Influential Women of Northern Ontario for 2019: Thirteen more women join growing group of respected leaders.


A great Northern tradition continues with the announcement of the 2019 Influential Women of Northern Ontario Awards (IW).

Launched in 1997, the IW Awards acknowledge women from across the North who are making a difference in their communities and contributing to the region's economic success.

More than 300 women have been recognized since the program's inception.

This year, 13 more women were inducted into this pantheon of respected leaders during two celebratory luncheons --the first on May 27 at the Victoria Inn Hotel and Convention Centre in Thunder Bay, and the second on May 30 at the Quattro Hotel and Conference Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.

"What a remarkable group of women we are honouring this year," said Northern Ontario Business publisher Abbas Homayed.

"Their accomplishments demonstrate the hallmarks of true community leaders. We extend our sincerest congratulations to all the deserving winners for 2019."

Northern Ontario Business extends its gratitude to event sponsors, the City of Thunder Bay and the City of Sault Ste. Marie, the judges, and the award sponsors.

Full winners' profiles and photos are available at www.


  1. Executive of the Year: Madge Richardson, executive director, North Superior Workforce Planning Board (Thunder Bay) Sponsor: Tbaytel. Presenter: Agnes Notarbortolo, Tbaytel

  2. Entrepreneur of the Year: Melissa Hardy-Giles, owner, Origin Recruiting and Hardy Giles Consulting (Fort William First Nation and Thunder Bay) Sponsor: Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce. Presenter: Abbas Homayed from Northern Ontario Business on behalf of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce.

  3. Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Ashlyn Ransome, owner, The Pasta Shoppe (Thunder Bay) Sponsor: Victoria Inn and Convention Centre. Presenter: Raymond Nadeau, Victoria Inn and Convention Centre

  4. Aboriginal Leadership: Marlene Davidson, president, Metis Nation of Ontario and the Atikokan Metis Council (Atikokan) Sponsor: Ontario Power Generation. Presenter: Tana Leigh Hardy, Ontario Power Generation.

  5. Tradeswoman of the Year: Raquel Glavish, civil engineering program co-ordinator, Confederation College (Thunder Bay) Sponsor: North Star Air. Presenter: Maureen Massaro, Northstar Air.

  6. Influential Community Trailblazer: Patricia Forrest, senior co-ordinator of partnerships and initiatives, Destination Northern Ontario (Kakabeka Falls) Sponsor: Northern Ontario Angels. Presenter: Mary-Jean Cormier.


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