Question markThe theme of our first issue of SHE magazine was "finding our voice", so we invited members of the Canadian Women’s Foundation community to tell us about an outspoken woman who inspired them.

Read their answers, then tell us about a trailblazing woman who inspired you!


Ann PeelAnn Peel – Teacher, Havergal College, Toronto ON

MARGARET McCAIN is  one powerful, outspoken, know- no-limits woman! She went to school with my dad, and later became lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick. She once told me a story about collecting canned goods for women who lived in rural New Brunswick in the late 1950s. Some of the women were so poor, they had literally never seen a can of food. This made her realize the depth of their poverty, and she started organizing services to support them. That story had a huge impact on me. The things most of us take for granted just aren’t there for a lot of women.

Jean BoampongJean Boampong – Community Animator, North York Community House, Toronto ON

MY MOTHER. From when I was young, she told me, “Speak your mind. Never be afraid to say what you’ve got to say, even if someone else doesn’t like it.” I saw her model this all the time. She would say, “If something  is not feeling right for you, you need to be able to speak your mind in order to understand it. Nobody else is going to say it for you.” She is still an example for me of someone who is not afraid to speak her mind.

Herv BezjakHerv Bezjak – Langley Club Coordinator, Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast BC, Langley BC

I think ELLEN DeGENERES is amazing. She was so brave to come out to the world in such a public way. I think she really inspired a lot of people to understand it’s okay to be who you are, and to not be afraid to open up and share it.


Susan DixonSusan Dixon – Girls Group Co- ordinator, Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Centre, Kamloops BC

MY MOTHER was the first female mayor in a small town. I listened to her and got courage from her, especially when it came to dealing with thorny issues. But I also admire ROSEMARY BROWN, one of the founders of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. I love her quote: “Until all of us have made it, none of us have made it.” Most of the girls we work with live in poverty, in single-parent families, and they are so vulnerable. Until they make it, too, we can’t say that our work is done.

Kate GolloglyKate Gollogly – Director Residential Markets Enmax Energy Corporation, Calgary AB

DR. MAYA ANGELOU. I keep a book of some of her famous quotes on my bedside table. She is one of those iconic women who has a quiet yet powerful voice that really resonates with me. She gives me the straight talk inspiration that I need. One of my favourite quotes from her is: “You may encounter defeats, but you  must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.”

This article was originally published in SHE magazine.

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