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Helene Weir, President and CEO of YMCA Calgary named a WXN 2015 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner

YMCA Calgary’s top executive joins community of Canada’s most iconic women leaders

Calgary, Alberta (November 25, 2015) –– YMCA Calgary is pleased to announce Helene Weir, President and CEO, YMCA Calgary has been named a Women’s Executive Network (WXN) 2015 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner.

Launched in 2003, the Top 100 Awards celebrate the incredible accomplishments of Canada’s top female executive talent as well as their organizations and networks. Ms. Weir, who is included in WXN 2015 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 will be honoured during a gala celebration at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on November 26.

Helene Weir joined the YMCA in 1983 and, in increasingly senior positions, has had a profound impact by helping our charity improve the lives of people in our community and fulfill a vision where every Calgarian can belong, grow, thrive and lead.

As a proud supporter of women in leadership, YMCA Calgary works to create the necessary conditions and opportunities for women like Ms. Weir to help them thrive and succeed within the not-for-profit community.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of Helene Weir and the team she leads,” said Narmin Ismail-Teja, Chair of the Board of YMCA Calgary. “In a time of profound growth and change for our organization, Helene lives out the YMCA values of honest, respect, responsibility and caring every day.”

The Top 100 Awards serve to recognize talented leaders in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and to inspire the current and next generation to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

“For these highly accomplished women, receiving a Top 100 Award means much more than recognition or a chance to share the spotlight with other remarkable Winners, it’s an opportunity to pay it forward,” says WXN founder, Pamela Jeffery. “WXN Top 100 Award Winners are powerful women both in their careers and their potential to transcend boundaries to have a greater impact on the communities around them.”

Helene Weir joins a prestigious community of past Award Winners, including Canada’s most iconic women trailblazers: Margaret Atwood, best-selling author; Dr. Roberta Bondar, astronaut; Arlene Dickinson, former “Dragon” and chief executive officer, Venture Communications; Christine Magee, president, Sleep Country Canada; Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada; Heather

Reisman, founder and chief executive officer, Indigo Books & Music; and, Kathleen Taylor, chair of the board, Royal Bank of Canada.

The full list of WXN’s 2015 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners can be found at www.wxnetwork.com/top-100/top-100-winners.

About Helene Weir

Helene Weir is in a rare group of female CEOs in the world-wide YMCA movement, currently active in over 120 countries. Ms. Weir is one of only 3 female CEOs among the largest YMCAs in Canada and is one of only 13 in the 70 largest YMCAs in North America. Under her leadership, YMCA Calgary is one of the leading voices in the country for preventative health through physical activity and wellness through community. A 2011 Women of Vision award winner here in Calgary, she also demonstrates a commitment to local community involvement through membership in the Rotary Club of Calgary which just celebrated its 100th anniversary in Calgary.

About YMCA Calgary

YMCA Calgary is a charity dedicated to building healthy communities. For over 113 years, YMCA Calgary has been committed to nurturing the potential of children, youth and families, promoting healthy living and fostering social responsibility within the community.

About the Women’s Executive Network (WXN)

At WXN, we inspire smart women to lead. WXN creates and delivers innovative networking, mentoring, professional and personal development to inform, inspire, connect and recognize our community of more than 19,500 smart women and their organizations in the pursuit of excellence. WXN enables our partners and corporate members to become and to be recognized as employers of choice and leaders in the advancement of women.

Founded in 1997, WXN is Canada’s leading organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of women in management, executive, professional and board roles. WXN is a founding member of the Canadian Board Diversity Council, dedicated to increasing the diversity of Canada’s corporate boards. In 2008, WXN launched in Ireland, followed by London, UK in 2015, creating an international community of female leaders.

More information and details are available at www.wxnetwork.com or www.top100women.ca.

For media inquiries or to arrange an interview with Helene Weir or WXN founder Pamela Jeffery, please contact:

Marion Morris
Harbinger Communications
416-960-5100 ext. 260



Award Recognition

Fan and Molly

The Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre of Calgary recently held their award ceremony on September 25, 2014.

YMCA Calgary was honoured with the Inclusive Community Award in recognition of our efforts to engage, include and support people with developmental disabilities whether it be through membership, programs, services or employment and volunteer positions.

Fan Wu, Eau Claire YMCA Program Manager and Molly Green, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator attended the event and accepted the award on our behalf.

Kindness Boomerang

With the submission deadline for YMCA Peace Medals nominations coming up in September, I wanted to share an amazing and very inspirational video by Life Vest Inside. Watch as the camera tracks an act of kindness as its passed from one individual to the next and manages to boomerang back to the person who set it into motion.

Nominate someone who inspires you for a YMCA Peace Medal.

Sandra Crazy Bull Receives Women of Vision Award

The recipients of the Woman of Vision awards for the last two years were recognized on March 6th at an event hosted by Linda Olsen of Global TV, who is very passionate about women’s leadership.

Sandra Crazy Bull, YMCA leader for Aboriginal Drum and Dance, received her award at the Woman of Vision celebration event.

Sandra was nominated by YMCA staff person Brigitte Edwards. Helene Weir, YMCA Calgary’s President and CEO was also a past recipient.

Learn more about Women of Vision.

YMCA Staff Nominated for 17th Annual Leadership Award

Congratulations to Joann Hook, YMCA Calgary General Manager, Training and Development for being nominated at the 17th Annual Leadership Awards for the Leader in Volunteer Management category!

Volunteer Calgary officially announced the 97 nominees for the 17th Annual Leadership Awards in a special celebration held at Cardel Theatre. 97 nominations were received by Volunteer Calgary across eight categories: Heart of Calgary, Leaders of Tomorrow, Leaders in Employee Volunteering, Leader in Volunteer Management, Leader in Volunteer Engagement, Volunteer Family, and Volunteer in Profile. The nominees represent the commitment, passion and diversity of the thousands of volunteers in Calgary who work behind the scenes to build a stronger and healthier community – youth, individuals, employee groups, lifelong volunteers and volunteer management professionals.

Winners will be announced at the awards banquet on April 23, 2013.

Calgarians are encouraged start volunteering by connecting with local volunteer opportunities via Volunteer Calgary.

Did you know YMCA Calgary has almost 1,000 volunteers? View our current opportunities.

YMCA Calgary Receives Award Recognition

Every year Calgary’s Child Magazine readers are invited to cast their votes in the annual Parents’ Choice Awards for businesses in our community that provide support, service and fun for families.

Awards were announced in January. We are pleased to say YMCA Calgary won first place in three categories:

Best Programs for Teens
Best Children’s Day Camp
Best Children’s Residential Camp

YMCA also received an honourable mention for Best Programs for School-aged Children.

Thanks very much to everyone who voted for us.

YMCA Staff wins Youth of Distinction Award!

Please join us in congratulating Ernest Dushime, recipient of the 2012 ConocoPhillips Youth of Distinction Award for Perseverance!

Youth of Distinction, Ernest Dushime

Ernest is a YMCA Community Outreach Assistant, Day Camp Staff, as well as a graduate of the YMAP Program.

Originally from war-torn Burundi, 18 year old Ernest has spent much of his life fleeing conflict.  When the civil war escalated, his family, including 14 siblings, were forced to flee.  It is difficult to condense Ernest’s experiences, but in the subsequent fighting, he lost both of his parents as well as 7 siblings to the armed conflict.  Shortly after, Ernest’s uncle took in the remaining Dushime family. Together, they fled Burundi and travelled through Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya before finally settling in Canada in 2006.

Ernest’s journey did not end when he arrived in Canada.  He has had to adapt to a new life in Canada: Learning English, experiencing  new cultures, and dealing with the tragic loss of his family have been enormous challenges for Ernest to overcome.  With little motivation or guidance to succeed, he began to get in trouble at school and had no dreams for the future.  Ernest worked to develop a “tough guy” exterior, masking the caring person that he really is!

In 2009, Ernest joined the YMCA Achievement Program (YMAP) in an effort to make friends and his transformation has been nothing short of inspiring!  Over the past two years. Ernest was encouraged to find his voice and to share his story with his peers.

Looking toward the future, Ernest hopes to use his understanding of conflict and loss to help others who have also experienced trauma. He says that, “I can make a difference in the world because the YMCA helps a lot of kids who are struggling. I have had those tears too and kids just like me are in the same situation and I can help them.” Having found the courage and inspiration to speak out, Ernest has a strong desire to put his passion for social change and inclusion into action saying, “I just need some help to change the world because I am still just a student. But I believe now that I’m going to make a difference. Everyone can.”

Ernest, we believe in you and are proud to be a part of your journey. Congratulations!

Award Winning YMCA!

We are all delighted at YMCA Calgary to have won the Calgary’s Child Magazine Parents’ Choice awards for Best Children’s Residential Camp and Honorable Mentions for Best Child Care Facility, Best Programs for School Age Children, Best Teen Programs and Best Children’s Day Camp!

Thank you to everyone who voted for YMCA Calgary. We are proud our programs are helping build healthy communities.

Click here to view the full list of winners/recipients.