Inaugural Cohort 2018
The Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation Board is honoured to announce the inaugural cohort 2018. Thirteen outstanding, talented women from across Canada will form for the class for the first 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.
Catherine Camp lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She has attained her Bachelor of Commerce degree along with her Fellowship in Risk Management and Certificate in Human Resource Management. She is currently a Risk Manager with Bell Canada. She is involved with Girls Guides Canada as a Guide Leader and is the current Deputy District Commissioner for Colby District. At her parish she is the Chair of the Liturgy Committee and is active as a Mass Coordinator, on the Finance Committee, a Eucharistic Minister, a “Living Your Strengths” facilitator, a member of the CWL, Parish Pastoral Renewal Team and is a Religious Education Teacher for the past 22 years.
She says about herself “as a leader with Girl Guides I am fortunate to be a mentor to many young girls. I enjoy pushing them to learn new skills as well as encouraging and assuring them that they can indeed be anything they want while still being true to themselves. I like to be an example to the girls that you don’t have to change who you are to fit in and that they can indeed make a difference in the community and the world simply by being themselves”.
Marlita Chase lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She is the Church Secretary at St. Dunstan and Holy Family Parishes. As a volunteer she has been involved in the New Brunswick Breast Cancer Network as a Board Member and Volunteer; member of the CWL; member of the Chalmers Hospital Spiritual Care Team and a Knitters Group. She attended the Atlantic Business College and completed the Business program in 1983. Since that time, she has been successfully employed in Administration, Secretarial, Clerical and Bookkeeping fields. These studies lead to a variety of opportunities to work with many Provincial Departments, Health, Supply and Service, Justice and Elections in New Brunswick.
Her Pastor, Father Bill Brennan says the following about Marlita. “She is a quiet leader. She can take on projects and move them forward to completion. She is highly respected among the parishioners and those she works with. This program will give her an excellent opportunity to enhance this “leadership” part of herself ”.
Courtney says of herself: “Strong feelings of empathy and concern are something that I choose to turn into, as St. Teresa of Calcutta would say, “love in action” in my community. I have spent the last 10 years of my life working with people in many capacities, I have been an Educational Assistant, a Personal Support Worker and currently I work with families experiencing divorce and separation. All of these positions have opened my eyes to the many struggles people encounter every day. It has made me extremely grateful for the blessings God has bestowed upon me and has motivated me to continually strive to better my church and wider community.”
This program has been a journey of
From 2009 to 2014, she was one of the leaders of “Duc in Altum” which is a young adult ministry of the Salesian Sisters. She is a spiritual director for young women and has volunteered in the pastoral care team at her parish. She is a member of the CWL; Association of Fundraising Professionals; Spiritual Directors Apostolate in Ottawa; and is an alumnus of NET (National Evangelization Teams), who served as a missionary and staff member in Canada.
Melodie in her essay states: “When I was younger, I was quiet, shy and introverted, so I didn’t see myself as a leader. However, over time I’ve learned that I, too, can be a leader. I’ve had mentors who had confidence in me – and that helped me to gain confidence in myself. Also, after reading the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain, it reaffirmed for me that introverts can be good leaders too. Speaking in front of hundreds of women at CWL National Conventions is something I never would have dreamed of in the past, but the Lord has given me the grace to do it.“
In her essay she states, “As a Catholic teacher who has worked mostly with high school students in my classroom career, I am often challenged by students on the role of women in the Church which they see as being very restrictive. It is always my goal to help students see the beauty of the Church’s teachings on women, on leadership, and on service. I believe programs like the one you are beginning will help our entire Catholic community come to a deeper understanding of the importance of the female voice and the strengths that female leaders can bring to our Church and larger society.”
Sue’s reasons for her application are stated in her essay “Canada has become a multi-cultural nation and we need strong educated leaders in our communities to fight against racism and bigotry in all its forms. I believe this program will help to build on my capacity as a leader in my community and help me to develop a communication and leadership style that will give me the confidence to take on new and challenging roles in my community, that I currently feel are out of my comfort zone. I also believe that acquiring more skills as a leader will help me to feel confident in challenging long held beliefs which are creating barriers for those in our communities that are suffering from mental health issues, homelessness and food security problems on a daily basis.”
I feel blessed by the Holy Spirit to be able to journey with the leading learners and my 13 ‘sisters’ on this path. I have gained confidence in my own spirituality and leadership and continue to gain perspective through dialogue with my sisters as we walk this path together.
Liza states of herself “As a minority woman working in the male-dominated field of information technology (IT), I feel blessed to have had numerous opportunities to grow my career and further my education. Since arriving in Canada as an immigrant in 1995, I have worked 16 years at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in positions that ultimately support teaching, learning and research. In my search of organizations that help uplift women in society, I have found many global initiatives that offer sustainable solutions to challenges women face, most of which are non-Catholic. I am deeply concerned that this presents a challenge to our faith considering that a number of these solutions oppose our Catholic beliefs. I believe that we need to increase female leaders in the Catholic community. Female Catholic leaders will advocate for sustainable solutions to challenges women face that preserve and respect our faith. “
It’s been an awesome learning experience — one where I get to have a good illuminated view of my blind side, become more self-aware, become a better listener, deeply reflect on “stories” and make meaning, learn to connect to the Source of my being, and repeatedly ask myself what God wants me to become as a member (and leader) in His big family. Been such a blessing!
Formerly, she worked at World Vision Canada and did training with Next Level Leadership where she learned “that when women are educated, communities flourish, peace is restored, and families are supported.
Because women are the primary caregivers of children, the sick and elderly, and those with special needs, as well as the majority of workers and volunteers in education, healthcare and social services, it is vital that they be trained well so they can together with men, mentor the next generation of leaders and become more effective teachers of virtue.“
She is a provincial officer in the CWL, currently the provincial president, and past member of the national resolutions committee. She is actively involved in her parish as a lector, server, member of the CWL and parish council finance committee. Her other affiliations and volunteer activities include the Ontario Nurses Association, Canadian Nursing Association, National Emergency Nurses Association and Emergency Nurse Certification.
Her references state “Anne and I have journeyed together as members of the Ontario Provincial Council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada for the past ten years. I have come to know Anne well both at the provincial table and personally. She is grounded in her faith. I consider her to be a deeply spiritual woman who lives the Gospel in everything she does. Anne is a woman who readily shares her gifts of leadership in a variety of capacities but most definitely in her workplace. Being a registered nurse in a busy emergency care unit she has mentored many new nurses showing them how to tenderly care for their patients.”
Bishop Hagemoen says of Giselle “she is a proactive “servant leader” who loves and demonstrates a life of prayer and spiritual discipline through active support of her own Dene-Tlico Community and the wider diocese”
Gisele states her reason for her application “I have always found my faith to be a comfort as a child, to adulthood. My comfort came from knowing strong spiritual people. With their guidance I grew up with confidence in myself and my faith. I believe through the program I can enhance my spirituality and emotional intelligence for leadership. In turn I can contribute what I have learned to the peoples of my community, workplace, family and church.”
Ania Krysciak, Catholic Campus Minister states in her reference letter that “Megan has a deep faith and a generous spirit. She is always willing to help, and she does so with a smile and a great deal of personal integrity. Megan is straightforward and honest in all her interactions. She deals directly with people, expressing herself in a clear, concise and non-judgmental way. This is one of her greatest strengths and contributes to her friendly and gentle manner. Megan holds herself to very high personal standards.
Having worked with university students for almost 19 years, I notice when a student distinguishes herself. Megan always does. She has that rare ability to see what’s needed in any given situation. One quick look in her direction when you need help, and she clues in right away and responds. This is a skill that you cannot teach someone. It’s more than just an awareness, it’s the perception of a need, the willingness to take the responsibility for it upon oneself, the cognitive ability to figure out what to do, and finally the resolve and know-how to actually do it.”
St. John’s, NL
She states in her essay her reasons for her application as “I have a genuine desire to make a difference in my community and place of work. I continue to receive an overwhelming amount of support and sense of trust from the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy. Their support provides me with the inspiration to embark on learning opportunities that will enhance the education and skills required to fulfill their leadership expectations. “
It has been a very supportive learning environment! I feel fortunate to be a member of such a diverse group of women with similar goals.
Her Department Head in his reference letter states that “Michelle has a strong faith and most importantly a deep, trustful, and tender relationship with our Lord. As our school’s campus minister, Michelle went beyond simply organizing Masses and prayer services. She was one of our spiritual examples of our school and whatever work she was involved in, she was sure to reference her love for Jesus. It was no surprise, therefore, that many of our students flocked to her for spiritual and personal counsel. Hundreds of students will testify that she was one of the reasons why their faith was strengthened. Even to our staff, Michelle did not hide her faith under a bushel basket but rather was transparent, not in a boastful way, but in a sincere and candid way. Michelle was also a role model and she emphatically insisted that all our school programs, sports, arts, and service, had our faith as its unifying and central core. This is because Michelle does not just believe the Gospel in her heart, she understands that Christ has commissioned us to plant and nurture the roots of it so that it can grow in our society and touch the hearts of every person in our world. And whether this work appears hopeful or discouraging, this does not stop her from letting Jesus move her will towards this work, and this is because she loves and trusts Him so very much.”