canadian and US universities, provincial and national nonprofit organizations, Canadian and US government organizations, Indigenous Peoples, and the private sector.
Tanya has implemented conservation research, education, and engagement projects in Perú, Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Lebanon, and Ecuador. In BC, she collaboratively managed ecologically and culturally significant landscapes, developed co-governance frameworks, and engaged with Indigenous communities in the Salish Sea, Central Coast, West Chilcotin, Clayoquot Sound, and Haida Gwaii. Tanya’s responsibility to and reciprocity for the people of these lands are reflected in her service, including support of Indigenous Peoples in conservation and cultural revitalization initiatives.
42. Dana Prescott
Associate Director, Technology & Innovation, Covenant House Vancouver
Dana Prescott is the Associate Director of Technology and Innovation for Covenant House Vancouver (CHV). CHV helps youth experiencing homelessness, serving them with relentless support, absolute respect, and unconditional love. Dana oversees innovative housing projects for CHV. She was integral in the completion of a new youth-focused, 10-story facility that opened in 2022, which features a gym, art room, counseling spaces, and about 70 short-term beds for youth in need. She is currently working on the renovation of a 44-unit, 4-story building for long-term youth housing and support. Working with architects, constructors, designers, and trades, she creates first-in-class buildings that focus on the unique needs of youth experiencing homelessness, providing safety, security, and trauma-informed spaces.
Dana’s portfolio also includes managing all technology for the organization, including cyber security, overdose prevention, and safety technology to help protect CHV youth. Dana is meticulous, accountable, articulate, and driven, but what sets her apart is that she is calm under pressure, accommodating, and personable, even when swamped. Not only is she indispensable, but she’s a pleasure to work with.
Dana holds a Project Management Professional designation and a master’s degree from Western University. She is also an active member of the community, volunteering her time to work with refugees, play bingo with elderly patients at Mount St Joseph Hospital, and cook meals for the community, through the ten:eighteen program at Christ City Church.
43. Shelina Dilgir
Director of Development, Dr. Peter Centre
Shelina Dilgir is committed to strengthening the nonprofit sector through education and training. She has dedicated her career to the sector for more than 20 years as a program manager, director, and consultant. In these roles, she expanded programming, strengthened infrastructure and governance, and grew fundraising revenue. Shelina has worked with organizations of all sizes, from grassroots with no paid staff to a national and international office with upward of $10 million in annual revenue.
Shelina holds a Certified Fundraising Executive Designation, is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professions, and completed an introductory course on the Fundamentals of Gift Planning sponsored by the Canadian Association of Gift Planners.
Shelina is passionate about giving back and has served as an International volunteer in Africa and Asia and has devoted her time to the Ismaili- Muslim community in Canada and abroad. Other past volunteer activities include serving as a board member for Canadian Foundation for Children with AIDS, World Partnership Walk Deputy Convener, and Red Cross Volunteer.
44. Avi Gill
Business Director, Talk Shop
Avi Gill is a seasoned Business Director at Talk Shop, a prestigious national communications agency. With a rich portfolio of clients spanning diverse industries such as technology, non-profit, wellness, and arts and culture, Avi showcases her exceptional skills as a strategic communicator, specializing in the art of brand storytelling, integrated marketing campaigns, and influencer marketing.
Before her role at Talk Shop Media, Avi made her mark as the director of marketing and communications at Destination Greater Victoria, where she demonstrated her expertise in destination marketing initiatives, securing global media coverage, and orchestrating highly successful campaigns. Her ability to navigate the complex worlds of hospitality, tourism, and tech has been pivotal in etching her name onto numerous triumphs and groundbreaking initiatives, propelling brands to the forefront of their markets.
Avi’s strategic thinking and a keen eye for emerging trends have enabled her to stay ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving landscape of communications and marketing. Leveraging her extensive experience, she has forged partnerships and leveraged influencer marketing to enhance brand reputation and reach. Avi’s media relations and communications strategy work has landed clients coverage in the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, CBC, Washington Post, New York Times, The Telegraph, and more. Beyond her professional achievements, Avi’s dedication to the community and her involvement in nonprofit organizations exemplify her commitment to making a positive impact.
45. Andrea McComb
Director of Professional Learning & Development, British Columbia Principals & Vice Principals Association
Andrea McComb is the Director of Professional Learning and Development for the British Columbia Principals and Vice Principals Association (BCPVPA), where she focuses on designing and delivering programming for aspiring, new-to-role, and experienced leaders. With school and district-level experience, Andrea has held portfolios in mentoring, curriculum development, student services, and leadership development. Andrea is passionate about watching leaders grow and develop.
Andrea holds a Doctor of Education in Transformational Change, with coursework in curriculum development and dialogue. She is also a Professionally Certified Coach, Conversational Intelligence Core Skill Practitioner, and Adaptive Schools Agency Trainer, and has training in conflict resolution, anger management, and negotiation. With her extensive experience and expertise in leadership development and education, Andrea is dedicated to helping others grow and succeed. Andrea has a strong sense of purpose and dedication to her work at the BCPVPA. Her focus on growth, both personal and in others, aligns well with the BCPVPA’s member promise of fostering educational leadership to promote outstanding public education.
Andrea's strengths in envisioning, creating, connecting theory to action, and facilitating are valuable assets in her role as Director of Professional Learning and Development. Her ability to listen deeply to members and understand their needs, as well as her focus on raising masterful leaders within the membership, are important contributions to the BCPVPA’s mission.
View the complete list of awardees.
46. Paige Strand
Director of Marketing & Communications, IR Labs Inc.
Paige Strand is a communications leader in Vancouver, Canada known for her strategic thinking and coaching teams to success. Listed on The Peak’s ‘Emerging Leaders of 2022’ list, she is renowned and recruited for supporting organizations through major transformations, including rebrands, mergers, acquisitions, and digital transformation projects. With experiences across investor relations, financial technology, hospitality, real estate, automotive and publishing industries, Paige’s consulting abilities have translated seamlessly to her role with IR Labs Inc., a leading investor relations firm providing consulting, investor relations, corporate communications, and governance services for clients.
Currently serving as the Director of Marketing & Communications, Paige leads strategy and execution for the marketing and communications division, while advising for clients. In this role, she scales the company with new processes and operational planning, while effectively managing teams responsible for key areas, including digital marketing, corporate communications, creative design, project management, and media relations.
Recognizing the importance of development and staying on the cusp of methodologies, Paige is currently pursuing Waterloo University’s Leadership program. She earned an undergraduate degree from Simon Fraser University in communications and a certificate with Prosci’s Change Management Certification Program. Paige is a passionate advocate of the local economy and small business, she sits on the Economic Development Advisory Committee for the City of New Westminster to advise on how the city can continue to meet the needs of both existing and new businesses while enabling continued economic growth. She serves as a mentor for several initiatives, including The Rosie 1:1 Mentoring Program and the International Association of Business Communicators’ Summer Mentorship Program. Additionally, she participates with the City of New Westminster’s Beekeepers Association through the management of sixteen bee colonies with the hopes of one day cultivating her own hives.
47. Susan Chambers
Director, Business Development, ICP Insurance Solutions
Susan Chambers is a highly motivated sales professional. With over 30 years of lead generation expertise in professional services, she knows what it takes to stand out and generate revenue in a competitive, regulated, global marketplace. Susan and the cross-Canada ICP team develop and deliver focused risk-management solutions, with additional tangible economic benefits. ICP is uniquely positioned to help business owners grow and live their legacy NOW.
Prior to joining ICP Insurance Solutions as a Partner and Director of Business Development, she ran her own consulting firm for 21 years. She shares her passion for the sales profession with finance students, high-school students, and business owners through presentations, assessments, and coaching. Susan keeps her edge through continuing personal and professional development, participating in international conferences, and volunteer board work. She is a director with Northwest Wildlife Preservation Society.
Susan studied business communication at Ryerson Polytechnic University and British Columbia Institute of Technology in marketing management and fundraising management. Her personal power comes from a strong sense of self, economic purpose, and the good fortune to always be in the right place at the right time.
48. Vicky Zhao
Owner & Business Manager, Vancouver Debate Academy
After having emigrated to Canada, Vicky Zhao was determined to start her own business and began her education career in 2014 as Owner and Business Manager of the Vancouver Debate Academy (VDA), and successfully grew the business into an elite private education institution. VDA is a skills-focused academy and has become very well-known worldwide within the debate community. Its students have won numerous awards including championships in K-12 debate tournaments hosted by Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Georgetown, as well as the National Speech and Debate Association Nationals and Tournament of Champions, the most prestigious and competitive tournaments in the world for K-12 debate.
Vicky is a debate evangelist, for she has seen first-hand how kids benefit from debate in their critical thinking, communication skills, and particularly in their self-confidence. Her students spend less time alone trolling social media, and more time engaging collaboratively with their peers in research. She is adamant that debate is a crucial tool in engaging kids across all curricula and improving their academic and social-emotional aptitudes.
Finally, under Vicky's leadership, VDA is continuing to grow. It now offers online classes/courses both synchronous and asynchronous, and will soon be franchising, so as to provide more kids access to a high-quality education.
View the complete list of awardees.