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Westdale teacher Diana Panton among Hamilton Women of Distinction celebrated

Posted on Friday, March 10, 2017
Diana Panton

Diana Panton
Paulina A. Rzeczkow, Courtesy YWCA Hamilton
Diana Panton is the 2017 YWCA Hamilton’s Women of Distinction Award winner in the Arts/Culture/Design category.

From the Hamilton Spectator

The YWCA Hamilton Women of Distinction Awards were given out Thursday evening at the Hamilton Convention Centre.

This is the 41st year of the annual awards. The 2017 winners:

•Young Woman of Distinction: Shruti Ramesh

A fourth-year McMaster University arts and science student, Ramesh has been a researcher in gender, work and health, and a teaching assistant in global health. An aspiring lawyer, she is also with the Mac student union’s women and gender equality network and a facilitator in peer-led mental health support.

•Arts, Culture Design: Diana Panton

Panton is a Juno Award-winning singer and recording artist and a drama and visual arts teacher who lends her voice to support numerous local events and worthy causes. She performs all over the world and was recently named one of Canada’s top five female jazz singers by CBC Radio.

•Business Leadership: Amy Back

Back, who has a Boston University women’s studies sociology and theatre degree, has championed theatrical initiatives and is creating computer programs for the YWCA, Dundas Community Services and Ancaster Senior Achievement Centre. She is also with the pilot project Computer Help for Adults and InfoSpot Dundas.

•Community Leadership: Nancy Smith

The executive director of Interval House has worked for the shelter for abused women since 1997, starting as residential program manager and making a difference in Hamilton over the past 19 years. . She sits on 13 committees, including the Hamilton police women’s advisory committee and the National Shelter Association.

•Education, Mentorship: Emily Ecker

The manager of Mohawk College’s community access and engagement has led the college’s work initiative and its community integration through its co-op education and city school. An educator, mentor and innovator, Ecker champions making education accessible.

•Health: Dr. Carys Massarella

The St. Joseph’s Hospital’s emergency doctor is the first transgender person in the world to be president of a hospital medical staff and was named one of the world’s 50 transgender icons by The Huffington Post. Massarella, an expert in transgender care, is also with the transgender care program at Quest Community Health Centre in St. Catharines.

•Outstanding Workplace: REfficient Inc.

This company sells refurbished and reclaimed telecom and AV products. It was named four times since 2010 to the “best in the World” list for its environmental impact. It has flexible hours, “teleworking” and vacation flex time that meets the needs of employees and the business. Its staff has volunteered for the Hamilton Victory Gardens and YWCA programs.

•Science, Technology, Trades: Deborah Sloboda

Sloboda, a McMaster University biomedical assistant professor, researches prenatal risks and long-term disease risk. She is a leader in her field and works to translate her work for women’s community health groups. She is also a mentor to young women in science and works to expand the visibility of women in science.

•Lifetime Achievement: Anne Tennier

A chemical engineer, consultant and former vice-president of environmental sustainability for Maple Leaf Foods, Tennier has focused on finding innovative solutions to complex environmental problems in various industries. Her 15-year contribution to Hamilton includes participating on community boards and on mentoring young women.

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