Two Osgoode women honoured by YWCA

Two members of the Osgoode Hall Law School community – one a student, the other an alumna – will be honoured tonight at the 24th Annual YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction Awards ceremony. The awards pay tribute to the contributions women make to the life of the city, and in particular their commitment to improving the lives of women and girls.

Left: Michelle Dagnino

First-year Osgoode student and youth activist Michelle Dagnino, 23, is this year’s YWCA Young Woman of Distinction in recognition of her long fight for women’s and children’s rights as well as her anti-racism work, particularly with youth. Dagnino was also chosen by Maclean’s magazine as one of “The Best and the Brightest” young Canadians for 2004. (See the May 18 issue of YFile for the complete story.)

Alison Youngman (LLB ’84, LLM ’99), who came to Osgoode as a mature student after working as a law clerk for several years at Stikeman Elliott LLP in Toronto, will receive the 2004 YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction Award for Corporate Leadership.

Right: Alison Youngman

Now a senior partner at Stikeman Elliott, Youngman has been described as “a legal trailblazer for women and mothers.” A mother of two boys, she pioneered maternity leave for her firm and has also broken new ground for women in the legal profession. She is currently executive vice-president of the International Women’s Forum of Canada, which fosters association and communications between women leaders in diverse professions.

As co-chair of the IWF’s 2003 World Leadership Conference she helped create an intensive laboratory for leadership development and brought together 400 heads of business, policy makers and entrepreneurs from 30 countries.

Youngman has made a substantial contribution to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation both nationally and within Ontario through her work on the volunteer-based organization’s governance and nominations committees.

She is also a long-time volunteer at Toronto’s Out of the Cold, a seasonal program to bring homeless individuals into warm shelter during the winter months.

More about the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards

The YWCA of Greater Toronto’s Women of Distinction Awards were created in 1981 to celebrate publicly the achievements of a cross-section of Toronto area women whose excellence in their chosen field and commitment to women deserved recognition. The first of their kind, the awards laid the foundation for the various platforms that now regularly honour women. The selection criteria for Women of Distinction have remained the same, while the award categories have evolved along with women’s changing roles in society.

For more information on the Women of Distinction Awards, click here.