Testimonials from Past Leadership Program Participants

I came away from the program forever connected to the “13 sisters” I journeyed with over the course of the year.  The leading-learners were gifted individuals who journeyed with us but also challenged our opinions, stretched us to view issues from different lenses, and invited us to be a part of the community. The ‘experts’ they connected us to challenge our belief systems and encouraged us to apply new learnings in our home communities. The best part however was being witness to others’ stories and feeling gratitude for the sharing and trust amongst the learners and the leaders.

Sue Ross (Harding) - Participant 2018-19

The CWLP [Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation Program) had nurtured the Catholic Leader in me. It ignited my passion and fully equipped me to pursue my calling. I am blessed to be a part of such a mission.

Forever grateful …

Liz Menses - Participant 2019-20

It was a true blessing to study leadership from a Catholic perspective and to meet women from across Canada from many different business settings who want to lead with Christian values. The leading learners encouraged us to open our hearts and minds to listen in a manner that opens new possibilities for how we lead in our world. 

 “To be on a spiritual journey we have to be engaged with the world.” Dr. Heather Eaton. When we contemplate that we are a member of the earth, which is only a small part of the Milky Way and the universe, all of which God created, it changes our image of the Divine to be both larger and more intimate. 

The week that we all came together in Ottawa made a profound influence on my life. I have never been in a room full of women, who connected so quickly and so intimately. I felt welcomed by women from all walks of life and all over Canada, all there to be transformed by this experience. 

Belinda Halbach - Participant 2018-19

The Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation gifted me the ability to understand transformational leadership while engaging with other people in dialogue and critical thinking.  I thoroughly enjoyed our small group sessions that met online monthly to listen and discuss issues while learning how to decern. This experience has been invaluable and has taught me what spiritual leadership is all about. 

Michelle Khatib - Participant 2019-20

The Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation program was so much more than I had ever hoped for.  I learned how to reach deep into my soul and base my leadership from a perspective of faith and integrity.  I have learned to be more understanding and open to the resistance people experience with change and reflect on how to help them evolve.  Until the program, I never realized how my leadership style was based on the corporate culture I worked in.  

One other huge benefit from the program is the bond you share with the women in the program.  We may live all across the country, but we have a deep friendship that celebrates the highs and help through the lows.  This program was one of the best experiences of my life.

Lisa Fillingham - Participant 2019-20

I wanted to grow as a professional but wasn’t wanting to pursue another degree or designation.  I work in the field of Education, with my Master’s degree in Theology.  So I feel most alive when faith blends with practice. I was excited to hear about a program where I could grow both professionally and spiritually while meeting other like-minded women across the country.

Our week-long sessions were part retreat, part conference, part university lecture, part liturgy – all in the best sense of these terms.

One of the best parts of the program for me has been meeting and getting to know such wonderful women across the country.  I have received encouragement from them in my role as a women leader but also in my role as a mother.  We share books that we’re reading or ways of praying and living out the sacraments that are helpful to us.  So the training, while very beneficial to our work, is also beneficial to our life.

Rachel Ng - Participant 2019-20

Call for Candidates for the 2021 Catholic Women’s Leadership Program

We are pleased to announce that we are accepting applications for the 2021 cohort of our Leadership Program, scheduled to begin in April 2021 facilitated by the Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality, Saint Paul University, Ottawa.

The program is open to all Canadian Catholic women, from all walks of life who have a genuine interest in making a difference in their communities and places of work.

A candidate must be a Catholic woman, at least 21 years of age, demonstrate oral and written English language competencies, have a genuine desire to cultivate her gifts of leadership, and have made a previous contribution to her community in some capacity.

The Program is a 13-month Certificate program with an ongoing mentorship once the course work is completed. Throughout the Program, participants will be guided by professional facilitators from Saint Paul University. The Program is specifically designed to integrate faith and life, personal and professional leadership development. Spirituality and a Catholic faith perspective are the foundation of all activities; prayer and reflective practice are core elements integrated throughout the program.

The Program will have an introductory get-to-know-you online module in April 2021; a five-day intensive component is planned for May 30, 2021 to June 3, 2021. This is scheduled to be through ZOOM, and you will be expected to participate in every session.  All other modules are online and consist of videos, readings, personal reflections, and discussion forums. 

The final face-to-face residency component is scheduled for May 1 to 5 2022 in Ottawa.  To assist with your planning, an announcement will be made by January 8, 2022 about whether this will be online or in person.

Details of the content of the different components and timelines can be found on the website at www.cwlfcanada.ca/our-leadership-program.

If you are or know of a Catholic woman who wishes to be a transformational and influential leader, we invite you to complete the application process by November 20th, 2020 which can be found at www.cwlfcanada.ca/our-leadership-program.

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CWLF Welcomes 2020 Program Group

The Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation Board is honoured to announce the 2020 cohort.  Fourteen outstanding, talented women from across Canada will form for the class for the third Certificate program in Catholic Women’s Leadership developed in partnership with Saint Paul University’s Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality.

Thank you to all the inspiring women who applied for the program.  The Foundation was humbled to have a pool of women diverse in age, experience, and education from all parts of Canada who demonstrated strong Catholic values and lives of faith in service.

Merry Christmas from CWLF

(Above, left to right) Front: Cecile Miller, Patricia Li, Linda Dayler; Back: Diana Wielgus, Cheryl Unruh, Neysa Finnie, Adrienne Castellon, Theresa Schopf

Warm wishes for a Merry Christmas from the CWLF family to yours! 🎄

Thank you for your support throughout 2019.

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Call for Candidates for 2020 Cohort

We are pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2020 cohort of the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation (CWLF) Leadership Program, to commence in May 2020 at the Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality, Saint Paul University, in Ottawa.

The program is open to all Canadian Catholic women, from all walks of life, who have a genuine interest in making a difference in their communities and places of work.

A candidate must be a Catholic woman, at least 21 years of age, demonstrate oral and written English language competencies, have a genuine desire to cultivate her gifts of leadership, and have made a previous contribution to her community in some capacity.

The Program is a thirteen-month Certificate program with an ongoing mentorship once the course work is completed. Throughout the Program, participants will be guided by professional facilitators from Saint Paul University. The Program is specifically designed to integrate faith and life, personal and professional leadership development. Spirituality and a Catholic faith perspective are the foundation of all activities; prayer and reflective practice are core elements integrated throughout the Program.

The Program will have an introductory get-to-know-you online module; an initial, five-day, face-to-face residency component in Ottawa; a 10-month online component, consisting of videos, readings, personal reflections, and discussion forums; and a final, four-day, face-to-face residency component in Ottawa. Details of the content of the different components can be found at cwlfcanada.ca/our-leadership-program.

If you are or know of a Catholic woman who wishes to be a transformational and influential leader, we invite you to complete the application, which can be found at cwlfcanada.ca/our-leadership-program.

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2018-19 Report of the Board Chair to the 5th Annual Meeting of Members of The Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation

I am pleased to present this report for the period June 18, 2018, to June 26, 2019, to the Annual meeting of members of the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation (Foundation).

Board members as of June 26, 2018 are: Rita Janes, Chair (appointed director January 2015); Neysa Finnie, Vice-Chair (appointed director January 2015); Becky Kallal, Secretary (appointed director January 2015); Irene Lefort, CWL Appointee (appointed director November, 2016), Irene Dayler (appointed director January 2017); Adrienne Castellon (appointed director January 2017); Diana Wielgus (appointed director January, 2018); Theresa Schopf (appointed director January, 2018).

The work of the Foundation Board is directed by the mission of the Foundation, “to fund leadership education that inspires Catholic women to be transformational and influential leaders where they live, work and volunteer” and our vision of a “  just, merciful, and compassionate world nurtured by the genius of women”. 

The Foundation was incorporated in 2014 under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act and as a private foundation under the Canadian Income Tax.  By-Laws for the Foundation was approved by the Board and registered with Industry Canada in 2016.

Gift agreements were made between the Foundation and the Daly Foundation (Sisters of Service)  for $500 000 in 2015  and between the Catholic Women’s League of Canada for  $500 000 in 2016 and  $350 000 was restricted from each fund.

Structure and Administration of the Foundation Board

The Board operates within its Articles of Incorporation (2013) and approved By-Laws( 2016). Meetings are held monthly by conference call and/or as deemed necessary.  One two-day face –to–face meeting is held during the year.  This year this meeting was held in Toronto, February 2019.  At this meeting Board Committee Chairs were approved:

Governance – Rita Janes; Finance – Diana Wielgus;   Program –  Rita Janes; Fund Development – Neysa Finnie; Communications – Theresa Schopf; Selection – Linda Dayler; Nominations – Adrienne Castellon.  Becky Kallal serves as secretary for the Foundation.  All Committees are encouraged to form committees to include people not presently sitting on the Board.

In 2018, the Board signed a three-year contract with ManageWise, a company who will handle a portion of the part-time administrative duties of the Foundation, assist with fundraising and donor recognition, the website and social media. We agreed to continue with this contract for another year.  During 2019-20, Diana Wielgus will review the contract along with other Board members who access their services regularly so that changes can be made as necessary.

We are especially grateful to Betty Anne Brown Davidson, past CWL National Chair, for volunteering her services to receive and receipt all donations, along with sending thank you letters to all donors. Betty Anne deposits all monies received, pays all expense claims, and communicates with the Treasurer on a regular basis.  A special thank you to Betty Anne.

Fund Development

In June 2018, the Foundation completed its fundraising contract with the consulting firm of BNP Philanthropic. Consideration was given to a proposal from BNP to be a consultant for a Planned Giving Program but the Board decided it would not contract these services with BNP. Planned giving would become the responsibility of the Foundation Fund Development Committee, chaired by Neysa Finnie, as would other fund development initiatives of the Foundation, such as fundraising and donor recognition. A more comprehensive plan for fund development will happen when the Board schedules a Strategic Planning session in the 2019-20 year.

We remain very grateful to our many donors from across Canada, especially religious congregations and dioceses. In particular, we appreciate the generous donation of $500 000 from the Sisters of Mercy and the Presentation Sisters of Newfoundland.  Special appeals were made to the Catholic Women’s League members and councils in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 spring editions of the Canadian League Magazine. Besides financial donations, many dedicated Catholic Women League members and Councils at all levels promote the Foundation at parish, diocesan and provincial meetings and distribute Foundation brochures.

Nominations and Appointment of Board Members

There will be a separate report by Adrienne Castellon, Chair Nominations subcommittee. New members to the Board will be approved at the Annual General Meeting, including the member appointed by the Catholic Women’s League.

Leadership Program
A main objective of the Foundation, based on our mission and vision, was to develop and fund a Leadership Program and find an educational institution that could deliver the same. We are very proud that after four years of dedication to this task a one-year Leadership Program, delivered both online and face-to-face and so ably facilitated by the School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality at Saint Paul University with Sister Miriam Martin, psvm, as Director, was launched with Foundation funding in May 2018.

A four year funding agreement was signed with Saint Paul University, December 2018, meaning the Foundation is currently in the second year of a four year agreement.

Rita Janes was responsible for monitoring the Program in the initial year of delivery and accompanied the candidates through all aspects of the Program from April 2018 to May 2019.  Rita met with the Director of the Program at Saint Paul and other facilitators several times by telephone and in-person to discuss the progress of the Program and make changes as needed.

A more detailed Program report will be presented to the Board.

Linda Dayler has been appointed as monitor for the 2nd Cohort and will accompany the candidates in the Program throughout 2019-20.

Communications

A website for the Foundation was approved in 2016 (cwlfcanada.com). There is also a Facebook page which has been very active over the past year. A social media policy was developed over the past year and waiting final approval.

The National Catholic Women’s League had graciously offered the Foundation a space to post information in each issue of the Canadian League Magazine (2016 -18), but this was discontinued in fall 2018 edition of the League Magazine.

The Foundation hosted an exhibit table at the 2018 CWL National Convention in Winnipeg and was pleased to be invited to give a presentation about the Leadership Program to Convention participants. Two of the participants in the 2018-19 Program were included in the presentation and spoke of their experiences in the Program. This was very well received by the Convention delegates. This year we were not successful in getting an exhibit table at the 2019 Calgary Convention or a place to speak about the Foundation on the Convention agenda.

Because of the decrease in the number of applicants for the 2019-20 Leadership Program, time was spent at the February, 2019 face-to-face meeting discussing possible causes of this. A discussion took place on ‘who is a Catholic woman’.  This discussion led us to consider other possible places to advertise the call for applicants for the Program. Also, an article has been prepared for the Catholic Missions in Canada Magazine and an advertisement will be placed in the Living with Christ September Booklet. 

Appreciation

As Chair of the Board, I thank and express my appreciation to:

  • The Directors of the Board for their support and generosity of time and talent to the work of the Foundation and also to those who chair and serve on Committees. Their work and dedication to the Foundation are very much appreciated.
  • Betty Anne Brown Davidson who volunteers her time and expertise as bookkeeper for the Foundation. Her many prayers for the Leadership Program and for the participants are very much appreciated.
  • The Catholic Women’s League members from every Canadian province, who have so generously worked to secure the financial resources in support of Catholic Canadian women’s leadership education and the CWL Councils at all levels who continue to support the Foundation in so many ways.
Rita Janes

Rita Janes

Chair

Rita has been a member of the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation since January 2015 and was appointed Chair on January 1, 2017.

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