In honour of International Women’s Day we’ve decided to highlight some of the incredible women within our own community and the ways they have made an impact. These women are the movers, makers and boundary breakers inspiring the next generation of women to follow their lead.
Jennifer Armstrong Lehman
In January of 2019 Jennifer Armstrong Lehman became the third Honourary Colonel for Base Borden and the first female in the position. Her job in this role is to help strengthen the relationship between the base and surrounding communities.
In regards to her new position Lehman said, “When we have a government structure that better reflects the make up of our society, it’s better all around.”
Lehmans husband, Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, expressed his pride for his wife’s achievement and joked that he will eventually get used to saluting her.
Ann Green is a well known personality in Barrie’s health and wellness community, as well as the downtown core. Her mission in life is to cultivate happiness and help others do the same.
Among other things, Green is a yogi, surfer and educator. She is passionate about helping others live their most joyful, liberated and connected life.
BLISS Ann Green Yoga, well known for it’s standout appearance at Barrie’s waterfront, is a hub for “inner journeys and community connections”. Green plays an active role in our community outside of the walls of her studio by prioritizing initiatives and events that help contribute to the greater good.
Natalie Harris served our community and saved lives for over 11 years as an advanced-care paramedic. Currently, she is well-known in our community as a City Councillor and mental health advocate.
Harris has traveled across Canada to share her story of recovery from PTSD and participated in a number of initiatives to help others who may also be suffering from the illness.
She founded Wings of Change Peer Support which provides solution-based peer discussion for first responders, health-care providers, correction workers and other community heroes. This organization is the first of its kind in our community.
Harris has avidly used her own life experience to build a career while simultaneously bettering our community.
Fanny “Bobbie” Rosenfeld (Dec 1904-Nov 1969)
Barrie native, Fanny “Bobbie” Rosenfeld was named “Canada’s Female Athlete of the First Half-Century (1900–1950)”. In her teenage years, she walked the halls as a student at Barrie Central.
During the 1928 Summer Olympics, Rosenfeld won a gold and silver medal, as well as set multiple national records. She also excelled in basketball, hockey, softball, lacrosse, golf, speed skating and tennis.
Rosenfeld helped lead many teams to championships and in 1924, claimed the title of the Toronto Ladies Grass Court Tennis championship as a newcomer to the sport.
Rosenfeld left an impressive mark on the Canadian sports industry and showed that her ability to excel was not limited to just one thing.
She was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
Since moving to Barrie in 2012, Shelly Skinner has made it her mission to support social services and advocate for the marginalized.
Through event planning and fundraising, Skinner has helped raise over $100 000 for community organizations such as Women and Children’s Shelter of Barrie, Redwood Park Communities, and Barrie Pride.
Although she loves our city, Skinner understands their is still a great deal of work to be done in regards to a number of key issues. She is passionate about making diversity, inclusion, accessibility, affordable housing, growth in arts and culture and community togetherness a priority for local government.
Skinner plays an active role as a speaker, participant and MC at variety of important events throughout the city. In the past she has spoken for the the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Barrie Arts Awards, Black History Month Women of Colour Panel and International Women’s Days events.
Chief Kimberley Greenwood
Kimberley Greenwood is the 9th Chief of Barrie Police and the first female in the position. Her contract was extended in 2018 as a result of her exceptional ability to lead.
Greenwood believes that fairness and transparency are critical to her role as Chief. During her contract renewal she said, “I will continue to serve our community with respect, honour and distinction.”
Greenwood is also president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, an organization established as the voice of Ontario’s police leaders.
Over the course of Greenwood’s time in command, Barrie has been named one of the safest cities in Canada to live.
From dishwasher, to head chef, to Barrie’s Top Chef, Amanda Rider is dominating Barrie’s restaurant industry.
Rider spent many years working her way through top tier restaurants in Toronto and Victoria, British Colombia.
Now, she can be spotted cooking up a storm as the Head Chef at Dunlop St. Diner. In January 2019, she competed in “Top Cheflicious” with her team from the Diner and was crowned “Top Chef” by a majority vote.
Although the Canadian culinary industry is traditionally male dominated, Rider shows no signs of holding back from pursuing her dreams and achieving success at the highest levels.
Janice Laking was mayor of Barrie from 1988-2000. During those years, the city of Barrie faced a great deal of challenge and change. Laking and her council were responsible for a number of essential development across the city including a new Barrie Public Library, a new police station, South Shore Community Centre, improvements along the waterfront and the bus terminal.
Laking fought hard to see the change she wanted in the city of Barrie. She attributed her successful career as a leader to 3 specific skills: being a good mediator, a good negotiator and be able to balance competing interests and personalities to get the job done.
She also knows a thing or two about facing adversity. Laking has said: “I don’t think I have any regrets…. I’ve given everything I’ve had to give and if there are times where you don’t get what you think should have happened, you just have to turn the page.”