Campus Life

YWCA Lethbridge and District Announces 2011 Women of Distinction

The YWCA Women of Distinction Awards recognize outstanding women who live and work in Southern Alberta.

This year six women have been selected through a competitive process, and the honorees are chosen from a group of nominations.

Among the recipients this year are several with connections to the University of Lethbridge.

The Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony showcases the talent and leadership of women in Southern Alberta. Women honoured have been trail blazers, entrepreneurs, innovators, social advocates, and volunteers.

The 2011 Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony will take place Friday, March 18 starting at 5 p.m. at the Lethbridge Lodge.

The guest speaker is Crystal Flaman, a social entrepreneur, multiple Ironman Triathlete competitor & 100km Ultra-Marathoner and Author.

Please call 403-329-0088 or stop by the YWCA for your tickets ($75 with a $50 tax receipt).


Dr. Olga Kovalchuk: Community Leader

Dr. Olga Kovalchuk, M.D./Ph.D. was born and raised in Ukraine. Living close to Chernobyl inspired her research into the effects of radiation on living organisms.

She is a medical doctor, cancer researcher and professor in Biological Sciences at the University of Lethbridge. Her work is devoted to uncovering the molecular mechanisms of breast cancer development and using new approaches to cancer prevention, diagnostics and treatment.

Dr Kovalchuk has been invited to give lectures on her work in countries around the world and has received over $8,000,000 in funding from both Canada and the U.S. from granting agencies as diverse as Canadian Foundation of Innovation, Alberta Cancer Research Institute, U.S. Department of Energy Low Dose Radiation program, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Cheryl Dick: Community Commitment

Cheryl is the Chief Executive Officer for Economic Development Lethbridge and is highly respected for her strong and tireless commitment to providing exceptional leadership.

Her academic background, corporate experience and core values combine with her leadership in creating a vibrant organization that treats people equitably, achieves goals, celebrates success and serves society.

Cheryl completed her MBA in Executive Management from Royal Roads University in 2003 and holds an "Accredited Public Relations" designation from the Canadian Public Relations Society.

Among other community service efforts, she has held volunteer leadership positions with the U of L Senate, Faculty of Management Advisory Committee, and Senate Honorary Degree Committee.

Bonny Greenshields: Social Advocate

Bonny is the owner and operator of Round Street Café, as well as, a wife, mother, grandmother and friend to many people and organizations in the Lethbridge community.

Bonny and her husband Malcolm moved to Lethbridge where she taught Special Education at Winston Churchill high school until 2004.

She found teaching extremely rewarding and values the connections she made during this teaching period. However, Bonny's dream was to own a three story building where she would have a coffee shop on the main floor, residences for international students on the second floor and live on the top floor.

When a property that fit her dream became available, she and Malcolm took a major risk, sold their home to buy the Wallace building on 5 Street South and in December of 2004 opened the doors of the Round Street Café.

Darcie James: YWCA Champion

Darcie was born in Medicine Hat, AB and relocated to Lethbridge with her family in 1969. She was honoured as Winston Churchill High School's top female athlete in 1976, earned her Diploma in Law Enforcement from Lethbridge Community College in 1979 and was one of the first two women constables hired by the Lethbridge City Police in 1980.

In 1996, she became the first woman in the agency to be promoted to Sergeant. In 2002, she completed her baccalaureate degree and in 2003, she earned the distinction of being the first woman in law enforcement in Lethbridge to achieve the rank of Staff Sergeant.

In addition to her career achievements, Darcie has left her mark on her community through volunteer service.

Arleen Albiez: Spirit of Women

Arleen was a Returning Officer for the City of Lethbridge (1950 – 1995), the first female Returning Officer (Lethbridge West) for the Province of Alberta (1972 – 1979) and the first female Federal Returning Officer (Lethbridge) in Canada (1979 – present). She is still the Federal Returning Officer for Lethbridge.

In her many years of being a Returning Officer, recruiting and hiring paid employees for elections, she has always ensured that women were given equal opportunities to work the elections, gain valuable experience, training and confidence. Many of these women have gone on to successful careers.

Arleen has also been a leader and volunteer extraordinaire in many other organizations in Lethbridge and District: The United Way (formerly Community Chest), Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Canadian Cancer Society, Head Start Program, Southland Credit Union, the Red Cross, the Order of Royal Purple of Canada, and the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization.

Kelsey Yule: Young Woman of Distinction 2011.

Kelsey is a young woman who has never let a challenge stop her. She grew up in a small agricultural based community, where independence and a 'hard work' ethic were instilled at a young age. Kelsey entered the beauty industry at age 18, and in two years owned and operated her own successful salon.

This business experience developed and sharpened her skills as a stylist and as a leader in the industry. She is the recipient of many awards and recognitions including: 2008 Alberta Salon/Stylist of the Year for Canada, 2008 Redken Cover Competition Alberta Finalist, 2007 Alberta/BC Salon Team finalist for Canada, Youth Initiative Award Winner and the L'Oreal Professional Runway Finalist.

By thinking outside the box, Kelsey offered cosmetology courses to high school students in remote rural areas of Southern Alberta via video conferencing. Her latest business venture is Purely Inspired Academy of Beauty, a high end school and salon in Lethbridge.

Additional information about the 2011 Women if distinction is available on their website: