2013 Women of Achievement Awards

The 17th Women of Achievement Gala


The Zonta Club of Brampton-Caledon celebrated the women of Brampton and Caledon on November 21, 2013.  The gala evening was held at the Pearson Convention Centre. This event was been in existence since 1984 in collaboration with the then Brampton YMCA-YWCA. Zonta has been the sole organization group since 2000. Funds raised from this long standing event have benefited the people of these two cities. Over the years, 55 women have received the designation of Woman of Achievement. The sculptures were created by Marion Bartlett.  This year’s recipients are:

 Business / Professions and Trades:  Mai Nguyen

Mai has worked tirelessly for the good of the Vietnamese community through her leadership and fundraising work with the Vietnamese Association of Toronto (VAT) while serving as a role model for newcomers. Through her work with VAT, she helped to organize significant cultural events including the Brampton Carabram Vietnamese pavilion. Mai co-founded 9C marketing which offers marketing strategy services, website design and digital marketing services. Throughout her professional life, she has trained hundreds of individuals and motivated them to believe in their ability to make a difference, their ability to be leaders and to be successful in their new careers and business. Mai’s entrepreneurship and leadership is an inspiration within and throughout the Vietnamese community.

 Community Service: Shirley Ellison 

A retired educator, Shirley has brought energy and zeal to developing the Z-Club program in Brampton-Caledon which has reverberated around the world. Acknowledged by the United Church, Peel District School Board and honoured with the Cora Bailey Award, she has organized fundraising events to improve the economic status of women in Cambodia.  Shirley has been a strong supporter of birthing kits and enriched the lives of others by her ongoing commitment to teaching, through music and in professional associations such as University Women’s Club, Retired Teachers Association and the U.C.W. A tireless advocate for women and girls, she does everything from her heart with the message of “be empowered and make a difference, one person at a time”.

 Health Science and Technology:  Susan Cooper

Susan is a strong advocate of gender equality and promoting women in her profession through her work with the World Council of Optometry and the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness.  An active trailblazer in her profession, Susan has held many leadership positions with her provincial association and has been recognized with the James Cobean Memorial award – the highest accolade presented for her many years of service in education. Susan served as the first Director of the international Optometric Bridging Program designed to bring the education standards of internationally trained optometrists up to a level where they can practice in Canada.  Susan has dedicated her life to serving others through the practice of optometry.

 Young Woman of Achievement:  Abena Addo

Abena is an excellent example of a young woman who has made a difference in the world around her. Active in the Brampton Mayor’s Youth team, she organized several community events to engage youth and supported the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigrations’ Ontario Change the World Youth Volunteer Challenges.  Originally from Ghana, Abena co-ordinated a charity soccer game and park cleanup to collect gently used sports apparel and equipment donations for an orphanage in her birth country. Abena’s dedication, commitment and passion to help youth develop their talents and abilities inspires others to greatness and she is a wonderful role model for the many young girls who have the opportunity to spend time with her. 

Cheques of $2500 were presented to Family Transition Place, Orangeville and Family Life Resource Centre, Brampton.


Mai Nguyen, Shirley Ellison, Dr. Susan Cooper, Abena Addo    


Click here for the Brampton Guardian – November 2013 article