Page TitleBrescia University College Announces 2016 BresciaLEAD Award Recipients

January 26, 2016

London, ON – On Thursday, April 7th, Brescia University College will honour its inaugural BresciaLEAD Award winners at the London Convention Centre. These national awards recognize three exceptional women leaders and one organization that embody Brescia’s values of leading with wisdom, justice and compassion in a changing world.

“We are excited to celebrate such an extraordinary group of inspiring and influential leaders and are honoured to recognize them at our inaugural award ceremony,” says event organizer Cathy Vitkauskas, Vice-Principal Advancement at Brescia University College.

The University is proud to announce the inaugural BresciaLEAD Award recipients in four distinct categories:

The Lifetime Award will be presented to a woman who has demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout her lifetime.

Carol Stephenson, a Canadian business executive with over 30 years of marketing and technology development experience, has been recognized as a pioneering female executive in the telecommunications industry. She has earned significant recognition for her community work and industry involvement, including being appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2009, receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012 and being named by the National Post as one of Canada’s 50 Most Powerful Women. Ms. Stephenson most recently served as Dean of the Ivey Business School at Western University from 2003 through 2013. Today, she is a Corporate Director, serving on the boards of General Motors Company, Intact Financial Services Inc., Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. and Ballard Power Systems Inc. She also serves on the Board of Governors of the Stratford Festival.

The Emerging Award will be presented to a woman with a new and innovative voice, currently making an impact on her community.

Maya Burhanpurkar, a 16 year old Ontario high school student, scientist, entrepreneur and volunteer has already earned significant recognition, receiving Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award, Ontario’s Junior Citizen of the Year Award, and has twice been awarded the Grand Platinum Award at Canada’s national science fair for novel discoveries in microbiology and fundamental physics. In addition, after serving on a research expedition to the Arctic, Ms. Burhanpurkar produced an open source Arctic climate change documentary with astronaut Chris Hadfield and novelist Margaret Atwood. She is a passionate and vocal advocate of girls and women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), she has served as the youngest-ever President of Canada’s largest STEM non-profit organization, which provides science outreach to over 120,000 youths across Canada where she oversees a volunteer staff of over 200. In addition, she has spoken nationally and internationally at such venues as TEDx, CBC Newsworld’s International Women’s Day special coverage, CBC Radio One, Global TV’s Morning show, CBC’s The National, and has been featured in the Huffington Post and Microsoft’s Global Citizenship Initiative.

The Activist Award will be presented to a woman with an unwavering commitment to social justice, who has applied creative thinking to solve problems.

Tzeporah Berman, a Canadian environmental activist and writer, has over 20 years of experience designing environmental campaigns in Canada and internationally. Ms. Berman was one of the experts in Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental documentary 11th Hour, was one of six Canadian nominees for the Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award and has been profiled as one of 50 Visionaries Changing the World in Utne Reader and as “Canada’s Queen of Green” in the cover story for Readers Digest. Currently, she works as a strategic advisor to a number of First Nations, environmental organizations and philanthropic foundations on climate and energy issues, is an Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, the former Co-Director of Greenpeace International’s Climate Program and Co-founder of ForestEthics. Her book This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge was published by Knopf Canada in 2011. Ms. Berman was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2013 by the University of British Columbia and in 2015 she was appointed to the BC Government Climate Leadership Team tasked with making policy recommendations to meet BC legislated climate targets.

The Distinction Award will be presented to an organization which creates conditions and empowers women to be successful at building their careers and thriving in positions of leadership.

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is the largest financial institution in Canada and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. The bank employs approximately 81,000 employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 37 other countries. RBC has a demonstrated commitment to retaining and advancing women to leadership roles within the company. In 2014, they launched the Women in Leadership program, with 26 women participating in a 10-month networking, peer coaching and support program. Additionally, RBC has created a supportive and empowering culture for women which is fostered through employee groups such as: RWomen (Women in Capital Markets) which fosters the development and career aspirations of women within RBC Capital Markets; Women’s Advisory Board’s (WAB) whose mission is to recruit, retain and enhance the productivity and career success of women in the roles of client-facing advisors, branch managers and head office professionals; and the Hiring Our Graduate Leadership Program which has stated a goal of recruiting 50% women. Francine Dyksterhuis, RBC Regional President of South Western Ontario will be accepting the award on behalf of RBC.

In addition to the awards ceremony, the event will also present Academy Award® winning actor and gender equality advocate Geena Davis as the keynote speaker.

Tickets for the BresciaLEAD Awards are available to the public for $1,600 for a table of 8 or $200 per person. For additional ticket information or sponsorship opportunities, or detailed recipient biographies please visit:


 For more information please contact:

Cathy Fox, Manager Communication and Marketing at 519-432-8353, ext 28293 or at, or Caitlin Core, Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer at 519.432.8353, ext. 28280 or at

Brescia University College, is affiliated with Western University. The 1,550 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in the schools of Behavioural & Social Sciences, Food & Nutritional Sciences, Humanities, and Leadership & Social Change in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic University College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity.