Women of Inspiration
We are proud to announce the next two nominees for the Women of Inspiration Series.
Originally from Lacombe, Alberta, Linda first visited Fort McMurray in July 1981 for four weeks of volunteer work with a church team. What started as something her parents modelled and encouraged became a lifestyle for her and one she looks forward to teaching her grandchildren.
While in McMurray in 1981 Linda met her now husband and the couple returned to Fort McMurray in 1982 to start their life together here. She and her family have called Fort McMurray home for more than 35 years.
Ms. Mywaart is the Chair of the Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD) Board of Trustees. An agent for change not only for the School District, but for the region, Linda believes in having a vision and following it through with positivity. Her patience and fortitude to continue supporting projects despite obstacles, has led to significant milestones in the community. One great example is her consistent advocacy for seniors. Ms. Mywaart chairs the Advisory Committee on Aging.
“Our work is focused on making The RMWB more age-friendly, as we strive for a designation in the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and communities (GNAFCC). We have built relationships and awareness of successes and challenges facing seniors and will continue to do so. We are proud of the senior parking signs recently installed at RMWB facilities around the region as just one example of something we’ve done. We are part of the team currently working towards the Willow Square Continuing Care Centre. We suggested and emphasized the importance of having the Aboriginal Affairs Department, and they were invited to be at the table. The historical and cultural components of the facility and the region are critically important,” she adds.
Re-elected this October, Linda became an FMPSD trustee in 2010 and for 19 years has been committed to education at various schools levels. She has been a school council member, school council chair, volunteered in the classroom, school athletics, music, field trips, and special events. A reliable voice for students, she truly believes in “Doing What’s Best for Kids,” and articulates this at every board meeting.
“I want young girls to know it’s important to be true to yourself. I was bullied in high school because I was academically strong and wanted to achieve. However, I didn’t let it hold me down for too long. I chose to be myself, to remain strong and remain steadfast on what I believed in, which charted the course of my current leadership lifestyle. I want young girls to stand strong and tall, know who you are. Always be willing to learn new things; the best leaders are also followers. And, always be kind; speak the kind truth.”
Annette Antoniak relocated to RMWB in 2015 from Penticton, B.C. to take over as Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo. While serving as CAO for the City of Penticton, Ms. Antoniak honed her leadership skills. Under her leadership, with an amazingly dedicated staff, Antoniak tackled 64 recommendations from a completed core services review and addressed a municipal deficit. She brought these skills to RMWB and recently took over the position of Chief Administrative Officer for the RMWB.
Ms. Antoniak has spent her entire career challenging gender barriers. She serves to mentor, encourage and inspire women throughout the organization, and her example demonstrates what can be achieved through hard work, persistence and determination.
Through her role at the RMWB, Annette has had the opportunity to develop positive collaborative partnerships with Indigenous communities. In addition, she works successfully with other levels of government, industry leaders and a variety of community stakeholders. She uses her breadth of experience to mentor others, and is always willing to offer words of advice and encouragement for women who are encountering obstacles. Annette has faced barriers due to her gender, these have often been based only on the fact that these roles have traditionally been held by males. Her leadership is an inspiration to girls who have the good fortune to grow up in a community that not only accepts women as leaders, but embraces this concept in a region often viewed by the external world as being dominated by men and unwelcoming to women.
Annette is a logical choice as a Women of Inspiration as her entire life has symbolized the Girls Inc. Mandate of inspiring ALL girls to be strong, smart and bold.
Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude will honour all nominees at the Women of Inspiration Celebration which will take place in June, 2018
The Women of Inspiration is a partnership between Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude, with a goal to recognize women throughout the Wood Buffalo region who inspire others, break new ground or old barriers and help create change. The series also aims to show local girls positive role models who live right here.
To nominate a woman of inspiration, please visit our website at www.girlsincofnorthernalberta.org or contact the Girls Inc. office at 780-790-9236.