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About the "Women of Influence" Awards

The City of Grande Prairie is seeking to recognize local women who have made a positive social difference in the community. The “Women of Influence” Awards are launching in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2018 to celebrate women in Grande Prairie who have demonstrated innovative and inspiring approaches to leadership, volunteerism or community involvement.

International Women’s Day is an event recognized world-wide to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and advocate for the  continued advancements of equal rights

Award Categories

Three nomination categories are available:

  • Young Woman of Influence (under 30 years old)
  • Trailblazing Woman of Influence (30-49 years old)
  • Distinguished Woman of Influence (50+ years old)

WOI- Generic Event Photo

2018 Winners

Distinguished Woman of Influence- Helen Rice

For nearly 40 years, Helen Rice served as a City Councillor making her an instrumental player in the Grande Prairie success story. In this role, she has built an impressive resume of unique and outstanding achievements and established herself and Grande Prairie as a leader at the local, national and federal level. Locally, she has championed many developments including but not limited to the Street Performers’ Festival connecting international performers to the arts and culture scene in Grande Prairie; leading the DownTown Association’s role in the Canada Winter Games during her first year as president; and advocacy to help make Grande Prairie the first city in Western Canada to establish an Aboriginal Workplace Partnership Initiative. At the provincial and federal level she has also made a major impact as President of the Alberta Urban Municipality Association (AUMA), board member of Energy Efficiency Alberta and as an appointed commissioner on the Canadian Human Rights Commission. All of these highlights merely scratch the surface of all Rice’s accomplishments and the many ways she has made a positive social impact on Grande Prairie. For these reasons, we are proud to present Helen Rice as our Distinguished Woman of Influence 2018.

Trailblazing Woman of Influence- Dianna Wright

In both a personal and professional capacity, Dianna Wright embodies what it means to push for progress in building an equal and diverse future. Through her positions as a Criminal Justice Educator at the John Howard Society, an English as an Alternative Language Instructor at the Council for Lifelong Learning and currently as a Program Facilitator for Centerpoint Facilitation, Wright dedicates herself as an advocate for equal rights for people of all races, cultures, genders, backgrounds and abilities. In this advocacy, she demonstrates constant innovation as she builds new programs specifically designed based on community feedback. Examples of this include the Conversational Coffee Club and Game On programs to enhance opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to socialize with each other in the community. To do this, she also works strongly to build community partnerships with organizations like the Grande Prairie Public Library and Grande Prairie Storm, to help enhance community connectedness and community responsibility in meeting the social needs of our residents. Wright has already made an immeasurable impact on Grande Prairie as a result of her efforts to improve the quality and relevancy of services offered to ensure they are meeting the needs of our diverse population. We are pleased to honour Dianna Wright as our Trailblazing Woman of Influence 2018 and are inspired to see what she accomplishes next.

Young Woman of Influence- Jessica Beauchamp

Jessica Beauchamp is a prime example of the idea that individuals can be strong leaders at any age. At the young age of 27, Beauchamp became the Executive Director of Mountain Plains Community Services Society of the North. Through her strong leadership and mentorship capabilities she has expanded the agency from a small, lesser-known organization to a prominent and recognizable industry leader. Her success in this endeavour is credited largely to her disciplined and strategic approach to decision-making. For an agency that holds contracts with Child and Family Services, Disability Services and Alberta Health Services she has to constantly manage multiple demands and issues but does so with confidence and a person-centered approach. One of the ways in which she has demonstrated the innovation and lasting impact through leadership is by the development of an Agency Culture Code to guide her organization and staff towards continuous community growth in the direction of social inclusion and equality. As a result of her unique leadership and managerial approach, Beauchamp has been able to triumph an improvement in the quality, availability and accessibility of social programs to all individuals in Grande Prairie. Through her inspiring and inclusive direction, Jessica Beauchamp is pressing for progress not only in her agency but in the community as a whole and that is why she is our Young Woman of Influence 2018.

2018 Nominees

Congratulation to all of the women who received award nominations this year.

Distinguished Woman of Influence

  • Angie Crerar
  • Bethe Goldie
  • Helen Rice
  • Jacquie Aitken
  • Leanne Beaupre
  • Margaret Johansen

Trailblazing Woman of Influence

  • Candace Boechler
  • Cindy Park
  • Cortnie Clarke
  • Dianna Wright
  • Jamie Rigler
  • Julie Frykberg
  • Kari Robertson
  • Kim Drever
  • Kristin Hurtubise
  • Rilla Websdale
  • Sabine Schneider
  • Samina Malik Smith
  • Tanya Wald
  • Tracy Archibald

Young Woman of Influence

  • Ashley Cawthorn
  • Devon Potter
  • Jessica Beauchamp
  • Parita Vadodariya Desai
  • Xaverie MacLennan

2018 Keynote Speaker: Eunice Friesen

Moving to Grande Prairie in 1984, Eunice Friesen is a remarkable force in our community as a businesswoman, volunteer and everyday resident.

Friesen began her career as a nurse, before shifting paths to become a successful businesswoman. She directed several occupational health businesses before opening Bear Creek Funeral Home with her husband in 2013. At Bear Creek Funeral Home, her community-minded vision is seen through her innovative and inclusive service approach that includes funeral traditions for people of all cultural and faith backgrounds. She spoke of utilizing this perspective as a funerary service provider in her TedXGrande Prairie talk, “At Their Request, Their Will Be No Service” in 2015.

Outside of her professional career, Friesen serves many vital roles in our community. Since moving here in 1985 she has been highly involved in diverse organizations that have shaped Grande Prairie. Her previous roles include positions at the Grande Prairie Live Theatre, Grande Prairie Women’s Residence Association, Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau and Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce among many others. Currently, Friesen holds memberships at the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie and serves on the Board of Governors at Grande Prairie Regional College and as an Appeal Panel Member at the Ministry of Human Services.

In 2017, Friesen ran a successful campaign for a seat on the 2017-2021 City Council. As part of her role as Councillor, she sits on many committees to help fulfill her role including the Infrastructure and Protective Services Committee, Pursuit of Excellence Committee, and as a City Council representative on the Youth Council. Although new to City Council, she is proving herself as a powerful and dedicated representative of citizens.

For all of the different ways Friesen contributes to Grande Prairie, she truly exemplifies the purpose of the Women of Influence Awards and the International Women’s Day theme of “Press for Progress.” In every capacity she has dedicated her time to, Friesen has left a mark of positive social change and demonstrated the importance of women’s contributions to community development. She is a shining example of the value of promoting equality and diversity in communities and The City is honoured to host her as keynote speaker today.

2018 Sponsors 

Thank you to the following businesses and organizations for their generosity in sponsorships to help make this event a success:

  • Montrose Cultural Centre
  • Curry’s Jewellers
  • Costco
  • CCSI
  • NuVista Energy Ltd.
  • Design Works Engineering and Inspections Ltd.
  • PACE
  • Investors Group Financial Services Inc.
  • Esquires
  • Grower Direct Flowers
  • NCP Studios


The “Women of Influence” Awards are brought to you by the City of Grande Prairie’s Community Social Development department, Community Foundations of Northwest Alberta, PACE, Odyssey House and Curry’s Jewellers.

Last updated: 3/8/2018 3:15:53 PM