Waterloo faculty and alumni among Canada’s 2022 most powerful women

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Collage of WXM's Top 100 most powerful women for 2022.

Three Waterloo scientists have been named among the top 100 most powerful women in Canada. Eleven leaders in education, business and community who have ties to the University of Waterloo are named among the 100 most powerful women in Canada. The annual rankings were released today by the Women’s Executive Network.

The Women’s Executive Network (WXN) recently released the 2022 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners, and Waterloo Science faculty and alumni figure prominently. The list celebrates women across Canada for their leadership and accomplishments.

WXN rankings are widely seen as a measure of exceptional impact for leadership in business, research, science, arts, public administration and community advocacy. The WXN rankings define power through compassion, humility and the promotion of collective well-being rather than more traditional measures of power, such as wealth, status or physical strength.

“I’m immensely proud of the influential people who are part of the UWaterloo community and the University’s role in supporting strong leaders who make meaningful contributions to society,” said Dr. Vivek Goel, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo. “I wish to acknowledge the accomplishments of these women and offer my congratulations to them for this honour.”

Dr. Shirley Tang, Professor 

Shirley Tang in the lab

Dr. Shirley Tang is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry was named among the top 100 most powerful women in Canada in the Science and Technology category for her research impact and empowering women in STEM. She is the co-founder and scientific advisor of LeNano Diagnostics, an Ontario-based medical technology innovator, that is working to commercialize a point-of-care testing system for early diagnosis and outpatient monitoring of heart failure. 

Her research is internationally recognized for its pioneering work on hybrid nanobiomaterials and devices, which has applications in health-related fields. Her research crosses disciplines and unites chemistry, biology, nanoengineering and medicine.  Her applied research has led to key developments in biosensing and tissue engineering. She is also exploiting 3D bioprinting as a powerful tool to increase the reproducibility, scability and heterogeneity of engineered cardiac tissue.

Tang has devoted extensive effort to promote women in STEM. She aims to shatter the gender boundaries in science and be an example that women can excel in positions of leadership. She has undertaken several leadership roles, enthusiastically supported student initiatives and female researchers

Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, Biology Alumus and 2019 Honorary Degree Recipient

Anne Innis Dagg with giraffe in background

Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, an alum from the Department of Biology, is included in the Women of Courage Category. It honours those who demonstrate courage and compassion, sometimes at great personal risk. Dagg is recognized as the first western scientist to study giraffes in the wild. She received an Honorary degree from the Faculty of Science in 2019.

Anne is pioneer in zoology and animal behaviour. She fearlessly pursued her childhood passion for giraffes when – at age 23 – she went to Africa. She was on her own with no funding, no team, a beat-up truck, and a local farmer willing to help her undertake observational study of giraffes in the wild. This type of study was ground-breaking; it was the first of its kind for any animal in Africa, and preceded similar efforts by Jane Goodall (chimps) and Diane Fossey (gorillas) by years.

Anne’s body of work examines animals and their behaviour, scientific discourse, and feminist issues in science. Her studies are wide-ranging and enlightening. They shed light on maturity and friendship in social species like chimps and lemurs; examine animal locomotion of giraffes, camels, and okapi; explore wildlife conservation, ecology and management in Canada and Europe; and critique gender bias, genetic, and evolutionary thought in behavioural science.

Anne has authored more than 20 books covering topics as diverse as zoology, biography, adventure travel (her own!), evolution, feminist theory, and a newly published children’s non-fiction book about – you guessed it – giraffes. Anne is featured in Wild Journey: The Anne Innis Story (2011), a CBC radio documentary, and the 2018 film titled The Woman Who Loves Giraffes

“I’m so pleased that organizations like WXN exist to provide a platform for the recognition of women’s accomplishments," said Innis Dagg. "I am honoured to be recognized, but I’m most pleased to be amongst the bright young minds that will lead us into the future. It’s all very inspiring.”

Simone Harrington, Science and Business Alumus

Portrait of Simon Harringon

Alum Simon Harrington is the Vice-President, Institute for Better Health with Trillium Health Partners. She was recognized in the Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders category, which recognizes women between the ages of 30 to 40 years, who have held successive leadership positions within their organizations and have a proven passion for learning and innovation.

Harrington is a national leader in healthcare innovation with 15-plus years leading large-scale change initiatives. Currently she leads the research and innovation programs driving transformative health-care solutions. Prior to joining THP, Simone worked in consulting. Simone holds a Bachelor of Science & Business from the University of Waterloo and MBA from The Schulich School of Business and is a board member at Sheridan College.

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