Seven leaders in education, business and community who have ties to the University of Waterloo were named to a list of the most powerful women in Canada.

Women’s Executive Network (WXN) recently released the 2023 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners, and Waterloo professors and alumni appear on the list celebrating women across Canada for their leadership and accomplishments.

“The challenges we face in our ever-changing world require innovative, unconventional approaches, and this belief informs our work and teaching at Waterloo,” said Dr. Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor of Waterloo. “Congratulations to these strong leaders from the UWaterloo community on being honoured for their meaningful contributions to society.”

In addition to being Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Waterloo, Dr. Mary Wells is an accomplished researcher and materials engineer. She has prioritized initiatives to make the engineering profession more welcoming and accessible for members of underrepresented groups. She is honoured in the Canadian Tire Community Impact category, for women working to make a positive impact in their communities.

Composite image of photos of women honoured in the Top 100 list

WXN recognized two esteemed Waterloo professors in its BMO STEM category, which honours women challenging the status quo in STEM fields. Dr. Joanne Atlee is Director of Women in Computer Science at Waterloo. Known for her work in software modelling and analysis, she is a professor of computer science and was the founding director of Waterloo’s software engineering program. Dr. Aiping Yu is a distinguished researcher and professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering. A member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, her work in polymers could help meet the demand for improved plastics in consumer items.

Two alumni join Dr. Wells in the Canadian Tire Community Impact category. Tabatha Bull earned a BASc in electrical engineering in 2000 and is President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. Jill Schnarr, Chief Communications and Brand Officer at TELUS, received a graduate diploma in social innovation in 2012.

Dr. Atefeh Mashatan, Founder and Director of the Cybersecurity Lab at Toronto Metropolitan University, appears in the Executive Leaders category, which recognizes women above age 40 who champion others while demonstrating great leadership. Dr. Mashatan earned her master’s and PhD from Waterloo in combinatorics and optimization in 2003 and 2009.

And one Waterloo alum appears in the WXN Hall of Fame this year, which recognizes women appearing on the Top 100 list for a fourth time. Stephanie Thompson, Engineering Manager at GM Canada and founder of STEM by Steph, earned a BASc in chemical engineering in 2001 and is also an alum of United College.

The Top 100 Awards recognize leaders in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. WXN's Diversity Council of Canada selects honourees in 12 categories. The awards will be presented at a gala on November 30.

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