Meet the 16th Annual Top 25 People in the Capital

November 1, 2016 8:00 am

Whether they’re still building their legacy, or it’s already cemented, this year’s Top 25 People in the Capital are making waves throughout Ottawa and across the country. From parliament hill to secluded laboratories, many of these men and women are creating change that will affect Canadians for generations to come. Others are most comfortable behind a guitar or a hot skillet, and every day they use their art to weave a new pattern onto Ottawa’s cultural fabric. This year, we shine a light on these community builders. If you don’t know them already, now is your chance.

belangerMauril Bélanger
An Ottawa Icon
In Memorium (1955-2016)

Mauril Bélanger was a positive force in the Canadian government and in the city of Ottawa, for three decades. So widely respected was Bélanger, that, were it not for his amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) diagnosis last fall, it was assumed that Bélanger would be made Speaker for the House of Commons. He was unfortunately forced to abandon his candidacy after the loss of his voice, which ended in a diagnosis of ALS. Also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, it is a rapidly progressing neurodegenerative disease which gradually corrupts a person’s muscle control. ALS has no cure, as of yet. Days after his diagnosis, Bélanger was honoured with a standing ovation from fellow MPs, when they gathered to elect a speaker. When Bélanger had to withdraw his candidacy for the post of Speaker, the current Speaker, the Honourable Geoff Regan, made a grand gesture for Bélanger, appointing him Honorary Speaker on March 9th, earlier this year. Despite his health obstacles and the incurring limitations associated with them, Bélanger stayed as MP for the Ottawa-Vanier district. The conviction, energy, and valour with which this decision was made, and which Bélanger continued to display in his work, made it clear that he deserves both our city’s awe and respect. The Liberal MP was most known for his recent bid for a wording change in the Canadian national anthem that would replace the line “In all thy sons command” with “In all of us command”. This push for a more inclusive national song was met with controversy by those who rebuffed the notion of changing elements of Canada’s heritage, even in favour of a more equitable alternative. Mauril Bélanger was a member of the House of Commons since 1995. His popularity was proven through his continuous re-election ever since. By 2003, Bélanger was elected to Cabinet where he became Deputy House Leader and Chief Government Whip. He co-founded, and was the co-chair of, the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association. Anyone permitted the privilege of knowing him can attest to his passionate advocacy for achieving a just and ethical society for all Canadians.

etowaJosephine Etowa
An Award-Worthy Citizen

Twenty-five years ago, Josephine Etowa arrived in Canada. This year, she has been honoured at the 8th Annual Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards. Etowa is originally from Nigeria, but moved to Canada where she has been improving the country’s health-care system, ever since. She returned to school for her bachelor’s, master’s and PhD in nursing, and is now a professor at the University of Ottawa, in the faculty of Health Sciences. As well, she is chair for the Marie Des Anges Loyer-DaSilva initiative, in public health nursing. Etowa is also doing her own academic research, well-grounded in over 23 years of clinical experience, which focuses on inequities in health and health care. Although she is now celebrated for her success, being a newcomer to Canada was a difficult transition. Etowa will always remember the struggle of being a new immigrant and single mother with very little family support. She persevered, raising two hard-of-hearing children while pursuing a demanding career. The Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards receive hundreds of deserving nominations, all of which are judged by a diverse panel that includes past recipients. This year, has been the most popularly voted year in the award’s history, with over 50,000 online votes cast

mckennaThe Honourable Catherine McKenna
Paddles Her Own Canoe

Last year, Catherine McKenna was elected as the Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre. Soon after, she became Canada’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and has taken to the new position in stride. Says McKenna, “We have a Prime Minister who’s absolutely committed to climate change. He believes like I do, that this is the biggest challenge of our generation, and that we have an obligation to take action.” Action does seem to be a hallmark of McKenna’s attitude. Above her desk in her office, hangs a startlingly large and authentic canoe, embodying McKenna’s commitment to Canada’s natural heritage, and the responsibility of preserving its integrity. McKenna has Prime Minister Trudeau’s full support as she implements a sustainability agenda that includes putting a price on carbon pollution, developing a Canadian energy strategy that delivers security and energy conservation, investing millions in new clean tech, revamping and strengthening the environmental review process, increasing the amount of protected marine and coastal areas to five percent by 2017 and 10 percent by 2020 and generally doing things that allow for economic development in harmony with the environment. Originally from Hamilton, McKenna now lives in the Glebe with her husband and three children. She has a long history of charitable involvement, co-founding Level, a charity that brings together Canadian law students with an interest in equality and human rights issues to elevate important causes and effect substantive positive change. McKenna is equally known for the Dare to Dream mentoring program, which reaches out to Aboriginal students through justice education. McKenna has been tested several times since being elevated to cabinet. However, her big test is yet to come, as Canada makes important decisions in 2017 on the energy east pipeline project, liquid natural gas projects out west, and the process and formula to put a price on carbon pollution. McKenna has developed a reputation on the Hill for being exceptionally smart and on top of her files. She is also eminently likeable. She’s going to need all of that to navigate Canada through some rough waters. The good news is that Mckenna paddles her own canoe and is not afraid to portage, when required.

metcalfeIsabel Metcalfe
Most Connected, Respected Lobbyist in the Capital

Isabel Metcalfe has played an invaluable role in the city of Ottawa and with the Canadian government for over forty years. A respected and skilled advocate and businesswoman, Metcalfe has a distinguished record of community involvement and is known for her friendly demeanour, great sense of humour and penchant for getting things done. She has worked in influential roles for the federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government. Over the years, she has participated on hospital boards, and volunteered for numerous charities and causes, all while raising a family. Her firm, Isabel Metcalfe Public Affairs Counsel is one of the most successful and influential government affairs agencies in Canada. Her long career began as a tour guide on Parliament Hill and grew into politics soon after. She spent the next four decades working hard to be adaptable, to be current and fresh, mentoring and inspiring as she goes. ”I’ve worked for every leader of the Liberal Party beginning with Pierre Elliott Trudeau, so it’s gone in a full circle. I’m one of those people who never wavers in their support,” Metcalfe tells us with pride. She uses her pragmatic attitude and determined work ethic to deliver quick and efficient results for the needs of her clients. What she loves most about her job, she tells us, is the joy of making change happen, of being a part of something relevant. Her proudest achievement is the placement of the Famous Five monument on Parliament Hill, which is now among Ottawa’s major icons. Recognizing women as nation-builders, says Metcalfe, was an achievement for which she will always be proud. Her extensive experience working with NGOs and not-for-profit organizations has become one of her firm’s specialties, along with national associations, Indigenous clients, the Canadian film and television industry, unions, and work on gender equity. Isabel Metcalfe owes a great deal of her dynamism, passion, and vitality to the city she calls home. Of Ottawa, Metcalfe says, “I love the energy. I like the fact that the city is the government town of a G-8 nation. I like the fact that public policy is very important in our community. I like the debate, I like the change, I like the environment, I like the canal. But mostly, I like the energy of public policy.” It is innovative, passionate and change-seeking people like Isabel Metcalfe who make this country great to live in, and to whom we all owe our thanks.

stephenStephen Partridge
A Man with an Olympic Mind

Stephen Partridge is an Ottawa-based tech entrepreneur. He is the co-creator of California-based, a website that helps people plan events without the hassle. He has expanded small websites from the ground up, retooled their business model and eventually resold them for profit. Partridge, who used to be a competitive swimmer, says that it was his swimming career and his degrees in Human Kinetics and IT Management that gave him a unique mixture of knowledge to succeed in business. Back in 1991, while training for the Olympics he dislocated his shoulder. Doctors said that he wouldn’t be able to compete but he worked hard and made it to the Olympic trials that year. Although he didn’t qualify, Partridge made it to the national championships six times, and the Olympic trials twice; a testament to his strength and determination. Swimming taught him perseverance, gave him a need to find intrinsic value in his work, and taught him the value of delayed gratification. These things, coupled with his education, made him an ideal behind-the-scenes man in the tech business world. His transition from a swimming career to that of a successful tech businessman was self-orchestrated, and he isn’t in it for the glory either. He wants to find solutions and make things work, and he uses both technology and teamwork to make that happen. He is currently on the board of directors of Start Up Canada, does start-up and small business coaching, and divides his time between Ottawa and California. Partridge recognized that the opportunities in Silicon Valley are bountiful, but that Ottawa’s tech industry also has something great to offer. He believes that entrepreneurs only do well when they are part of a community; when ideas can be tested and are able to grow into something great by learning from other’s mistakes. This is why Partridge has made himself an integral part of the entrepreneurial community in Ottawa; he wants to foster it. He is on the planning committee of, an organization of entrepreneurs in Ottawa originally started by the Ottawa-based Shopify, FluidReview and Tripadvisor founders. He is also the co-founder of, a group for entrepreneurs who like to kite-surf. Obviously, he has not lost his athletic spirit, which is good news for his business and Ottawa alike.

fayleneFaylene Lunn
A Fusion of Many Talents

Since 2010, Dr. Faylene Lunn has been practicing intellectual property law, with a focus on patent litigation, at Osler, Hoskin & Harcout LLP. Remarkably, Dr. Lunn is also a trained scientist. Dr. Lunn has a J.D. with a specialization in health law and a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology, both attained from Dalhousie University. Dr. Lunn boasts a long list of academic achievements, including countless scholarships, fellowships, awards and a multitude of activities and academic committee memberships. Dr. Lunn has had her scientific work concerning enzymology, organic chemistry, and molecular biology published in multiple peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at national and international chemistry conferences. Before Osler, Dr. Lunn worked for the Department of Natural Resources in Nova Scotia as a radio operator for forest fires, and since joining the firm, has also presented for Women in Law Day at Queen’s University and IBM’s Teaching Respect initiative. It’s safe to say that Dr. Lunn’s unique background and extensive scientific knowledge have been a driving force behind her success as a lawyer. At Osler, Dr. Lunn assists clients on protecting and enforcing their patent portfolios, and also regularly prepares infringement, validity and freedom-to-operate opinions, particularly for pharmaceutical patents. Dr. Lunn has been involved in many notable legal matters, including being a key member of the legal representing of a health and wellness company in a patent infringement action, along with assisting in representing a major international pharmaceutical companies in applications under the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulation. Out of the office, Dr. Lunn is involved with an impressive variety of committees in Ottawa, including the National Intellectual Property Section of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), as well as the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada’s Life Science and Young Practitioners Committee. Dr. Lunn also acts as moderator for the CBA’s Intellectual Property Day debates and has enhanced the Osler Ottawa Student Committee for Intellectual Property recruitments by taking a leading role in Intellectual Property recruitment and student programming. You can find more information about Dr. Lunn by visiting

perry-bellegardePerry Bellegarde
Uniting to Make Real Change

Perry Bellegarde is the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. First elected in December of 2014, he previously served as Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and as Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations. Originally from the Little Black Bear First Nation, in Treaty 4 Territory, Chief Bellegarde is driven by his passion for implementing measurable change. His approach,style, and ability to frame the Aboriginal narrative in Canada has had a significant impact on all Canadians, and most importantly with the Trudeau government. It is very clear to anyone in Ottawa that First Nations issues with measurable objectives are a top priority of the Trudeau government. Bellegarde is known among the community as a results-driven force that unites citizens, elders, leaders, and chiefs to work towards making real change. His list of accomplishments began long before he became National Chief. Within eight months of being elected, Chief Bellegarde managed to move the Little Black Bear First Nation out of third party management. He worked to create a national multi-billion dollar compensation package for First Nations Veterans and their spouses. He has been one of the loudest voices in the call to the Canadian government to launch an inquiry and to develop an action plan for Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The inquiry was finally launched in August 2016. Upon being elected National Chief, Bellegarde promised to establish a new relationship with the government of Canada that eliminates the long-standing two-percent cap on federal funding. Although most of his work has taken place on a national and regional scale, his valuable attention is not only directed at Canada.

cheryl-jensenCheryl Jensen
An Innovative Force

A change in her own life, from steel-plant chemist to college professor, was the first step on the road that would make Cheryl Jensen a transformational force at Algonquin College. Since taking the helm two years ago as the college’s eighth president, Jensen has elevated the institution’s profile by getting out and getting active in the community. A lover of innovation and excellence, Jensen has reached out to governments and other post-secondary institutions in the city, and has developed partnerships with businesses small and large. In a recent example, the college entered a partnership with Siemens to build a cogeneration natural gas plant to help power the Ottawa campus that is a showcase for sustainability. Its potential to offer students experiential learning and an opportunity for new applied research is just the kind of added benefit Jensen is looking for, and the thing that keeps her fascinated, driven, and engaged. “I think what excites me still to this day after decades in the system, is the fact that we do transform lives, and transform the hope and dreams of our students,” she said. Jensen began teaching at Mohawk College in her hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, after being laid-off from the steel plant. She spent 31 years there as professor, dean and vice-president before making the move to Ottawa. She credits the warmth of the people of this city with making her transition easy. “Everything about the city to me is extremely appealing. But the fact that I was made to feel at home so quickly has just been an absolutely wonderful experience,” she said. Jensen deserves our recognition just as much as Algonquin College deserves someone as passionate and focused as her at its helm. “I look at myself as being here to serve the community. I just want to express my gratitude to the entire city of Ottawa for helping me to do that.” As Algonquin College flourishes in the Ottawa community in Jensen’s expert hands, she has no plans to slow down. “Just keep watching us,” she advises. “We’ve got some great things to come.”

pellingAndrew Pelling
Ottawa’s Resident Genius and Humanitarian

Andrew Pelling can make ears out of apples. The award-winning scientist, professor, entrepreneur, TED Fellow and TED speaker runs a lab in the University of Ottawa that focuses on the most astounding and unique ideas you’ve ever heard. The lab is a place for learning, challenging, and innovating where artists and scientists build on each other’s curiosity. “We value curiosity and exploration above all else.” says Pelling, “We aren’t focused on any particular problem, and we’re not trying to solve any particular disease.” All great innovation comes from asking great questions. The true inspiration came when Pelling asked if he could treat biology like he did hardware — take something apart and put it back together differently, better. The result is more than fascinating. Taking a slice of apple, Pelling’s lab removed the apple cells and replaced them with human ones. Using the “cellulose scaffold” left over by the apple’s molecular structure, the newly implanted human cells fill up and take over where the apple cells used to be. Having essentially hijacked our bodies natural processes, Pelling discovered that living human tissue and this plant-scaffolding are actually compatible. What’s more, the ability to produce this new kind of living prosthetic costs pennies. As if we needed any more proof of this man and his lab’s humanitarianism, once they realized the dimensions and the potential that they had tapped into, they released the instructions for how-to-grow-your-own-ears online as open-source. “My lab is not in the ear manufacturing business. People have been working on this for decades; here’s the problem: commercial scaffolds can be really expensive and problematic, sourced from proprietary products, animals, or cadavers. We used an apple, and it cost pennies.” Pelling has since developed a mission-driven company that makes kits to simplify this process for anyone to make them at home. “What I’m actually really curious about,” says Pelling, “is if one day it’ll be possible to repair, rebuild, and augment our own bodies with stuff we make in the kitchen.” Branching out from apples, Pelling and his lab are now examining the possibility of using the structures of asparagus to form new connections between damaged and severed nerves. “We are not the only ones working on this,” assures Pelling, “but we are the only ones using an asparagus.” Above all, Pelling’s passion and excitement for innovation and creativity is what makes his ideas so infectious. “Play is a key part of my scientific practice,” he tells us. If his work is any indicator, play might be what leads our world into a better future, starting with apples and landing in do-it-yourself augmentation of the human body. This summer, Pelling launched a new independent lab called “pHacktory”, expanding everything his lab currently does out onto the streets of the ByWard Market. “This will be the world’s first independent, street-level research lab that will curate research projects directly from the community.” For more information on the lab and on Pelling’s work, visit

yasirYasir Naqvi
The Hero of New Regulation

Yasir Naqvi is Ontario’s Attorney General, and the Liberal MPP representing Ottawa Centre. Elected in 2007, Naqvi showed remarkable courage and dedication in ridding the province of the controversial policy that allows police to card civilians arbitrarily. In order to do so, Naqvi stared down a lot of misguided individuals in the police and the legal establishment in Ontario. Thanks to Naqvi, Ontario is now free of a policy which many considered racist and unconstitutional. Says Naqvi, “I was proud to announce Canada’s first regulation to ban arbitrary street checks to collect and store personal information. I believe that communities are safest when there is a true partnership between police and the people they serve.” The change in regulation, he says, “ensures that people’s individual rights are protected while providing a rights-based framework that allows police officers to interact with their community to build positive relationships, as well as prevent, investigate and solve crimes to keep our communities safe.” Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Naqvi immigrated to Canada at the age of 15 after his father was arrested for leading a pro-democracy march. He has since left his mark upon the Ontario government through his leadership and dedication. “Working as an MPP in Ottawa is unlike anything I could have imagined when I first put my name on the ballot. I get to meet and support the vibrant, generous, and inclusive people who make our community so great. They make me proud to go to work every day and give back to a community that has given me so much.” Ottawa is indeed lucky to have Yasir Naqvi on our side and many of our city’s landmarks are, in part, due to his hard work and support. Naqvi secured $6.5 million for the cleanup of the Ottawa River, helped get funding for over 350 new affordable housing units in the city, and expanded the Centretown Community Health Centre. He also collaborated with all levels of government to get funding to build the Chinatown Gateway, funding for two new education buildings for Carleton University and funds of $14.2 million to rebuild Broadview Public School. From his courage in facing down and changing a racist police policy to his work for numerous community causes, Ottawa has done well by their local MPP.

bill_carrollBill Carroll has been known by his voice for most of his career. A radio personality, Carroll has hosted shows in both Canada and the U.S. and is now the voice many wake up to in our nation’s Capital. Earlier this year, Carroll was welcomed as the host of CFRA’s new morning show called The Morning Rush. Carroll says the new direction that CFRA is taking with its morning show is to, “try to talk about, not just what we think you should know, and we do do that, but also about things that people are just naturally talking about anyway. We’re trying to be a little more in- sync with what you’re gonna be talking about when you get to the office.” Carroll began his career by learning on the job by day, and self-studying broadcast journalism by night. He has since worked on shows in Toronto, Peterborough, and Los Angeles. Carroll understands that being a bit of an outsider can be an asset to a broadcast journalist. His morning banter is often full of praise for Ottawa which he likes for its natural beauty and quality of life. Carroll understands the lines between public and private, and he speaks of the differences between his radio personality and his real life. “I’m not as critical and angry and negative as people think I am; I’m also not always as funny as some people think I am.” He continues, “If I’m doing my job well, I forget that I’m on the air.” The Morning Rush has been a welcome and scintillating addition to Ottawa’s radio waves and Carroll has a lot of people listening.

melnykEugene Melnyk is a businessman, philanthropist and the popular owner of the Ottawa Senators. That title will soon be expanding, after The National Capital Commission announced in April, that his RendezVous LeBreton proposal had won the rights to redevelop LeBreton Flats. The project is the largest in downtown Ottawa in a century and will redefine the look and feel of the Capital. The site will include a new home for the Ottawa Senators. Melnyk’s list of charitable involvement is a long one and includes: the Ottawa Senator’s Foundation, Roger’s House, Help Us Help the Children (HUHC), the Eugene Melnyk Skate for Kids event, donating skates, hockey equipment, and Senators’ jerseys to hundreds of underprivileged kids, and, has similarly donated hockey equipment to Canadian and US troops working with NATO in Kandahar. With the RendezVous LeBreton redevelopment project in front of him and a beloved hockey team behind him, Melnyk has cemented his place as one of Ottawa’s all-time giant figures. We will watch with eager interest as our Capital city takes a new shape in Melnyk’s promising hands. Go Sens!

vanceGeneral Jonathan H. (Jon) Vance is the Chief of the Defense Staff (CDS) for the Canadian Armed Forces. Vance grew up in a military family and has been in an army uniform since the age of 13 when he became an Army Cadet. General Vance was the Commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command, where he oversaw the deployments against ISIS, as well as being involved in Canada’s contributions to NATO. Early in his career, Vance commanded the Combat Support Company and the Duke’s Company and has served as a Major and Lieutenant-Colonel on the VCDS Strategic Planning staff. He then commanded Second Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment in New-Brunswick. In both 2009 and 2010, Vance was made Commander of Joint Task Force Afghanistan and Task Force Kandahar. Since then, Vance has been serving in Army headquarters, as Chief of Staff Land Strategy, and, as Director of the Strategic Joint Staff. His contributions have not gone unrecognized; the General received the Vimy Award, the Order of Military Merit in the rank of Commander, as well as the Meritorious Service Cross with bar. Before he began his dazzling military career, Vance earned a Bachelor of Arts in Military and Strategic Studies from Royal Roads Military College, and a Master of Arts Degree in War Studies from RMC. General Jon Vance has been and continues to be, an asset to Canadian defense and security. Since becoming CDS he has worked tirelessly to root out what a former Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps called found last year was an “underlying sexualized culture” within the military. Vance says progress is coming but has warned that the military still has a great deal of work to do. Vance is also working to fix the military procurement system which has been described as inept. His big challenge for 2017 will be to convince the government to purchase a new series of jets. The controversial F-35, a favourite of the military brass, seems doomed to fail in Canada because of poor strategy by Lockheed Martin to present it to the Canadian public.

cullJoseph Cull is beloved within the Ottawa community. Having spent over a decade so far volunteering as a Senior Fitness Instructor at the YM/YWCA, Cull is also an invaluable part of several charity events. He was co-chair of several “Just Dance” fundraisers for the YM/YWCA’s Strong Kids Campaign, and has continued over the years to generously lend his time to the Hospice at Maycourt’s “Homes for the Holidays” annual fundraiser. He has also emceed the fashion show at the Cornerstone Housing for Women’s annual Garden Party for several years and co-chaired the Deck the Halls fundraisers for The New Edinburgh Community & Arts Centre (NECTAR) featuring the Ottawa Police Chorus. In the past he has led the New Edinburgh cheering station for Ottawa Race Weekend to the winner’s circle as best cheering station for nine years. He currently co-hosts NECTAR’s Food Talks monthly foodie discussions and will be appearing at the upcoming SALUS fundraiser in September at the French embassy as none other than Marie Antoinette. In 2013, Cull unsurprisingly and very deservedly won the Mayor’s City Builder Award. The award is a civic honour intended to recognize extraordinary commitment and effort to make Canada’s capital a better place, through volunteerism, outstanding acts of kindness, and inspiring charitable work. In addition he was the Recipient of the 2015 United Way Community Builder Award. To get a taste of Joseph Cull’s genuine enthusiasm and sense of humour, you need look no further than his performance at the fundraiser for the Magnetic North Theatre Festival this past March at the NAC. The event, cleverly called Don’t Quit Your Day Job, was a collection of amateur performances by sporting members of the Ottawa community, representing fields of law, journalism, business, politics, and everything in between. The evening raised nearly $15,000 in both ticket sales and a silent auction, and was attended by a sold out crowd. Because of his popular and show-stopping stage presence, Cull was chosen to be the show’s closing act, dressing up as Queen Elizabeth to perform a rendition of a musical rap which he wrote himself. Cull’s stage presence, humour, and ambition for helping others makes him an invaluable and irreplaceable part of the fabric of the Capital.

hawkinsOttawa’s Blues Lady, Maria Hawkins, was born a performer. Music is her life, her motivation, and she has endured many personal hardships in pursuit of her dreams. A teenage single mother, Hawkins overcame physical and verbal abuse, struggling to start her career in music while raising her children. At an early age she was performing in her first band at places like the Rainbow and the Downstairs Club. If there was a place to sing the Blues, she’d be there. Her contemporaries described her as positive, fearless and her performances as powerful. Hawkins has devoted her life to helping those in need through music. She has worked with 54 local charities over the years, most of them focusing on children, while developing her own programs like the Tooth Fairy Project that provided dental care for musicians, and Blues4Kids, an initiative that brought her into the fold of Bluesfest where she helped found the Blues in the Schools program. At her peak she worked 40 schools a year. Her efforts won her the W.C. Handy Award, as well as the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for 25 years of service to Canadian youth. However, Hawkins foot the bills for many of her charity projects; a practice that found her deeply in debt. Her recent years have been plagued by sickness and near blindness. She pushes forward, continuing to raise money for those who need it and, of course, still singing her heart out.

bertoliMauro Bertoli, an Italian-Canadian classical pianist living in Ottawa, is the 2016 recipient of the CAB Foundation’s Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Prize for young interpreters. This new category is assigned to a young musician who has established themselves on the international stage, and Bertoli is certainly well-suited to receive the honour. The young achiever has studied piano at the Conservatory of Milan, under the tutelage of Sergio Marengoni, as well as with world-renowned pianists across Europe. Several years ago he moved to Ottawa, where today he is Piano Accompany Professor at the Conservatoire de Musique de Gatineau. His excellent technique allows him to present an extended and difficult repertoire that goes from Scarlatti to the Rhapsody in Blue by Gerhswin, which Bertoli interprets brilliantly. The prize for young interpreters is awarded by the CAB Foundation in collaboration with the International Piano Festival of Brescia and Bergamo to help young musician to develop a career in the music field. With his talent, determination and sensitivity Mauro represent a positive example for the new generations of musicians, on both the human and professional level.

capovillaStefania Capovilla, a hairstylist in Ottawa for 13 years, has recently opened Society Salon and Blow Dry Bar. “The Blow Dry Bar is an express service that I felt was missing from the Sparks Street area”, Capovilla tells us. Along with teaching part-time at Algonquin College, the entrepreneurial hair genius is actually behind the ‘dos of many leading figures on the Hill including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who told the National Post, “You get the impression she’s very good with secrets. She’s part of the Ottawa circle. She fits in very well and she’s very smart about it.” Capovilla’s job sometimes includes making unorthodox appointments. Once, in order to accommodate scheduling restraints, Capovilla was called to cut Jim Flaherty’s hair at the Finance department. In 2012, she was asked to cut nine inches off Senator Patrick Brazeau’s famous ponytail in the House of Commons foyer when he lost a boxing match to then MP Justin Trudeau. “In the political context of Parliament Hill it is the mark of a good stylist to be able to be trusted behind the chair by so many.” Friends and rivals occupy her chair and believe in her talent, each trusting her to cut but never tell.

elie“Culture is destiny; but culture can change.” So says Christian Arab author Elie Mikhael Nasrallah. This intriguing line is but one fragment of the mosaic of ideas churning in the mind of this author who has published book after book on the topics of religion, culture, history, sex, and gender. Some of his work includes such titles as, My Arab Spring, My Canada, None of the Above, and Hostage to History: The Cultural Collapse of the 21st Century Arab World, which is now featured on the publisher’s Bestseller list. Originally from Lebanon, Mr. Nasrallah is now a passionate advocate for Arab reformation and reforms in all fields and has lived and worked in Ottawa since 1980. Nasrallah works as an immigration consultant and is a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC). Fascinated by the coexistence of past and present, Nasrallah examines how the Arabic world was, a millennium ago, a world leader in science and literature, but today is hobbled by ancient ideologies. His attitude towards culture is one that balances idealism with pragmatism, wishing to preserve heritage while fostering equality and fairness from within. Nasrallah’s work as an immigration consultant is widely respected in Ottawa. He is a frequent public speaker and often appears on radio, television, and in print internationally, delivering his views on the difficult and complex issues that today’s society must face.

carignanJennie Carignan is the world’s first female combat general. In June of this year, Carignan was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general, and gained the title of Chief of Staff of Army Operations. Carignan is the first female to be promoted to general from the combat arms trade, rather than from intelligence, medicine, combat support, or administration. Men outnumber women in the army generally. Women make up approximately 15 percent, but in the regular force combat arms trades, they make up only 2.4 percent. Carignan is working to change these statistics by increasing recruitment of women to combat roles, and so far her efforts appear to be working. Between 2013 and 2015 (the two years in which Carrignan met with girls and their mothers at open houses and appeared in the Quebec media), recruitment of women to the RMC in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu rose from 10 percent to 25. Fitting into a mould was never in the cards for Carignan. The idea of gender-specific roles has always been foreign and outdated concept to Carignan, and her personality, career, and ideals have long been reflecting that. Carignan has served in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in the Golan Heights (located between Syria and Israel). Her time deployed in Kandahar was peppered daily with suicide bombers, rocket-propelled grenade attacks, and landmines. Through a long and impressive career, Carignan’s dedication and inspiring leadership has earned her the respect she deserves.

dianeBlind since childhood, Diane Bergeron has been defying stereotypes all her life. Now the executive director, strategic relations and engagement for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), Bergeron’s career has been dedicated to advocating for the rights of people with sight loss in Canada. Bergeron caught the challenge bug while tandem skydiving for the first time. She moved on to stock-car racing, and once even repelled down the side of a 29-story building in a superhero costume as part of a fundraiser. When the opportunity arose to compete in a triathlon, Bergeron jumped at the challenge. Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a young child, Bergeron was declared legally blind at the age of ten, later losing all her sight before turning 30. Her attitude towards blindness is terrifically inspiring. “I think the message that I would try to give them (people who are losing their sight) is that there is life after blindness and they are limited only by their own attitudes and their own barriers. Life can be whatever it is that they want it to be.“ Much of Bergeron’s recent work at the CNIB has involved ensuring equal voting rights for the visually-impaired; as Canadians we all have the right to mark one’s own ballot. Bergeron has been a leader in advocating for the creation of alternative, electronic voting means for Canadian voters with vision loss. Diane Bergeron is an inspiration.

jenniferLeaving your day job to become an entrepreneur takes the kind of courage that Jennifer Stewart has in spades. Stewart is president and founder of Syntax Strategic, an Ottawa-based strategic communications firm, that specializes in public relations, social media, and public affairs. Stewart was one of the finalists for Ottawa’s Female Entrepreneur of the Year. Her position means dealing with a diversity of clients in a variety of different sectors and requires her work to be flexible, adaptable, and original, as she deals with everything from petroleum to Aboriginal affairs. Stewart is also very active within the Ottawa community. She currently sits on the board of the Ottawa International Writers Festival, TEDx Kanata, is a committee member of Project North, and an advisor to the Kanata Food Cupboard. She is also the former vice president of the International Association of Business Communications (IABC) Ottawa, and co-chair of Women in Communication and Technology, National Capital Region. When asked what her advice is for others thinking of taking the plunge into entrepreneurship, her answer is inspiring: “take smart risks. Become acclimatized to risk. For me, the first big jump into the world of entrepreneurship was scary, but now I don’t bat an eye. Once you come to the realization that risk is okay and essential to growth, everything else will fall into place.” Stewart’s philosophy is that life is too short to not be in a job you love. Stewart’s hard work and courage is paying off.

keelerKatherine Cooligan has an unusually impressive bio. She works full-time as both the regional managing partner for the Ottawa office of her firm, Border Ladner Gervais, while also running a practice in family law litigation. A specialist in family law, Cooligan is the regional leader of the Estates and Family Law Group, and Chair of the Regional Management Committee — all the while raising three children single-handedly. The impressiveness of her career is mirrored in intensity by moral centre. Cooligan tells us that she chose family law because of the impact it has on her clients. Her drive and her dedication have led to her becoming a senior manager in Canada’s largest national law firm. She is unique in this role, as both a woman and as a family law lawyer, as she is the only woman currently holding this management role. This is the pillar in her career of which she feels the most pride. Cooligan’s positive impact stretches far beyond her firm to include a great deal of community involvement. It’s no accident however, that what she has been most involved with outside of the law also has to do with families and children. She was a member of the CHEO Foundation Board from 1997-1999 and was asked to rejoin last year for another term. Cooligan’s outlook is just as admirable as her work ethic: “My professional successes have surpassed my expectations.” She says, “My goals for the future are to mentor, motivate and support young professionals in the development of their careers, and to encourage women in leadership by sharing my experiences.”

lechefMarc Lepine is the head genius behind Ottawa’s culinary Pantheon, a restaurant called Atelier just west of downtown. The Ottawa restaurant is inspired by molecular gastronomy and is a place of creativity and experimentation. The restaurant’s tasting menu reaches 12 courses, and dining reservations are known for being hard to come by. Lepine, whom the Globe and Mail has called “one of the country’s most original chefs”, bedecks his concoctions with edible flowers and hosts of complex sauces. After spending three years in culinary school, Marc Lepine worked in France, Italy, and Toronto refining his skills and gaining experience which he took with him to his first executive chef position in Algonquin Park. After moving to Ottawa and receiving his Sommelier certification from Algonquin College, he spent six years as executive chef for the well-known Courtyard restaurant. The Canadian Culinary Foundation voted him Ottawa Chef of the Year twice. Since opening Atelier in 2008, Lepine has twice won gold in the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna, B.C. His second win in 2015 made history, making him the first two-time gold winner of the prestigious competition. Lepine and his team beat 10 other chefs with their creativity, and even used a hole punch to complete one of their recipes. The accolades continue to roll in for Lepine, his team, and the Atelier restaurant which have become a sensational ornament of Ottawa culture.

ambroseWhen the 2015 federal election placed the Conservative Party in the Opposition, a worthy candidate was chosen as interim leader until a permanent replacement could be found for former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Rona Ambrose was the clear and admirable choice for the position, and has been the Leader of the Opposition since her election. She is the third female leader of the Conservative Party. Before taking on this position, Ambrose had served as Canada’s Minister of Health, but her diverse resume doesn’t stop there. At previous and different points in her impressive career, Ambrose has served as everything from Minister of the Environment to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council of Canada, Minister of Labour, and Minister for Status of Women. Having earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Victoria in Women’s and Gender Studies (before completing her masters in Political Science at the University of Alberta), Ambrose is a declared feminist. Before her work in the Canadian Government, Ambrose worked diligently with such organizations as the Edmonton Women’s Shelter, the Status of Women Action Group, and the Victoria Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse Crisis Centre, all working to end violence against women. Many in the Conservative Party as well as others in the Ottawa press have suggested that Ambrose be allowed to stay on as leader and successor to Stephen Harper. Regardless of that outcome, Ambrose is sure to be an asset to the Canadian Federal Government regardless of position.

turnbullStylish, smart, and sophisticated, Katrina Turnbull is the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular blog She created the blog as a haven of lifestyle and fashion advice for busy mothers and has quickly became Ottawa’s top mommy fashion blogger. Turnbull is also a frequent face on CTV Morning Live, bringing her helpful advice to Ottawa screens. She will be hosting and producing the upcoming Bell Fibre, TV1 series called Capital Style Files, that will explore Ottawa’s most stylish citizens. Before her blogging career took shape she spent a decade working in editing and bilingual communications. Turnbull is a Nordstrom Influencer and Huffington Post contributor. She has worked on digital and social media campaigns for major brands like Nordstrom, L’Oréal and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Katrina Turnbull is a tech expert and knows the secret to digital success lies in analytics and tracking metrics. Breaking outdated stereotypes of traditional femininity, Turnbull balances her fun content with the keen and determined business savvy that has brought her and her blog success. Turnbull holds her connection with her audience dearly, knowing that good relationship is at the core of her career.


Top 25 Photo Credits: Paul Couvrette, Fred Cattroll, Andre Ringuette, Anthony Laviolette, Garth Gullekson, Andre Gagne, Wenfei Ye, Melanie Girard, Valerie Keeler, MIVPHOTOGRAPHY

Top 25 People in the Capital 2015

September 17, 2015 1:59 pm
Pages from OLM_Sept_Oct2015_final

The Top Among Us

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Ottawa Life Magazine’s TOP 25 People in the Capital. Over the last decade and a half, OLM has shined the spotlight on some of Ottawa’s newsmakers, leaders, and most interesting people. Our 2015 list touches on the themes of innovation, inspiration and involvement. Ambassador Kevin Vickers, our number one pick, is a Canadian hero who needs no introduction. Ottawa Senators’ General Manager Bryan Murray made headlines this year not just for winning games but for raising awareness about colon cancer after his diagnosis. Catherine Cullen is captivating the Capital with her talent and passion for storytelling. Councillor Jody Mitic has overcome every challenge that has come his way. Wallis Giunta’s opera career is thriving, as she heads to Germany to join Oper Leipzig. Justice Murray Sinclair is fighting to draw attention to Canada’s history of residential schools. Janice Payne is one of the Capital’s top employment and labour lawyers. You can read about these amazing individuals (and 18 more) in this year’s issue. From athletes to artists, politicians to performers, and everything in between, this diverse group is chock-full of talented, creative, entrepreneurial and brave honourees.

Sept2015_Top_Kevin Vickers _Andrew Balfour Photography

Photo by Andrew Balfour.

Ambassador Kevin Vickers


Everyone remembers where they were on October 22, 2014. What started out as a beautiful, sunny morning turned into a fearful, surreal day when Michael Zehaf-Bibeau fatally shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial and then stormed Parliament Hill. On that day, Kevin Vickers, then Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons, became a household name and a Canadian hero for his actions in ending the attack. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, politicians from all parties and Ottawans alike displayed their gratitude for his bravery and valour on that day. However, his respected and decorated career began long before that. Vickers served for 29 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), taking on a series of high-profile cases, important roles and positions, including the rank of Chief Superintendent. During his time as the RCMP Incident Commander, Vickers was integral to the diffusion of the 1999-2000 Burnt Church Native fishing crisis. He also served as an Aide-de-Camp for the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick. He acted as the Director General for the Aboriginal Police Services Branch and Director General for the National Contract Policing Branch of the RCMP. Among many important causes, Vickers spearheaded the development of a National Strategy for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet, resulting in $45 million in funding and the establishment of the National Centre of Expertise. He was appointed Director of Security Operations for the House of Commons before taking on the position of Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons. Vickers acted as Sergeant-at-Arms from August 2006 to January 2015, when he was appointed as the Ambassador of Canada to Ireland. Throughout his career, Vickers has received a multitude of recognitions, including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, the Canada 125 Medal, and the RCMP Long Service Medal.

OTTAWA, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 18: Bryan Murray of the Ottawa Senators poses for his official headshot for the 2014-2015 season on September 18, 2014 at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Bryan Murray

Photo by Andrew Balfour.

Bryan Murray


The Ottawa Senators’ General Manager (GM) and former coach has led a remarkable career over the past 36 years. Murray became the Senator’s fi head coach in 2004, after working with the Washington Capitals, the Detroit Red Wings, the Florida Panthers, and the Anaheim Ducks—to name just a few. He later led the Senators to their first Stanley Cup Final series in 2007. In more than 18 years of coaching in the NHL for various teams, Murray ranks ninth in the league in all-time games coached (1,239) and eighth in wins (620). Murray became the Senators’ GM in June 2007 and has been an integral part of the team, to say the least. In 2012, he was honoured in his hometown for his success as an inaugural inductee in Shawville’s Hockey Wall of Fame. He currently is Executive Vice-President, General Manager, President of Hockey Operations and Alternate Governor for the Ottawa Senators. Throughout his career, Murray’s commitment to community has never wavered, but this legendary leader kept a relatively low profile until last November, when he announced that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. Since then, Murray has become extremely vocal about the disease and early detection. For his efforts to raise awareness about his condition, the United Way named Murray the 2015 Community Builder of the Year. With the challenges he currently faces, many wonder what he will do when his contract with the Senators expires after the 2015- 2016 season. Whether he leaves, stays as GM or takes on an advisory role, Murray will always have a special place in our hearts, here in Ottawa.

Copyright must be credited: Couvrette/Ottawa (613) 238-5104

Photo by Paul Couvrette.

Catherine Cullen


As the CBC’s senior reporter on Parliament Hill, Catherine Cullen’s days are jam- packed. It’s a challenging job with long hours and lots of thinking on your feet but Cullen is up to the task. “It’s really hard work and so you have to know why you are doing it.” For Cullen, it is all about the human moments. “I think that we are all so interesting and we have such incredible stories to tell and even with the most complicated political story, there are people behind it.” She files mostly for The National, but you might have also heard her on the radio or read her stories on the web. She has covered all kinds of topics over the years from the Lac Mégantic explosion to the student tuition protests to the milkman working for more than six decades. Working predominantly in Montreal before coming to Ottawa a little over a year ago, Cullen said being in the Capital is like a “homecoming.” Born in Montreal, her family moved to Ottawa when she was eight-years-old. She later attended the University of Western Ontario for an undergraduate degree in communications studies and then completed Concordia University’s graduate diploma in journalism. In the decade since graduating from Concordia, Cullen has built up a thriving career with the CBC. Although she says political reporting can be drastically different from some of her other experiences, at the end of the day, it is the same basic instinct. “It’s the same thing that everybody does when they go home at night. You call your friend or you turn to your partner or your parent and you say, ‘Oh my gosh: you wouldn’t believe what happened today. This was incredible.’ And you tell the best parts of the story.” Cullen said it is an exciting time to be a political reporter in Ottawa especially with the federal election and all of its excitement.

Copyright must be credited:Couvrette/Ottawa(613)

Photo by Paul Couvrette.

Jody Mitic


Never quit. Those two words pushed Councillor Jody Mitic to recovery after losing both his legs below the knees while on tour in Afghanistan. It’s also the mantra that led him and his brother, Cory, to second place on the Amazing Race Canada and the name of his foundation, devoted to raising awareness of injured Canadian heroes and helping them along their road to recovery. Councillor Mitic’s story is a true and touching tale of perseverance and dedication. After 20 years in the Canadian military, Mitic had to take off his uniform after being wounded in action. “It was a bittersweet moment because I didn’t want to leave the military but my injuries forced me to leave. The sweet part was that I found this new way to serve Canadians,” he said. That new way was through municipal politics. “It’s an honour to serve the people of Innis Ward.” Furthermore, as a strong advocate for injured veterans, he wanted to get involved in politics. “We need more veterans in politics,” he said. Among his many recognitions, Mitic and his wife, Alannah, received the General Sir Arthur Currie Award this year. “We just look at it as more motivation to keep doing what we’re doing,” he said. Mitic is also extremely active in the Ottawa community. He is Ottawa’s first sports commissioner and serves on the community protective services, environmental and transportation committees as well as the Ottawa community housing board. “Those are all different jobs all in themselves on top of being councillor and dad and husband,” he said. Looking ahead to 2015/2016, Mitic’s priorities in his ward are on infrastructure and the redevelopment of a hockey arena. He is also looking to “open new doors” as sports commissioner, exploring the the possibilities of UFC and cross-fi games in Ottawa. Mitic said he is really looking forward to the future, with the relaunch of the Never Quit Foundation and the release of his new memoir, Unflinching: The Making of a Canadian Sniper, coming up on the horizon. “I feel really good about the future. I feel really positive,” he said. “This is such an exciting time in my life.”

Sept2015_Top_Justice SinclairJustice Murray Sinclair


Although Justice Murray Sinclair does not live in Ottawa, Manitoba’s first Aboriginal judge made an extremely important impact on the Capital this year as Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The closing ceremony for the Commission took place in Ottawa this summer, when the final report and recommendations were presented. Sinclair said it was significant that the ceremony was in Ottawa because the city has a special connection for all Canadians. “When the people of Ottawa and those who came to Ottawa for the closing event stepped forward…it was like the voice of government, the people of Canada were standing up and saying it is now time for us to do something. It is time for a change.” He emphasized that recognizing the history of residential schools is important for all Canadians. “This is not an Aboriginal history. It’s not an Aboriginal problem. It’s a Canadian history. It’s a Canadian problem.” After six years of research and thousands of testimonies from coast to coast, Sinclair and his fellow commissioners brought the history of residential schools into the public discourse like never before. “It was really to remind people that they already knew what to do,” he said. “It was really to inspire them to take the next step that they were hesitating to take.” What is the next step? Of the 94 recommendations, Sinclair highlights the need to change the educational curriculum. “I think that’s probably the element of our recommendations that’s going to have the best and most significant long-term benefit,” he said. “Also finding a way for the [political] parties at the leadership level, nationally and provincially, to begin to engage in a dialogue is very important.” Sinclair said no one will be able to ignore this issue anymore and he is hopeful that progress will be made in the coming years. “Now the real question is: how can we come to terms with our past and still develop a very positive future between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people?” There is more work to be done.

unnamedDenise Siele


Denise Siele said politics is in her blood. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Siele moved to Ottawa as a young teenager when her mother, a diplomat, was posted here. When her term was over, Siele’s mother moved back to Kenya to run for public office, the first woman in her community to do so. “I think she ran twice in total and while she didn’t win either time, she inspired others. When she retired from politics, a young woman in the constituency said: ‘Well, if she can do it, I can do it.’ And she subsequently ran and won,” Siele described. Watching her mother’s campaign, Siele too was inspired to get involved. She discovered Equal Voice, an organization that advocates for women in all levels of politics in Canada. As the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Operations, Siele works to engage young women from across the country to consider the role that they can play in politics. She said she loves the cooperative nature of the organization. “What I love most is when women from all political stripes are gathered within the Equal Voice umbrella…the stereotypical view of politics is thrown out the window,” she said. Over the years, Siele said she has worked on upwards of 10 political campaigns, but she has many additional interests and responsibilities. She is also managing partner of the strategic events and public affairs company, SEMgroup, as well as an active philanthropist and mother. Focusing on youth, Siele has been extremely involved in many charitable organizations; she is the Chair of the Board for a Fund for a New Generation, founder and Chair of the Black Women’s Civic Engagement Network and a past Director of the Youth Services Bureau Charitable Foundation—to name just a few. “The joy that you get from giving back is incredible, such a good feeling and I don’t want to deny myself that,” she said. “I just love my community and I want to do what I can to give back.” 

Pierre Poilievre

Photo by Paul Couvrette.

The Honourable Pierre Poilievre


The Honourable Pierre Poilievre is a man of many titles. Only 36-years-old, Poilievre has served as a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment and Social Development, Minister for Democratic Reform and Minister Responsible for the National Capital Commission. Poilievre said his broad objective is to expand people’s freedoms to take responsibility for their own lives, so that they may strive for success and own their destinies. Poilievre said his vision focuses on the private sector. “I want to continue to expand private sector employment through trade, training and tax cuts,” he said. He is dedicated to the development of a strong local economy. Poilievre has been the MP for Nepean-Carleton for more than a decade. Over the course of his career, he said he has learned an important lesson: “I’ve learned that you have to set a small number of important goals and focus relentlessly on them until they are done.” By staying focused, Poilievre has achieved a great deal for the community and for the City of Ottawa, such as the Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge. “Through relentless focus, we were able to get that bridge built and everyone who uses it will agree that it has been a precious addition to our community.” This kind of accomplishment is what Poilievre loves about his job. “I love the opportunity to deliver real, tangible results that make people’s lives better,” he said.

Sept2015_Top_Wallis Giunta 2_Miguel JacobWallis Giunta 


Growing up in the Capital, Wallis Giunta first started singing in the Ottawa Central Children’s Choir (now the Ottawa Children’s Choir). It was through this choir that Giunta was introduced to opera. The National Arts Centre recruited the choir for a production of La Bohème and Giunta was awestruck. “It was really incredible. It totally opened my mind to what classical music could be.” The following year, she came back to the NAC as part of the adult chorus for Madame Butterfly and fell in love with the art form. “I wanted to move people the way that singing actress was able to move me at that time,” she said. Giunta went on to complete undergraduate and post- graduate programs at the Glenn Gould School as well as an artist diploma at Juilliard. She also attended apprenticeship programs with the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Giunta loves performing and feeling that unique connection with the audience. “The feeling that you get when you are creating something in the moment, and you have this whole group of people that is there with you, and you’re breathing the same air and you’re on the same wave length, emotionally it’s really incredible.” Working professionally for about nine years, Giunta has travelled all over, from Texas to Taiwan, but she still feels at home in the Capital. “I like everything about Ottawa better than anywhere I go,” she said. What’s next for this mesmerizing mezzo soprano? Giunta’s career is skyrocketing as she makes the move to Germany this fall to join Oper Leipzig. “I’m looking to basically build the kind of career in Europe that I’ve started to build here,” she said. Giunta will also be making her debut in Rome this fall. There is no stopping this Ottawa opera superstar.

Sept2015_Top_Janice Payne-Miv Photography IncJanice Payne


Janice Payne joined Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP as an articling student in 1975 and hasn’t left since. Then called Nelligan Power, Payne was the first female lawyer hired among six men at the firm. “This was at a time when women were just beginning to make inroads into private practice,” Payne explained. “So, it was a very different time. It was exciting to be at the forefront of that wave of women moving into the practice of law.” In October 2000, Payne made further progress for women in the field when she became a name partner at the firm. “It was a time when very few women had their name in the firm name, and so again I felt like I was making inroads that were supportive both of women in our practice in the firm—because we have a much larger proportion of women now—and more broadly in the profession,” she said. Focusing on employment and labour law, Payne has been widely recognized for her commitment to the practice and to her clients. She was selected by her legal colleagues for the 2006 and 2008-2015 editions of The Best Lawyers in Canada in Labour and Employment Law. She was also named one of the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada in the 2008-2011 and 2014-2015 Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide and in the 2013-2015 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory for employment law. Add on the honour of “Lawyer of the Year” in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada for Ottawa employment and labour law to the list of accolades. Payne is a recipient of the Diamond Jubilee medal and was inducted into the Wall of Honour, by the University of Ottawa Common Law Society. Payne said one of her proudest achievements has been her role in helping women succeed in the practice of law and she has acted a mentor to both men and women in the field. Outside of her work at the firm, Payne is also very involved in the community. She is a former member of the Board of Directors and past President of the Ottawa Chamber Music Society, a former member of the Board of the National Youth Orchestra and is currently a member of the Board of Governors for the Community Foundation of Ottawa and the Board of Directors for the GCTC.

Sept2015_Top_Susan St. Amand-Michelle ValbergSusan St. Amand


Susan St. Amand is an accomplished Ottawa businesswoman who strives to share her success with the community. As the founder and president of Sirius Financial Services, St. Amand specializes in continuity planning, such as life insurance and risk management, for families, individuals and entrepreneurs. “I really wanted to develop a practice that focused on people and providing them with continuity planning and outside-the-box thinking that really adhered to what their goals and directions were,” she said. Philanthropy and community involvement are equally important as her business, St. Amand said. “I look at my community as my extended family.” St. Amand estimates she has been involved in close to 20 community organizations over the years. She is currently the secretary on the board of the Community Foundation of Ottawa, a past chair of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health and one of the 20 founders of the Women for Mental Health campaign—to name just a few. St. Amand has also been active in professional organizations such as the Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting (CALU) and Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). “I think it’s important as advisors for us to work together as a team for our clients to make sure that we understand how each piece of the client’s puzzle works together,” she said. This spring, St. Amand was named the first female Chair of the Ottawa International Airport Authority board, a body she said is also extremely important for the community. “It’s a really integral part of our connection to the rest of the world,” she said. “The vision is to be the gateway to the world and to have a safe, secure environment and to be an economic engine for the region.”

Copyright must be credited:Couvrette/Ottawa(613)

Photo by Paul Couvrette.

Aditya Mohan


Aditya Mohan loves to play basketball and hang out with friends, like any other teenager. But this 18-year-old stands apart for his passion for science, research and innovation. After all, not all teenagers can boast receiving awards from the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) and the Sanofi Biogenius Challenge for their work in cancer-virus therapy—but Mohan can. Mohan’s love of science started when he was very young and once he reached high school, he wrote countless emails in search of a mentor until he came across Dr. Angela Crawley of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, who focuses on HIV immunology. His interest in viruses and immunology later led him to modify a common cold virus to target cancer cells. For this research, he received regional, national and international recognition. Mohan just started in McGill’s Microbiology and Immunology program where he will continue to pursue research projects. For the young, aspiring scientists out there, Mohan tells them to follow their hunch: “If a young person has an idea, which they truly feel can make a difference then they shouldn’t wait until they are older to pursue it.” 

Copyright must be credited: Couvrette/Ottawa (613) 238-5104

Photo by Paul Couvrette.

Christopher Griffin


Christopher Griffin’s artwork transforms the everyday urban concrete jungle into something beautiful. Although he also paints and draws, Griffin is known for his concrete creations, having worked on about a dozen projects in the Capital. His signature style plays with the simplicity of primitive designs and children’s art. You may have noticed his turtles at the Beaverbrook branch of the Ottawa Public Library, the raccoons by the Glebe Community Centre, or the falcons over the Bronson-Riverside Bridge. Even though concrete structures can be drab and harsh, Griffin sees the potential beauty. “It’s an ugliness that we kind of accept in the city—not just our city, any city. By decorating them like this, it brings back the human aspect,” he said. This year, Griffin is working on a project for the Glebe parking garage, adding his artistic touch to the supporting columns. Creating large-scale pieces, racing against the clock of drying concrete and working on scaffolding can prove challenging, but that is what Griffin loves about the job. “It’s a balancing act that I really enjoy,” he said. By beautifying the city with his work, Griffin has become an important member of the growing arts community in Ottawa. “There are amazing artists in this city and I am so proud to be part of it.” 

Sept2015_Top_Cory Carlic_Julie LaurinCory Carlick


As the founder, chief creative officer and CEO of Skycron, Cory Carlick has created a name for himself in the production industry and he is quickly expanding his reach. Skycron is a video production company that makes everything from TV commercials to music videos to corporate videos and has worked with high profile clients including CTV, Cineplex, and Baskin Robbins. The Undersigned, a modern-day twist on Robin Hood, is one of Carlick’s most recent projects. An American broadcaster recently picked up the female-driven action drama with an Ottawa-based cast. The show will air on ABCTV affiliate WSYRTV in Upstate New York this fall. But The Undersigned is more than just a cool story. Carlick partnered with Vera House, a domestic and sexual violence agency, for the project. “We worked closely with Vera House when writing the show. It’s a great show that’s lots of fun, but it has a dark undertone and can be very raw.” Carlick hopes the show will raise awareness and bring the issue of domestic violence more into the mainstream. The show premieres this September at the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse and proceeds from the gala screening will go to Vera House.

OTTAWA, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 18: Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators poses for his official headshot for the 2014-2015 season on September 18, 2014 at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Erik Karlsson

Erik Karlsson


Erik Karlsson is known as one of the best defencemen in the league. Receiving the James Norris Memorial Trophy not once, but twice, he has been recognized by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association as the defenceman showing “the greatest all-around ability in the position.” He is one of only two active players to receive this award twice. The 25-year-old superstar reached career highs on the ice this year. In the regular season, he played 82 games with 21 goals and 45 assists, leading all defencemen with 66 points. Karlsson also reached an amazing milestone in April 2015 when he reached 300 career NHL points in only 393 games—making him the fastest defenceman in 17 years to do so. The newly appointed Ottawa Senators Captain is an athletic hero in the Capital. Originally from Landsbro, Sweden, Karlsson was the Senators’ first-round pick (15th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and was named Captain in October 2014.

Garry Brownrigg - photo credit West Pointe PhotographyGarry Brownrigg


Garry Brownrigg is the CEO and founder of QuickSilk, the Capital company that helps you or your business build a website with ease and efficiency. Originally called SohoPortal, Brownrigg founded the business in 2001 for Small Office Home Office (SOHO) websites, after losing his ability to speak; he was diagnosed with Laryngeal Dystonia. “The Internet provided me with a means to communicate, share and collaborate with others using non-verbal means,” he said. And the business grew from there. “Our reputation for doing quality work grew and with it so did the type and size of clients we worked with,” he said. Now, QuickSilk works with clients of all sizes including The World Bank Group, Canadian Parliamentary Budget Officer,  the University of Ottawa and NAV CENTRE. Brownrigg is taking his company to the next level, currently raising funds to expand internationally. Ottawa’s tech industry is growing and gaining attention. “Our goal is to become one of next local companies to shine and contribute back to the community,” he said. In addition to being a Capital entrepreneur, Brownrigg is also a community leader, acting as Chairperson of the Cameron Smith Memorial Fund and a mentor with Imerman Angels. 

Sept2015_Top_Jen Grant - photo credit Eugene ChoiJen Grant


Since starting her stand-up career in Ottawa in 1998, Jen Grant has become one of Canada’s top comics. Comedy comes naturally to Grant—her style is honest, relatable and, of course, hilarious. She has performed at every major comedy festival in the country, including the Just for Laughs Festival, the Ha!ifax and the Winnipeg Comedy Festival. You might also recognize her wit and charm from her frequent appearances on CBC’s The Debaters or her CD titled Nobody Likes Your Homemade Wine. Of her many achievements, Grant said she is very proud of the time she spent entertaining Canadian troops in the Middle East. “It was really emotional, an eye-opening, life-changing experience,” she said. But Grant’s talent sometimes hits a nerve. This year, Grant made headlines when she spoke out about sexual harassment at a gig. Heckling is part of the job now and then, Grant said, but there is a difference between heckling and harassment. “I just want to be respected for who I am, not through the lens of what gender I am. I work hard at my job and I’ve done it for a long time and I just want to be considered a comic, not a female comic or a female trying to do a job,” she said. There is no doubt Grant is extremely talented and should be recognized for her accomplishments. OLM is proud to have her on the Top 25.

Sept2015_Top_Dr. John BellDr. John Bell


Dr. John Bell is bringing Canadians closer to a cure for cancer, and he is trying to find a way to do it without the side effects that cause so many patients to suffer. By asking the question: ‘How can we use viruses to treat cancers?’, Bell pioneered research on virus therapy as a form of cancer treatment. While traditional therapies tend to attack both the cancer and the person, resulting in terrible side effects, Bell said his work finds ways to attack the cancer while leaving the human tissue alone. “Current cancer therapies are just not good enough,” he said. “We are not curing enough people.” For about two decades, Bell has been working to change that. The new head of Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment (BioCanRX for short) and world-renowned scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute is combating cancer with a goal in mind. “Our dream is that these viruses could replace many kinds of current therapies that are out there and will be more effective and safer,” he said. With more trials planned for the coming year, Bell is working towards making this dream a reality.

Kailena Van de NesKailena Van de Nes


Kailena Van de Nes didn’t always want to be a dance teacher or a business owner. For as long as she can remember, she wanted to be a pilot, just like her dad. But Van de Nes always had a passion for dance, and worked part-time teaching classes while she was in school. Soon enough, seven classes turned into 70 and before she knew it, she was running a full-time dance program at a local community centre. “When I started teaching dance, I got so much from the kids—their love for not only me as their instructor, but the love of dance itself,” she said. After nine years as the Dance Program Coordinator at the community centre, Van de Nes decided to make a change. She took a brave next step and opened her own studio. “This past year has been life-changing,” she said. “There was a huge transition from being just a dance instructor to a business owner, but I have always felt that this was my destiny that I have been training for my entire life.” After just one year of business, KV Dance Studio’s classes are packed. It has already become a community hub, a second home for dancers and their families. Van de Nes had to add a fourth dance space to the Third Street studio this summer to meet demand and dreams of expanding to multiple locations.

Sept2015_Top_Kimothy Walker - photo credit Valerie Keeler, Valberg Imaging

Kimothy Walker


When Kimothy Walker saw her first story air on CTV, at the age of 21, she knew she had chosen the right career. “I pretty much danced out to the parking lot, just so incredibly thrilled with television. It felt like a perfect fit for me.” And for 25 years, this award-winning journalist thrived at the network, eventually reporting from the Philippines, Tanzania and Kenya. She said her travels contributed in part to her decision to leave CTV in 2014. “I had spent a fantastic 25 years in a dream job but I wanted to do some new things,” she said. She wanted to explore international development, make documentaries and work in communications, so she and Eric Collard launched Ottawa Media Group. Working with nearly 20 experts in their fields, Ottawa Media Group provides a wide range of communications services to its clients while also emphasizing philanthropy (i.e. building schools in Nicaragua) and making documentaries. Walker’s investigative documentary premieres this fall. She couldn’t tell us too much about it, but she did say this: “In the fall, I think the single most important piece of journalism I have ever done will be released to the public and I’m very excited.” Walker also noted that although her relationship with CTV has changed, the network is still very much a part of her life, as she continues her involvement with the Amazing People Gala and other projects.

Sept2015_Top_Linda Babulic - Jon Babulic PhotographyLinda Babulic


Linda Babulic is a motivational speaker, momondays Ottawa host, and author but she likes to describe herself as a ZEST Expert. “What I do is help people find a new perspective and see the joy in their life. I provide people with a different way of looking at things, a different attitude. Instead of the glass being half empty it could be half full,” she said. As the momondays Ottawa host, the lively and vibrant Babulic brings together six speakers every month to “tell a story from the heart.” She said she loves how the show connects people and changes lives. She wants people to walk away from a momondays show feeling like they are in control of their own lives; there is hope, love and a sense of community. “What I want them to walk away with from momondays is also what I want them to walk away with when my new book is published,” she said. Babulic’s new book ZEST Your Life: A Taste of Inner Wisdom hits shelves this fall. With the goal of impacting one million women, Babulic’s inspirational work compiles research, anecdotes and personal wisdom. She said she is looking forward to getting on more stages and speaking to larger audiences in the coming year.

Sept2015_Top_Marc Lepine-Miv PhotographyMarc Lepine


Marc Lepine, owner and head chef of Atelier, is one of Ottawa’s most talented chefs. The Canadian Culinary Champion has spent time in Toronto, France, Italy and Algonquin Park but decided to establish his fine-dining restaurant in the Capital. “I quickly realized that Ottawa is the best city in Canada to live in. This city, to me, strikes the perfect balance of being big enough to support the type of restaurant I operate, yet small enough to comfortably raise a family.” Lepine said his food is all about “detail, subtlety, fun, balance and beauty.” Atelier’s 12-course tasting menu is a combination of all of these qualities. The critically acclaimed chef is always on the lookout for inspiration and loves the creative atmosphere of the kitchen. “There’s nothing I love more than when that creative energy buzz takes over the kitchen, and ideas keep building on each other,” he said. That kitchen is expanding, in fact it will nearly triple in size and Atelier will hold double the capacity after renovations to the restaurant this year. Lepine said there are weekends when the restaurant turns away more than 100 people, so it is time for a change. He said he is also planning a new six-seat restaurant called ‘THRU’ to open this fall. So, keep an eye out for this innovative Ottawa chef this year.

Sept2015_Top_Mylcha Kerr-FaucherMylcha Kerr-Faucher


Mylcha Kerr-Faucher has been volunteering for upwards of 30 years. In that time she has been a passionate and dedicated asset to so many groups, including the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO), Ottawa Police Services and Jamaican (Ottawa) Community Association. “To me, volunteering is very fulfilling. You just help people and you get to know people,” Kerr-Faucher said. Even years later, people still fondly remember Kerr-Faucher and come up to her to express thanks for her help. In her work with OCISO, Kerr-Faucher spent time with women who were new to Canada, helping them acclimatize to life in an unfamiliar culture. She is also an influential leader in the Jamaican community. Kerr-Faucher was born in Jamaica, but raised in London, England. Soon after moving to the Capital in the mid-70s, Kerr-Faucher became an integral part of the Jamaican (Ottawa) Community Association, helping with everything from the Jamday Festival to the annual brunch. Notably, Kerr-Faucher helped launch the Adopt-A-Gran program in Jamaica with HelpAge Canada and the Salvation Army to raise funds for seniors living in Jamaica and provides financial support. In March 2015, Kerr-Faucher was one of the inductees into Ottawa’s Wall of Inspiration at City Hall. She said she was honoured to have been included and hopes her family will follow her example. “My parents were both volunteers and if I continue the process, hopefully my grandkids will do the same.” 

Sept2015_Top_Scott Florence-Andrew AlexanderScott


Scott Florence is the ‘Big Fool,’ also known as the Artistic Director, at a Company of Fools, Ottawa’s beloved Shakespeare theatre company. Florence joined the Fools in 1991, became the ‘Big Fool’ in 1999 and has been making us laugh ever since. “There is no greater high than a room full of people who are all barking enthusiastically at whatever bit of nonsense is happening,” he said. A Company of Fools celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. “I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around it. Twenty-five years!” He said he is proud of what the Fools have accomplished so far: “We engage artists under professional agreements, provide emerging artists with their first Equity credits, and pair emerging and established artists together. We do all that and perform to over 10,000 people every year, which may not sound like a lot, but in the world of small, indie theatre, (it) is pretty darn impressive.” By working in schools and various community groups, performing all around the city, the Fools make Shakespeare fun, accessible and entertaining for all. OLM wishes Florence and the Fools another successful 25 years.

Sept2015_Top_Tobias Lütke - Andrew Geddes from Union ElevenTobias Lütke


Tobias Lütke, the visionary behind the Ottawa-based tech company, Shopify, has built an empire from the ground up. What started out as five guys with a small online store selling snowboards in 2006 has evolved into an extremely successful business with more than 500 employees—400 of them in Ottawa. Shopify became a publicly traded company this year and wowed observers with its stock market success. “Going public this year was an amazing experience,” he said. “…It was part of the evolution of Shopify and the next stage in our growth. I want Shopify to be a company that sees the next century.” Shopify also made headlines this year with the launch of “Buyable Pins.” Now Shopify users can sell their products directly off of Pinterest—another easy and accessible way Shopify is connecting the consumer. As Chief Executive Officer, Lütke is at the helm of this unique business, which now has more than 165,000 stores involved from all over the world. Thanks to Lütke and his team, Shopify has emerged as a flourishing Capital tech company with an extremely bright future.

Sept2015_Top_Tracey Clark-Ronald MaisonneuveTracey Clark


Tracey Clark has transformed Bridgehead coffee shops into a thriving chain and iconic Ottawa brand since founding the company in 2000. She’s the name behind that perfect cup of Ottawa coffee. Over the last 15 years, Bridgehead has become a noteworthy name for its coffee, support of small farmers, and delicious health food, thanks to Clark. “With a focus on quality and differentiation, farmers can earn premiums that permit them a sustainable livelihood for future generations,” she said. “It’s meaningful to connect these farmers to customers.” Since opening its first location on Richmond Street, the business has opened 15 more. Clark has set the goal of putting a Bridgehead in every old City of Ottawa neighbourhood, with only one left to go (Sandy Hill)! She shows no sign of slowing down now, opening the 16th shop at Iris and Greenbank over the summer with plans for more additions in 2016 and 2017. “We strive to do our best and to get better and better all the time. With our growth, we have been able to create career positions for young people; and we have been able to support coffee communities particularly with quality initiatives. These two things are gratifying. There’s always more to do,” she said.

Top 25 People in the Capital 2014

September 18, 2014 2:00 pm
top25 2014-cover

by Marie Waine, Janice Dickson & Caleigh DiNicolantonio.

Our list of the TOP 25 people in the Capital reflects a small sampling of the citizens who lead and make our community better. While honourees differ greatly in vocation and social circumstance, they share a commonality: With the odd exception, they all fly under the radar in Canada’s capital city. While we have a numbered list of TOP 10, all are in fact considered first among equals.


Alexandra BadzakAlexandra Badzak
Art Impressario

There is no stopping the artistic vision of Alexandra Badzak, director and CEO of the Ottawa Art Gallery. A trained artist herself, she understands the art world. Now she is on a one-way street to changing the relationship between Ottawa and the arts. “This is a big coming of age for the arts community,” Badzak said. Ever since Badzak accepted her job four years ago, she has been working towards this moment: when shovels go in the ground this fall to begin the OAG expansion. Currently operating at 12,000 square feet, Badzak is excited to quadruple the size of the gallery and be a major presence in the arts community. The new 85,000 square foot building will be a lot to handle, but Badzak is not afraid of the challenge. “I have been deeply connected to the arts community to understand what they want in their gallery, and to be able to say we are delivering. That’s what makes me most excited,” she said. Over the past few years, there have been many ups and downs for the OAG and the expansion. However, Badzak says they are now steamrolling right on through. She is determined to make the OAG a place for everyone by incorporating new communities and new programs. One example is the pop-up art tent which arrives at different festivals and fairs throughout Ottawa with art-making activities. It is with continuous fundraising efforts, increased publicity and greater community engagement that Badzak is making her OAG dream a reality. “I really enjoy taking an institution through a moment of great growth and change,” said Badzak. There is no doubt that as the expansion kicks off in the fall, Badzak will continue to see the results of her endless efforts in creating great staffing and appropriate programming. “You’re just going to be hearing nothing but good news stories from the gallery,” Badzak said.

Brenda and RichardBrenda Hollingsworth & Richard Auger
Legal Power Couple

Brenda Hollingsworth and Richard Auger are the power couple that make up Auger Hollingsworth, Ottawa’s personal injury law firm. The two met in law school and have been inseparable ever since. It was a natural decision to open up a law firm together. “We are a husband and wife law team,” says Hollingsworth. “There can be strain of what direction the firm should go in, but we work from the same pot so we are always watching out for each other. It’s a very nice way to practice.” And that practice has been booming. Over the last year, Auger Hollingsworth has grown, opening up a second location in the downtown Ottawa core. The firm has also welcomed two new associate lawyers. Hollingsworth says she hopes to add one or two more in the next year. “We are in expansion and growth mode,” she says. “It is a big time for us.” If this is not enough, the firm is also in the midst of becoming a paperless law firm, increasing the use of technology to improve client services. One of the client services Auger Hollingsworth prides itself on the most is its education-based marketing technique. The firm has published multiple books people can order for free off of the firm’s web site. “A lot of people don’t need a lawyer,” says Hollingsworth. “They just need some help and information.” She says providing free legal resources helps differentiate the couple’s law firm from others in the city. “People don’t usually associate lawyer with free,” she says. “It’s our way of giving back. From a business perspective, it’s good and from a community service perspective, it’s good.”

Ishbel SolvasonIshbel Solvason-Wiebe
Public Servant Extraordinaire 

The Social Housing Registry of Ottawa is 16 years in the making, and Ishbel Solvason-Wiebe is the executive director who has been there through it all. The registry offers a centralized waiting list process for those in Ottawa looking for rent geared to income, affordable or supportive housing. Solvason-Wiebe has grown the organization from the ground up from its original six housing providers to the 67 of today. Solvason-Wiebe is especially proud the community built the organization before any provincial legislation about housing services was created. She says she sees Ottawa as a really solid network for this organization. Major accomplishments of the organization over the past year include the impressive feat of becoming the only organization to incorporate a comprehensive range of services to merge many Ontario waiting list systems into one. Solvason- Wiebe says she sees this as a jumping off point for many new opportunities involving the management of waiting list systems, including more online presence, choice and active involvement. As head of the board of the Social Housing Network of Ottawa and as a member of  a board of social housing co-ordinated access groups, she is an effective advocate.  She proved this in her successful quest to receive money from city council for affordable housing. She says she believes Ottawa is understanding everything starts at the home and it is important for everyone to have one. For Solvason-Wiebe, it is the interactions she has with the community that determine her personal success. “I love the opportunity I have to work with so many creative people,” she says. “And to make sure everybody who walks through the door of this office who is coming here to apply for housing is treated fairly and respectfully.”

WAPISTAN10 (1)Lawrence Martin
Award-Winning Singer/ Songwriter 

Juno Award winner Lawrence Martin, aka Wapistan, recently release his latest album Train of Life. The 13 tracks tell the story of Martin’s life as well as those of his family. Each song means something unique to Martin, “I could give the album 13 different titles.” For him, it’s exhilarating when he starts to get the feel for a new record coming out. He recorded in Nashville with some of the best talents in the industry. The music on this album was done in both Cree and English to incorporate his two backgrounds. Martin’s mother was Aboriginal and his father, Irish. He can’t pigeonhole his music into one genre as there are so many different sounds intertwined to create the beautiful melodies and words. Martin’s first album, released in 1994, won the first ever Juno for Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Recording (now called Aboriginal Album of the Year). His music is a marriage between two cultures, truly representing who he is. For Martin, his family is very important and this latest album reflects that. He incorporated some of his sons’ original works into the recording. He himself grew up in a musical family. Martin was taught to play guitar by his aunt Abba when he was 12. She taught him the G, C, and D chords and after that, he was eager to start writing his own music. The rest is history and here we are five great albums later.

Paul Couvrette

Paul Couvrette

Tanya Bracanovich
Ottawa Dentist Pays it Forward

Laser dentist and owner of successful Sparks Dental Clinic, Tanya Bracanovich goes well above and the call of duty. For years, Bracanovich has been offering complimentary dental work for people in need who could not otherwise have access to personal dental care. Her community involvement goes beyond her pro-bono work as she also supports many local charities. In addition to giving back to her community, Bracanovich has solid professional credentials. She is a member of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, the Canadian Dental Association, the Ontario Dental Association and finally, the Ottawa Dental Association. Bracanovich can proudly boast a number of career accomplishments. Her clinic, located at 240 Sparks Street, continues to grow with some of the most advanced dental technology in Ottawa. It offers an array of services include veneers, whitening, crowns, bridges, even smile makeovers. Client testimonies show a very loyal clientele and how much she cares. She is genuine in wanting to help her patients as well as others. Her friendly nature and brazen spirit create a positive environment that she seems eager to share. Between her community work and care for patients, Bracanovich gives people a reason to smile.

Ken Hughes head shotKen Hughes
The Buck is Reviewed Here!

Ken Hughes is the City of Ottawa’s Auditor General. Hughes was appointed last October to a seven-year term. “It’s kind of unique in the sense that it’s part of the city but because it has to report on the activities of the city, it has to have a degree of independence.” Before his appointment to AG, Hughes was the deputy city treasurer. In that role, he dealt with taxpayers on a daily basis and so he understands their strong feelings about ensuring their money is protected and is spent according to the wishes of council. Hughes said that it’s not an individual effort—everything from ensuring ambulances are dispatched, fire departments are equipped and roads get plowed is a result of thousands of individuals doing their piece. The AG said that whether it’s politicians, staff of the audit shop or any part of the city of Ottawa—everyone’s best interest is focused on delivering better services to the people of Ottawa. He said this is the same message he offers internal staff when they ask him why he’s looking into their particular activity. He said it’s a job that has to be done and the good news is that at the end of the day, after he and his office have spent time working in various areas of the city, the city is a little bit better for the work that they’ve done. “On a daily basis when we see the result of an audit that we’ve done—one audit finding that brings about a change in a particular piece of the city—all of those things together make it a better city. I was born here, I have spent my entire life here and I expect that I’ll be dying here, so like every other resident in the city of Ottawa, I have a strong interest in caring.

Darryl DaviesDarryl Davies
Won’t Back Down

Making quite a few headlines this year is a criminology professor from Carleton University. Darryl Davies is being recognized for his research, teaching and stance on academic freedom. Along the way, he has rumpled a few feathers at the Ottawa Police Association but Davies continues to stand up for his beliefs. Some of Davies’ areas of interest include wrongful conviction, policing and criminal justice policy and research and evaluation. Davies has a large portfolio of published work focusing on police training and behavioural conduct. It was his decision to invite a witness in a criminal trial involving police officers to share his story in one of his classes that really upset the Ottawa Police Association. The Association said it would no longer correspond with Carleton journalism students, the campus radio station or the Carleton School of Economics unless it received an apology from Davies. “The right to speak out on social issues is, as you know, a freedom guaranteed to all Canadians by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Davies said. “Police are not above the law and they cannot threaten, intimidate or bully people who speak out against problem policing,” he said. “The taxpayers pay for policing services and as such have a right to comment on whether they are or are not getting value for money from their police service. Sticking to his beliefs, Davies offered no apology. He was backed by Carleton President Roseanne O’Reilly Runte and the Canadian Association of University Teachers. Although Davies is critical of policing, he also supports the positive actions. When things are done right and responsibly, Davies offers praise. He wishes to see a province and country where police chiefs can change the system and correct the actions of officers who act out of line.

John Molot picJohn Molot
Environmental Health

Doc Dr. John Molot is leading the way in changing how the public looks at the impact of the environment on human health. In his first book, 12,000 Canaries Can’t Be Wrong, Molot explores this relationship. But what sprouted this initial search for cause and effect? “I attended a conference on toxicology…and they discussed the impact of the environment on unborn and newborn animals,” says Molot. “The impact has potential to change the formation of genes and cause them to become sick later on in life.” This struck a chord with Molot. “I wanted to see if there are things in the environment that seem to be tolerated but are actually making us humans sick.” The process of writing the book turned out to be an uphill battle. Molot says he was initially faced with criticism by his peers. “In the medical world, we should base our opinions on the level of scientific evidence that is peer-reviewed and published. And when I started there was very little,” says Molot. “Now it’s a tsunami of information about the impact of environment on human health.” Molot persevered. “I went from being the doctor being criticized to being considered an expert.”  “Other doctors are turning to me. I’m being asked for my opinion.” Molot now provides independent medical evaluations that are used in court. He also works part-time in Toronto at the Women’s College Hospital in the environmental health clinic. He has developed workshops to help family doctors learn about the impact of environment on health. While Molot is very busy and currently having a lot of success, he says he can’t take all of the credit. “Some of it should go to my parents for helping me to persevere when no one else believed,” he says.

John profile imageJohn Gordon
Building Quality

Growing up on a farm, John Gordon knew he had a future working with his hands. After high school he began working in the trades, learning quickly and progressing in home renovation. Today, you know John Gordon as founder of Your Reno Guys. Over the past year, Gordon’s business has been booming. He now has 10 staff members, teaches the trades and makes a difference in the homes and lives of the Ottawa community. Gordon is an advocate of self-development and constantly tries to motivate his team and clients. He hopes to share his knowledge of saving money, setting goals and gaining confidence—whether it is about renovations or just about life. His motto? Learn one new thing a day or make a difference in someone’s life. So that is what Gordon does. When he is not tearing down and building up, he can be found working with charitable events and as an acting member of the Orleans Chamber of Commerce. Gordon has also been busy speaking at the YMCA Power of Trades event, which helps new immigrants in Canada gain skills they need to acquire jobs. Currently, he is involved with the Live, Work, Play organization, helping people with intellectual disabilities. One day, Gordon hopes to keep giving back to Ottawa by opening his own school for the trades. He wants to be able to teach those who are interested in learning by providing an easy, accessible space. Home renovations can feel overwhelming, but Gordon wants to supply all the knowledge to make trades work less intimidating and help people find employment in trades. He says the industry is booming and more people are needed to work in his sector. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Your Reno Guys!

StephenHarperThe Right Hon. Stephen Harper
Smooth Sailing in Rough Waters

As he continues to work with Canada and the leaders of the rest of the world, Stephen Harper proves himself as a steady, reliable Prime Minister. One of his biggest focuses is on securing Canada’s economy. He is leading the way to create balanced budgets for the year 2015, as he brings the country back from a recession/ financial crisis. Balancing the budgets now will help bring security to Canada’s long-term economic success. Contributing to this security is Canada’s Economic Action Plan, which works closely with provinces and territories to rebuild and renew infrastructure across the country.  Besides economy, Harper works daily to provide what he believes is best for the country. After 12 years with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, it was the Harper government who brought the troops home. The government also shows ongoing support for countries during times of crisis, such as Ukraine and Israel. Harper upholds Canada as a peacekeeping nation. Let us not forget about the free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, led by Harper and hailed as one of the biggest deals the country has ever made. Other free trade deals include the recent bilateral union with South Korea. Each agreement helps Canada to grow as a strong country, by providing jobs and opportunity. Harper also put Canada on the map with other major international successes, many related to sport. From hosting the 2010 Olympic Winter Games to the upcoming Pan-American Games, Canada is becoming a world stage for athletes. With a federal election coming up in 2015, Harper is proving himself as a strong, committed and sometimes underestimated political figure.

Jeff HuntJeff Hunt
Champion of Sport

As the president of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, Jeff Hunt has had the busiest year of his life. With the opening of Lansdowne Park and TD Place, the first game for the Ottawa Redblacks and the Ottawa Fury, as well as increasing community engagement, Hunt has worked non-stop to make this year a winning season. Hunt has a deep passion for sports that started with playing hockey at the age of four. Fast forward to adulthood, he purchased the Ottawa 67’s in 1988. When Hunt and his family moved to Ottawa in 1984, he says one of the first things he did was purchase tickets to the Ottawa Rough Riders, the old CFL team. Seven years ago, Hunt said he began the journey of bringing CFL football back to Ottawa and redeveloping Lansdowne Park. “The community is having the same positive reaction. The response has exceeded our expectations dramatically,” said Hunt. “It really has been a game changer for Ottawa. I think TD Place and Lansdowne Park is going to be one of the iconic images that people have when they think about Ottawa.” So what is next for the man who never seems to stop? “…To win championships for the city

clement-chartierClément Chartier
Métis Leader

As President of the Métis National Council, Clément Chartier is responsible for representing the Métis Nation at home and abroad. He was recently re-elected for his fourth term as president—proving he is a hard-working representative. As a lawyer, writer, lecturer and activist, Chartier has served with many Indigenous peoples organizations across the world throughout his life. He is a recipient of a Queen’s Counsel distinction for his work in law, specifically with his efforts to Métis-related issues. He continuously works to strengthen the Métis Nation through active service in securing rights and adopting a more modern Métis Nation Constitution. The Métis National Council aims to secure room for the Métis Nation’s existence within the Canadian federation. With many struggles in the past, Chartier looks to move forward and improve the national representative body for the Métis. Chartier’s responsibility is to reflect the desires and aspirations of those he represents. He continues to excel and his re-election confirms he is moving in a positive direction.

Andre MarinAndré Marin
Defender of Public Complaints

As an independent officer of the Legislature, André Marin, Ontario’s ombudsman, investigates public complaints about government services. He has been all over the news lately, calling for more accountability in the system. He has held this position since 2005, is currently serving his second term and over the years has earned great respect for his work. Marin made the Top 25 Most Influential in Canadian Lawyer magazine for the second year in a row. A local high-profile case Marin has been involved with recently is the Ottawa-Orgaworld waste management dispute. He is now calling for a bill that would allow his office to investigate municipalities. As for Queen’s Park, he has the trust of decision makers. In fact, the government accepts a majority of recommendations prompted by investigations made by Marin. With over 20,000 complaints coming into his office every year, Marin clearly also has the trust of Ontario people. He continues to successfully delve into issues affecting thousands of Ontarians.

Lisa MacLeod HeadshotLisa MacLeod
Provincial MPP

As the MPP for Nepean-Carleton, and one of the only Conservative MPPs in the Ottawa area, MacLeod’s priorities are all about family and community and she makes a huge effort to give both her utmost attention, making her a very busy woman. As she gears up for another busy year, MacLeod will continue to serve as the Tory critic for government budget cuts, the Ontario PC Energy Critic and the Francophone Affairs Critic. If that is not enough, she serves as Vice Chair of the Legislative Assembly Committee, the Vice Chair of the Quebec-Ontario Parliamentary Friendship Committee and as Ontario’s member on the Canadian Parliamentary Women’s Association. She says the Tories hope to build towards the future and she will no doubt play a critical role. But success does not stop there. MacLeod also accomplishes a lot outside of Queen’s Park. Along with her husband, MacLeod is raising a daughter and even took time to author a cookbook.

Frank SmithFrank Smith
Supporting the Disabled

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) supports full access to education and employment for post-secondary and graduate students with disabilities across Canada—a vital organization. Frank Smith, the national coordinator, is part of a small group who founded NEADS in 1986. Through core strategic program areas, from student debt reduction to student experience, Smith is changing the way students with disabilities can access the fundamentals of education and employment. NEADS provides skills training resources, conducts research on access to opportunities and holds events across Canada to provide these resources. NEADS is a community of knowledge and empowerment. Smith has made it his mission to respond to the needs of students right after he graduated from Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communications. When he is not working hard at NEADS, Smith can be found grooving with his alternative rock band, Sills & Smith. He is a singer-songwriter for the band, which has produced four-critically acclaimed albums. Smith is a passionate worker dedicated to changing the lives of others.


by Michelle Valberg

Jennifer Stewart

A graduate from Carleton’s School of Journalism, Jennifer Stewart has an impressive list of accomplishments and is now the owner of her own communications company, JS Communications. Stewart started her business four and a half years ago as she was excited to help people tell their story or their company’s story in a meaningful way. Placing a strong emphasis on the importance of listening, Stewart said that she has always been intrigued by the way information can be expressed in multiple ways to make it more captivating. Having grown up in Renfrew, the Ottawa community is very close to her heart so she stays involved by giving back. Stewart is on the Board of the Kanata Food Cupboard and works with Project North, a not-for-profit that helps to provide a better life for Inuit youth and children through education and recreation.

min_baird_hiresThe Hon. John Baird
Multiple Minister

Given that Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is a household name, he really doesn’t qualify as one who flies under the radar but he remains on our Top 25 anyway. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 2006. In the past 8 years, Baird has been President of the Treasury Board, Minister of the Environment, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, as well Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. Baird has received much praise and recognition for his work. He was acknowledged by the World Economic Forum with the Young Global Leader Award and named Parliamentarian of the Year by Maclean’s magazine and Historica-Dominion, as voted by colleagues in the House of Commons. Baird puts heart into everything he does and works hard to accomplish his goals. His reach is large, as he is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, an honourary member of the Kiwanis Club of Nepean and a lifetime member of the Canadian Association for Community Living. He remains dedicated to his community.

Joanne McGrathJoanne McGrath
Guiding Student to Achievement

Teaching for over 25 years, Joanne McGrath gives back like no other. She is a resource teacher at St. James Catholic School in Kanata. Working with the 360 students, McGrath looks for ways to help students succeed and feel confident in what they do. McGrath received a Director of Education Commendation for teacher excellence in 2014 from the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Her support and work ethic show she is a selfless educator actively involved with students and parents to find the right strategy to ensure each individual receives the assistance they need for success. McGrath participates in many school committees, coaches sports teams and organizes theatre groups, continuing to extend herself outside of her job requirements. Although it may seem McGrath is always working with the school, students and parents, she also finds time to celebrate her other talents. She has a passion for the arts and is a budding artist. McGrath is also raising a family where the desire to inspire and teach others has rubbed off—one son is starting a teaching career.

David GourlayDavid Gourlay
Hitting Home Run After Home Run

Batter up! David Gourlay, president and minority owner of the Ottawa Champions Baseball Club, has been working tirelessly over the past three years to secure a professional baseball franchise in Ottawa. His work has finally paid off. Come spring 2015, the Ottawa Champions will take the field at the Ottawa Ballpark and bring the community together over homeruns and hotdogs. Gourlay knows Ottawa baseball faced hurdles in the past, but hopes by investing locally in goods, services, talent and players, he can build a loyal fan base and exciting experience. Gourlay’s work stop there. As volunteer president of the Miracle League of Ottawa, a charity founded through Gourlay’s organization, the Champions for Ottawa Baseball, Gourlay is working to build Canada’s first fully accessible baseball diamond and a barrier-free playground for thousands of children with special needs. All of his dreams will become a reality as the new year approaches. Gourlay says he cannot wait for the next baseball season to see the Champions in action and to hopefully open Ottawa’s Miracle Field in Orleans.

by Steve Kingsman

by Steve Kingsman

Marc Dos Santos
Fury Football

Is there anything better than taking to a new field to start a game full of passion and teamwork? For Marc Dos Santos, manager and head coach of the Ottawa Fury FC, not much can beat it. Having interned as a coach with FC Porto and Chelsea FC, Dos Santos learned a lot about how to build a successful team. His approach is simple: let the game be the best teacher. Dos Santos trains his players in accordance to the team’s model of play and ensures great fitness and skill development. One of the toughest challenges he faces? The Fury FC is an expansion team, meaning it is one of the newest teams added to the established North American Soccer League. Players have less experience working together. However, no challenge is too big for Dos Santos. Working to establish a strong core over the season, the team will develop and become stronger as they play together and get to know each other. There is no doubt Dos Santos and the rest of the Ottawa Fury FC are ready to play hard.

Paul MeekPaul Meek
Brew Meister

Paul Meek is one of the owners of Ottawa’s Kichesippi Beer Co. As acting president, Meek has a love for beer that is undeniable. It dates back to 1994 when he first tried Granite Brewery Peculiar in Halifax and was immediately inspired to bring the same experience back to Ottawa. Brewed in Ottawa, Kichesippi prides itself on community involvement, including working with a variety of charities, supporting festivals and other area breweries. Over the past year, Kichesippi launched Harvey and Vern’s Olde Fashioned Soda. Meek says the difference is selling soda over beer is huge, but it is a learning opportunity for the brewery and the response from consumers has been fantastic. With continued success, the local brewery is aiming for an expansion focused on packaged products. New equipment, new flavours of soda and more products to the LCBO are just a few other things on the list of goals for the next year.

Rebecca KohlerRebecca Kohler

Ottawa’s funny girl is Rebecca Kohler. And while this comedian is not quite positive where her passion for comedy stems from, she does know she was always laughing growing up in her family. Having just won a 2013 Canadian Comedy Award for Best Taped Live Performance and being nominated for Best Female Stand-Up for the 2014 Canadian Comedy Awards, Kohler cannot stop making people laugh! Over the past year, Kohler has also worked a few writing projects, including the Just For Laughs Festival and on a show called Too Much Information. And while she says being a comedian is something she loves, there are a lot of tough parts about the job too. Between constant driving from city to city and the subpar hotels, life on the road can take a toll. But Kohler would not change a thing about her lifestyle—she says one of her biggest accomplishments is being able to get paid for something she loves to do. And while Kohler is looking for her big step—think the American comedy scene—she says Ottawa will always be her favourite city to perform in. “Ottawa crowds are also extremely sharp. They get a lot of the subtleties I find sometimes go unnoticed in other cities!” .

Rene RodriguezRené Rodriguez
Canada’s Top Chef

Food is only as delicious as a chef makes it—and lucky for us here in Ottawa, we have chefs who make some award- winning plates. René Rodriguez is one chef in particular who stands out for his mouth-watering selections. Rodriguez is not only the owner and chef of Navarra in the ByWard Market, but also wears the title of Top Chef Canada 2014. Rodriguez won the culinary competition early this year and has since been on a wild ride. The publicity from Food Network Canada’s top-rated show means business is booming at Navarra, but it does not stop Rodriguez from thinking about the future. He says he hopes to open a new restaurant in 2015 featuring the flavours of Oaxaca, Mexico. When Rodriguez is not wearing his chef hat, he can be found sporting another hat of sorts—his motorcycle helmet. After winning Top Chef Canada, Rodriguez went right out to buy a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Whether in the kitchen or on his bike, Rodriguez is enjoying this exciting time in his life.

by Michelle Valberg

by Michelle Valberg

Steve Madely

Tune in to 580 CFRA every morning to get your Steve Madely fix. He is a radio personality like no other. From his passionate views to energetic debates, Madely keeps his audience engaged and informed with the Madely in the Morning show. He also can be found commenting on Ottawa’s CTV Mornings and as a guest on numerous other television and radio programs. He says the part of his job is interviewing people who are leaders, on top of their game and genuinely trying to make a difference. When he is not sharing information with listeners, he can be found in the community working on projects to benefit youth mental health, care for seniors and the disadvantaged. Although it seems like Madely does not stop working to create a more informed Ottawa, he does take a little time to himself every now and then. Madely loves to spend time traveling with his family and hopes to complete a bucket list of trips one day.

Tom LawsonTom Lawson
Chief of the Defence Staff

Chief of the Defence Staff General Tom Lawson plays a major role in the Canadian Forces and in the Ottawa community. Appointed in 2012, Lawson stepped in to take direct responsibility for the command, control and administration of the Canadian Forces. He is accountable to the Minister of National Defence for everything the Canadian Armed Forces does, including the ability to fulfill military requirements. At the time of his appointment to the position, then-Defence Minister Peter MacKay called Lawson an exceptional, dynamic leader with a lot of experience. He shows commitment to Canada through his almost 40 years of service with the Canadian Forces. Having graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1979, Lawson has moved up the ranks, moved across much of Canada and held a wide range positions with the Canadian Forces. He now holds the most powerful position in the Canadian military. And with this power, comes great responsibility. Over the past year, Lawson had to deal with military cuts, opening new infrastructure, working with Veterans Affairs and numerous other important issues to the Canadian military. Despite any negativity surrounding the military over the year, Lawson continues to stand tall and proud of the Canadian Forces.

Top People in the Capital – Sep/Oct 2013 Issue

September 18, 2013 12:12 pm
Sept/Oct 2013

This year, it’s all about leadership. Kevin Page brought new credibility to the independence of Parliamentary institutions. Industry Minister James Moore is fighting for everyday consumers. Elizabeth Sanderson kicked down some doors to make a difference. The Hill Times Editor Katie Malloy played a significant role in raising the bar in how politics is reported in Canada. Mike MacDonald –The Comedy Legend and Northstar for Canadian comics for three decades – beat back the odds to regain his life. Dugald Seely is a leading thinker and innovator in cancer care treatment. Katie Telfer is a big bright light in the Justin Trudeau circle. Beverley McLaughlin needs no intro…you get the picture. These people are truly worth reading about in this, the 13th year of the new millennium.

Top_Kevin Page_Paul Couvrette

Kevin Page

Balance, honesty and transparency – standing for these values in the Canadian government is more challenging than Kevin Page initially imagined. Deflecting criticisms and cynicism, Page was responsible for advocating for these principles for five years as Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer.

The position was created as a part of the Conservative government’s accountability initiatives in the wake of the Liberal sponsorship scandal. Following in the footsteps of other international governments, such as the United Kingdom, Austria and the Netherlands, the Parliamentary Budget Office was designed to help Parliament scrutinize the government’s finances and the economy, allowing MPs and the public to access crucial financial information.

To Page, it was the perfect opportunity to build transparency in the Canadian government – a mission that formed the foundation of his 5 years in the office. “I saw it as leveling the playing field. Many parliamentarians (ie, the opposition and other backbenchers) don’t have access to public service resources that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet enjoy”, explained Page.

So he chose to make information available by doing what he does best – adding and subtracting numbers. The office started working on offering alternative cost analyses for the war in Afghanistan, the purchasing of fighter jets, Canada Health Transfer and old-age pension to all Canadians, not just to cabinet ministers.

Through his 27 years in the public service and his education at Queen’s University, he gained the financial expertise that eventually brought him to the Parliamentary Budget Office.

Initially his career had a different emphasis. “My job was to steer the budget through the Prime Minister’s office, through cabinet and make sure the Prime Minister was well briefed. We had meetings as well on the economy on a month-to-month basis so most of my career was working to support the executive on preparing budgets,” Page explained, describing his time as a public servant prior to 2007.

But, it was a personal tragedy that changed the path of his career, leading him to the Parliamentary Budget Office. In 2006, Page and his wife lost their 20-year-old son, Tyler, who was killed by an oncoming train.

“I think when you lose a son you get a sense that there’s no security. When you’re doing your work, you want everything to be somehow special, you want to honour memories…you kind of evaluate risk in a different way,” explained Page.

In a government that had never received the sort of critique and forecasts that the Parliamentary Budget Office provided, this outlook gave Page the courage to deal with the inevitable backlash that some of his work would cause.

“[The criticism] came from everywhere. It came from the government, the executive, it came from public servants who didn’t like what we were doing. It even came from opposition members who we thought would be natural clients,” recounted Page.

Ottawa Life salutes him.

Top_James MooreJames Moore

James Moore is a likeable fellow. In politics today, that is a high compliment. Moore is a quick study – bright, principled and authentic. He is a conservative’s Conservative.  His obvious loyalty and respect for his boss Stephen Harper is genuine, but Moore is no shrinking violet. This is probably why Harper has consistently given Moore increasingly tough roles in Cabinet, including his appointment in July as the Minister of Industry. When asked about the appointment, Moore said, “The Prime Minister wants the Canadian economy to grow, so we have this goal of balancing the budget by 2015. It’s not just about cutting spending; it’s about growing the Canadian economy, from which the economic benefits will derive: the tax revenue necessary to balance the budget, to grow the Canadian economy requires us to take advantage of these opportunities and to not do so would be, I think, a failing of our obligation to do our best to grow the economy.” Moore maintains that a key part of growth is competition. To that end, he also retains his role as the Senior Regional Minister from British Columbia (the youngest person to ever hold the post) and will be at the apex of all discussions and decisions related to B.C.’s liquefied natural gas export industry and other economic matters.

 Moore became the youngest Member of Parliament ever elected from B. C. at age 24 when he won the riding of Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam in 2000. He followed that with an impressive debut in Ottawa where he was named Deputy Foreign Affairs Critic and Deputy National Revenue Critic and later promoted to serve as the Senior Transport Critic and Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Transport Committee. In 2003, when the Canadian Alliance morphed into the Conservative Party of Canada, Moore was named Official Opposition Transportation Critic and Amateur Sport Critic by the Party’s new leader Stephen Harper. In June 2008, Prime Minister Harper appointed Moore as Secretary of State for the 2010 Olympics, the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Official Languages. Shortly thereafter, Moore was named Minister of Canadian Heritage (October 2008). He held that post for 4½ years and it was here that he earned a reputation for being tough, disciplined and fair. A senior bureaucrat at Canadian Heritage told Ottawa Life that Moore earned the respect of many in the department by his thoughtful and reasoned approach to issues. “He asked a lot of questions and would go back if he was unsure about something until he really understood the issue. We respected that. You could see he wanted to make things more efficient in the department so that dollars intended for arts programs and artists actually went to them and not to administration and related things.”

Moore became a champion of sorts for Canadian arts and culture. Internally, he would battle to get more efficiencies and results out of the department’s funding, while externally, he would champion Canadian Heritage programs based on need and efficiency. Moore succeeded in winning over his Conservative caucus, who supported his changes even in the midst of the global economic crisis and he earned the grudging respect of many in Canada’s arts community who had wrongly assumed the Prime Minister had put him in the department to gut programs and funding. However, Moore did demand accountability from organizations like the CBC and others who received large pots of federal dollars and he got it. Moore also made himself accessible to explain his decisions as Minister while at Canadian Heritage. In one notable July 2011 interview with CBC Radio’s Q host Jian Ghomeshi, Moore pushed back at suggestions he wasn’t supporting the music industry with considerable effect. Even Ghomeshi seemed to accept his fact-based narrative and backed down. Point – Moore. It reinforced Moore’s reputation for being well briefed on his files.

There is no question that Prime Minister Harper has put James Moore front and centre to stare down the powerful Canadian telecom industry and bring in competition to break the bizarre monopolistic hold that Bell, TELUS and Rogers have over the Canadian industry and consumers. For decades, “the big three” have gouged Canadian customers relentlessly with the highest telecom fees in the western world while they pocket billions. When the CEO of Bell (George Cope), TELUS (Darren Entwhistle) and Rogers (Nadir Mohammed) made little headway with the new Minister this past summer as they sought to protect their interests, their representatives went personal, questioning Moore’s competence on the telecom file and then began a huge propaganda campaign to discredit the governments stated policy to make Canada’s telecom sector more competitive.  A key part of this policy is to allow foreign telecom companies to enter the Canadian market. The big three even managed to have the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) back them in full-page newspaper ads. However, the CCCE was quickly discredited when it became known that CCCE President John Manley, a former Liberal Industry Minister who organized the preparation of the letter, was also on the Board of TELUS. The old boys’ club was at work, but Moore stayed firm, squarely coming down on the side of Canadian consumers who were being gouged by the big telecom companies, saying “Canadians know very well what is at stake and they know dishonest attempts to skew debates via misleading campaigns when they see them.” Moore said that these companies shouldn’t be afraid of competition: “I don’t question the sincerity (of companies) when they say that competition has made their firms better and I think that more competition would achieve even better results going forward.” He noted that even if another competitor enters the Canadian market, Bell, Rogers and TELUS will still have significant competitive advantages. Point-Moore.

 We asked Moore about the pressure of the job (he is married with a new baby boy) and about his end goal as Minister of Industry. “It’s pressure in a good way to do good things and to (leave behind me) genuine achievements. Preston Manning, in one of my favourite books about politics, said there are two kinds of people in politics: those who want to be something and those who want to do something. I want to be the politician who does things of genuine accomplishment, not of perceived grandiosity. I want to do things that, when my son grows up, that he’ll say, “Yeah, my dad did do things. Here’s what he did. I’m proud of him.” We ask him what his long term goals are since he is only 37. Moore responds that “I believe we’re very lucky that Stephen Harper is our Prime Minister in the difficult times we’ve had during this global recession. I support his leadership and the best thing I could do for my community and for the country is to do the best possible job that I can as Industry Minister and support his time as Prime Minister. I want to perform well here, continue to have the confidence of my constituents and we’ll see. Politically, you take every election one at a time.”

POSTSCRIPT: The day we interviewed Moore there was much in the news about Russia’s anti-gay laws that are impacting on the upcoming Olympics. Moore was the Secretary of State for the hugely successful 2010 Olympics. Six years prior to those Olympics, in 2004, he was one the few members of his caucus to vote in favour of same-sex marriage.  We asked him about that. “It was not a hard decision. I believe in equality under the law for all Canadians for civil marriages, which in a perfect world would be termed civil unions. However, in the end, it’s really about equality and respecting our Charter and laws. I stand by my vote. Everyone should have the right to be happy.” game, set, match-Moore.

Top_McLaughlin_ JEAN MARC CARISSEBeverley McLachlin

The Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin has the distinction of being the longest-serving Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and the first woman sworn in as Chief Justice of Canada. Known for tackling big cases with efficiency and the ability to minimize controversy, McLachlin recently expressed her concern regarding Canadians ability to access justice. “Being able to access justice is fundamental to the rule of law and if people decide that they can’t get justice, they will have less respect for the law. They will tend not to support the rule of law. They won’t see the rule of law, which is so fundamental to our democratic society, as central and important.” McLachlin was referring to a growing trend in Canada where legal services are only available to the rich, or the poor through programs like pro bono work or legal aid. The escalating cost of legal advice is leading more and more people to make the choice to represent themselves  in court. McLachlin suggests there must be more affordable costs for legal services and construction of more courts in which to hear cases.

Top_Katie Telford_Paul Couvrette

Katie Telford

Katie Telford is the National Campaign Co-Chair of the Liberal Party of Canada and a key advisor to Justin Trudeau. Telford is young but is no neophyte when it comes to politics. Beginning as a Page in the Ontario Legislature and later as a Page in the House of Commons Telford got the political bug early on, but it was her smarts and savvy instinct that propelled her to the influential position she holds today. “In politics, you get to deal with such a variety of people from all across the country –such a diverse and really talented and passionate group of people who just want to do great things for the country,” Telford said. She finds it very exciting to be involved in politics right now and believes Canadians are ready for a change in the way national politics are done in Canada. Telford believes that too many people are cynical about politics and she understands why, but still remains very optimistic about the future.

Top_Elizabeth Saundersen_Paul CouvretteElizabeth Sanderson

Elizabeth Sanderson has spent her career making a difference. Among the vanguard of young women lawyers who kicked in the door of the predominately “old boys’ club” that was the Department of Justice in the 70s, she devoted her career to recognizing the rights and enhancing the lives of those on the margins of Canadian society. Sanderson spent the last decade championing the causes of the Aboriginal People of Canada. Possessing extraordinary intelligence and unmatched integrity, Sanderson was often called upon by the Justice Department to deal with complex and difficult issues. As the Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Aboriginal Affairs, she was key to Canada recognizing the atrocity that was our Residential Schools system and subsequent efforts toward reconciliation. She established and headed the Public Law Policy Section at the Department of Justice, under which reform of the Canadian Human Rights Act. She was the Legal Co-ordinator for the Minister of Justice during the Charlottetown Constitutional Reform process. Over time Sanderson became recognized as a policy expert on equity issues. In 2002, she was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for her work on diversity and employment equity. As a specialist on Governance and the Law, Aboriginal Affairs and Human Rights Law, Sanderson is currently on assignment with the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, where she has developed and taught courses on the practice of law within government.

Top_Charles Bordeleau_Paul CouvretteCharles Bordeleau

Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau takes immense pride in his job and the community he serves. Bordeleau had the opportunity to pursue his policing career in different cities but chose to remain in his hometown. “I love this city. It’s a great city. I was born and raised here and I never thought of leaving.” As a teenager he thought his future would be in business. However, Bordeleau learned about policing from his future father-in-law. Although Bordeleau acknowledges the pressures and difficulties of his career path, he is firm in his resolve to make Ottawa a safer city in which to live. As he continues to build positive relationships with the citizens of Ottawa, Bordeleau feels that working within the community is a great way to do so. He is the past chair of the Youth Services Bureau Charitable Foundation. He sits on the TELUS Ottawa Community Board, is co-chair of the Community Development Framework Steering Committee for the City of Ottawa and is now working on his second campaign with United Way Ottawa (Growing Up Great). “As police officers, we’re privileged in the job that we do and the community entrusts us with their safety,” Bordeleau said. “It’s important that we give back from a volunteer perspective.” What Bordeleau enjoys most about his job are the people he is delighted to work with every day. He feels fortunate to be leading the 2,000 men and women in the Ottawa Police Service. “They are very committed and dedicated to their jobs, so having the privilege of being their chief is a big honour to me”. Bordeleau continues to show leadership in addressing head on the growing concern by the public about Police misconduct in Canada. He attended the Borders, Policing and Law symposium at Carleton University in March 2013 as a keynote speaker, along with Ontario’s Ombudsman André Marin and renowned criminal lawyer Lawrence Greenspon. The conference host, Criminology Professor Darryl Davies, a recognized national expert in police behavior matters complimented Bordeleau saying “he has integrity, he listened and he has high expectations that the Ottawa Police will act appropriately in all police matters.”

Top_Mike MacDonald_Paul CouvretteMike MacDonald

Comedian Mike MacDonald has had a rough ride but he is doing great, recovering from a long-awaited liver transplant that was performed in March. “There were times in (Toronto General Hospital) during the first couple of months when I thought I shouldn’t have gone through with it,” MacDonald confides. “I felt I should have died with my own liver, because after the transplant I was feeling pretty miserable. I’m certainly not ungrateful for the new liver, but the anti-rejection drugs triggered a severe bipolar reaction which I’m still struggling to completely come to terms with. All my senses were screwed up. It’s only in the last month that I’ve been able to taste food normally. Before that, everything tasted like cardboard. I’ve lost a lot of weight – from 240 to 153 pounds. I have chicken legs. I don’t want to put all the weight back on but I need to work out. But for the longest time it was just the biggest thing to get up and go to the bathroom.” MacDonald, 58, looks terrific, 10 years younger since the transplant. “The reason I got the liver was because my blood type was rare and matched the blood type of the donor,” he explains. “I was the next critical guy in the line. It’s as simple as that. You can’t just put any liver in any body.  “Literally, within the last month, I’m just starting to get back into the comedy writing. I’ll be hosting two shows for the Canadian Comedy Awards Festival on October 5 at the Centrepointe Theatre which will feature all Ottawa talent. “Certain people have already enquired about me entertaining crowds specifically gathered for reasons of education and sharing knowledge about liver transplants,” MacDonald reveals. “It’s the least I can do.”

TOP_Katie Malloy_Jake WrightKate Malloy

Kate Malloy has been with The Hill Times since it started in 1989. She is a graduate of Carleton University’s School of Journalism. Malloy worked as a reporter for The Yellowknifer in Yellowknife in 1988-1989 before landing a job as a reporter at The Hill Times, a weekly newspaper that is considered a must-read for political junkies. “It was a one-person newsroom and I was it,” she says. Malloy has been the influential weekly’s editor since 1999 (editing the newspaper and its on-line version). The Hill Times has won numerous Canadian Community Newspaper Awards and Ontario Community Newspapers Association awards. “I love The Hill Times and I am very proud of our team,” says Malloy. “The Hill is one of the most exciting and best beats to cover. We can go beyond the gloss of the daily headlines and cover the nuts and bolts of federal politics, the government and Parliament.” Malloy is originally from Ottawa and is married to John Crupi, the assignment editor at CTV Ottawa.

Top_Graham Richardson_Paul CouvretteGraham Richardson

Born in Connecticut and raised in Toronto, Graham Richardson is now happily settled in Ottawa. Richardson took over the co-anchor position for CTV Ottawa News in 2010. Following the retirement of long-time anchorman Max Keeping, News at 6 continues to be a ratings leader in Ottawa and the surrounding regions, including west Quebec. Knowing he wanted to be a journalist from the age of 15, Richardson said he was attracted by the idea of asking powerful people uncomfortable questions. Richardson sits on the board of directors of the Ottawa Food Bank, the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health and Bruyère Continuing Care. “I think when people watch us at six o’clock, they want to know us,” Richardson says. “I am really just a regular guy and I hope that’s how a lot of people relate to me.”

Top_KOREAN AMBassadorHis Excellency Cho Hee-yong

Dubbed the Year of Korea, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Korean-Canadian diplomatic relations and 60 years since the signing of the Korean armistice which signaled the end of the so-called Forgotten War (1950-53). The Korean War was a three-year conflict that erupted in 1950 when North Korea invaded Canadian-backed South Korea. About 27,000 Canadians fought in the war; 516 of them died. South Korea’s Ambassador to Canada Cho Hee-yong has made a big impact with Canadians by making it his priority to travel across Canada to meet with members of the Korean community to celebrate the Year of Korea. He has also been present at many wreath-laying ceremonies commemorating Canadians who died in the Korean War. “I cannot think of a better time to deliver our deep gratitude to the Korean War veterans of Canada and their families for their sacrifices” Hee-yong said. Ambassador Cho Hee-yong’s many earlier overseas appointments include Counselor at the Korean Embassy in Washington (2000 and 2003) and a year as Minister and Consul General in the Philippines. He has also worked as an Adjunct Professor of Diplomacy at Korea University (2005) and as the Director-General, Secretariat for the UN’s 6th Global Forum on Reinventing Government (2004), held in Seoul. Ambassador Cho is a recipient of the Republic of Korea’s Order of Service Merit for outstanding contributions to national development. He earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Seoul National University.

Top_Jeff Hunt_Michelle ValbergJeff Hunt
Mobilizing Entrepreneurship to Transform Ottawa Sports

What began as a passion for hockey has transformed Jeff Hunt into one of the most influential figures in Ottawa sports.  An entrepreneur, Hunt bought the Ottawa 67s with the hope of fusing his love for sports and business. His success spurred him and his partners to create of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group in the hopes of bringing football and the CFL back to Ottawa. The group spearheaded the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park and as a result, the city’s new CFL team, The Ottawa Redblacks, will start playing when the park reopens. Shortly after, the Ottawa Fury FC, the new NASL soccer team, will begin playing games at the stadium and Ottawa will host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The end of contruction will also see The Ottawa 67s return to their historic home at Lansdowne Park. “It’s becoming more and more real every day. As the project takes shape, the momentum and the excitement are snowballing.”

Top_Dr. Bruce BeehlerDr. Bruce Beehler
Dental Healer

Dr. Bruce Beehler is an ambitious dentist with 20 years of experience. He has opened practices in Ottawa, Stittsville and Barbados. Dr. Beehler is a licensed provider of intravenous conscious sedation for wisdom tooth removal and general or complex dentistry for patients who are apprehensive about dental procedures. From a simple filling to applying invisible braces, Dr. Beehler is qualified to do common and challenging dental procedures in the comfort of his own general practice in downtown Ottawa: Permasmile Dentistry. A lot of dentists are located downtown but Permasmile is a one-stop shop. What makes them different is the fact that they are able to diagnose patients, put forth digitized x-rays, create a comprehensive treatment plan and execute it. Most practices do not have access to a licensed sedationist in their office and are required to bring someone in on surgery days or send patients to other locations. Dr. Beehler’s clinic is unique in its ability to perform sedation practices as needed – whether root canals, fillings, grafting or cosmetic cases. It is a major convenience because you can get all your dental care met in one location.

Top_Thomas MulcairThomas Mulcair
Shaking Things up on the Hill

In 2011, Tom Mulcair played a pivotal role in helping the New Democratic Party make history as Canada’s Official Opposition for the first time. Since being elected Leader of the Opposition in 2012, Mulcair has advocated for a west to east pipeline to carry Canadian oil from point of origin to refineries on the East Coast. This would keep jobs here as opposed to a project like the Keystone XL Pipeline running through the United States. Mulcair has also shown support for a more open approach to free-trade policies. And, in the wake of the Senate spending scandals, Mulcair continues to promote the NDP’s long-standing position on Senate abolition. Mulcair also supports measures to lower the youth unemployment rate and legislation for a more bilingual Supreme Court. In fact, the NDP made history this spring by having the House of Commons adopt a law making it compulsory to be bilingual for 10 agents of Parliament, including the Auditor General.

Top_Phil FontaineLarry Phillip Fontaine
A Towering Figure in the Aboriginal Community

Larry Phillip Fontaine is recognized for outstanding accomplishments and leadership on issues of Aboriginal societies in Canada and internationally and for setting a model for generations to come. Fontaine is the former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and was the longest serving National Chief in AFN history, elected for an unprecedented three terms. He is a citizen of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba. As AFN National Chief, Fontaine was instrumental in the successful resolution and settlement of the 150-year Indian residential school tragedy, which led to a historic apology by the Canadian government. He also signed the Declaration of Kinship and Cooperation of the Indigenous and First Nations of North America and was the first indigenous leader to address the Organization of American States. Currently, Fontaine acts as a senior advisor to Norton Rose Canada LLP, counsel to Chieftain Metals, counsel to Avalon Rare Metals, and is special advisor to the Royal Bank of Canada and Trans Canada Pipelines. He holds 14 honorary doctorate degrees from Canadian and U.S. universities. In 1996, he was honoured with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award and is a Member of the Order of Manitoba. He has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal and, most recently, was appointed to the Order of Canada.

Top_Meg BeckelMeg Beckel
Museum President is a Big Hit in the Capital

Meg was appointed President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN) in 2011. Since joining the museum she has initiated a series of changes and improvements in order to enhance the public’s museum experience and ensure its position as a national museum of international rank. She has also reached out to the local Ottawa community with special events that are proving to be immensely popular while simultaneously winning big-time merit points for the CMN in community affairs. Beckel’s impressive career has spanned the arts, academia, finance and the public sector. She began her working life at the Bank of Nova Scotia before moving to the National Ballet of Canada, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the University of Calgary. In 1998, she joined the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) as President and Executive Director of the Royal Ontario Museum Foundation and was appointed the museum’s first Chief Operating Officer the following year. In this latter role she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the museum including management of the Renaissance ROM, a $250 million capital project. Beckel also serves as a member of the Board of TerraTundra Foundation, the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada and the Advisory Board of Ottawa River Keeper. Beckel always takes time to credit her team of passionate and committed employees who are dedicated to the museum’s vision to inspire understanding and respect for nature.

Top_Kellie LeitchKellie Leitch
Cabinet Minister and Volunteer Physician

In her spare time, the Hon. Kellie Leitch, Conservative MP for Simcoe-Grey, and Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women (since July), is a volunteer physician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Dr. Leitch is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and an associate professor of surgery. Her work at CHEO and as an MP helps her keep in contact with child and youth issues, she says. Dr. Leitch was first elected in the 2011 general election. She has served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour, as well as on several federal committees. Dr. Leitch holds a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Dalhousie University. In 2005, Dr. Leitch was selected for Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 list for her work in medicine and business. In 2010, she received the Order of Ontario for her children’s advocacy work.

Top_Claudia PuenteClaudia Salguero
Artistic Sensation brings her Unique Flair to Ottawa

Whether it’s digital art, photography, music or teaching, Claudia Salguero is sure to impress anyone with her extensive portfolio of work. Through her artistic endeavours, Salguero has worked hard to immortalize Latin American culture in Ottawa using her own distinctive artistic flair. Her most well-recognized work involves blending digital art, photography and design to create unique yet stunning images. She’s been recognized as a “Corel Painter Master” for her distinctive artistic style, joining an elite group of 35 artists from around the world. Salguero also won 1st place at the Black and White Spider Awards in London, England in 2006 for her unique photography. Her art has been exhibited in Ottawa, New York and Montreal. But Salguero is not just concerned with displaying her work – she runs special educational workshops in Ottawa and Latin America to teach others how to create stunning art using digital techniques. Her generosity also manifests itself through her philanthropic work. As a successful singer, Salguero performs regularly at various Ottawa venues, singing Latin American Jazz with her back-up band, often donating a part of her concerts’ proceeds to Fundacion Ayuda a la infancia en Colombia, a children’s organization. Talented, generous and savvy, Salguero has left an unforgettable mark on our community.

Top_Diane_HolmesDiane Holmes
Veteran City Councillor, Ward 14 Somerset

Since being elected Ottawa City Councillor for Wellington Ward in December 1982, Diane Holmes has maintained a strong interest in planning, transportation, the environment, culture, health services and women’s issues. In 1994, she became the first directly-elected Regional Councillor for Somerset Ward, and was acclaimed to another term three years later. In 2003, 2006 and again in 2010, Holmes was elected as City Councillor for Somerset Ward, where she now serves a diverse community of all ages, incomes and origins. Holmes’ priorities are to push for better public transit services, environmentally-responsible transportation and control of costly urban sprawl; insist on new development that respects Centretown’s cultural, natural and architectural heritage; increase Ottawa’s tree planting, roadside greening budget, and protection of natural spaces; promote a well-designed downtown for residents, workers and visitors, with attractive shopping areas on Bank, Elgin, Preston, Sparks and Somerset Streets; and provide strong support for arts and cultural activities. Holmes is a past-President of the Centretown Citizens Community Association and Heritage Ottawa.

Top_MANJEET SETHI_Paul CouvretteManjeet Sethi
Keeping our Food Safe

Dr. Manjeet Sethi is the Executive Director of the Pest Management Centre (PMC) at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Thanks to the work of Dr. Sethi and his team the food that Canadians eat is safer. The PMC helps growers/farmers get access to safe and effective crop protection tools. This translates to safer and high-quality fruits and vegetables with the assurance that chemicals used are evaluated and registered by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency. But the program does more. It allows Canada to compete more successfully in the export of our fruits and vegetables, which are judged to be superior food products. For example, Canada’s blueberries are exported to Germany and Japan. Our cherries will soon be exported to China. The work of Dr. Sethi and his team helps ensure safe food, competitiveness, and sustainable agriculture.

Top_Dugald Seely_Paul CouvretteDr. Dugald Seely
Founder & Executive Director, Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre

Dr. Dugald Seely leads the clinical practice and cancer research program for the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre (OICC). In addition to his clinical role as a naturopathic doctor, he also serves as the director of research & clinical epidemiology at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, as affiliate investigator for the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and as board member for the Society for Integrative Oncology. As founder of the OICC, Dr. Seely is pioneering a contemporary cancer treatment model based on scientifically grounded, evidence-informed complementary medicine. With the establishment of the first integrative cancer care and research centre in Eastern Canada, Dr. Seely and his team are providing whole-person integrative care to people living with cancer and addressing research gaps in whole systems of cancer care. Dr. Seely completed his M.Sc. in cancer research at the University of Toronto and is a Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology. As a clinician scientist, Dr. Seely has been awarded competitive grant and trainee funding from many foundations. He is the principal investigator for a number of clinical trials and syntheses projects with the goal of building on the growing body of evidence that supports integrative oncology. Dr. Seely strongly believes in the ability of evidence-based medicine to effect positive change in the health care system. As an educator, researcher, clinician and frequent speaker at conferences around the world, Dr. Seely is seeking to shift the debate towards a more whole-person cancer care model that is espoused by integrative oncology.

Top_AlfredssonDaniel Alfredsson
Detroit Is Now His Home, but Ottawa Remains Close to His Heart

The Sens Army may have lost their leader to the Detroit Red Wings, but Daniel Alfredsson says he remains committed to Ottawa and will continue to focus on mental-health awareness here. Alfie’s departure has left mixed feelings for the Sens’ most faithful. An integral part of Ottawa on and off the ice, Alfredsson is known for his dominance as a Senators’ right wing and for his dominant presence in the community. Alfredsson’s leadership role is shown through his continued involvement with The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health. Alfredsson is the face of the You Know Who I Am campaign, one meant to encourage open dialogue and eliminate the stigma about mental health. He has worked to use sport as a means of empowering children and youth in underprivileged communities with Right to Play. In 2012, his immense community work was recognized as Alfie won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, given to a player in the NHL who best exemplifies a significant involvement and humanitarian accomplishment in their local community. Again, Alfredsson was recognized this year, winning the Marc Messier Leadership Award. Alfredsson’s contribution to Ottawa has been recognized: he was named Citizen of the Year in March by the People’s Choice Business Awards and was awarded a United Way Community Builder Award in 2010. Though it is incredibly unfortunate that, as Alfredsson neared the end of his professional hockey career, the Ottawa Senators were unable to keep their longest-serving captain, he says Ottawa will always remain home in his heart.

 Top_ErikaWarkErica Wark
Blogger and Style Maven

If there’s one person in Ottawa who truly lives fashion, it’s Erica Wark. She spent two years as St. Laurent Centre’s resident stylist, while appearing in regular segments on CTV Morning Live, CHCH and Rogers Daytime. However, Wark hasn’t just made a splash here in Ottawa. Her styling savvy has now catapulted her into the larger Canadian spotlight. Featured in two seasons of CBC’s Steven and Chris as their Fashion Resident Expert, Wark offered advice on the latest trends to Canadians throughout the country. She’s also made her rounds on other television programs, appearing on Breakfast Television Toronto and Entertainment Tonight Canada’s Fashion Panel, critiquing everything from red carpet fashion at the Oscars and the Grammy’s to co-ordinating her own fall fashion advice panel on behalf of Holt Renfrew. However, fashion is not her sole pursuit. Wark still takes time out of her busy schedule to contribute to the community. As a member of the leadership committee for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation’s Bust-A-Move event, Wark has raised over $12,000 for breast health in the past two years. With a big heart, a busy schedule and the perfect eye for fashion, Wark is making it work.

OLM’S Top 25 People in the Capital 2012

October 15, 2012 4:11 pm

Ottawa Life Magazine’s 2012 listing of who we think are the movers and shakers in the nation’s capital. These people make Ottawa a great city to live in. Dr. Jeff Sherman, Deborah Wyatt and Jennifer Wyatt of TIPES (Thinking in Pictures Education Services) are truly heroic for the work they are doing with children who struggle with Autism. Comedy legend Mike MacDonald is in the fight of his life and has returned to his hometown of Ottawa. Veteran anchorman and political and foreign correspondent Tom Clark was an easy pick for this year’s list. At a time when most political talk shows have become like afternoon soaps that are painfully farcical, with anchors talking gossip to the point where your brain starts to melt, Clark is a refreshing change. He asks the tough questions, but remains respectful and professional with guests. Others on our list of luminaries for this year include Carleton University President Roseann O’Reilly Runte, renowned Chef Jonathan Korecki, CFRA reporter Stephanie Kinsella, and internationally recognized Internet and E-commerce law maven Dr. Michael Geist. It is getting more difficult each year to select only 25, with so many talented people accomplishing so many great things but here are our picks.

by jessica huddleson, simon vodrey, harvey chartrand, dalal saikali, stephanie vizi, damira davletyarova

1. TIPES Team, Creating Futures, One Child at a Time

Working in therapy or social work, it’s not uncommon to be warned about the perils of bringing your work home after hours of hearing personal stories and struggles. Those in the field are commonly advised to try not to take matters to heart.

Tell that to 28-year-old twin sisters Jennifer and Deborah Wyatt – senior therapists, co-founders and directors of Thinking in Pictures Education Services (TIPES), a comprehensive program for children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) like Autism. Leaving work at the office just is not an option. Overseeing their growing Kanata school, things have to get done. When the Wyatt sisters set out in 2007 to provide options for parents toiling to acquire adequate treatment for their children outside of regional service providers, the two were aware it wouldn’t be an easy feat. But it would be worth every bit of effort.

“When you run a business like ours, you’re never really done,” says Deborah Wyatt. “If I can help a parent avoid financial trouble and try to thoroughly treat their child, I’m more worried about that than having two hours to watch television each night.”

Five years later, the challenges of running an independent multi-faceted service for children on the PDD spectrum haven’t ceased by any means – nor have the numbers of children in need – but the Wyatt sisters and their staff are powering full-force ahead to accommodate the hundreds of families who have sought their help. You name it, they have done it.

“The thing is, Jen and I can run into 900 different things each day – whether it’s administrative, fundraising, a clogged toilet, a child who’s had a bad day or a child who’s done really well,” says Deborah. “All of that inevitably happens, but when you’re working with a child you have to stop everything else and just be patient.”

At TIPES, a one-stop-shop non-profit organization for children with PDDs in the Ottawa area, the service caters to specific behavioural programs for each child who walks through their doors. In order to develop individual programs, the therapists use the revised Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS-R) system – which evaluates different behavioural categories across a broad set of skills that children should acquire at a young age. In a group setting, the therapists use Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapy through a team approach (educational consultants and therapists combined) and commonly find that many children on the severe end of the spectrum need Intensive Behaviour Intervention (IBI) – a thorough one-on-one analysis and rehabilitation effort that entails perseverance and a diligent investment in each child’s case.

As dictated by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, when a child is diagnosed as part of the PDD spectrum, the family is given the choice of the Direct Service Option (DSO), which denotes government-funded treatment from the regional service provider or the Direct Funding Option (DFO), a small subsidy given to the family to seek out the help of an independent service provider. Unfortunately, before being able to choose either option, families are placed on a waiting list that stretches anywhere from one to three years at most Ontario regional service providers.

For the families sitting in the DFO waiting line, in order to seek immediate therapy for their child during the young years when PDDs are most successfully treated, parents are forced to pay out of pocket for the independent service provider’s treatments. When the child reaches the head of the DFO waiting line and is re-assessed, they may no longer qualify for funding based on the progress they’ve made while working with the independent service provider. If they still qualify, the DFO option provides about $39 an hour to parents, but for treatment – which most effectively is delivered at about 40 hours a week for children on the severe end of the Autism spectrum – the allotted DFO support simply isn’t enough to foot the bill.

“Our primary goal since the day we started TIPES has been to provide more to parents, because we know how expensive treatment is,” says Jennifer, reminiscing about her and Deborah’s early days working at CHEO’s parents resource centre and meeting families who had to re-mortgage houses, sell vehicles or move altogether. “To know that you’re waiting in line to help your child has to be the most tormenting feeling in the world.”

With staff ranging from speech pathologists to social integration experts and psychologists, TIPES attempts to cover all bases under one roof for each child, as anyone who works with children on the spectrum knows – each child’s protocol is entirely different.

“We are simply trying to keep up with the number of children who are being diagnosed with some type of exceptionality,” says Jennifer on the topic of the “supply and demand” challenges that their small organization of 20 staff members faces. “We never want to sacrifice the quality of our services for quantity of staff; we take our training very seriously by having our own curriculum, in-house guides, extra assignments for staff and more.”

When the Wyatt sisters aren’t providing therapy at their TIPES location, they can be found filling out funding applications, handling their web site, marketing and pursuing community fundraising initiatives on their own or in partnership with Minto, their corporate sponsor.

Since 2011, the Wyatt sisters have also been occupied as founders and principals of their newest entrepreneurial endeavour called Edelweiss – a private academy for children on the spectrum who are integrating into the education system. With small classes of only six or seven children, the kids are able to receive social integration support without the distractions of a public school setting – while following the curriculum suggested by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Edelweiss’ numbers have doubled since it was founded.

“We were finding that some children would be fine academically, but needed recess support and help with integration as they got older,” says Deborah. “At Edelweiss, we can teach the same things and work towards the same education system goals, but pay more attention to the children with exceptionalities.”

It’s no surprise that the late-twenties entrepreneurs and therapists laugh at the prospect of free time.

To the sisters, grueling schedules amount to gratifying results. When Mohan Aravanudhan enrolled his four-year-old son in TIPES, the child’s non-communicativeness had been insufficiently diagnosed by a regional service provider and he had nearly “faded away” as part of a private school that was seemingly unwilling to assist with his exceptionalities in the classroom. After two years with TIPES, Mohan’s son is communicative, happy and “blooming more day-by-day,” according to his father.

Jeff Sherman, a 30-year veteran clinical psychologist who helped develop one of the first multi-faceted treatment programs for children with Autism and other PDDs, clicked with the Wyatt sisters after crossing paths with them in 2008 and has been providing services at TIPES ever since. He has seen and been a part of the battles fought to provide proper opportunities for families within this “relatively new” field – investigating treatment options and methodology since the ABA system’s early development while he began his career in late-1960s Toronto, and his first implementation of the IBI program in the 1970s.

“In the early days of ABA, we realized it wasn’t just for us to teach these kids –we had to teach their parents as well,” says Sherman. “Not only did we find that the children needed to be worked with in small groups, but we found that the therapy would last longer if the parents were prepared as well.”

One of the areas Jennifer Wyatt recognized to be crucial during her early years of study was exactly this – attention to the parents; the people who are putting so much at stake to help their child(ren). While both sisters went through the United States education system to receive proper education in ABA, Jennifer ended up changing her Masters focus to psychology as well as counseling – preparing herself to support parents who are not only grieving their child’s diagnoses, but also the trying times that accompany them.

“You always have to worry about the family as a whole and demonstrate sympathy for what they’re going through,” says Jennifer. “I take time with them to ask how they’re doing; if the parents aren’t in the right frame of mind, they aren’t able to do their part at home, which is equally important.”

Although the staff at TIPES always have new work cut out for them as the numbers in Autism rise (currently, one in 88 children are diagnosed as autistic) – it’s clear when speaking with the Wyatt sisters that they are more sure of their mission than ever. According to Dr. Sherman, whose four decades as a therapist have granted him a wealth of perspective on the profession – more than the ability to deal with the financial and systemic hardships, “success” in this field boils down to a certain spirit and compassion.

“It’s not about just having the resources but knowing what to do with the resources,” says Dr. Sherman. “It’s about the things you can’t teach; it’s about seeing the glass as half full, working with people who have a love of children, who have empathy and who try to change what they can.”

With sentiments like this, it’s unmistakable that the Wyatt sisters are in the right line of work.

2. Georgiy Mamedov, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Ottawa Is Respected and Known for his Candor

Georgiy Mamedov has been Russia’s Ambassador to Canada for almost a decade. During his tenure, he deftly managed Canada-Russia bilateral relations to the point that the two countries, once adversaries, are considered good friends. Among the diplomatic corps, Mamedov is an especially popular ambassador who is known as a listener and someone who gets things done. In recent months, he has defended Russia’s political position on Syria, which is contrary to the Western position, but he has done so without making excuses for or defending the Syrian government. It is this type of leadership in explaining the Russian headspace that has led to Canadian civil servants and politicians singing his praises. Foreign Affairs officials in Ottawa say that because Mamedov is so candid about Russian positions that even when they disagree with him or the Russian government, they respect his transparency and at least know where they stand. An academic by training with a Ph.D. in history, Mamedov speaks fluent English and Swedish. He is recognized as one of Russia’s foremost authorities on the United States and Canada. In the early 1990s, he served as Russia’s chief interlocutor with the United States on such subjects as NATO, arms control and Kosovo.

Earlier in his career, he served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR. In 1991, Mamedov became Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of the relationship with the countries of the Americas, and he occupied this position until 2003. Mamedov is recognized as the key Russian official who helped persuade Washington to proceed with NATO expansion slowly, and was one of the key officials who reassured the Americans when President Boris Yeltsin sent tanks to besiege the Russian parliament during the 1993 constitutional crisis. Mamedov helped broker a deal under which Ukraine gave up all the nuclear weapons it had inherited after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Mamedov arrived in Canada prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and made immediate headlines when he declared in interviews that the United States was making a “tragic error.” “If Washington decides to ignore the UN Security Council, to violate the UN Charter and invade Iraq, this will be a tragic error from the side of the U.S.A. Russia categorically rejects any ultimatums regarding Iraq. In Russia we consider that Iraq constitutes neither a threat to the U.S.A, nor to the international community, nor to its neighbors. Russia will not participate in a campaign of pressure or threats, directed at changing the regime in Iraq.” When asked what Russia would do if there were a U.S. military operation, Mamedov replied: “We will not gloat over a tragic mistake by the United States.” With the benefit of hindsight nine years later, Mamedov’s comments seem prophetic. Mamedov noted that when he arrived, the big “local” issue was the problem with Russian diplomatic plates and parking tickets and bad driving behaviour. Since his arrival, the Russian Embassy has the best record of no traffic violations in the diplomatic corps. Mamedov was insistent that local police and road rules be respected. It is this kind of leadership that has been the hallmark of his service here, whether it is speaking up about the need for Canada and Russia to develop joint Arctic relations, the work to bring Canadian business to Russia or his many meetings with Canadian officials and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to build stronger ties between the two countries. When asked about the girl band Pussy Riot, he said that the two-year sentence the girls received was the same type of sentence that would have been given out by Sweden or Germany or France for similar offences. “We are a young country and we have worked hard to respect religious tolerance and freedom. What they did upset many Christians and Orthodox people. This is not about Vladimir Putin or government. It is about religious respect and not defiling a church.” When asked about the case of the Canadian naval officer from Halifax who was arrested in 2011 for passing military secrets to the Russians, Mamedov said “We are innocent. This is not true. Canada is not and never is an enemy of Russia. We are friends. In the future, these truths will come out but we are innocent. The world is complicated and there are many challenges but I feel I am dealing with good people in Canada. You know, we are only 20 years old as a new country that grew out of a totalitarian regime. We are prepared to learn. We accept that we don’t have all the answers. I have travelled all over the world and seen many things and had a very wonderful career. But I find in Canada an openness in the attitude of the people. I don’t feel like a foreigner here. I don’t get lectured here. Canadians listen and they are respectful and we try to talk things through.”

3. Dr. Judy van Stralen, Finding New Ways to Help Hyperactive Children

Dr. Judy van Stralen, the Ottawa pediatrician who runs an innovative and groundbreaking consultancy-based practice in the southwest end of Ottawa, says, “ADHD greatly affects a person’s day-to-day life and has a substantial impact on their day-to-day functioning.” About 1.2 million Canadians, or roughly 5 per cent of the Canadian population, have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Heredity is one of the strongest determinants of whether or not someone will have ADHD. For instance, upwards of 60 per cent of those who have ADHD will pass the neurological condition on to their children. As a result of the strong role that heredity plays in determining the presence of ADHD, it should probably come as no surprise that ADHD remains the most common neurological condition among Canadian children, manifesting itself through a number of symptoms which include hyperactivity, inattention, constant distraction, increased frustration and, sometimes, higher-than-normal levels of aggression. Like many neurological conditions and mental health disorders, the symptoms and effects of ADHD fluctuate as one ages. If a child has ADHD that remains untreated, a combination of the symptoms mentioned above have been known, by adulthood, to prevent many ADHD sufferers from living a structured and full life. Inattentiveness and the inability to regulate emotions may mean that a disproportionate number of ADHD adults will face divorce, marginal employment or unemployment, legal challenges or higher rates of incarceration. There may be a greater likelihood of contracting sexually transmitted diseases or falling prey to substance abuse due to a propensity for risk and erratic behaviour. Dr. van Stralen specializes in treating children with ADHD. Unlike many pediatricians, she sees a problem with the status quo method of treatment for this neurological condition. Dr. van Stralen sums up the difficulty with the traditional long-held method of treatment by stating that “when it comes to pediatric, behavioural and mental health work, the status quo is quite heavy on diagnostics. And therefore, treatment becomes very focused on medication. However, medication is only a part of the picture when it comes to working with behavioural problems.” Furthermore, she explains that: “Diagnosis is only a tool to identify the problem; as a pediatrician, you need to be able to get beyond mere diagnosis. There is much more that needs to be learned about a child and his or her case in order to be able to better treat their ADHD.” In other words, Dr. van Stralen takes issue with the traditional approach to treating children with ADHD which is overly diagnostically-driven and which often relies solely on medication. She also thinks that the traditional model is ineffective because the patient is often referred to a series of specialists for a single visit, therefore resulting in a very superficial form of treatment lacking any real interaction between the patient, his or her parents and the medical practitioner. Or, as she puts it, each referred practitioner “works in a silo with little understanding and integration for a comprehensive approach.” What this means is that, in her eyes: “The current system of treating ADHD and related behavioural disorders really works in a fragmented way.” After treating ADHD children for more than a decade, Dr. van Stralen is confident that she has developed the tools and expertise necessary to reshape her existing pediatric practice in a manner which counters the current fragmented system and offers a more comprehensive, hands-on and patient-focused approach. Beginning this fall, she will revitalize her practice by establishing a more holistic approach for treating children with ADHD. Dr. van Stralen will develop a personalized three-month program in which she will work one-on-one with the child and the parents, relying on numerous medical appointments and sessions to provide strategies on topics such as parent-centered behavioural approaches, medication information and education about ADHD, coping with emotional irregularities and social skills training. And, for the duration of the child’s treatment, she will be constantly accessible to the parents or patient for feedback and support. Her new and interactive approach to treating ADHD in children will culminate in the production of a detailed case-specific report that will “highlight recommendations that could be used by the parent for further advocating for their child” and for treating the neurological condition. When characterizing how her approach would work, Dr. van Stralen indicates that: “It is a very interactive approach with the goals of the patient and their family always kept in mind and driving the treatment.” She expands upon this by insisting that “When doing this kind of work, you need to have a flexible approach to meet the family’s and the patient’s goals.”

Dr. van Stralen is also deeply committed to “destigmatizing ADHD and other neurological conditions and behavioural disorders.” She notes that: “It is unfortunate that, in this day and age, ADHD and other mental health conditions continue to carry a stigma.” She works hard to vanquish that stigma through a number of avenues including her research, writing and the Ottawa ADHD Symposium which she founded six years ago in an effort to jumpstart the medical profession’s research and treatment of ADHD. Dr. van Stralen also continues to provide annual public forums to “further educate the public about this mental health issue.” These noteworthy achievements notwithstanding, Dr. Judy van Stralen sums up her proudest achievement as being “the instances when my work has allowed me to put a smile on the face of a child who was unhappy or when I have found out that a patient received her first invitation to a schoolmate’s birthday party, therefore signaling that my patient was no longer being ostracized by her peers because she has ADHD.”

4. Chef Jonathan Korecki, Putting Ottawa on the Food Map

Look into Chef Jonathan Korecki’s eyes while he speaks, you might be blinded by his sheer passion for the culinary arts. In hearing Chef Korecki describe the ambitions and standards to which he holds himself, it’s difficult, even for a foodie, to imagine the depths to which the simple act of feeding someone can be taken. Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen & Bar’s very own head Chef was a finalist on Season 2 of Top Chef Canada on The Food Network. His signature bright, hand-made bandanas and his impeccable flair to extract the very best out of every ingredient in his basket are inspiring. Chef Korecki’s favourite aspect of that experience, beyond the excitement, is the cooking family that he now has all over the country. Having been raised in a farming family, Chef Korecki learned all about our food sourcing from the word go. From the age of 16, he worked his way through the kitchen roster. He then learned his technique at the Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School and dove right into the fire pit, crafting his experience at Susur in Toronto. What comes next for this young talent? More exploration into the culinary world. “I just want to travel around Asia and taste everything I can.” Providing exposure to constant learning, he believes, is a responsibility he has as Head Chef, which is why he also intends to have more guest chefs cook with his team in the future. He sees Ottawa’s potential to be an obligatory stop on Canada’s food circuit and will do his part to make that happen.

5. Carleton University Excels under the Stewardship of Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte

Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte is the President and Vice-Chancellor of Carleton University. She previously served as President of l’Université Sainte-Anne in Pointe-de-l’Église, Nova Scotia; Principal of Glendon College in Toronto; President of Victoria University in the University of Toronto; and President of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Dr. Runte is the author of many scholarly works in the fields of French, comparative literature, economic and cultural development, higher education and the importance of research. As well, she is a creative writer and has received a poetry prize from the Académie française in Paris. Dr. Runte has been awarded the Order of Canada and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She took up her current duties at Carleton University on July 1, 2008. “Carleton has always enjoyed a great international reputation, but we’re probably boasting about it a little more now than before,” Dr. Runte says. “We have the only African Studies major in Canada. The Norman Patterson School of International Affairs is number two in the world in international schools. And we have big programs running out of universities in India and China.” Dr. Runte discussed the goals that were achieved in the 2009 DEFINING DREAMS strategic plan for the university. “We have a huge interdisciplinary range of activities on the campus – and we focused on four areas: the environment, health, digital media and globalization. We have many new programs. In fact, in the last four years, there were more new academic programs created than in the last dozen years. The university has gone from one that had a low retention rate to one that is above average in retention. In fact, we’ve gone up 39 per cent since 1994.” The spirit of innovation at Carleton has spurred entrepreneurship. In the last several years, over 200 businesses have been started in Ottawa with the involvement of Carleton University. “We are really entrepreneurial. We will set up businesses, but we are entrepreneurs with a heart. We want to do social entrepreneurship and social investment, not only providing donations for people who are homeless but actually helping them start businesses.” A noble ambition. ”With several new buildings just opened on campus, the university is prepared to serve its growing cohort of students with an innovative mix of courses offered by award-winning faculty from around the world.”

6. Walter Robinson, A Flair for Charitable Work

Walter Robinson is Vice-President of Government Affairs at Rx&D, the trade association which represents the Canadian innovative (non-generic) pharmaceutical industry. Robinson has been involved in politics and lobbying for over 20 years. From 1997 to 2003, Robinson was the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) — a leading lobby group which advocates lower taxes, fiscal responsibility and transparency in government. But it is Robinson’s extensive history of charitable work that distinguishes him from many of Ottawa’s other lobbyists and political insiders. Michael Allen, President and CEO of United Way Ottawa and the man who Walter Robinson considers his role model and mentor, notes that “Walter Robinson has been able to bring his flair and panache to Ottawa’s charitable landscape.” Robinson explains that, “I don’t believe in giving back. I just believe in giving.” To this end, he was the Chairman of the Board for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation (ORCF) from 2006 to 2008 and continues to serve as a board member of the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa Foundation, while also remaining active with the Ottawa Hospital Foundation. Of all Robinson’s accomplishments, there is one of which he is most proud: his work as Chairman of the Board for the ORCF, working with hundreds of others to build the Maplesoft Centre, Eastern Canada’s first survivorship centre for cancer treatment and support which opened its doors in November 2011.

7. Stacey Bafi-Yeboa, Designer, dancer, businesswoman

Bafi-Yeboa is the owner and designer of Kania, a women’s street-style clothing line. Kania is an Ashanti word which means light. Bafi-Yeboa said she chose this name because she wants all women to feel radiant in her clothes. You can find the designer at her boutique at 145 York Street in the ByWard Market. Kania clothes are made of a custom blend of cotton-lycra, which is custom dyed in vibrant, monochromatic hues. This comfy stretch-fabric is turned into stand-out pieces in stylish silhouettes, such as the ever-popular jumper, wrap sweater and maxi-dress. Bafi-Yeboa’s first love is dance, which she left in her twenties to pursue fashion, but she said it still dictates her designs. “I’m inspired by movement, being able to be free in my clothes…to make a line that women can always look good in.” Bafi-Yeboa stands out among Ottawa’s handful of budding designers, successful because she is business-savvy and professional. She struggles to be recognized for her work in Ottawa. “My dad would always tell me: ‘You’re never successful in your own city. You have to get out in order to be known.’” Bafi-Yeboa said she sometimes feels overshadowed by designers who come from outside Ottawa to show their work. “[People say] Oh yeah, Stacey’s good, but this guy is from Toronto! I was invited to show at Toronto Fashion Week and Montreal Fashion Week.” Bafi-Yeboa travels the craft-show circuit to sell Kania, at shows like the One of a Kind Show in Toronto. This is where she does most of her business. If you know the multi-talented thirty-something fashion designer, you know she likes to have a good time. Past runway shows at Ottawa Fashion Week have included Caribana-esque dancing models, headpieces and music. “When I do a production, I do a production…I want it to be Broadway-calibre, with style and performance quality. I cannot for the life of me just put girls in clothes and have them walk. It makes me crazy.” Bafi-Yeboa’s vivaciousness also shines at Flaunt, her biannual charity event. Bafi-Yeboa brings the fashion, fitness and beauty communities together to pamper guests in a club-like atmosphere. This year, Bafi-Yeboa has been working on rebranding Kania. She renovated her boutique, changed her promotional materials and, more importantly, added sequin dresses to her design repertoire. “It’s now time to not just make clothes, but to create a brand. That entails labels, tags, boxes, images, music and a lifestyle.” Bafi-Yeboa plans to show at Toronto Fashion Week, hinting at Fall/Winter 2013, and hopes to sell Kania internationally. She is a testament to the potential for Ottawa’s fashion industry, insisting you have to “work it to be successful.”

8. Gilbert Whiteduck, First Nations Firebrand

A quiet confidence emanates from Chief Gilbert Whiteduck’s eyes and the way he carries himself. His gentleness is almost startling in contrast to his tough, passionate discourse during difficult meetings. Whiteduck, Chief of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nations Reserve near Maniwaki (Quebec), sometimes appears uncomfortable with the process that is occasionally necessary to move forward in his work: expensive flights and endless meetings that seem devoid of purpose. Progress, however, is echoed in the voices of those around him: “He is the most cooperative and caring Chief that I’ve ever seen,” says one young student, “and I know that I can count on him after he’s moved on.” Perhaps without knowing it, Chief Whiteduck is a source of inspiration for many, in and out of the Aboriginal community. His successes provide hope for those who want to improve their lives and the lives of others. To remain grounded in the face of frustration, he digs deep into his convictions, secure in his identity. Belonging to a community that is independent and rooted in its beliefs gives one the confidence to live without ever feeling below anyone else. To today’s youth, he suggests finding balance. “Be strong and proud of who you are while embracing the tools of modern life.” With Chief Whiteduck, it comes down to values. Seldom do we see such a man with enough courage to take a sober look at himself and wonder: “What did I do for my community today? Whose life will be improved as a result of my work?”– a lesson that all community leaders would be best served by heeding.

9. Mike MacDonald, Ailing Comedian Raises Awareness of Importance of Testing for Hep C

For a 57-year-old Ottawa comic in need of a new liver, Mike MacDonald is in a good space these days. Comedians across Canada are holding fundraisers for Canada’s legendary King of Stand-up Comedy, raising money to help MacDonald pay his medical bills as he battles the Hepatitis C virus that he contracted in 2011 while living in Los Angeles and that is destroying his liver. MacDonald has returned to Ottawa and is staying at his mother’s house while he is undergoing treatment. The comedy community has come together to help him. A recent tribute at Montreal’s Just for Laughs Comedy Festival was held as well as a national fundraiser at Yuk Yuk’s comedy clubs across Canada. MacDonald is not yet on the waiting list for a liver transplant and so he is following a special diet and exercise program to get in better shape. “I’m feeling great right now,” MacDonald stated. “I feel way better than I did a year ago.
I’ve been doing these intensive therapy sessions. It’s brand-new technology. The main thing is I’m maintaining.” MacDonald is not sitting by the side lines. He is using his experience to raise awareness about Hep C and emphasizing the importance of getting tested. He has even done a TV spot for the Canadian Liver Foundation.

10. Tom Clark, Covering the West Block in a Seriously Non-Partisan Way

Host of Global Television’s The West Block with Tom Clark, is one of a handful of journalists able to broadcast a popular political news and public affairs program which captures viewers’ attention and positive ratings, holds public figures to account and sheds light on complex issues that affect Canadians, while remaining even-handed and non-partisan in its coverage. With a family history that is closely tied to the craft of journalism as well as nearly 40 years of experience covering some of the most significant stories that have shaped our world, Clark likens being a good journalist to being a keen observer of others and a creative storyteller. He states that, “as a journalist, you get incredible access to history as it is unfolding,” noting that “I have spent my professional life witnessing the achievements of others. I have been witness to some of the best and some of the worst of humanity.” Covering the fall of the Berlin Wall from inside East Berlin and the protests in Tiananmen Square, reporting from the desert of the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and covering every Canadian general election since 1974, Tom Clark has seen history in the making and has reported it back to Canadians. Yet he stresses that, as significant as these events and others may be, they would have no meaning without character. For, “in journalism, titles do not matter. It is character that matters.” It is what is required to bring a story to life. He maintains that, “I like covering character best. It exists in all walks of life and in all corners of the globe.” The key to being a good journalist, Clark notes, is curiosity. He argues that, “To be a journalist you have to be curious about everything. You can’t be a cynic but you have to be skeptical. There’s a huge difference between the two.”

Dr. Michael Geist, Probing the Legal Ramifications of the Electronic Frontier
A law professor at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Michael Geist is Canada’s foremost expert on Cyberlaw and holds the coveted Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. He is an internationally syndicated columnist on new technology legal issues with his regular column appearing in the Vancouver Sun, Toronto Star and Ottawa Citizen. He is also a frequent guest on the BBC. Dr. Geist is the editor of several monthly technology law publications, and the author of a popular blog on Internet and intellectual property law issues ( Dr. Geist serves on the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Expert Advisory Board, the Electronic Frontier Foundation Advisory Board, and on the Information Program Sub-Board of the Open Society Institute. He was also a board member of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, which manages the domain, for six years. Dr. Geist has received numerous awards for his work, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award and Canarie’s IWAY Public Leadership Award for his contribution to the development of the Internet in Canada. In 2010, he was listed globally as one of the top 50 influential people in regards to intellectual property by Managing Intellectual Property magazine.

Thomas Mulcair, The Rising Opposition Leader Who Is Eclipsing the Liberals
On March 24, Quebec lawyer Thomas Mulcair was elected Leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), thereby becoming the Leader of the Official Opposition in Canada’s 41st Parliament. Prior to his election to the House of Commons in 2007, Mulcair served as a Liberal member of the National Assembly of Quebec. In the spring of 2007, Mulcair announced he would make the transition to national politics and would do so with the NDP rather than the Liberals. As Leader of the Official Opposition, Mulcair has had to lead a federal official opposition party which consists of many political neophytes, while holding the government’s feet to the fire. It would be difficult to argue that Mulcair has not lived up to this task. For now, the NDP has done a decent job consolidating the anti-Conservative vote coast-to-coast. Mulcair argues that natural-resource exports are pushing up the value of the loonie and hurting manufacturing exports. This notion has a long-standing name, Dutch disease, a concept that explains the apparent relationship between the increase in exploitation of natural resources and a decline in the manufacturing sector. Mulcair’s Dutch disease explanation hurt the NDP’s fortunes badly out west and turned Alberta and Saskatchewan against him.

Stephanie Kinsella, Scoop du jour
In grade three, Stephanie Kinsella carried a cassette recorder, pen and a pad of paper to her school’s career day. Today, Kinsella, 31, has come full circle and is the City Hall reporter at CFRA News Talk Radio. She spends her days at City Hall, attending meetings, interviewing politicians and scouring her BlackBerry for the latest local breaking news. Kinsella works on multiple stories at a time and reports her observations every hour on the radio. “I’m pretty much of a fixture at City Hall,” she says. It’s a role she has happily filled for four years. Kinsella began her career at CFRA in 2008, the same year as Ottawa’s infamous transit strike. She said this story took over her life. She broke the news when the strike was finally over. This is the journalistic scoop she is proudest of. Kinsella said the life of a journalist is 24/7. Far from City Hall, Kinsella found herself sitting under a palm tree in Jamaica with a laptop, scrolling through Ottawa’s local news on a recent vacation. “I just want to know. I want to keep up-to-date so that when I come back and I’m covering it again, I don’t want to be behind the curve.”

Calinda Brown, Champion of Affordable Housing
Calinda Brown is president of the Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC), a private non-profit housing corporation and an innovative community leader. CCOC owns and operates over 50 properties in the City of Ottawa, providing 1,500+ units of affordable housing. “CCOC makes it possible for low-income earners, as well as people facing challenges such as health, abuse or addiction problems, to have their basic right to secure housing met. CCOC caters to a range of circumstances, providing affordable homes for singles, seniors, families and friends. “We’re more than a landlord. CCOC is a caring community of individuals – staff, volunteers and tenants – who participate actively in Centretown issues like Rescue Bronson and the Centretown Community Design Plan and speak up to promote good local transit, safe and accessible sidewalks, local food and affordable recreation.” Brown is a legislative assistant in the office of Jean Crowder, NDP MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan.

Chris Philips, Big Rig Brewery Owner and Senators Defenceman
As one of the longest-running players for the Ottawa Senators, 34-year old defenceman Chris Phillips definitely deserves a place in our annual Top 25 list. Born in Calgary and raised in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Phillips now lives in Ottawa with his wife, Erin, and their three children: Ben, Zoe and Naomi. He began his career in 1993 with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and, in 1997, after a few stints in the Western Hockey League, joined the Ottawa Senators. He recently celebrated his 1,000th game with the Sens. Phillips’ dedication to our city makes us proud. Let’s put it this way: if some of us are proud to call Daniel Alfredsson the mayor of Ottawa, Chris Phillips is our very own deputy mayor. A testament to his love for the city is his founding role in the creation of Big Rig, Iris Avenue’s Ottawa-themed brewery. The Phillips’ contribution to Ottawa doesn’t stop there. The family is involved with local charities such as the Snowsuit Fund Golf Classic, Hockey Fights Cancer and the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation.

Hélène Campbell, Medical Marvel
Canadian heartstrings got a monumental tug last January when a young Ottawa woman’s message went viral worldwide, thanks to Justin Bieber and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Hélène Campbell, age 20 at the time, badly needed a lung transplant. In Ontario, where 1,500 people await an organ transplant, one person dies every three days as time runs out. The fact that only 21 per cent of Ontarians were registered donors in January 2012 did not faze young Hélène. On January 16, she launched a plea for friends to tweet Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber to shed light on the issue. Bieber responded and the story exploded all over the media. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who surprised Campbell by Skyping with her on live television, has promised to have her on the show for a dance. Despite the pain, the potential outcome of her state and having the family separated while she waited for a transplant in Toronto, Hélène did not stand idly by. Her activism to raise awareness about organ donation, which will have no effect on her own situation whatsoever, resulted in a skyrocketing increase in organ donor registrations. This story is one of great courage, unwavering faith and indubitable personal strength. Visit

Imam Samy Metwally, Progressive Ottawa imam, urges Muslims to be good citizens
Samy Metwally, who is celebrating his first year as imam of the Ottawa Mosque, the city’s main house of worship and home to the largest Muslim community, said while many Muslims are making positive contributions to society, they need to do more. The city’s leading imam is urging Ottawa Muslims to appreciate the freedom of religion and worship they enjoy in Canada, and strive to be good citizens. Metwally also exhorts Muslims to become actively involved in the life of the larger Canadian society. “”I have a mission of building bridges, helping the Muslim community to know the moderate approach of Islam and coexist with the wider community like we have here in Canada,” he says. “I am totally against isolating ourselves from the communities in which we live, and I urge Muslims to participate actively in society.” Metwally has also unequivocally condemned so-called “honour killings”, saying the practice speaks to a perverse sense of honour that is alien to Islam, and has no place in any society. Metwally is an Egyptian Islamic scholar with a degree in Christian-Muslim relations. He graduated from Egypt’s renowned Al-Azhar University in 1998 and then worked as a religious translator.

His Excellency Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada since December 2009, is an ambassador who speaks to the Canadian government on behalf of the Holy See directly representing Pope Benedict XVI, the Bishop of Rome, and liaising with the Roman Catholic episcopate in this country. Born in Barbastro, Spain, in 1953 and ordained to the priesthood in 1980, Archbishop Quintana entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1984. In 1998, he was appointed to the position of the Assessor for General Affairs for the Secretariat of State of the Holy See and in January 2003 was ordained Bishop. Over the years, he has served in the Apostolic Nunciatures of the Philippines and Madagascar and as the Titular Archbishop of Acropolis as well as the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal. The multilingual and affable Archbishop Quintana has lived in numerous countries during his continuing tenure with the Holy See. He notes that: “Many parts of my heart have been left in different countries.” Archbishop Quintana’s father was a military man and his family moved frequently as he was growing up. He was able to learn how to adapt to his surroundings.

Khadija Haffajee, Driving Muslim Women’s Agenda
Khadija Haffajee is a retired teacher, an activist and a leader in Ottawa’s Muslim community. She left her home country of South Africa for Ottawa almost 40 years ago. Since then, she has become a figurehead for Canadian Muslim women at home and abroad. Haffajee is the first female elected to sit on the board of the Islamic Society of North America – the largest Muslim organization on the continent. Haffajee has given public presentations on religion, women’s issues, multiculturalism and children’s rights. She has lectured in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Jordan. Haffajee’s activism took her to Pakistan, where she worked with refugees. As a member of an international Muslim women’s NGO, Haffajee attended the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Haffajee deeply believes that in order to see a change in the world and to break limiting stereotypes, Muslim women must take matters into their own hands. And that is precisely what she did when she moved to Ottawa.

Stuart Kinmond Follows His Dream
After 25 years in the architectural business, Stuart Kinmond was successful but not fulfilled. Upon returning from the funeral of a friend who had died suddenly, Kinmond decided that he too could go just as quickly. The following Monday morning, at 50 years of age, he announced to his office that in the tug-of-war between his career and his heart, the heart won. He was going to fill his time with what felt right: “doing art”. Kinmond’s most recent show, Golden Gate Variations, held in San Francisco, is the result of his many visits to the Bay Area and his foray into the world of digital art. Although painting still nags at him, he plans to just follow his nose to whatever is next. Despite the difficulties that are usually present in any artist’s life, Kinmond firmly believes that he made the right choice all those years ago. When asked what advice he would give? Just find a way to do what you truly love.

Bob Monette, East End Councillor, Sees Beyond the Needs of his Ward
Bob Monette has served as city councillor in the Orléans ward since 2006. In 2008, Monette pushed to reduce the number of discarded needles and crack pipes in the downtown area, far from his ward. “If I’m downtown, or my children are downtown, I want them to feel as safe as possible.” Monette said needle drop-off boxes across the city have helped to solve the problem. Monette, 60, said he loves meeting with people and making things happen. If he gets an idea in his head, he doesn’t take “no” for an answer. After nine months in office, Monette was re-elected with a 70 per cent majority in a by-election. He decided during that term he would work to install an auxiliary police force. The police chief at the time, Vince Bevan, rejected the idea. Bevan retired in 2006, and Monette joined the Ottawa Police Services Board. The new chief, Vernon White, loved the idea and the auxiliary force is still going strong today. Monette plans to increase employment opportunities in Orléans. He said he would like to see his constituents find work in their own backyards. “Let’s make Orléans the destination of choice, not only for festivals and living, but for working.”

Jennifer MacKinnon, A Success Story You Can Believe in
There is no magic bullet solution to attain success but for one Ottawa woman, courage and positivity hold the answer. Meet Jennifer MacKinnon – mother, survivor of the big technology bust and successful entrepreneur. MacKinnon is a quintessential networker and in her journey has met many wonderful women in the city that others don’t hear about. So she launched oWow (Ottawa Women of Wonder), a column where she highlights the accomplishments of these women and, most importantly, gives other women attainable success stories they can believe in. And she balances her life brilliantly to boot. When asked how she does it, her answer is to be the architect of one’s own life. “If, for example, working part-time makes you happy, find a way to make it work!.”

Robyn Bresnahan, Ottawa Ga,l is Top of the Pops
Carleton Grad Robyn Bresnahan is the popular (and new) host of Ottawa’s number one morning radio program, Ottawa Morning. When she was in her final year at Carleton University’s School of Journalism in 2001, Robyn joined CBC Radio in Ottawa as a reporter and Ottawa Morning Associate Producer. After a year in London, England, she moved back to her hometown of Calgary to work on the CBC afternoon show The Homestretch. She regularly filed national news stories for CBC Radio One, and produced documentaries for The Current, Definitely Not the Opera and The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright. For the past six years, Robyn had been working for the BBC World Service in London as a host and Senior Broadcast Journalist. She began with World Today, and over the years has hosted every day-time show on the World Service, including the Sony Radio Academy Award-winning Newshour. Her work has taken her to the heart of some of the biggest stories in the world, which she reported for radio, television and online. In 2010, Robyn was nominated for a prestigious Peabody Award for the work she did in the aftermath of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Since taking the helm at Ottawa Morning, she has retained the show’s number one spot with her quirky and interesting interviews, fun personality and obvious passion for everything Ottawa

Jim Watson, Steady Wins the Race
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is having a good run. The city is being managed efficiently for a change. Budgets are in order. Bike lanes are on track. The Light Rail Transit project is underway. City infrastructure is being repaired after years of neglect. There is a general consensus that the city is running like a well-oiled machine. Watson makes being Mayor look easy, which it most certainly is not. Watson is thoughtful, respectful and always willing to listen. However, he has his own priorities which he is quietly and effectively implementing. On most issues Watson would be graded at B+ to A- rating. The surprising exception is his record as Mayor on disability issues which gets a failing mark. The barriers to persons with disabilities in the capital is a national and moral embarrassment. Watson should do something about this situation.

Peter Chase, Proud Manager of Hot Ottawa Brewpub
Fortunately for thirsty Ottawans who want more than average store-bought suds, Mill Street Brewpub opened its doors last winter in the historic space beneath the Portage Bridge. Eight months after opening, Helen Griffiths, Director of Operations for Fab Concepts, which operates Mill Street Breweries in Toronto, still appears excited by the project. The old Thompson-Perkins & Bronson Pulp Mill needed extensive work to match Fab Concepts’ already high standards, along with municipal and provincial regulations. The end result is a stylish yet casual space, which can only be described as stunning. The menu is varied, the beer is fresh and delicious. Eleven wedding receptions have already taken place in the beautiful Brewmasters Room. Peter Chase is the brewpub’s proud General Manager. His team, which varies roughly between 100 and 130 employees, describes him as efficient and dedicated. Chase intends to continue the Mill Street tradition of charity: the establishment donated $10,000 to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in July through its fundraising initiative during Bluesfest. Cheers to the philanthropic foodie’s dream!

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