Special Events & Programs

2022 Women of Distinction

The Courage of Covid

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A group of women who work in the medical field stand smiling at the camera, wearing scrubs and medical attire
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Women of Distinction

Let's shine a light on the women and girls who have stepped up and carried our community through the pandemic!

YWCA Cambridge’s 2022 Women of Distinction Awards is a celebration of the incredible women, girls and gender diverse individuals who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to go above and beyond to support their community, improve lives and inspire others.  

Since 1994, YWCA Cambridge has recognized over 290 remarkable women that are making a real difference through their work, activism and inspiring ability to overcome barriers. In 2022, we will come together to celebrate those courageous individuals that have made a positive difference in the lives of others during the pandemic, whether through their work in the fields of healthcare, volunteerism, education/child care, medical innovation, social service or beyond. 

2022’s Women of Distinction Awards celebration will be our first in-person fundraising gala since the beginning of the pandemic. We cannot think of a better way to celebrate than by coming together in a night of poignant and powerful stories of those incredible individuals who have weathered the storm of the pandemic while supporting and uplifting our community.

What makes this event so special is that the women nominated for the awards are put forward by their friends, colleagues, peers and community. Each year, we are overwhelmed by the passionate voices that come forward to nominate these change makers. And while our selection committee can only chose so many winners, we are humbled by every woman’s inspiring story. These truly are the women changing the world.

who is a woman of distinction?

Who is eligible?

Women of Distinction are leaders in their fields and communities. They are paving the way for the trailblazers of tomorrow and having a positive impact on our city. They work to inspire, lead and create change and we can’t help but stand up and take notice. Throughout the pandemic, a Woman of Distinction may have:

  • Been a role model and inspired others through their work in the field of healthcare, child care or education;
  • Participated actively as a volunteer to help people in need;
    Contributed in the field of medical research to further innovation;
  • Developed a pandemic response that supported the physical, emotional and mental needs of others;
  • Shown an innovative approach to the unique challenges facing marginalized and at-risk members of our community;
  • Demonstrated courage, tenacity and grit to overcome obstacles brought on as a result of the pandemic (either in their professional or personal life).

To be eligible to receive a YWCA Cambridge Woman of Distinction Award, nominees must:

  • Live and/or work in Cambridge and/or North Dumfries but may have made their contributions within or beyond these borders;
  • Meet the selection criteria including an alignment to the mission, vision & values of YWCA Cambridge;
  • Not be a previous award winner;
  • Not be a current member of the YWCA Cambridge Board of Directors, employee of YWCA Cambridge, or member of the Women of Distinction Nomination Committee.

Note: Only one winner may be selected in each category but the Selection Committee reserves the right to withhold an award in any given category. One complete copy of the nomination package is required, and must be submitted by the deadline (March 1, 2022) in order to be eligible. Nominees can be nominated in only one category. Posthumous applications cannot be accepted.

Do you know a Woman that should be recognized?

Award categories are as diverse as the women nominated. Below are the categories for the 2022 ceremony:
  • Education/Child Care HeroSomeone who has gone above the call of duty to ensure children/youth in their classroom thrive despite all of the hurdles facing them throughout pandemic closures and changes to schooling.
  • Healthcare Hero – Someone in a healthcare field who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure the wellbeing of patients/clients/community.
  • Pandemic InnovationSomeone who developed or helped develop a product, service or a social movement to help respond to the pandemic.
  • Humanitarian/Volunteerism Work Someone who stepped up for people made most vulnerable as a result of the pandemic and lockdowns.
  • Social Action & AdvocacySomeone who, through paid work or volunteerism has worked tirelessly to move the needle on social issues, particularly the inequities the pandemic exposed
  • Small Business Champion Someone who has championed the needs of independent businesses and fostered a sense of community while supporting local businesses throughout the pandemic
  • The Courage of Covid AwardSomeone who has overcome obstacles and inspired others with their tenacity & grit throughout the pandemic

If preferred, you may download a .pdf version of the 2022 nomination form to print out offline. You may return this form to our offices at 55 Dickson Street, between Tuesday – Friday, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Thank you to our corporate partners

Partnership opportunities

What better way to create the change you want to see in the world than by supporting a vital community event created to honour women and inspire generations to come?

YWCA Cambridge is always seeking new partners to join us in celebrating the women that have carried our community through the pandemic.  As a valued corporate partner, you are making a critical investment in providing young women and girls access to strong and inspiring community role models. 

From hosting and hospitality packages to category sponsorship and more, we will work with you to create a partnership that meets your goals and aligns with your corporate values. 

For partnership inquiries, please contact Caroline Barker, Director of Philanthropy at c.barker@ywcacambridge.ca

Congratulations to the 2020 Women of Distinction!

Nicole Schiener – Non-Profit or Public Service
April Bulmer – Arts & Culture
Laura Kaster  – Business & Entrepreneurship
Sarah Kokoski – Education & Mentorship
Siobhan Bonisteel – Social Action & Advocacy
Dianne Piluk – Volunteerism
Jenni Bauer – Wellness, Sport & Recreation


Celebrate with us

The annual awards gala is our most significant fundraising event of the year. Ticket sales and sponsorships support community outreach, gender-based violence prevention programs, employment services and advocacy to end gender inequity and gender-based violence.

Proceeds from the Women of Distinction Awards support over 3,500 individuals annually through our gender-based violence programming and services across Waterloo Region.

The date and location of the 2022 Awards Gala will be announced by April 2022.


My Story →
"It makes me feel more connected to my community and honored to be a part of a group of such astounding women."


My Story →
"I was so overwhelmed and humbled to have received the nomination and then the honor to receive the award. It is so wonderful to be a part of such a beautiful community that recognizes what you are doing."


My Story →
"Women need to learn to be kinder to them selves and reach out to each other on a more regular basis, share more about their own fears . Women must listen to each other, learn from each other and stand up for each other. United, women are powerful."


My Story →
"I was extremely humbled to have my community service efforts recognized and ecstatic to celebrate it among so many amazing women in my community. It really motivated me to continue to build upon what I’ve done to try and make a difference."

future Events

Upcoming fundraising events

Race to Erase

Race to Erase is an annual fundraising competition where
teams compete in fun-filled challenges throughout our community, all in support of multiple local charities.

She Talks: Stories of Tenacity & Grit

She Talks brings you the stories of remarkable women and their personal journeys in this intimate night of authentic conversation, laughter and inspiration.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Presented by Meridian

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® is a playful opportunity to raise awareness in our community about the serious nature of inequality and gender-based violence. We walk in solidarity for equality, safety and tolerance in our community.

Festive Futures

This annual holiday giving program brings together our community to help deserving families enjoy the holidays. Each year we are able to provide gifts and necessities to help make the season brighter for some of our program participants.

Get In Touch

Have a Question Or Need Assistance?

If you have a question about YWCA Cambridge, our programs or events, or simply want to get involved, please give us a call or send us an email.

Contact Us

Address: 55 Dickson Street, Cambridge, Ontario, N1R 7A5

Office Hours:
Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Saturdays, Sundays & holidays: closed

Tel: (519) 267-6444 
Main Email: info@ywcacambridge.ca

W Programming Email: thew@ywcacambridge.ca

Shades’s Mills Camp Email: camp@ywcacambridge.ca

WIGG Email: wigg@ywcacambridge.ca

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