YWCA Women of Distinction Awards Recognise WISEST

What a fabulous gala the YWCA Edmonton held for their 2011 Women of Distinction Awards on June 9! The room absolutely sparkled, both with the shimmering decorations and with the brilliant accomplishments of the women we were all there to celebrate. CTV News anchor Carrie Doll hosted a room full of amazing nominees and their equally amazing friends, colleagues and family members in the kind of recognition ceremony that should happen for women every day!

Women of Distinction nominees close upNominees at the 2011 YWCA Edmonton
Women of Distinction Awards Gala

Even before the recipients were announced, it was already an exceptional event for WISEST: our Founding Chair, Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour, was set to receive the Lois E. Hole Award for Lifetime Achievement, Brittany Lissinna, a Summer Research Program alumna, was nominated in the category of Youth: 18 & Under for contributions to her school community, and for her amazing work as WISEST Coordinator, Grace Ennis was nominated in the Education category.

Margaret-Ann opened the night by encouraging us all to “dream big” and true to her inspirational teaching manner, did a live chemical experiment to demonstrate how perseverance can help you accomplish those big dreams. Then Brittany was announced and gave a superb speech that illustrated the maturity and leadership ability for which she had been nominated. She concluded with a lovely tribute to Margaret-Ann and WISEST. (To see Brittany’s work with WISEST, click here and go to page 43.)

Grace Ennis and Denise Hemmings

Grace Ennis with WISEST Chair, Denise Hemmings

The Education category comprised six remarkable nominees, so it seemed that no one was more surprised than Grace when her name was announced. Grace has been with WISEST since 1994 and supervises our many educational initiatives as well as a staff and volunteer team of over 600 people who engage and inspire thousands of students—including 600 Grade 6 girls, 200 middle school students, and 300 high school students—each year. True to her modest nature, she began her speech by stating “I don’t know how I fit here” and went on to declare that this was a night to “celebrate the awesomeness in each of us…who are just regular people wanting to know that we matter and can make a difference in our world.”

WISEST would not have begun without Margaret-Ann, it would not matter without students such as Brittany and it would have nowhere near the tremendous and far-reaching impact it does without Grace. They are truly Women of Distinction.


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