York alumnae earn recognition for leadership, innovation

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Five York alumnae have been recognized for their leadership in driving impact, innovation and inspiration through their work and accomplishments in the Canadian tech industry and in the advancement of women as role models.

Included in the 2023 Top 25 Women of Influence, a list curated by the women advocacy and support organization Women of Influence+, are alumnae Kristin Beardsley (’00 BA) and Paulette Senior (’90 BA).

“York alumni are leaders in a wide array of fields, and are making a significant impact in Canada every single day,” says Susana Gajic-Bruyea, vice-president advancement. “We are very proud to count these remarkable women amongst our graduates, and applaud their dedication to creating positive change in their communities and across the country.”

The top 25 list “recognizes and celebrates the extraordinary accomplishments of self-identified women and gender-diverse role models” and acknowledges the work of women across diverse sectors and career stages.

Beardsley is the CEO of Food Banks Canada, and under her leadership more than 4,700 food banks and community agencies operate nationwide.

Senior is president and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, where she works to build gender justice for women, girls and gender-diverse people. Senior recently delivered the prestigious Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture at York.

DMZ’s 2023 Women of the Year, recognizing female trailblazers driving innovation in the Canadian tech industry, included three York alumnae: Hanna Zaidi (’12 BA), Kashmera Self (’99 BA); and Suzanne Knight (’11 MBA).

Zaidi is the chief compliance officer for payments at Wealthsimple, and under her leadership the company was one of the first securities dealers to get a membership to Payments Canada which allows access to infrastructure and tools for innovating financial services.

Self empowers Canadians with control of their finances and data in her role as vice-president, strategy and emerging solutions for Interac Corp. She continues to work to incorporate sustainability into the financial world and leverage Interac platforms to incentivise Ontarians with respect to climate change.

Knight is vice-president, transformation services at Walmart Canada, and in that role, drives innovative ways of thinking and working with respect to technology adoption and automation and improving the customer and employee experience.