Bagha is the 2016 recipient of the Union Gas Student Essay Scholarship, presented as part of the 2016 Influential Women of Northern Ontario Awards, hosted by Northern Ontario Business.
Now in its 19th year, Influential Women recognizes the achievements of Northern Ontario women entrepreneurs, volunteers and community advocates, while inspiring the leaders of tomorrow, said Abbas Homayed, publisher of Northern Ontario Business.
“Today we celebrate women who have expanded the boundaries of influence in their business circles and beyond,” said Homayed, during a North Bay luncheon celebrating winners from northeastern Ontario on May 30.
“Their leadership and their vision are the very heart of Northern Ontario’s economy.”
For Karin Pratte, working as senior environment and facilities engineer for the City of North Bay provides a palpable sense of achievement because she recognizes the difference she’s making in her community.
“I genuinely love what I do,” said Pratte, who was named Tradeswoman of the Year.
“When I get home from work every day, I feel good about what I’ve done, and I get to make sure that everybody in North Bay drinks clean drinking water. I get to make sure our environment is clean, and the way we treat our wastewater is appropriate, and I get to make sure that we landfill our garbage the right way.”
Receiving the Aboriginal Leadership Award was emotional for Angela Recollet, who spoke of her grandmother and the values she instilled while raising 18 children of her own.
“Looking to my grandmother and her role and her responsibility and her duties in raising her children, both her boys and her girls, we were taught about balance,” said Recollet, who serves as executive director of the Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre in Sudbury.
“So I just want to acknowledge all the men who are here in the room today with us because you can’t have a healthy community if you don’t have healthy men supporting the women.”
She also spoke of the legacy of residential schools and the injustices that have, for decades, plagued Canada’s Indigenous peoples.
“We have a very resilient nationhood, and I have such hope and I have such pride in our generations to come,” she said.
This year, 15 awards will be given out in northeastern and northwestern Ontario.
A full list of the northeastern Ontario 2016 Influential Women award winners follows:
Student Essay Scholarship: Fatima Bagha, Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, Sudbury
Executive of the Year: Corina Moore, president and CEO of Ontario Northland, North Bay
Entrepreneur of the Year: Sheri Tomchik, owner of Plan A Health Care Staffing Solutions Inc. and Staff Stat., Sudbury
Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Kristin Lowe, owner of Kitchen Gallery, North Bay
Business of the Year: Sue Symons, broker and owner of record at Royal LePage, North Bay
Aboriginal Leadership: Angela Recollet, executive director of the Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre, Sudbury
Tradeswoman of the Year: Karin Pratte, senior environment and facilities engineer, North Bay
Influential Community Trailblazer: Sharron Graydon, New Liskeard
Winners of the northwestern Ontario Influential Women Awards will be announced on Thursday, June 2 in Thunder Bay.