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K-W Oktoberfest Rogers Women of the Year Recognizes Outstanding Achievement in Waterloo Region


(Waterloo Region, ON – October 10, 2013) K-W Oktoberfest Rogers Women of the Year took time tonight to recognize and pay tribute to some outstanding women in the community. "We are proud of our partnership with the K-W Oktoberfest Rogers Women of the Year. It recognizes the amazing work and many contributions of the women of our community", said Mike Collins, General Manager of the Rogers Kitchener Radio Group.

At an awards ceremony at Bingemans Ballroom, with the assistance of our Masters of Ceremonies Susan Cook-Scheerer, Co-host of Daytime on Rogers TV, and Tara Connors, Mornings CHYM 96.7, the following women were recognized for their outstanding contributions to this community:

Arts & Culture (sponsored by CHYM 96.7/570 News/Country 106.7) recognizes women for enriching the culture of our community through creation or promotion of the arts on a volunteer or professional basis.

Christine Vlajk (Waterloo)
As the violist with the Penderecki String Quartet and Artist-in-Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University, Christine performs and promotes music in our community and represents Canada around the world. Considered one of Canada’s pre-eminent string teachers, she attracts outstanding students to WLU and is a role model and mentor to young musicians. Despite long hours as a professional musician, she is a warm and caring friend who gives back to her community as a volunteer and active supporter of the arts.

Community Service (sponsored by Rogers TV) recognizes women for generously volunteering time to programs and services that make our community a better place.

Nancy Tilt (Kitchener) Nancy has been an active member of the community during her 36-year career as a Special Education teacher. She is best known as being the former Director of the Special Education Choir, which included 110 singers from across Waterloo Region. Nancy has also volunteered her time at Doon Presbyterian Church in Kitchener for over 36 years, serving as the Director of Music, a leader in the Ladies Aid Group, and as a member of the Board of Managers.

Entrepreneur (sponsored by Wilfrid Laurier School of Business & Economics) recognizes women for initiating and/or administering an enterprise or business.

Jamie Burton (Kitchener) Mother of four and co-owner and Vice-President of Dolphin Digital Technologies Inc., Jamie’s strategy is to focus on a successful business model, while evoking social change. Utilizing a Virtual Office Model, DDT provides professional IT consulting and support to profit and non-profit clients, while enabling barrier-free employment for people with disabilities. An entrepreneur who is a community builder and tireless volunteer, Jamie inspires others by helping them realize their full potential.

Group Achievement (sponsored by World Gym) recognizes achievements by a group of women that impact and/or improve our community or society.

May Court Club of Kitchener-Waterloo
Since 1968, the May Court Club of Kitchener-Waterloo has been committed to improving lives in our community through financial, educational and emotional support. Donating over $2 million, and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours, they are committed to women and children in Waterloo Region. This diverse group of community-minded women are actively improving lives and selflessly giving their time and talent back to those who are in need.

Health & Wellness (sponsored by the Medical Centre at The Boardwalk) recognizes women for promoting and helping others achieve and promote mental, physical or spiritual well-being in her career or community involvement.

Tracey Collins (Waterloo)
In 2005, after seeing a gap in healthcare for the chronically underserved, homeless population, Tracey left her hospital job to join The Working Centre’s Psychiatric Outreach Project. Here she pioneered a nursing role in non-traditional care delivery settings; such as, community kitchens, the streets, shelters, courts, parks, and drop-in centres. This innovative service has helped influence and shape policies that promote wellness, thus creating a healthier, safer community with greater social justice.

Lifetime Achievement (sponsored by Remax Solid Gold Realty – McIntyre Team) recognizes women for being active in their community by sharing their heart, their time and their life experience.

Sandra Henderson (Waterloo) As Past-President of the Waterloo Region chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Sandra made a significant difference in the fight against impaired driving. In memory of her daughter Nancy, she assisted victims and their families deal with the consequences of alcohol-related traffic accidents. In addition, Sandra improved the lives of many in our community by speaking at numerous schools, clubs and public events regarding the devastation of lives when one chooses to drink and drive impaired.

Professional (sponsored by Rogers Wireless) recognizes women for dedicating themselves to the pursuit of excellence in her chosen career.

Sara Casselman (Kitchener)
Sara is a Manager at the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region. Her passion lies in challenging systems that perpetuate inequalities and violence, and she has worked in the anti-violence against women sector for more than a decade. In 2011, Sara was honoured by Ontario’s Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues as a Leading Women, Building Communities Award recipient. In 2012, she was featured by The Record as 40 under 40, for being one of our community’s most dynamic young citizens.

Sports & Recreation (sponsored by Rogers TV) recognizes women for actively participating, coaching or volunteering in sports or recreation.

Mikaela Gerber (Cambridge)
Mikaela was a member of the Canadian National Gymnastics team, training at Cambridge Kips and Oakville Gymnastics clubs. Currently, she attends UCLA on a full gymnastics scholarship. At the 2011 Canada Winter Games, Mikaela tied the record for most medals won (5). She also represented Canada at the World Championships in Tokyo and the Pan Am Games in Mexico, where she earned two silver medals. Mikaela has always been a role model for younger athletes, helping and encouraging their gymnastics.

Young Adult (14 to 25) (sponsored by Kitchener Fire Department) recognizes young women for leading by example and being a role model to her peers.

Stephanie Prysnuk (Kitchener)
Stephanie is an accomplished and confident young woman who is engaged in community activities at various levels. She leads by example in her volunteering and takes initiative to continue learning. She values and nurtures those who surround her – always reaching out, inquiring about others and showing that she cares. Steph is a role model and mentor for other young people with disabilities.

Residents of the Region were encouraged to nominate their choice for Women of the Year and were invited to enjoy this evening with these distinguished women.

The awards ceremony will be televised Sunday, October 13 at 7 PM, Monday, October 14 at 7 PM, Tuesday, October 15 at 7 PM and Saturday, October 19 at 7 PM on Rogers TV, Cable 20. Visit www.rogerstv.com for more info.

About Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest
Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is a not-for-profit Bavarian festival founded in 1969 by a group of volunteers committed to contributing to the social and economic vitality of Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada twin cities with German heritage. Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival celebrates German heritage, food, music and festivities and is supported by more than 50 not-for-profit organizations. The festival is operated by eight year-round full-time staff, over 480 volunteers and 1,300 community and service club volunteers that stage the nine-day festival each October promoting a unique German cultural experience. As well as the economic boost the festival gives the local economy during the international festival, over $1.5 million is raised each year by the not-for-profit organizations associated with Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, one of the top three most recognized event brands in Canada.

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For additional information:

Dave MacNeil
Executive Director,
K-W Oktoberfest Inc.
519-570-4267 ext. 222


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