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United around the globe to foster international trade and the advancement of women in business.

Excellence Award for Leadership in International Trade Award

This award recognizes an outstanding woman in Ontario who, through her business and personal networks, acts as a trade advocate and mentor for women, fostering opportunities that actively support women entrepreneurs or professionals to achieve success in international business.  Please note that OWIT Board Members are not eligible for this award.


Dr. Wendy Cukier, WEKH (L), with Jessica Horwitz, Bennett Jones

Wendy is the Founder and Director of the Diversity Institute Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub at Toronto Metropolitan University. Wendy is an advocate for women and equity-deserving groups in entrepreneurship, international business, and trade.  She is influential in raising awareness about the barriers faced by women in trade and advocating for inclusive trade practices. Wendy is a member of the Global Affairs Gender and Trade Advisory Group, working to include gender chapters in Canada's global trade agreements.

Wendy mentors and coaches women entrepreneurs and professionals to achieve success in international business. She created the See It Be It program to provide role models and raise awareness about women entrepreneurs' success. Wendy is the recipient of numerous prestigious Canadian and international awards for her advocacy and leadership. Wendy holds honorary doctorates from Laval and Concordia universities and is the founder of startups, social enterprises, and non-profits.


Dr. Olutoyin Oyelade with Victoria Clark BLG (R)


Dr. Oyelade provides financing support, mentorship, and partnerships to women-owned businesses through Invcap Corporation & Casa Foundation. Since 2015, Dr Oyelade’s Invcap has continued to support women with their capital-raising ventures and strategies. Over 200 businesses received pitch training during the pandemic. In 2018, she helped establish EntrepreneursPoint, an incubator for women, youth, and start-ups, that facilitates partnerships and new connections for growing women-owned businesses across Canada and internationally, with a focus on Africa. 


Debra Steger is retired Emeritus Professor of International Trade at the University of Ottawa. Debra has mentored more young female international trade law students and lawyers at the University of Ottawa than can be counted. She is on the Gender and Trade Advisory Committee of Global Affairs Canada, and the Advisory Board of TradeExperettes, a network of women trade experts that seek to highlight the voices of women in international trade. She has supervised trade and gender projects including the drafting of the model trade and gender provisions for free trade agreements. Debra has also written numerous articles on gender and trade while being a tireless advocate for women’s voices in business and in law. 


Christine Nakamura  


Christine is currently Vice President at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada’s Toronto office. Her responsibilities include facilitating trade, political, academic, and cultural engagements with Asia. Throughout her career, she was employed in various capacities by the Canadian government, most recently with the then Department of Foreign Affairs, with postings in Japan and Korea. From 2017 to 2018, on behalf of the Asia Pacific Foundation, she led a cross-Canada dialogue series on “Women2Women in the Asia Pacific”, which led to a women-only business mission to Japan in April 2019, with 17 participants. The planned business mission to Korea in February 2020 pivoted to a virtual business mission in early November. This virtual trade mission was the first one for Canada dedicated to women entrepreneurs and secured additional funding form the Canadian government, with 26 delegates from across Canada. In the lead-up to the virtual mission, Christine and her team organized a series of four training sessions for their delegation. Parts of the virtual mission were open to non-delegates, allowing for increased access and connections for a broader range of women entrepreneurs. Positive outcomes are highly anticipated. A virtual mission to Taiwan is being planned for early 2021. Christine Nakamura is currently on a mission to pave the way for new markets for Canadian women entrepreneurs.

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Thank you for your interest in the OWIT-Toronto Awards!

Please complete the nomination form below.

Past Award Winners

2022: Dr. Olutoyin Oyelade, Dr. Debra Steger

2020: Christine Nakamura

2019: Isabella Bertani

2018: KC Goundiam

2017: Ruth Snowden
2016: Josie Mousseau
2015: Joy Nott
2014: Alma Farias
2012: Ruth Fothergill
2011: Nancy Ward
2010: Candice Rice
2009: Kathleen Holland
2008: Mary Anderson
2007: Betty Wood
2006: The Hon. Sarmite D. Bulte
2005: Susan Langdon
2004: Maxine Westaway

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