Women celebrated in 5th annual awards event
Patty Cowden was named the Overall Women of Influence at the 5th Annual awards ceremony in Cold Lake. The Women of Influence Awards recognize females who had made a positive impact on the community. With 31 women nominated in four categories, master of ceremonies for the event, Stephanie Oleksyn of Todd & Drake LLP said the event was, “the best yet.”
Infused into the event this year was an interactive theatre production put on by Grande Parlour Productions. Actresses representing influential women throughout history mingled with the crowd at the Cold Lake Ag Society building before the awards ceremony, as well as addressed the crowd prior to individual award presentations. The four historical women never broke character while interacting with the audience throughout the evening and capped the night with a production once the awards were presented. The historical females made a fantastic touch to the event and really brought home the contributions females have made to the country.
The event featured keynote speaker and the 2016 Overall Woman of Influence, Patricia Coulter. The local artist, who has received both national and international acclaim, spoke on the perseverance of females and finding your inner voice. Patricia got personal with the crowd, speaking of how her artistic voice came to life following the sudden death of her 22 year old daughter. It was then she revisited a love for painting.
I’ve been a firm believer in goal-setting, for years. I’m hopeful for what will happen and grateful for what does. – Patricia Coulter 2016 Overall Woman of Influence Award Recipient
2017 Women of Influence Award Recipients
Awards were presented in four categories Arts & Culture, Business & Professional, Community & Volunteerism, and Health & Wellness. The Overall Women of Influence Award was chosen from all the nominees and presented at the end of the ceremonies.
Arts & Culture: Megan Bailey
Sponsored by Todd & Drake LLP, was introduced by Mary Pickford. Born in 1892, in Toronto, Mary Pickford the first international film star.
Mother of two, Megan Bailey is a teacher at Nelson Heights elementary school in Cold Lake; where she is known for spreading the joy of music with her students. “This is very, very unexpected,” Megan says she is very honoured to receive the award. “I think about my family and the contributions they gave to me. I remember my father when I was very young, seeing my first live performance and i was very engaged. At one time one of the performers came off the stage and said something to me,” Megan can’t recall exactly what was said to her, but contributes this moment in her life with driving her passion for the arts, “years later I would be charging a nickle for family members to come watch me dance in the rumpus room.” Dance lessons grew Megan’s passion, which her father recognized and helped her discover her musical abilities. “When I’m working with my students and the impact that I have with them; those light bulb moments. It all comes full circle.”
Business & Professional: Kathryn Hotte
Dee Brasseur needed no actresses to represent her at the awards, the one of world’s two first female F-18 fighter pilots, made a special appearance at the ceremony and helped present the second award of the evening; Business & Professional, sponsored by the Lakeland Credit Union.
“The contributes of women in business, has been and will continue to be, imperative to the continued growth of our society,” Brasseur commends the women who have help lead and stepped into roles that may not have been traditional female fields. “When I joined the military in 1972, women were not even permitted to become pilots; at all,” Brasseur said she could not – and ultimately did not accept that. By 1979, Brasseur had been accepted into pilot training and by the time she retired in 1994 she had logged over 2,500 hours of jet flying.
Brasseur was a perfect introduction to Kathryn Hotte. Known in the community for being a driving force behind entrepreneurship and business growth. Kathryn is one of the spearheads behind the Wisdom & Opportunities for Women (WOW) groups. The networking and professional group hold monthly workshops that help females expand in the business community.
A small business adviser at the Rural Alberta Business Centre (RABC), Kathryn says she is impressed and driven every day with her clients, “to see amount of talent that comes through our doors.” Kathryn’s contributions to the business community in the Lakeland area have been unmatched, “we focus on women, we focus on the youth, I help businesses get started and I help your business grow.”
Community & Volunteerism: Gwen Lepine-Morissette
Sponsored by the Lakeland United Way and introduced by Jane Costance Cook. Born in 1870, to the Kwa’waka’wakw tribe in British Columbia, Cook was instrumental in bringing rights and resources to indigenous people.
Recipient Gwen Lepine-Morissette says her driving force is reflecting on what kind of community she wants to leave for her children and grandchildren. “I have six kids. What I believe is that, if I don’t try, then there’s nothing left for my kids or grandkids. I was raised in Cold Lake, this is where I want to raise my family. I love this community.”
Gwen sits on the board of the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre, the Elizabeth Settlement School Board, the Elizabeth Settlement Ball Club, Wellness Committee, Restorative Committee, and also acts as an administrator for the Youth Justice Committee. Gwen is known for being a resource for individuals trying to understand the legal system.
Health & Wellness: Christina Kean
Sponsored by CG Medical Imaging and introduced by Dr. Emily Stowe, born to a farm family in Ontario in 1831. Stowe was a driving force behind the Canadian women suffrage movement and women’s rights. She campaigned for the first women’s medical college in the country after being denied entry in medical school at other universities and ultimately gained her medical degree.
Christina Kean, is a teacher, mother of two and a military wife. She heads a self-esteem group for teens, as well as a postpartum group for mothers who may be suffering. Christina is working on becoming a doula and has been working with women during pregnancy and delivery. “I moved to Cold Lake nine years ago and I never knew what this community could offer,” Christina says the city opened for her, “it’s true that everybody is your neighbour.” Christina says she works at filling all her roles, “I’m a teacher, a counselor and a doula. I try to help women through thick and difficult times to work through it.” Christina says her contributions are made possible thanks to family, friends, and co-workers, “I’m so grateful and so honoured that I have a large support system.”
2017 Overall Woman of Influence: Patty Cowden
Sponsored by Superior Concrete & Pumping, introducing the award was Nellie McClung, a Canadian feminist, politician, author, and social activist from the early 1900s.
“This award is given to a woman who has the tenacity, energy and fortitude to seek success for herself, her employees and her community,” MC Stephanie Oleksyn explains the woman is chosen from the 31 nominees, “she has demonstrated outstanding leadership and set the standards for originality and successful management.
Patty Cowden was named the Overall Woman of Influence. Patty holds a degree in International & Cultural Studies and has assisted and been a part of a number of non-profit organizations to improve to lives of the people in the community. Some of those organizations include, Habitat for Humanity, Victim Services, UN High Commission for Refugees, World Vision, FCSS and the Boys & Girls Club of Bonnyville. She started a fund to give scholarships that support Metis students in the Lakeland; last year that foundation donated over $12,000. Patty is currently working to complete her doctorate in Child Psychology and has been invited to Harvard University to speak on her research.
“Last year has been a big year for me and my team,” Patty contributes her success to “a whole bunch of people behind me. A big thank you to the Sweet Oil team, film productions. For inspiring me and always standing beside me to tell a great story, that we have in the Lakeland.” Patty Cowden and the Kinosoo Film Productions team have been invited to one of the biggest film festivals in the world to debut their short film, Sweet Oil, which was filmed in Bonnyville.
Our talent is never small – Patty Cowden 2017 Overall Woman of Influence
“Thank you to the children at the Boys & Girls Club of Bonnyville. The always influence me and they’ve been a big help and source of will-power for me”. Patty also thanks her husband, Chris, for “always going along with my crazy ideas and supporting me.” Patty recalls a teacher she had in Thailand that told her she would never be able to speak English because she couldn’t pronounce ‘orange’, to this she laughs, “how do you like me know?!”