2020 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards
- NC Raine | October 23, 2020
Cultural icon Beyonce once opined, “who run the world? Girls.” The YWCA is making sure Saskatchewan knows it. Every year, the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards recognizes the outstanding contribution and achievement of several women who have made a difference through their commitment to the community.
In Saskatoon, these awards have been presented to women across all backgrounds and sectors, including athletes, teachers, and humanitarians. This year, the Lifetime Achievement Award has been bestowed to Metis Senator Nora Cummings, a trailblazer and tireless activist for Indigenous and Women's Rights in Saskatchewan.
“I was really quite shocked,” said Cummings in an interview. “Especially to be given a Lifetime Achievement Award, it really is quite an honour, something I never expected would happen.”
Cummings, a Metis woman born in 1938 in Saskatoon, has spent the majority of her life making an indelible mark on her city. Among Cummings' long list of accomplishments and recognitions include founding the Saskatchewan Native Women's Association in 1971, founding member of Board of Directors of the Native Women's Association of Canada, helping create the Saskatoon Metis Society Local #11, and receiving a Queen's Golden Jubilee Award in 2002 for her service to Canada.
But Cummings said the recognition isn't about her, but the people who have helped her along the way.
“This is about all the people who have mentored me. It's about the people who I have worked with over the years, and who have helped me. Especially our elders, who have always been there to guide me.”
This year's recipient of the Business and Professions Award is Lisa Mooney, who currently works as the Global Lead, Sustainability and Strategic Inclusion for Nutrien in Saskatoon. Her focus, both professionally and in her volunteer work, has been to work to improve the quality of life for people in the community. Her volunteer work centres around affordable housing, women's issues, and diversity.
“I am humbled to have been nominated by people who I respect, and even more so, to have been recognized in this category,” said Mooney.
“My journey to where I am today has not been traditional, and my success in many ways was not expected. However, it has been my drive to create and contribute to a more equitable community that led me to the business community,” said Mooney.
The level of trust and understanding Mooney creates in the community has helped Nutrien build relationships with Indigenous partners, including Nutrien re-signing a memorandum of understanding with the Saskatoon Tribal Council, said Nutrien executive vice-president Michael Webb in a statement.
“Internally in the organization, she greatly enhances people's cultural competence and capacity,” said Webb. “If you ask Lisa why she chooses to stay at Nutrien, her answer is consistent 'because I can make an important impact'. She is purpose-driven to a fault at times, putting herself and her own needs far behind her investment of energy into building a cohesive and world-class approach to inclusion at Nutrien.”
Other recipients of this year's awards:
Jennilee Cardinal-Shultz – Entrepreneurship
Shelly Macnab – Leadership in Trades
Dori Krahn – First Responder
Jess Hamm – Arts, Culture, and Heritage
Janna Dutton – Loretta's Award
Rev. Deborah Walker – Community Building
Rebecca Bekolay & Lee Braun – Education
Dr. Pamela Downe – Research and Technology
Nicole Shauf & Susan Hamilton – Health and Athletics
Megan Barabash – 29 and Under
Leanne Gailey – Saskatchewan Spirit
A full profile of Cummings will be published in the November issue of Eagle Feather News.