100 fantastic Canadian Christian women leaders

Woman leading cheerRachel Held-Evans recently posted a list of (mainly American) Christian women speakers in response to her dismay over the realization that women were mostly represented at conferences/events in a token way.

In seeing her list, I was challenged to create a list of 100 fantastic Canadian Christian women leaders in hopes of highlighting and cheering on female leadership in our world.  The names on this list aren’t necessarily connected to charities or ministry – some are accomplished women in professional life, and they represent various streams in Canadian Christianity: evangelical, mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, charismatic, and emergent.

I’m the first to declare this list is very limited.  It contains many charity leaders.  It is also heavily academic/theological with few professionals named.  It is Toronto-centric, which will irk the rest of Canada.  (You can add to this list in the comments section as there are other great names I’ve undoubtedly missed.)  In order to be neutral, I’ve also intentionally left out women who are related to me, but who are great speakers and leaders in their own right: Karen, Carol, Ruth, Alma and Judy.  I was inspired as a child by both my now-deceased grandmothers, Clara and Emily, who preached in their Nazarene churches and led their families despite many challenges.

In compiling this information, I had input and great additions from Lorna Dueck, Karen Hamilton, Steve Brown, Wendy Gritter, Aileen Van Ginkel, Gary Nelson, Heather Card, Sandy Reynolds, Kevin Makins and Rod Wilson.


  First Name Last Name Title Organization City Prov
1 Dr. Phyllis Airhart Professor Emmanuel College Toronto ON
2  Rev. Jenny Andison Priest St. Clement Anglican Church Toronto ON
3 Carolyn Arends Singer/Songwriter   Surrey BC
4 Joanne Beach Director of Justice and Compassion CM&A Toronto ON
5 Dr. Cheryl Bear Singer/Songwriter/Speaker   Nadleh Whut’en First Nation Burnaby BC
6 Julia Beazley Policy Analyst Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Ottawa ON
7 Rhonda Berkheim Lead Pastor Life Design Foursquare Church New Westminster BC
8 Moira Brown Host Crossroads Burlington ON
9 Shelley Campagnola Executive Director Kids Alive Canada Cambridge ON
10 Stacey Campbell CEO Prison Fellowship Canada Toronto ON
11 Heather Card COO Canadian Council of Christian Charities Elmira ON
12 Beverly Carrick Executive Director CAUSE Canada Camrose AB
13 Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese Founder Save the Mothers Hamilton ON
14 Dr. Miriam Charter Professor Ambrose University College Calgary AB
15 Dr. Janet Clark Academic Dean and VP Tyndale Seminary Toronto ON
16 Diane Craig CEO Corporate Class Toronto ON
17 Rev. Dr. Connie den Bok Pastor Alderwood United Church Toronto ON
18 Joan  DeVries Dean of Students Tyndale Seminary Toronto ON
19 Angie Draskovic CEO Yonge Street Mission Toronto ON
20 Lorna Dueck Executive Producer Context with Lorna Dueck Toronto ON
21 Ellen Duffield Director The Leadership Studio, Muskoka Woods Rosseau ON
22 Dr. Janet Epp Buckingham Director Laurentian Leadership Centre Ottawa ON
23 Melinda Estabrooks Host Crossroads Burlington ON
24 Leanne Ferris CEO Medical Ministry International Stoney Creek ON
25 Susan Findlay National Director Nation at Prayer Pickering ON
26 Lola French CEO Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services Red Deer AB
27 Leanne Friesen Pastor Mount Hamilton Baptist Church Hamilton ON
28 Leigh Gauthier Director Career Centre, Rotman School of Management Toronto ON
29 Sr. Tarcia Gerwing Spiritual Director Loyola House Guelph ON
30 Margaret Gibb Founder Women Together Brantford ON
31 Lynn Golding Partner Faskin Martineau Toronto ON
32 Dr. Dorcas Gordon Professor Knox College Toronto ON
33 Dr. Karyn  Gordon President dk Leadership Toronto ON
34 Peggy Grall President Peggy Grall & Associates Freelton ON
35 Deb Grey Former Parliamentarian House of Commons Qualicum Beach BC
36 Wendy Gritter Executive Director New Direction Ministries Toronto ON
37 Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton General Secretary Canadian Council of Churches Toronto ON
38 Dr. Maxine Hancock Professor Emerita Regent College Canning  NS
39 Karen  Hanna President TKB Hanna & Associates Toronto ON
40 Christa Hesselink Compassion Pastor The Meeting House Oakville ON
41 Sara Hildebrand Founder Millenium Kids Toronto ON
42 Rebecca Horwood Partner Richardson GMP Toronto ON
43 Dr. Melanie Humphreys President King’s University College Edmonton AB
44 Dr. Rebecca Idestrom Professor Tyndale University College Toronto ON
45 Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat Theologian and Farmer Trinity College Toronto ON
46 Leah Kostamo Co-Founder A Rocha Canada Vancouver BC
47 Dr. Marilyn Legge Professor Emmanuel College Toronto ON
48 Dr. Barbara Leung Lai Professor Tyndale Seminary Toronto ON
49 N.J. (Nancy) Lindquist Co-Founder The Word Guild Markham ON
50 Dr. Cynthia Long Westfall Professor of NT McMaster Divinity College Hamilton ON
51 Christine Macmillan Former Territorial Commander Salvation Army Canada Toronto ON
52 Ann Mainse Host Crossroads Burlington ON
53 Jill Malleck President Epiphany at Work Kitchener ON
54 Diane Marshall Director Institute for Family Living Toronto ON
55 Darlene McLean Executive Director Christian Embassy Ottawa ON
56 Mary Lynn McPherson Senior Consultant Strive! Guelph ON
57 Anne-Marie Mediwake Anchor CBC News Toronto Toronto ON
58 Dr. Lois Mitchell Professor St. Stephen’s University St. Stephen NB
59 Dr. Sue Moesteller Executive Director L’Arche Richmond Hill ON
60 Andrea Mrozek Executive Director Institute for Marriage and Family Canada Ottawa ON
61 Dr. Barbara Mutch Professor Carey Theological College Vancouver BC
62 Wendy Elaine Nelles Co-Founder The Word Guild Toronto ON
63 Dr. Carla Nelson Professor Tyndale University College Toronto ON
64 Dr. Judith Newman Professor Emmanuel College Toronto ON
65  Dr. Helen Noh Professor Tyndale University College Toronto ON
66 Janet Nolan CEO Christian Horizons Kitchener ON
67 Doris Olafsen Executive Vice-President Opportunity International Langley BC
68 Patricia Paddey Writer and Journalist   Mississauga ON
69 Jennifer Parr Founder Leadership That Matters Toronto ON
70 Wendy Passmore Spiritual Director   Barrie ON
71  Dr. Wendy Peterson Professor Providence College & Seminary Otterburne MB
72 Brenda Pue Co-Founder Arrow Leadership Ministries Abbotsford BC
73 Joyce Rees Associate Pastor The Bridge Church Abbotsford BC
74 Sandy Reynolds President Leadership on Purpose Burlington ON
75 Carolyn Riseboro Senior VP, Marketing World Vision Canada Mississauga ON
76 Dr. Anna Robbins Professor Acadia Divinity College Wolfville NS
77 Geri Rodman President Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship Toronto ON
78 Rev. Canon Judy Rois CEO Anglican Foundation Toronto ON
79 Ruth Ross Executive Director Christian Legal Fellowship London ON
80 Sandra Ryan Community Ministries Pastor People’s Church Toronto ON
81 Janis Ryder Executive Director, Human Resources Trinity Western University Langley BC
82 Rauni Salminen Executive Director Philip Aziz Centre Toronto ON
83 Dani Shaw Senior Manager, Employee Relations Royal Bank of Canada Mississauga ON
84 Dr. Susan Shultz Huxman President Conrad Grebel College Waterloo ON
85 Nicola Skinner Rector All Saints Anglican Church King City ON
86 Joy Smith Member of Parliament   Winnipeg MB
87 Lynn Smith Co-Founder Next Level Leadership Toronto ON
88 Andrea Soberg Dean, School of Business Trinity Western University Langley BC
89 Faye Sonier Legal Counsel Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Ottawa ON
90 Sally Start Ambassador Alpha Canada Vancouver BC
91 Eileen Stewart-Rhude Executive Director, Women’s Commission World Evangelical Alliance Richmond Hill ON
92 Karen Stiller Writer   Port Perry ON
93 Mardi Tindal Moderator United Church of Canada Toronto ON
94 Linda Tripp Director Fistula Foundation Orangeville ON
95 Aileen Van Ginkel VP, Ministry Service Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Richmond Hill ON
96 Dr. Deani Van Pelt Professor Redeemer University College Ancaster ON
97 Shaila Visser CEO Alpha Canada Vancouver BC
98 Alana Walker-Carpenter CEO Intriciti Toronto ON
99 Cheryl Weber Producer Crossroads Burlington ON
100 Karen Wilk Church Planter Forge Canada Edmonton AB



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102 Responses to “100 fantastic Canadian Christian women leaders”

  1. Jodi Kozan February 12, 2014 6:29 pm

    HI Mark! Great List- Lorna has spoken at a few of our events with Women’s Journey of Faith and I think she is a fabulous leader and role model for women in business, leadership and ministry alike:) I too have perused Canadian websites, ministries to seek out as an eagle eye women I too would like to highlight, promote who strengthen our vision and mandate as a ministry across Canada. It’s a short list, but we are beginning with 9 fabulous women- you can check our their bios on our recommended page http://www.wjof.com/speakers-ministry.php

    Blessings- (and no, it doesn’t irk the rest of Canada that your list is primarily Toronto bound:) By mere numbers alone, your population base should support and highlight incredible world changers like them! I am touched when men like you go out of their way to elevate, encourage and promote women as we carry influence in such unique ways!

    -Jodi Kozan Founder, President Women’s Journey of Faith Saskatoon, SK

    • Mark Petersen February 12, 2014 9:11 pm

      Thanks Jodi for your comments. I didn’t know about your Saskatoon cohort. Thanks for contributing.

    • Anna Spray February 13, 2014 12:24 am

      Hey Mark! I’d add Dr. Marion Taylor to the list. She teaches OT at Wycliffe College!

      • Mark Petersen February 13, 2014 5:51 am

        Great choice! There are so many amazing women at TST.

  2. Ruth Coghill February 12, 2014 6:40 pm

    Great tribute to dynamic Canadian women! This is definitely the beginning of a long list, many of whom are pioneers in paving the way for women in Christian leadership.Thanks Mark Petersen.

    • Mark Petersen February 12, 2014 9:56 pm

      Look at Wendy Nelles’ comment below, and start compiling 1000. :). Thanks Ruth for modelling great leadership. You’re one of my favourite leaders.

  3. Erin Glanville February 12, 2014 7:05 pm

    Dr. Holly Faith Nelson (Professor, TWU)

    • Mark Petersen February 12, 2014 9:54 pm

      Thanks for this addition, Erin.

  4. New Brunswicker February 12, 2014 9:01 pm

    This is a great list of people who live in Ontario.

    • Mark Petersen February 12, 2014 9:09 pm

      Feel free to add some maritimers!

  5. Mark Petersen February 12, 2014 9:19 pm

    Mea culpa. Meant to ensure we recognized Eryn-Faye Frans from Markham, ON – Canada’s Passion Coach. She was on my list but it disappeared. See http://erynfaye.com.

  6. Wendy Elaine Nelles February 12, 2014 9:27 pm

    Thank you so much for including me on this list of “100 Fantastic Canadian Christian Women Leaders”, Mark. This came as a total (and delightful) surprise! I was unaware of this list until another fine recipient, the journalist Patricia Paddey, notified me.

    I am happy to see the names of many Canadian women I know, in person or by reputation, and to be able to count a number of them as friends and colleagues. This is a great initiative, both due to the fact that women leaders need to be given more respect, recognition, and honour in Christian circles, and due to the fact that Canadian accomplishments are so often overshadowed by the much larger and louder American Christian machine.

    I think it would be marvelous if the momentum from this initial list generated more grassroots nominations so we could develop a list of “1,000 Fantastic Canadian Christian Women Leaders”, and then on to “5,000 Fantastic Canadian Christian Women Leaders,” so we can recognize the depth and breadth of women seeking to serve and honour the Lord in many spheres from coast to coast, including mainstream/ secular organizations.

    From my own area of writing and communications, I’ll suggest two more outstanding Canadian writers to be added to this list:

    Ann Voskamp of Listowel ON, writer, speaker, photographer, influential blogger, New York Times best-selling author of *One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are*, *The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas*, and the hugely popular blog *A Holy Experience*. http://www.aholyexperience.com

    Carolyn Weber of London ON, writer, speaker, academic, teacher, who holds a PhD in English Literature from Oxford University, author of the critically-acclaimed memoir *Surprised by Oxford*, *Holy Is The Day* and others. http://www.pressingsave.com

    Again, thank you for the honour of including my name in this inaugural list.
    Wendy Elaine Nelles
    writer, editor, writing mentor & instructor

    • Mark Petersen February 12, 2014 9:51 pm

      Ok, Wendy. Let’s work together on the first 1,000. We need more Maritimers, Quebecers, Prairies, and Northerners. :). Thanks for addition of two more stellar candidates.

  7. N. J. Lindquist February 12, 2014 10:25 pm

    Thanks very much for including me in this list. I happened to see it posted on Facebook by Lorna Dueck and gave it a quick glance. Was surprised and pleased to see my name included, along with the names of several other women I know quite well.

    Just one little thing, though. I’d really appreciate it if you could change my city to Markham, Ontario, where I’ve lived for the past 28 years. 🙂

    Also re location, I was born in Saskatchewan, raised in Manitoba, married someone from Saskatchewan and had three of my children in Regina, and we lived in Calgary for a year, so I consider myself a mixture of east and west.

    And if you’re looking for more names, there are many great Christian Canadian writers who are impacting others through their writing (and often speaking as well). If you haven’t seen our best-selling books, Hot Apple Cider and A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, you can meet 60 Canadian Christian writers, many of them women, in their pages.


  8. Jane February 12, 2014 10:51 pm

    I would recommend Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, blogger at http://www.sarahbessey.com.


    • Mark Petersen February 12, 2014 11:02 pm

      Thanks Jane for the addition.

    • loo February 15, 2014 5:10 pm

      Yes, I was surprised Sarah Bessey wasn’t on the list – she’d be under ‘author’

  9. N. J. Lindquist February 12, 2014 11:00 pm

    Thanks for the fast “city” change. That was quick.


  10. Sean Wood February 12, 2014 11:02 pm

    So encouraged by this creative initiative Mark. I stand and cheer for our women faith influencers. I’m a richer man to have known and worked alongside many of these Christian female leaders in Canada.

    • Mark Petersen February 12, 2014 11:04 pm

      Thanks Sean. Allies like you are so appreciated.

  11. Rosemary McDonald February 12, 2014 11:11 pm

    Definitely just the beginning of a very long list of mighty Canadian Christian women.I live in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and know many Atlantic women who can be included. Here are just a few: Elaine Young, Alpha Regional Coordinator, St.John’s NL
    Cindy Cousins, The Shepherds Farm, Pisquid, PE
    Elaine Passey, Heartbeat Ministries, Middle Sackville, NS
    Margaret Sharpe, Covenant Place Ministries, Chezzetcook, NS
    Also do not see two prominant Ontarians on the list: Carol Arnott, Catch the Fire, Etobicoke, ON and Faytene Kryskow-Grasseschi, TheCRY & MY Canada, Ottawa, ON

    • Mark Petersen February 12, 2014 11:26 pm

      Thanks Rosemary. That’s what I’m looking for. I don’t have many Maritime connections, so appreciate your additions.

  12. Carson Pue February 12, 2014 11:42 pm

    Such a great Mark thing to do! Thanks for raising the platform for women in our country. Also thanks for that great card with the tsunami illustration – so fitting for us. Brenda wrote about it in her journal.

    • Mark Petersen February 12, 2014 11:43 pm

      I read her post this morning Carson… Every morning I am with you in prayer.

  13. Jenny Andison February 13, 2014 6:27 am

    Thanks for this ! I would also nominate Bishop Linda Nichols – Anglican bishop of Trent-Durham in the Diocese of Toronto.

  14. Leila Springer February 13, 2014 6:44 am

    Thank you for this list. We have had a most difficult time finding Canadian Christian speakers. God bless you for putting this together and for highlighting the wonderful talent we have here in Canada. Here are many that still go to the USA first when looking for speakers, this list will help them recognize and promote our own women.

    Leila Springer

    • Mark Petersen February 13, 2014 8:22 am

      We have lots of home grown talent and gifts ready to be shared. Thanks.

  15. Michelle Arthur February 13, 2014 6:55 am

    Others for the list:
    – Eleanor Shepherd, Montreal
    – Mary Kassian, AB
    – Connie Cavanaugh, AB
    – Grace Fox, AB
    – Joanne Robertson and Monica Leis, ON
    – Ann-Margret Hovsepian, Montreal
    – Marlene O’Neill, Mississauga
    – Colleen and Grace (worship leaders/teachers), Oakville
    – Keturah Leonforde, ON
    – Heidi McLaughlin, Kelowna, BC
    – Shauna Simmonds, ON
    – Ellen Graf-Martin, ON
    – Sandra Reimer, ON
    – Donna Lowe, Kelowna, BC
    – Jodi Kazan, SK
    – Sarah (Bonikowsky) Chaudery, Toronto
    – Karmyn Bokma, Oakville
    – Lauren Carrion, Ottawa
    – Rachelle Mainse, ON
    – Donna Lamothe, Calgary
    – Liz Brandt, Calgary
    – Rachel Starr Thomson, ON
    – Carolyn Currey, ON
    – Sheila Wray Gregoire, ON
    – Sharon Ganesh, Toronto
    – Lori Hartshorn, ON
    – Rita Prins, Toronto
    – Gail Reid, ON
    – Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, Vancouver
    – Donna Carter, AB
    – Jessica Beck, Toronto
    – Bonnie Pioveson, ON
    – Bev Foster, ON
    – Charmaine Hinds, ON
    – Pauline Christian, Toronto
    – Lianna Klassen, Vancouver
    – Emily Wierenga, Ontario
    – Jane Hart, Brantford
    – Karen Stiller, ON
    – And more… 🙂

    • Mark Petersen February 13, 2014 8:20 am

      Thanks Michelle for these additional names. I hope we are taking note.

      • Emily Wierenga February 14, 2014 10:32 pm

        Honored to have been mentioned here. I’d also highly recommend Ann Voskamp (www.aholyexperience.com).

  16. Melissa February 13, 2014 7:33 am

    Great list Mark! I would like to add on another woman. Ruth Anaya is Assistant Professor of Cross-Cultural & Leadership Communication & Development Studies at Trinity Western University as well as Founder of Hands On Development Initiative. Langley, BC

  17. Connie denBok February 13, 2014 7:35 am

    Deeply honoured to appear on a list with any of these outstanding women, most of whom I have seen in action, most of whom transcend the traditional boundaries of denomination, discipline, and duties traditionally assigned to women. Proud to be a Canadian and a person of faith in their company.

    • Mark Petersen February 13, 2014 8:19 am

      I look forward to meeting you one day Connie. Have heard of your leadership for years.

  18. Lynn Smith February 13, 2014 8:12 am

    I am honoured and humbled to be included in such an amazing group of women – and totally blessed to have interacted with so many of them over the years. My life has been enriched immeasurably. Thanks for starting a wave. It won’t take long to reach Wendy’s 1000. I have many names to add – just need to double check titles, etc. first so the information is accurate.

    • Mark Petersen February 13, 2014 8:18 am

      Lynn, you are one of the pioneers in my life ever since I audited your first Women in Ministry course in 1990.

  19. Shelley Campagnola February 13, 2014 8:15 am

    Thank you Mark! I am honoured to be included in a group of leaders, many of whom I look up to!

    • Mark Petersen February 13, 2014 8:16 am

      Thanks for your good work Shelley.

  20. Andrea February 13, 2014 10:19 am

    This is a fantastic list; what a great idea! May I suggest Sara Pearson, Associate Professor Department of English & Assistant Dean Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at TWU. Her leadership has truly blessed me.

    • Mark Petersen February 13, 2014 3:07 pm

      Thanks Andrea for adding your thoughts.

  21. Leanne Ferris February 13, 2014 12:06 pm

    Wouldn’t it me amazing to get all 100 of these women together in the same room? I know a number of these ladies, but it would be such a blessing to be inspired by and learn from so many more. It’s an honour to be named amoung them!

    • Mark Petersen February 13, 2014 3:08 pm

      Celebrating you today! Thanks Leanne.

  22. Kimberley Payne February 13, 2014 12:15 pm

    Great list! It’s wonderful to acknowledge these wonderful women.

  23. Krysia Lear February 13, 2014 2:34 pm

    I recommend Barb Ferrier, chair of the Board of Trustees of Dunamis Fellowship Canada. Barb provides strong leadership, excellent teaching on prayer and the work and person of the Holy Spirit, a heartfelt mentorship and encouragement. DFC is a Canada-wide ministry rooted in the Reformed stream of the church.

    • Mark Petersen February 13, 2014 3:09 pm

      Thanks Krysia for this suggestion. It is great to run into you again.

  24. Geoff Tunnicliffe February 13, 2014 3:42 pm

    Great job Mark. Perhaps WEA should start a global list. 🙂

  25. Russ Skinner February 13, 2014 4:59 pm

    Mark, as suggested by you on FB, I’d add Sandra Nicholas, Site Support Pastor at the Meeting House.

    • Mark Petersen February 13, 2014 5:08 pm

      Thanks Russ for this great addition.

  26. Aaron February 13, 2014 5:26 pm

    Glendyne Gerrard, Dirextor of defenddignity.ca Fighting to see the end of prostitution in Canada and the beginning of serious care for those women who have been margenalized and suffered through it.

  27. Jude Hodgson February 13, 2014 7:04 pm

    Great list Mark, but you missed Donna Holbrook, National Executive Director of ICEJ Canada, she was the only female Christian leader invited on the PM’s delegation to Israel last month and a tireless servant leader!

  28. Barb February 13, 2014 8:19 pm

    I would love it if you would consider the 25+ women serving as Chaplains in the Canadian Armed Forces – trailblazers, faithful, passionate and courageous!

  29. Heather February 13, 2014 9:18 pm

    I would also add Lorie Hartshorn. http://www.loriehartshorn.com/
    A truly gifted speaker and leader!

  30. Vicki Forsyth February 13, 2014 9:50 pm

    Great list! I would add Gwen Landolt, Toronto lawyer, founder and present Vice President of REAL Women Canada.

  31. Sue H February 13, 2014 10:11 pm

    Another addition could be LCol. (Rev.) Barbara Putnam, Senior Chaplain RCAF, and Principal Protestant Chaplain to the Canadian Armed Forces

    • Sue H February 13, 2014 10:15 pm

      Barb is born and raised in New Brunswick but is now based in Ottawa area.

  32. Elizabeth Tan February 13, 2014 11:14 pm

    I would add Gwen Landolt, lawyer, founder of the Right to Life Association of Toronto and Area and founder of Real Women Canada. And if add Dorothy Pilarski, the driving force behind the annual Dynamic Women of Faith Conference.

  33. Gord February 13, 2014 11:25 pm

    I would suggest Wendy Lowe:
    She is director of Centre Street Church’s board in addition to running the Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre.

    Which provides:
    Free Pregnancy Tests
    Information on pregnancy, abortion procedures and risks, and abortion alternatives
    Peer counselling and advocacy
    Practical support services
    Accommodation search assistance
    Referrals to community services
    Adoption referrals (open and closed)
    Prenatal classes
    Parenting classes
    Life skills classes
    Adoption support (pre & post)
    Post abortion grief support
    Sexual Health community education

    Centre Street Church Leadership role:
    http://www.cschurch.ca/ (6,800 weekly attendees over 5 campuses, 1 million sermon views online in 2013: http://www.cschurch.ca/annualreport/)

    • Mark Petersen February 14, 2014 1:19 am

      Yes Gord. I met Wendy several years back. Thanks for the reminder.

  34. Diane Marshall February 13, 2014 11:48 pm

    With appreciation for all the other women who have inspired us all, our fore-mothers in faith, hope, and love. I am honoured to be part of this list but am not a “Dr.”, simply a psychotherapist in my 39th year of practice.

    • Mark Petersen February 14, 2014 1:21 am

      Thanks Diane for the correction! I’ll change it.

  35. Jim Robertson February 14, 2014 7:34 am

    Rt. Reverend Bishop Jane Alexander, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton.

    Christi Morin, Executive Director / founder of Arts on the Ave, Kaliedo Festival

    Indira V. Samarasekera, Ph.D., F.R.S.C, F.C.A.E., D.Sc., O.C. is the 12th President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Alberta,

    • Mark Petersen February 14, 2014 11:34 am

      Thanks Jim. Happy to get more Alberta folks. (My wife will be pleased.)

  36. Karina February 14, 2014 7:48 am

    Thank you for compiling this list! I would like to recommend my mother, Dr. Stephanie Ling, to this list as well. She is currently Chancellor of Tyndale University College & Seminary as well as Co-founder and Principal of Cornerstone Preparatory School. She also serves on the senate of York University and the Board of Toronto Schools of Theology.

    • Mark Petersen February 14, 2014 11:36 am

      Karina, thanks! I have met Stephanie and she certainly merits being included.

  37. Grace Fox February 14, 2014 9:24 am

    Thank you, Mark. Michelle Arthur added my name in her list–I count it an honor to be included. Thank you for spearheading this dialogue. There’s endless untapped potential here.

    • Mark Petersen February 14, 2014 11:38 am

      Thanks Grace. We are all endowed with God-given resources; how we apply them is up to us. Often we don’t even see the wealth that is available. The names being generated by the list and the comments has incredible potential. I’ve had people tell me they will use it to find board members. Others are saying it will be used for broadening their perspectives for seminars, conferences, etc.

  38. Mim February 14, 2014 11:00 am

    Esther Wesley – Anglican priest, works at the Anglican Church of Canada offices I believe and was part of the team instrumental in bringing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to life. AMAZING woman!!

    • Mark Petersen February 14, 2014 11:39 am

      That’s a great contribution. Thanks Mim.

  39. Diane Marshall February 14, 2014 2:24 pm

    I would like to recommend two outstanding Canadian women:

    Professor and Refugee activist, Mary Jo Leddy, Director, Romero House, Toronto;

    Rev. Dr. Constance Joanna, Anglican priest and spiritual director, Sisters of St. John the Divine, Toronto

    • Mark Petersen February 14, 2014 3:20 pm

      Thanks Diane. Great link to these women. I’ve known of both of these organizations for years, but have had no connection.

  40. Leah Kostamo February 14, 2014 3:27 pm

    Hi Mark,

    What a fantastic list. Honoured to be mentioned amoung such fine women!

    Blessings to you and Bridgeway’s work!


    • Mark Petersen February 14, 2014 4:36 pm

      Thanks Leah! I really enjoyed your book Planted, and know you are cultivating some good soil there. And then to get Margaret Atwood’s endorsement on top of it. Kudos!

  41. Nenke Jongkind February 14, 2014 4:56 pm

    What are your criteria? I can think of soooo many women both ordered and lay.
    Linnea Good, singer, musician, composer.
    Linda Butler, United Church minister at Richmond Hill United Church
    Nel de Boer, chaplain
    Martha ter Kuile, minister at Bloor Street United Church
    Carol Kilby, United Church minister and Gaia Centre

    There are hundreds more: e.g.
    Lois Wilson, minister, moderator, senator, choir member

    • Mark Petersen February 14, 2014 5:06 pm

      Thanks Nenke. This was really just a sidebar project where I put together a list on my desktop, just brainstorming, then when I reached 30ish names, began to reach out to some friends for their input. Not meant to be very scientific. But I like the crowd sourcing nature of the comments contributions, and believe these will keep adding value.

  42. Andrea February 14, 2014 7:11 pm

    Hi Mark, This is a wonderful list! As an employee of Kings University College I am delighted to see that our President has been included. Just wanted to note a spelling correction: Dr. Melanie J. “Humphreys” and not “Humphries”. Thanks!

    • Mark Petersen February 14, 2014 8:43 pm

      Thanks Andrea. I met Melanie for the first time in October. Will correct her surname.

  43. Jenna Smith February 15, 2014 3:42 am

    ok, you ready? List from Quebec (thanks to Steve Schalm from IVCF, Pierre Lebel from YWAM and Chad Polito from Christian Direction. Gosh what wonderful men! )

    Kathryn Alarie- Director, Living Waters
    Grace Batchoun Woodley – VP public relations, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East and Chairperson of Christian Direction
    Grace Boakye- pastor, ED Simonet (single monther’s network)
    Joëlle Basque- Communication researcher and professor, Université de Montréal
    Carol Bernard- Founder and director, Jireh Gospel Choir
    Fiona Crossling- Director, Share the Warmth
    Cheryl Smith-Debanné- Spiritual Care, Guidance and Community Involvement Animator at Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board
    Monique Dion – Director, regional programs World Vision Canada
    Isabelle Depelteau- VP Development at ID communications
    Rita Desfosses- Director, Ignatian Spirituality Centre of Montreal
    Mavis Etienne- Chairperson of the Mohawk bible translation team, clinical supervisor Oren’to:Kon Treatment services in Kanesatake
    Claudia Faille- President, Regroupement des Sage-Femmes du Quebec (Quebec association of Midwives)
    Suzanne Fournier – Director, Action Nouvelle Vie
    Jeannie Haggerty- Research Chair in Family and Community Medicine, McGill University and St.Mary’s Hospital
    Noémie Jean-Bourgeault- artist- International Visual Arts Coordinator for University of the Nations with Youth with a Mission
    Yvonny Masella- Pastor, River’sEdge Community Church
    Odette Mainville – Biblicist, author, retired professor of theology and religious science at Université de Montréal
    Caroline Nantel- Concertation and development agent, Conseil Régional des Élus de Montérégie
    Daria Nardozza- Co-founder, This is Me
    Dr.Joyce Pickering- Executive Associate Physician-in-Chief and Director of Operations of the McGill University Health Centre Department of Medicine
    Sally Richmond- Director, Logi-Femmes
    Vina Sweetman- Director, Isaiah 40
    ShuYin Wang-Director, IVCF Quebec

    I know I’m missing a few….but what a list!

    • Mark Petersen February 15, 2014 1:03 pm

      Brilliant!! Merci Jenna for enriching our list with your perspective.

  44. Lisa Pike February 15, 2014 4:58 pm

    There are lots of great women represented on this list…some of them I know and love personally! I think Sharol Josephson from FamilyLife Canada would also be another great addition.

  45. Gillian Fritzsche February 16, 2014 1:21 am

    I’d like to recommend Fay Rowe. http://fayrowe.com. She is a writer and a beautiful polished speaker who leaves her audiences encouraged and edified. Also, she’s very witty. Blessings!

  46. Doreen Hanna February 17, 2014 11:02 am

    I would like to highly recommend Julie Hayes from Ontario, CA to be added to the list! I will forward bridgeway’s info to her! She is a dynamic speaker with youth and women!

    • Lori Wall February 28, 2014 1:25 pm

      Yes I agree to add Julie Hayes of St.Thomas Ontario!! She works for my agency on a contract basis providing workshops for the women my agency serves. She is exceptional!! We received a Stronger Together grant for her to offer her workshop and coaching in our agency!
      Lori Wall, Executive Director, Fresh Start Maternity Supports

      • Julie Hayes March 3, 2014 12:22 pm

        Thanks to both Doreen and Lori for the wonderful recommendation. It is an honor to know and do ministry with both of them.

  47. Wendy Passmore February 17, 2014 2:46 pm

    A surprise and honour to be found on this list and among such wonderful women.

    • Mark Petersen February 19, 2014 10:56 pm

      So pleased we can profile your leadership here, Wendy.

  48. John D February 17, 2014 10:56 pm

    Karen Burke


    Director of the Toronto Mass Choir.

  49. Karen Wilk February 18, 2014 3:03 pm

    Hi, thanks again! I feel honoured and humbled to be included on such a wonderful list! FYI- I am no longer at THe River but lead a NEW Community (Neighbourhood Engagement Workers)and am part of the National Team of Forge Canada… thanks!

    • Mark Petersen February 18, 2014 3:15 pm

      Thanks Karen and congrats to you! I will revise your link on the list to Forge Canada. All the best.

  50. Patricia Paddey February 21, 2014 2:13 pm

    Hi, Mark! Thank you again for compiling this list. It is not only an honour to be included among such “fantastic” women, it’s a deep encouragement! May I add another name here? Hope Strong of Oakville, ON has been a teaching leader at Bible Study Fellowship for well over a decade, giving weekly lectures to hundreds of women who gather to study the Bible together. She works faithfully, under the radar, but through her leadership, countless women have come to know God more authentically, intimately.

  51. Janice Nikkel February 21, 2014 3:58 pm

    Hi Mark, so many great names on this list and so many who have impacted my life and faith journey as a woman in leadership. I would also add the following two women:

    Cathie Ostapchuk from Oakville – she is a speaker and teacher – at Moody and other places and a Director at Next Level Leadership, but I remember her most for mobilizing churches to fill the Air Canada Centre to hear Anne Graham Lotz for 2 days!

    Margaret Johnston from Oakville – She has been a national success in Mary Kay (earning 6 cars and being Canada’s first Senior Director), but as a mom of five, her passion was to raise five children to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the marketplaces of life. And they are. She has been a mentor to hundreds, if not thousands of women who might never grace the doors of a church. She is an evangelist and a prayer warrior.

    Thank you for taking this initiative to profile these women.

  52. Marsha Kahale February 22, 2014 1:25 am

    One glaring omission from your list is Dr. Nell Maxwell who founded the conference ministry of Women Alive in 1973 and over the next 30 years grew it into a nation wide ministry for women and couples.

    • Lynn Smith March 6, 2014 5:11 pm

      Thanks Marsha for mentioning Nell. I came back to the site to specifically add her name as one of those women who led the way for so many of those listed who are currently giving leadership – myself included. I attended one of those early conferences and was challenged by hearing hear Eileen Guder speak about becoming the woman God intended me to be. Through the years, a multitude of women have been similarly inspired to develop as leaders because of Nell’s vision and dedication to her calling.

  53. Lola French February 28, 2014 6:31 pm

    Thank you Mark, this is is such an encouragement and honour to be found on this list among such wonderful women.

    May I suggest 2 more to keep the list growing:

    Darlene Rempel- Executive Director of Crossroads Clinic- a leader in promoting sexual health and integrity and pioneering new ground in medical services in her community.

    Paula Curtis- Expertise and cutting edge in fund development and organizational development.

    • Mark Petersen February 28, 2014 7:23 pm

      Thanks Lola. It is great to hear from you again. Glad we can profile your leadership here.


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