Women of Distinction

The YMCA-YWCA of Guelph’s Women of Distinction™ Fundraising Gala left over 400 community members feeling inspired after hearing from 30 role models, pioneers, and outstanding achievers who are making Guelph and Wellington County a better place. The 22nd Annual Women of Distinction™ Fundraising Gala focused on sharing and celebrating the stories of these extraordinary women. From mentors to trailblazers, the community heard firsthand how these women took on challenges as opportunities and how they used setbacks to launch them forward.

The Women of DistinctionTM Fundraising Gala raised over $30,000 in support of Guelph Y programs for girls and women at all stages of life in Guelph and Wellington County, including: Power of Being a GirlTM  – a one day conference for grade 7 and grade 8 girls that helps build self-esteem and raises awareness about healthy relationships; Teenage Parents Program (TAPPs) – a program that supports the personal growth and development of pregnant and parenting teens and their families and connects them with valuable resources; and Encore – a holistic program for women with breast cancer that helps them build their own physical strength, as well as feel the strength and support of a community.

The Fundraising Gala was very fortunate to have Sue Smith, singer, composer, producer, teacher, community builder and 2013 Women of Distinction™ Recipient as the Emcee and Honorary Chair for the evening. The Gala also included a captivating performance from Portal Dance and Guelph Youth Dance, specifically presenting several pieces from The Chrysalis Project, produced by Janet Johnson. The Guelph Y was honoured to have Jean Becker, Senior Advisor of Indigenous Initiatives at Wilfrid Laurier University, who delivered a captivating presentation on the Indigenous women who are cultivating change in their own communities. Guelph Y CEO, Geoff Vogt, highlighted “how important it is that, together as women, men, boys, and girls, we continue the conversation surrounding women’s rights.”

Special Awards

  • The Lifetime Achievement Award – Isobel Boyle, accomplished nurse, dedicated volunteer, and Community Champion
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award –  Dr. Éva Nagy, scientist, researcher, trailblazer, and inspiration to hundreds of young female scientists
  • The Turning Point Award – Karly Richardson, mother, student and resilient role model
sue smith-for mailing A special thank you to Sue Smith, 2017 Women of DistinctionTM Emcee and Honorary Chair. Read more about Sue’s inspirational story here.


The Guelph Y would like to thank the Women of DistinctionTM  sponsors for supporting and empowering the women in our community. A special thank you to Presenting Sponsors, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the University of Guelph, and CIBC for your support and for celebrating the achievements of outstanding women in Guelph and Wellington County.

Women of Distinction Presenting Sponsors 


Women of Distinction Gold Sponsors 




Women of Distinction Silver Sponsors 


Women of Distinction Bronze Sponsors 


Women of Distinction Friends/Media 







Click here to view Women of Distinction Past Recipients

If you have any questions, please contact Erica Charlesworth, Supervisor of Development and Communications, at ericacharlesworth@guelphy.org or 519-824-5150 ext. 255.

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