In honour of this year’s International Women’s Day, we are proud to present to you our inaugural annual POWER 60 list digital cover feature. This year, featuring today’s most inspirational Women of Toronto. From CEOs to Medical Doctors, Media Moguls, Actresses, Philanthropists, Restauranteurs and much more. All with one common denominator…inspirational tenacity, from this city we all know and love, The 6ix.
Short listing these powerhouse women, was no easy task, because Toronto has MANY who inspire us. So instead of ranking them, we decided to list them alphabetically–because they’re all number ones.
The 60 Most Inspiring Influential Women of Toronto
Much like Toronto itself, we knew the POWER 60 needed to truly paint a picture of our city. Made up of incredible women from various age groups, industries, career levels, ethnicities and both visible and invisible minorities. We’re proud to present to you, View the VIBE’s inaugural POWER 60.
SVP & Regional Manager, Nordstrom Canada
Alix Box was recently named the Senior Vice President, Regional Manager for Nordstrom Canada. She inspires us with her extensive experience across the leading retail and hospitality market which includes 10-years at Starbucks where she was Vice President of Canada operations, 7-years at Holt Renfrew supporting store operations and marketing and 3-years as President and CEO of Second Cup.
Editor-in-Chief, The Canadian Press
Andrea Baillie is the first female Editor-in-Chief at The Canadian Press, which is incredible on it’s own. Her growth at The Canadian Press from Sports Statistician in 1998 to Editor-in-Chief in 2019 and her ability to manage, create and execute her creative visions is like no other.
Journalist, Educator, Sommelier/Wine Expert and On-Air Personality
Angela Aiello (aka @Superwinegirl) is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, journalist, educator, speaker, on-air host and wine expert. She inspires through her dedication and enthusiasm in her craft and her ability to capture and educate her audience. From contributing to countless publications across North America, to her regular segments on CHCH Morning Live and her most recent dive into radio, she’s truly making a splash.
Designer & Founder, BROTHER VELLIES
Aurora James is a Canadian designer and founder of both Brother Vellies and 15 Percent Pledge. She inspires with her call to action for major retailers to commit 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses and creation of jobs and empowerment for people in African village workshops.
Dr. Barbara Yaffe
Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, Communicable and Infectious Diseases, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Dr. Barbara Yaffe is the Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, Communicable and Infectious Diseases, a very familiar face to us here in Ontario during these trying time. She inspires with her dedication and interest in controlling and preventing infectious disease spread in Ontario and her tireless work since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Editor-in-Chief, FASHION Magazine
Bernadette Morra is the Editor-in-Chief of FASHION Magazine, owned by St. Joseph Communications. We like to think of her as the Anna Wintour of Toronto. Bernadette has been inspiring Canadian women through FASHION for decades, previously also leading fashion at Toronto Star. Today, she continues to inspire through her commitment to the Canadian fashion industry and work towards leading a more inclusive future for FASHION.
Board of Director on various Boards and former Canadian Department Store Executive
Bonnie Brooks has truly made her mark on the Canadian Department Store/Retail industry. Formerly serving as President and CEO of Hudson’s Bay Company and later Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. She now holds a seat on numerous boards and inspires through her commitment to investing her time and advice to many more Canadian companies.
Actress, Comedian, Writer + more
Catherine O’Hara is a Canadian actor, comedian, writer, singer, heck she’s just all round talented–and our primary entertainment throughout the quarantine on Schitt’s Creek. She inspires us as she shows the growth possible from her time as a waitress at The Second City Comedy Club in Toronto to winning a Genie award, a Golden Globe, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and five Canadian Screen Awards.
Host, ET Canada
Cheryl Hickey is the iconic host on ET Canada. For years, Cheryl has inspired through her incredible work ethic, ageless looks, personality, style, infectious smile and entertaining ability–all while also being an incredible mother.
Hon. Christine Elliott
Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
Honourable Christine Elliott is the current Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. A very familiar face these days. Christine inspires us as a strong women in politics. Confident, stands her ground and has shown younger generations that there IS a place for women in Canadian politics.
Hon. Chrystia Freeland
Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Minister of Finance
Honourable Chrystia Freeland is the current Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Minister of Finance. She inspires us as a woman who is breaking the glass ceiling in the world of finance. Inspiring and leading younger generations of women in the political world and has held a career in finance and journalism that spans from freelance journalist to managing editor. No wonder she knows how to command a press conference. 😉
Global Executive Officer Cyber Security, TD Bank
Claudette McGowan is the Global Executive Officer for Cyber Security at TD Canada. She inspires us with over 20-years of experience in the male-dominated technology industry with organizations like Deloitte, BMO and TD. A true trailblazer! As a woman in STEM, she inspires women to continue breaking barriers and striving for excellence.
Co-Founder of Halo & Co and Coco Con, Owner of Coco and Cowe
Catriona Smart is the co-founder of Halo & Co and the owner of Coco and Cowe–also dubbed as Drake’s event planner. She inspires us through commitment to her passion for events, storytelling and creating content. She started blogging in 2008, stayed consistent and has evolved from blogging as a side hustle to creating a profitable blog and her own event firm, later partnering with her now co-founder on their PR company.
TV Writer + Producer
Dahvi Waller is a television writer, playwright, producer and editor (true quadruple threat). She inspires us as the creator of Mrs. America by shining light and awareness to the political movement to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
Author, Recipe Developer and Content Creator
Diala Canelo is the recipe creator and author of Diala’s Kitchen. Diala inspires us daily through her travels, authentic and creative plant-forward and pescatarian recipes–as well as her dedication to spreading her craft.
Host, BT Toronto / Rogers
Dina Pugliese has been a memorable part of our mornings for decades in Toronto–as the incredible, ageless host of BT Toronto. In recent years also founding her very own clean beauty line, The Care Principle. Dina inspires through her entrepreneurial spirit, contagious laugh, passion for clean beauty, tenacity and entertaining personality that always kickstarts our mornings with a laugh.
Dean, Ryerson University’s Faculty of Law
Donna Young is the dean at Ryerson University’s Faculty of Law. She inspires with over 20-years of experience within the legal community and her innovative commitment to fostering and ensuring diversity and social justice.
Dr. Eileen De Villa
Medical Officer of Health, City of Toronto
Dr. Eileen De Villa is the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto. Despite most recently being our bearer of bad news through these trying Covid-19 times, she inspires us as a woman leading Canada’s largest public health agency. She has also authored, published and presented research on issues such as public health considerations for city planning and emergency preparedness, communicable and infectious disease control, and public health policy development.
Member of the Board of Directors, Various
Elyse Allan is on the board of director for Brookfield, as well as Ontario Health and more. Previously holding the role as CEO of GE Canada and the Toronto Board of Trade before that. Elyse inspires us as a business woman who has broken the glass ceiling and flown miles above it. She has also served as an economic advisor to both Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau.
Co-Founder, Halo & Co
Halla Rafati is the co-founder of Halo & Co., where she leads PR initiatives for all of their clients including Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts, where she previously held a number of roles like, Director of Communications and Public Relations. Hala inspires us with her passion for public relations, but also her entrepreneurial spirit and strong business acumen–and ability to through a bombshell start-studded event. Having worked all over the globe, including Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, China and North America. Halla is to no surprise a polyglot who is fluent in English, Arabic and Spanish.
President & CEO of Women’s College Hospital
Heather McPherson is a highly recognized healthcare executive with extensive experience in clinical, academic and health system leadership. Prior to her role as President & CEO, she served as the hospital’s Executive Vice President of Patient Care and Ambulatory Innovation; where she was at the forefront of shaping and executing hospital strategy and operations. Heather is an innovative leader who has been instrumental in establishing clinical programs and services that close the health gaps for patients – not only at Women’s College hospital but throughout the province. Which is even more important now than ever before.
CEO of Indigo + Philanthropist
Heather Reisman is the CEO of Indigo and known to be quite the philanthropist. Heather stood out to us because she inspires us with not only her dedication to the creative literary world, but as a business woman having also been the co-founder and past Chair of Kobo. Heather was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2019. As if that wasn’t enough, she is also a mother and generous member of the community who often gives back in many ways.
Fashion Designer of Hilary Macmillan
Hilary is the designer and founder of her very own namesake fashion brand, Hilary Macmillan. She inspires us through her incredible cruelty-free fashion efforts and dedication to size-inclusion in order to ensure inclusivity and empowerment for all women.
Actress also known as, Ms. Marvel
Iman Vellani makes her first on-screen debut starring as Ms.Marvel at such a young age. Already set to reprise the role in Captain Marvel 2. Ms. Marvel is Marvel Studios’ first onscreen Muslim hero. Iman inspires us by dreaming big and being a part of efforts to diversify the film industry.
Chef Ivanca Raca
Chef + Restauranteur
Chef Ivana Raca is the chef and restaurateur. Ivana is a fierce chef whose drive and kitchen cred has earned her the utmost respect amongst her peers in Toronto’s culinary scene. Originally from the former Yugoslavia, Ivana is laid back, friendly and personable, but when her chef jacket is on and knives are drawn, she’s all business. Having participated in Food Network’s Top Chef Canada too. As if that isn’t inspiration enough, she was also the first woman to hold the position of saucier in any of McEwan’s kitchens, as the first female Executive Chef for McEwan Food and a powerhouse in a male dominated industry.
CEO of Gusto 54 (restaurant group)
As the CEO of Gusto 54, Janet Zuccarini never ceases to inspires us with her passion for culinary excellence and business. Having opened some of Toronto’s most popular celebrity frequented restaurants, including Drake’s favourite in Bloor-Yorkville, Nervosa. When you don’t find her running her restaurants across Toronto and the LA-area, you can find her on-screen judging Food Network’s Top Chef Canada.
Jean Davey, was Canada’s first woman to be a licensed stockbroker and VP at a major finance company. Although now retired and residing in the Amica Senior Lifestyles community, she continues to inspire through her book as one of the first women to break into an industry owned by men and paving the path for the women of today to walk through the doors of financial institutions with confidence.
Executive Director & Co-Head, TIFF
Joana Vicente is the Executive Director and the Co-Head of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). She inspires us through her creative efforts in the film industry and her role as a leading figure of the digital film revolution.
Editor-in-Chief, LCBO Food & Drink Magazine
Jody has had a long tenure with LCBO Food & Drink, originally joining the team as Marketing Manager / Editor, later taking on the leadership role as the now Editor-in-Chief. Jody leads by example and her passion for what they do at Food & Drink is truly contagious. That and, we guess you can say she’s top of the totem pole for drink-related editorial, in Canada, let alone for one of world’s largest purchasers of alcoholic beverages.
Anchor, Sportscentre on TSN
Kayla Grey is an anchor for Sportscentre on TSN. She inspires us through her work in an industry that is primarily male-dominated and is an inspiration to young women who felt daunted by the sports world due to its male dominance.
Writer, Dancer, Model, Actor and Photographer
Kiley May is a Mohawk dancer, an actor, a model, a photographer and a writer. She inspires us as an Indigenous, transgender, two-spirited women who actively speaks out in the industry and strives for a more inclusive and representative media world.
CEO & Publisher, Twenty Two Media (Foodism / Escapism)
Krista Faist is the CEO and publisher at Twenty Two Media Group, that publishes Foodism TO and Escapism magazines. Krista inspires through her extensive background in the media industry and her dedication to bringing the city’s best eats into the hands of Torontonians.
CEO of Penguin Random House Canada
Kristin Cochrane is the CEO of one of Canada’s most recognizable publishing houses, Penguin Random House Canada. For years, Kristin has inspired through her desire to mentor and empower the group she leads in the Canadian publishing industry.
City Councillor of Ward 13, City of Toronto
Kristyn Wong-Tam is an outspoken city councillor of Ward 13 (Toronto Centre). She inspires through her daily efforts and commitment to the people of Toronto. As a woman in politics and proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, she is leading generations of young women to believe they are capable of success in the political world, while leading much needed inclusive conversations.
CEO of Wealthsimple
Leen Li inspires us as a woman in finance who is bringing both financial education and individual financial empowerment into the hands of Canadians, literally.
Lilly Singh, who formerly appeared under the pseudonym Superwoman (styled iiSuperwomanii)–her long-time YouTube username) is the YouTuber, comedian, talk show host, and actor we all know and love. Proudly from the Toronto area, Lilly inspires many as the first Indian woman to host an American major broadcast network late-night talk show.
Lola Kassim General Manager of UberEats Canada, whom we all have become more acquainted with during these Covid-19 times. Lola inspires us with over a decade of experience and her work with the Africa Governance Initiative, supporting a unit driving delivery of Presidential infrastructure priorities.
Chef Lynn Crawford
Chef and Restauranteur, Food Network Personality + Author
Chef Lynn Crawford is an acclaimed Food Network celebrity chef and bestselling author. She inspires us through her extensive experience, TV personality and influence in an industry typically led and controlled by men.
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is an actor best known for her lead role in Netflix’s Never Have I Ever (2020). She inspires us as a young female minority diversifying the film and TV industry.
Member of Parliament, for the riding of Toronto Centre
Marci Ien is an MP for Toronto Centre taking an inspiring career jump from daytime TV. Marci’s tireless efforts and dedication to serving the people of Toronto, leading conversations of inclusivity never go unnoticed. In her prior career, she previously co-hosted the CTV daytime talk show The Social from 2017 until 2020.
Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, teacher, environmental activist, and inventor. She inspires us because she is a literary icon and creates complex female characters in her novels while influencing young female writers.
Marie C. Schwartz
Founder / CEO of Sampler
Marie Chevrier Schwartz is the founder and CEO of Sampler. An inspiring businesswoman as the founder of one of The Globe and Mail’s Fastest Growing Canadian Companies for 2-years in a row.
Lawyer and Partner, Henein Hutchinson LLP
Marie Henein’s reputation in Toronto as one of the most feared and respected lawyers in the country make her the most sought after criminal defense lawyers for high-profile accused in Toronto. She is tough as nails with an exterior to match, Marie has even earned the nickname of “Shark” in the courtroom.
CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show/ Bell Media
Marilyn’s award-winning namesake talk show, The Marilyn Denis Show, sets her apart from the rest. Marilyn became the first female broadcaster to receive the Allan Waters Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017, has received a Gemini award for Best Host in a Lifestyle/Information series and even received an honorary PhD from her alma mater, The University of Idaho. When not shooting for her daytime talk show, you can find her in the studio weekday mornings recording LIVE for her Marilyn Denis and Jamar show–now that’s commitment.
Melissa Grelo is best known for her work as a mediator on The Social and as a co-host on CP24 Breakfast. Melissa’s has also spent time as a board member for the World Wildlife Fund and the launch of her gender-neutral children’s clothing line, MarQ. When not hustle and bustling, you can find her up-top one of her majestic horses–now that’s goals.
Author + On-Air Money Expert on The Social
Melissa Leong is a personal finance writer, keynote speaker, on-air personality, and bestselling author. She appears on CTV’s The Social as its resident money expert and was a staff reporter at the Financial Post. We love that she’s so passionate for numbers and educating women on finances.
CEO of Clearblanc
Michele has been named one of Canada’s 100 Most Inspiring Women and it is no wonder why. She co-founded Clearblanc which was one of the fastest growing companies and a Dragon on Dragon’s Den.
Nancy Munzar Kelly
Area General Manager, Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto & Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver
Nancy’s brought more than 30 years of hospitality-industry experience and local knowledge to Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto when she first started with them as GM. Previously serving as Chief Operating Officer at Liverton Hotels International, which owned and operated Metropolitan Hotel, SoHo Metropolitan Hotel and Metropolitan Vancouver as well. During this time Munzar Kelly also served as general manager of The Hazelton Hotel in Toronto. As COO, Munzar Kelly oversaw operations and sales for three hotels, four restaurants and three long-stay residences. Her extensive hospitality-industry experience and her great successes are an inspiration to many, in such a male dominated industry.
Founder of NKPR + ON-Air Personality
Natasha inspires as one of Canada’s most powerful and innovative people in public relations as well as with her dedication to giving back to the community. Natasha is also the President of the Board for Artists for Peace and Justice Canada–known for their annual TIFF star-studded bashes. Often also making appearances on-air speaking to entertainment trends, celebrity gossip and more.
Chef and Author
One of the hardest-working first-generation immigrant women in Toronto, we know. Chef Nuit inspires through her dedication to bringing a new standard of Thai cuisine to Canada, recently releasing a cookbook of which she did not sweat the details–even traveling back to Thailand to shoot, pre-pandemic. Her accomplishments speak for them selves, as the chef and restauranteur alongside her husband and parter, Jeff Regular, what is now 3-locations (and counting–they always have something up their sleeves) and known face on Food Network too. What inspires us most? Her humility!
Editor-in-Chief of Toronto Life / St. Joseph Communications
For over a decade, Sarah has inspired us through the glossy pages of her work, as also the first woman to ever hold this position at Toronto Life and overhauled the magazine with a redesign that impressed many–and continues to be held in high regard today.
Founder of So Sasha
Sasha Exeter is a former athlete turned entrepreneur and the founder of So Sasha, her personal brand. Sasha inspires us as she has overcome 2 chronic illnesses through diet and exercise and is using her knowledge to inspire others to change their misconceptions of health and fitness. Also becoming a voice for the Black Lives Matter movement through some unfortunate circumstances last year, that she boldly called out, rose above and made headlines for.
CMO of MLSE
Shannon Hosford oversees the marketing and fan experience at MLSE, the parent company of the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto FC (MLS), Toronto Argonauts (CFL) and more. Shannon inspires with her dynamic leadership abilities, distinct creative insight and her title of Marketer of the Year in 2014.
Restauranteur & Co-Founder of Open Kitchen Toronto
Stacey Patterson is a restaurateur and co-founder behind Open Kitchen Toronto, along with her partner Jennifer Coburn. She inspires us through her extensive work in the industry, including a dining series that aimed to promote the recognition and education of women across the food and hospitality industry. Open Kitchen Toronto benefits the ‘Open Kitchen Toronto Female Culinary Scholarship’ at George Brown College.
President of Marriott International
Stephanie Linnartz oversees all aspects of the hospitality conglomerate, Marriott International’s global consumer strategy. She inspires us with the critical role she plays at the world’s largest hospitality company and the great responsibility that her title brings.
Suzanne Barr is a highly acclaimed chef, restaurateur and author with her own restaurants around the city of Toronto. She inspires us with her desire to use her platforms for social advocacy for the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities along with her well deserved reputation as a respected chef.
Sylvia inspires us not only with her business success but also with her personal dedication to helping children through involvement in organizations such as Sick Kids Hospital, Boost Children and Youth Mental Health Organization. Together with her husband, Sylvia has created a wildlife sanctuary in Florida to help neglected and abandoned animals. When not making Toronto Life headlines for her posts with the beautiful animals in her sanctuary, she may visiting Buckingham Palace or supporting local events and charitable initiatives in Toronto and abroad.
Tamara Bahry is a contemporary fine art photographer with a gift for storytelling as well as a dedicated philanthropist. She inspires us with her commitment to following her heart and pursuing her creative passions in life. Through the Bahry Foundation, Tamara donates much of her time and profits to charitable causes.
Host of Cityline / Rogers
Tracy Moore has been the familiar face on daytime TV as the host of Cityline since 2008 and also has her own fashion line ‘Tracy Moore by Freda’s.’ Tracy inspires with her amazing work ethic, bubbly personality abd smile both on and off the screen. She is also dedicated to female empowerment and boosting the self-esteem of young girls and is an inspiration for many.
Director of Content Partnerships, TikTok Canada
Vanessa Craft recently became the Director of Content Partnerships at TikTok after formerly holding an Editor-in-Chief position for Elle Canada. Vanessa inspires through her dedication and love of innovative storytelling while always staying true to her core values as well as her insatiable desire to grow in the industry. Recently named as one of Variety magazine’s “Women that have Made an Impact on Global Entertainment.” We can’t wait to see what she does at TikTok Canada.