Friday , 9 June 2023
Kelly Eagles (right) accepts the Overall Woman of Influence Award

Eagles soars at Women of Influence Awards

Kelly Eagles named Cold Lake’s 2023 Overall Woman of Influence.

Photos provided by Images Studios Photographic Arts

The Cold Lake Women of Influence Awards were held on March 3rd, at the Cold Lake Ag Society Building. After a two-year hiatus, the awards returned with one of the largest audiences of over 300 attendees. The awards celebrate women who use their individual strengths and abilities to further themselves, their families, their organizations and the Cold Lake community.

Along with the awards ceremony, the evening featured a wine tasting from Wine Knows, networking and a keynote speech from Olympian Beckie Scott.

Beckie Scott speaks at the awards event


Seven women were honoured with an award. Categories include:

  • Arts & Culture
  • Business & Professional
  • Community & Volunteerism
  • Health & Wellness
  • Science & Technology
  • Older Woman (65 years+)
  • Overall Woman of Influence

Arts & Culture – Susie O’Connor

Susie O’Connor (left) accepting her award from sponsor of the awards category Bonnie Folkard of Stingray Radio.


This award celebrates the achievements of a woman who has demonstrated artistic achievements or contributions to the cultural community. She has cultivated greater visibility and understanding of the value of the arts or worked to preserve and share her culture. She has encouraged excellence, built new leadership within her sphere, and inspired others to appreciate and share artistic and cultural endeavors.

Susie O’Connor is the owner of Images Studios Photographic Arts. In 2022, she launch a project called “The Red Series,” which was a tribute to the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women. The series has been picked up nationally and will travel Canada, stopping to be displayed at various galleries and will eventually land at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

When accepting her award, O’Connor thanked everyone and added, “Red Series has been a really big, emotional year for me.” The photos will be displayed on May 5th for National MMIW Day.


Business & Professional – Kristy Isert

Kristy Isert (middle) accepting her award from sponsor Community Future Lakeland representatives Elisha Brosseau (left) and Lisa Ford (right)

This award celebrates the achievements of a woman who is successful within an established organization or her own business. She is a positive influence in her workplace and profession and has been identified as a trendsetter by her peers. She has exhibited extraordinary leadership and growth to achieve her goals.

Kristy Isert is the General Manager of Corporate Services for the City of Cold Lake. She is actively involved in her community and has been appointed to the Government of Alberta’s Metis Women’s Economic Security Council and the Law Society of Alberta’s Equity Security & Inclusion Advisory Committee.

As she accepted her award, Isert noted, “strong women raise strong women, thank you to my mama, aunties and my sister. All the people who have been role models showed that if you work really hard and always lead with kindness first, you can truly achieve anything you want to.”


Community & Volunteerism – Candice Sutterfield

Candice Sutterfield (right) accepting her award from Reeve of the Municipal District of Bonnyville, Barry Kalinski.

This award celebrates the achievements of a woman whose efforts have contributed to the well-being of her community and fellow community members through her employment and/or volunteerism. She exemplifies the spirit of community service, and demonstrates exemplary initiative, leadership, and creativity in her service to others. She serves as a role model for others in the community and inspires others to engage in volunteer service. She improves the overall quality of life of individuals and the community as a whole.

Candice Sutterfield works with the Lakeland Centre for FASD, where she is known to go above and beyond her job description to help and support the Lakeland’s most vulnerable. She has been involved with FCSS, the Cold Lake Ag Society, the Cold Lake Grant Committee and most recently the Cold Lake John Howard Society. Sutterfield is known as a justice warrior.

“I really appreciate this. It’s not just me; there’s always been a team,” Sutterfield made note of acknowledging Lily Allen who has been her “co-pilot” on many projects. “I’m a lot of things, but I also have a team behind me.”


Health & Wellness – Alisha Bramwell

Alisha Bramwell (left) accepting her award from sponsors Ageless Living

This award recognizes a woman who contributes to the mental and/or physical health of our community, either through employment or volunteerism. This is a woman who sets a positive example for wellness and encourages others to lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She is energetic, positive, and encouraging and inspires others to be the same.

Alisha Bramwell is a Licensed Practical Nurse at the Care Delivery Unit serving the military personnel at Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake. She believes in promoting health and wellness within our unit and has the most generous and honest heart, constantly giving back to both the Military Community and the Cold Lake Community.

Bramwell thanked the audience for her award and stated, “I am happy I brought my daughters (to the awards) so that they can see there’s more to woman than being a wife.”


Science & Technology – Whitney Desjarlais

This award celebrates the achievements of a woman who has made significant contributions to the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) sector. She has demonstrated innovation, curiosity, and creativity in positively contributing to her field. She also engages with and communicates her practice to a broader community. Her contributions to the scientific and technological communities improve and evolve our society and she inspires future generations of women in science.

Whitney Desjarlais has been a service rig operator with Pimee for over eight years. Recently, she was invited to speak at the Indigenous Women in Leadership conference in Calgary, being recognized as the first and only female Indigenous Women driller in Canada.

Desjarlais was unable to attend the awards.


Older Woman – Isabel Myshaniuk

Isabel Myshaniuk (left) accepting her award from last year’s winner Mary Anne Penner. This award was sponsored by Respect Newspaper

This award celebrates a woman who has actively sought to influence the community in a positive way by starting something different or new in her later years. The focus isn’t on past accomplishments or lifetime achievements, but on new accomplishments in which she is achieving excellence. She has demonstrated that a woman of any age can bring about change by actively seeking new ways to contribute to the good in society. Her life serves as an example of the benefits of active aging while helping to dispel the negative stereotypes of older age.

After retiring from a career as a registered nurse, Isabel Myshaniuk moved to Cold Lake to fulfill her dreams of opening a bed & breakfast on the shores of Cold Lake. She believed retirement was a perfect time to become an entrepreneur, opening the Waterfront Habour Bed & Breakfast.

One should note that when Kristy Isert spoke of strong women raising strong women, she talked about Isabel Myshaniuk, her mother.

“As a woman, you can do whatever you want to do, that is what will keep you passionate and keep you going,” stated Myshaniuk during her acceptance speech.


Overall Woman of Influence – Kelly Eagles

Kelly Eagles (right) accepting her award from a representative for Lakeland Credit Union (award sponsor)

This award celebrates the achievements of a woman who has the tenacity, energy, and fortitude to seek success for themselves, their employees, and their communities. She has demonstrated outstanding leadership both with her company (organization) and her market, set the standards for originality, quality, and successful management. She is a mentor, visionary, leader, successful woman, and in all elements, a trailblazer in her field.

Kelly Eagles is the Athletic Director for the Cold Lake High School, and as a volunteer, she is involved with the annual Terry Fox Run, Hearts for Healthcare, Challengers Baseball, and Royals Timeout – a fundraiser to ensure all high school students can participate in sport, regardless of financial circumstances. She also runs the unified sports program, which promotes and puts events on in the Lakeland, partnering special needs students with high school students to promote inclusivity. In 2019, Cold Lake High School was selected to represent Alberta for Youth Leadership under her direction.

“There are so many people in this room that I respect and look up to, and to think that I am up here is a little overwhelming,” Eagles said. The award was very unexpected.

About Jena Colbourne

Jena Colbourne is the owner of Connected Media Inc. o/a Lakeland Connect. As a founding member of the Lakeland Connect team, Jena oversees the content creation of the website and its social media presence. Armed with a marketing, management and communications background Jena enjoys the creative aspects of Lakeland Connect, as such she is able to navigate the online world with ease.