National committee members


Canada has launched a national committee comprising 16 Canadians representing diverse perspectives on gender equality from across the country. Members were invited by the Government of Canada to help inspire and engage Canadians, and build momentum leading up to the Women Deliver 2019 Conference.

Simone Cavanaugh

Simone is an advocate for international human rights and people with disabilities who is passionate about the intersection of human rights, government policy and corporate social responsibility. A graduate of McGill University’s Faculty of Law with an LLB/BCL and a major in international human rights and development, Simone is a motivational speaker and an alumna of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, in which she advised top government officials on issues pertaining to the rights of women, children and people with disabilities in Canada. She was a TEDX Montreal Women speaker, winner of a Top 20 Under 20 award and youngest recipient of the Laurie Normand-Starr humanitarian award. Simone is a co-founder of Pivot International, a non-governmental organization dedicated to improving the independence, mobility and quality of life of children with disabilities in developing countries.

Léa Clermont-Dion

Léa is a PhD student in political science, author, feminist, filmmaker, television and radio host, and body image advocate who contributes to the advancement of the equality of women and girls in the media by working on topics such as online misogyny, cyber violence and women’s leadership. She is also the co-founder of the Québec Charter for a Healthy and Diverse Body Image, the first of its kind in North America. In Quebec, she co-launched #etmaintenant, a social media campaign in response to #metoo, which strives to involve men as part of the solution to sexual violence. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Hommage bénévolat-Québec award, a YWCA of Montréal Young Woman of Distinction Award, a College Award for Excellence in Communications, a Canada Millennium Scholarship, an AVENIR Personnalité par excellence award from Forces AVENIR, and a selection as personality of the week from La Presse and Radio-Canada.

Caroline Codsi

Caroline has had a successful career in the corporate world, including as vice president and senior vice president within major organizations. She founded Women in Governance in 2010 (also known as La Gouvernance au Féminin), a not-for-profit organization that encourages women to develop their leadership skills. She dedicates her life to empowering women to access executive roles and board positions in the corporate world in Canada, and is an advocate for women’s equality rights globally. She successfully launched the first corporate parity certification in Canada with the support of McKinsey & Company. Caroline has received awards from the Quebec Business Women’s Network, the Arab Women trophy, and Premières en affaires, among others. She was recognized as one of Quebec’s Top 20 Diversity Leading Figures, one of Canada’s Top 75 Canadian immigrants, and is in the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. She is also the recipient of the UN Women’s National Committee Gender Equality Award.

Charmaine Crooks

Charmaine is a five-time Canadian Olympian, an Olympic silver medallist in athletics and a member of the Order of Canada. She is founder and president of NGU Consultants Inc., a global cross-sectional consultancy including technology and major events, and is a director on several boards. She is committed to several charitable organizations, including Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland and Canucks Autism Network; co-founder of the 365 International Sport Foundation; a Champion for Peace with the global charity Peace and Sport; and is a founding past member of the international board of Right to Play. She was part of the first group of athletes elected to the International Olympic Committee where she served on its Athlete’s Commission, Press Commission and its founding Ethics Committee. She is a former board member of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and is currently the alumni Olympians Canada representative on the Canadian Olympic Committee. As well, she is a member of the Canadian Soccer Association executive board and the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions.

Genesa M. Greening

Genesa is a certified fundraising executive with two decades of experience working in Canada, Africa and the United States during which time she advised more than 20 charitable causes that fundraised over $300 million. In recognition of her community work and advocacy for gender equality, racial justice and marginalized communities, Genesa was appointed to the Mayor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Addictions and the Women’s Advisory Committee for the City of Vancouver, and is a member of the World Health Organization’s Working Group on Advocacy and Communications for the Cervical Cancer Elimination Initiative. She is committed to ensuring women have equitable access to the highest quality health care when, where and how they need it. As the President and CEO of the BC Women’s Hospital + Healthcentre Foundation, Genesa collaborates with those who share her commitment to gender equity in health care and invests in charitable causes that deliver social change. She is an award-winning business leader, having won the Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 award, sponsored by the Women’s Executive Network, and the Business in Vancouver’s Forty Under 40 award. Genesa is also co-chair of Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada, an unapologetic feminist and relentless optimist.

Cassandra Hallett

Cassandra is a strong advocate for quality inclusive publicly funded public education. She has served more than 25 years in the education sector, working as a teacher and educational leader both nationally and internationally. Cassandra is the first woman in the 95-year history of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) to become secretary general. Prior to becoming the CTF’s secretary general, she served the CTF as an international program officer and held a variety of leadership roles in the field of education, including professional development coordinator in Nunavut and English language arts coordinator for the Kivalliq School Division and the Nunavut Department of Education. Cassandra served on the executive of the Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association and the Nunavut Teachers’ Association. She is also co-chair of Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada.

Helen Kennedy

Helen joined Egale Canada Human Rights Trust with 22 years of experience in politics—both as an elected city councillor and a political staffer—and became its executive director in 2007. She is a founding member of Canadians for Equal Marriage, an influential public policy lobbying campaign that resulted in Canada being one of the first countries in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Helen’s work includes introducing the climate survey on homophobia and transphobia in Canadian schools, the first national survey of its kind in Canada that provides critical findings on bullying for use by schools, educators and governments. She has delivered training to immigration refugee adjudicators and police services across Canada and the Balkans and consulted with senior Pentagon officials in Washington, D.C., on the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. She is co-secretary general of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service and activism.

Beth Lyons

Beth is the executive director of the New Brunswick Women’s Council, an independent public-government agency that works to advance women’s equality. She is also a proud member of the YWCA movement, currently sitting on YWCA Canada’s board of directors and formerly worked as YWCA Moncton’s Associate Director. She is an alumnus of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, 21 Inc., and the Coaching Fellowship. Beth holds an honours BA in English and Theatre Studies from Acadia University. She lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Kevin McCort

Kevin has worked for more than 30 years in the non-profit sector, both in Canada and around the world. He is president and CEO of Vancouver Foundation and has earned a reputation as a smart, strategic leader who always puts community at the heart of his work. Highlights of initiatives under Kevin’s leadership include Fresh Voices, a unique partnership that empowers racialized immigrant and refugee youth, and Fostering Change, an initiative that supports youth living in foster care as they transition to adulthood. Before joining Vancouver Foundation, Kevin worked with some of Canada’s leading humanitarian aid organizations, including for six years as president and CEO of CARE Canada. Kevin is the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for his leadership in promoting Canadian values of tolerance and social justice around the world. He is also a core member of Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada.

Emily Mills

Emily is the award-winning founder of How She Hustles, a vibrant network that has been connecting diverse women through social media and special events in Toronto for nearly a decade. With a digital reach of 10,000 women and growing, her sold-out events attract guests from across North America, Africa and the Caribbean. Emily is a seasoned communicator with a passion for building bridges with diverse communities and amplifying their voices. Emily created HERstory in Black, a digital photo series featuring 150 inspiring Black women that became a Canada 150 project for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The project generated national media coverage, became a one-hour television documentary and earned the CBC President’s Award. Emily has worked for CBC, CTV, Canadian Heritage and in media relations for the non-profit sector. She is also a frequent public speaker. She is a sought-after public speaker on women in leadership, diversity and inclusion and entrepreneurship, leading conversations for Twitter, Canada, the Economic Club of Canada and the United Nations Association in Canada, and others. Last year, she was named to Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 list in the inaugural Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders category. She is also featured in the 2018 edition of 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women. A graduate of Ryerson and York universities, Emily holds journalism and music degrees and has studied public relations. She is a proud wife and mother.

Heather Moyse

Heather is a multi-sport athlete and a highly respected motivational speaker and author. She is a four-time Olympian and has competed internationally in track cycling, rugby and bobsleigh, in which she and her teammate won gold at the Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. In 2016, Heather was the first Canadian female, and only the second Canadian ever, to be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. Heather uses her personal experiences—and professional training as an occupational therapist—to help people embrace challenges and seize their potential to achieve personal excellence and live beyond definition, which is why she wrote, Redefining ‘Realistic’. In January 2016, she summited the highest mountain in Antarctica with eight members of the Canadian Armed Forces to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder. As a lifelong humanitarian, Heather donates her time and talent to many community events and national charities, which have earned her the Order of Prince Edward Island, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Randy Starkman Olympian Humanitarian Award.

Shania Pruden

Shania is an Indigenous rights activist, blogger and youth motivational speaker. In August 2014, she launched her blog to raise awareness of Indigenous rights in Canada. She soon turned her focus to raising awareness about mental health and youth empowerment. Shania became a speaker for WE Day, an event held in the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa in 2016 to inspire thousands of youth to be the change they wish to see in the world. Shania also donates her voice to the United Way Speakers Bureau, speaking to various businesses and organizations about how United Way-funded agencies helped shape her into the person she is today. Shania has found power in using her voice to inspire, motivate and empower people of all ages to find their spark, light it up and keep it going.

Paulette Senior

Paulette has devoted her career to empowering women and girls to overcome barriers and reach their full potential. She is president and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation and a former CEO of YWCA Canada. Working with all levels of government, she has advocated on issues related to poverty, housing, violence against women, immigration and social justice. She has led, managed and operated shelters, employment programs and housing programs at organizations such as Yellow Brick House, YWCA Toronto, the Macaulay Child Development Centre, the Lawrence Heights Community Health Centre, and Central Neighbourhood House. She currently sits on the board of directors of the Women’s Funding Network and is former board chair at Women’s College Hospital. Paulette has received several awards including the African Canadian Achievement Award, the Afroglobal Leadership award, the Black Women Civic Engagement award, the MicroSkills Margot Franssen Leadership Award and the Woman of Influence citation.

Catherine Tait

Catherine was appointed president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada on April 3, 2018. The first woman and producer to run Canada’s public broadcaster, Catherine has been a key player in the Canadian and U.S. film and television industry for more than 30 years. Catherine made her career as a producer and entrepreneur with companies such as Duopoly Inc, iThentic and Hollywood Suite. She also held managerial positions at Salter Street Films, the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris and Telefilm Canada. Catherine is a former member of a number of industry-specific boards, including: Comweb Group Inc, DHX Media Ltd., Entertainment One, CHUM Limited, Aliant Inc., Rogers Mobile Film Fund and the Canadian Film and Television Production Association. Throughout her career, Catherine has championed for a more inclusive industry for women and people from Indigenous and LGBTQ+ communities.

Vianne Timmons

As the first female university president in the history of the province of Saskatchewan, Vianne has been a strong advocate for the development of women leaders both in her home province and beyond. She is the driving force behind the Inspiring Leadership forum, which annually attracts more than 600 participants to the University of Regina for a day-long symposium on women and leadership. In 2015, Vianne received the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education’s Leadership and Influence award for promoting policies that enhance gender equity. In 2017, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada—one of Canada’s highest civilian honours—for her long-standing work in the areas of inclusive education for persons with disabilities, family literacy and women’s leadership. In 2018, she began her third term as president of the University of Regina.

Adina Williams

Adina is from the Squamish Nation and grew up on a reserve in West Vancouver. She also descends from the ‘Namgis First Nation peoples from Alert Bay, B.C. She is currently a fourth-year student in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Adina is interested in dialogue around a variety of topics that are important to many Indigenous peoples, particularly about their truths, their histories and their futures. Adina has previously served as a youth reconciliation leader with the Canadian Roots Exchange, a youth-led organization that brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth from across Canada to learn about and facilitate dialogue focused on reconciliation with other youth in their home communities and cities.

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