YWCA Edmonton was honoured to award the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Awards last night to five inspiring women leaders in our community who have made a significant contribution to promoting and building gender equity in our community.
The commemorative medal marks the 70th anniversary of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne in 1952. Congrats to Cecilia Blasetti, Prairie (Dustyhorn) Adaoui, Carolyn Graham, Stephanie Harpe and Jacqueline Foord. Thank you for your dedication and service to advancing gender equity in Edmonton and across our province.
Cecilia has had a lengthy and dedicated career in the inner-city social service sector in Calgary and Edmonton. She has worked tirelessly to make basic preventive health care available to children and individuals in marginalized communities.
As Executive Director of the Boyle McCauley Medical Centre, Cecilia expanded service delivery to some of Edmonton’s most disadvantaged citizens. She ensured vulnerable women had access to reproductive counselling, contraceptive devices and perinatal care. Cecilia also championed comprehensive care for women who are homeless and pregnant, opening and operating Pregnancy Pathways, a place where these women could find safe housing, prenatal and postnatal care and parenting support.
Cecilia is a woman with a strong spirit who has transformed the lives of hundreds through her efforts to support the health of disadvantaged and vulnerable women and their families.
Prairie is an outstanding community advocate. A second-generation survivor of the residential school system and survivor of the 60s scoop, she has served the Indigenous community in Edmonton for nearly 20 years, collaborating with Indigenous leaders and non-profit organizations, seeking transformational justice and systemic responsibility to address continuing colonial-gendered violence.
Prairie is a founding member of Standing Together, a community of MMIWGT2S+ relatives, survivors of residential schools and the 60s scoop, as well as key allies and supporters. With Prairie’s leadership, Standing Together creates safe and inclusive gathering spaces for MMIWGT2S+ relations and survivors of violence, where they can honour themselves and their loved ones and find tools to heal complex intergenerational traumas.
Prairie’s unrelenting dedication to intergenerational healing has transformed her family, community, province and nation in her quest for systemic accountability and justice.
Carolyn is an exceptional leader, mentor and champion of gender equality and inclusion. As an executive at Canadian Western Bank, she was the inaugural Executive Sponsor of CWB women and the co-founder of Edmonton Women In Finance, promoting careers for women in finance across the Edmonton business community.
Carolyn has inspired and mentored hundreds of talented women in our province on their career and director journeys. Carolyn is the current Board Chair of MacEwan University, previous Chair of Habitat for Humanity, and serves on the Boards of Melcor REIT, Grant Thornton and the Edmonton Symphony.
In her many community leadership roles, Carolyn has been a champion of inclusion, voice and engagement, creating critical pathways to prosperity and development for diverse and marginalized community members.
Stephanie’s life experiences have affected her humanitarian work: she is a survivor of the residential school system and victim of attempted murder. She is the proud daughter of a slain mother, Ruby Anne McDonald, and the niece of Fort Mckay First Nations’ Historical Chief Dorothy McDonald.
Stephanie is a passionate champion of gender justice. In 2019 she travelled to 31 Indigenous communities in Western Canada with the Safety and Wellness Super Clinic as an International Advocate for Murdered, Missing, and Exploited Indigenous Peoples. She has also made space for creativity and healing, leading retreats rooted in art and music for children who have lost a parent due to the crisis.
Stephanie continues to be a passionate champion for gender justice by giving voice to this genocidal tragedy and advocating to end violence against Indigenous people.
Jackie has devoted her career to advancing gender equity. As CEO of YWCA Edmonton, Jackie refocused the organization on its feminist roots, expanded programs dedicated to women and girls, and repositioned the organization as a leader on gender issues in our city.
As co-founder and inaugural Chair of the Women’s Advocacy Voice of Edmonton, Jackie advocated for applying an intersectional gender lens to all municipal policies. As Branch Manager of Social Development for the City of Edmonton, Jackie was instrumental in advancing Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Initiatives, working to build awareness and create responsive services for all forms of gender-based violence.
In all she does, Jackie has been and -continues to be a driving force for gender equity in our city, our province and across Canada.