Here at Edit Seven, we’re all about girl power and supporting women. Which is why it’s only apt that our first article for 2022 is all about women; specifically, Canadian women who made an impact in 2021, inspiring us to strive and excel this 2022!
It’s no question that women excel in anything they do, no matter the field of their profession. Our list of amazing women of impact spans from varying industries — fashion, health, travel, and many more. So, if you need a little pick-me-up and a dose of inspiration from your co-females, look no further.
Looking for inspo to make your own impact in the world? Meet these seven remarkable women who made an impact in their own industries!
Carinne Chambers- Saini
photo credit: Erin Leydon
What she does: Diva International Inc. Founder and CEO
In 2021 Carinne led environment-friendly period care company, Diva, with two groundbreaking initiatives; the implementation of the first-ever free menstrual cup recycling program, and the first publicized paid menstrual leave policy in Canada.
In partnership with TerraCycle — the world’s leading recycling enterprise, known for recycling even the non-recyclable items —the DivaRecycles program closes the loop for users who have to switch sizes due to body changes, especially with postpartum pelvic flaw changes. Diva consumers can now recycle their DivaCups and DivaWipes packaging and, what’s more, they can earn points with every shipment to TerraCycle, which can then be used for charitable gifts or converted to cash and donated to the non-profit, school, or charitable organization of their choice.
Under Carinne’s leadership in 2021, Diva also launched a Paid Menstrual Leave policy, providing 12 paid leave days per year. This is the first-ever paid menstrual leave policy in Canada. “The conversations around menstruation have been so stigmatized it has created a huge equity issue that begins in school and then is carried into the workplace, says Carinne. “This policy will not require a doctor’s note, we believe women and want to empower them in managing their care.”
Dr. Lillian Siu
photo credit: David Pike
What she does: Senior Medical Oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Dr. Lillian Siu is a world leader in immunotherapy — a promising treatment alternative to chemo — which uses one’s own immune system to fight cancer.
In 2021 she has made another important breakthrough in cancer treatment with immunotherapy; resulting in a global impact in the understanding of treating cancer. Her findings, published in the journal, Nature Communications, discovered a way to predict which patients will benefit from this treatment. Individual response to treatment can be predicted within weeks; based on increasing or decreasing levels of DNA fragments, which are shed from the tumour into the blood. At the moment, only 20 to 30 percent of patients respond to immunotherapy; Dr. Siu’s findings give clinicians a way to predict who is going to respond to immunotherapy regardless of cancer types.
What she does: Karseva Co. founder, talk show host, resilience educator
Komal Minhas has been exceptional at a very young age. Growing up in an immigrant household in Alberta — where she was often the translator and mediator — birthed her love for coaching and interviewing. While her journey began in 2016 after producing Dream Girl, a documentary about female entrepreneurs, which landed her in Oprah’s Super Soul 100, she has made a significant impact in 2021.
A resilience educator, Komal trains womxn to better understand their own strengths and capacity as they work to transform the systems they live in. She also helps individuals around the world build the necessary tools of resilience and aid in their mental health journey.
As an impact-driven entrepreneur and investor and champion of womxn’s rights, she not only works with organizations and individuals to find clarity in their next steps in life but also supports a diverse roster of women-led businesses, including Live Tinted, The Helm Co, and iFundWomen.
What she does: Founder of Nonie and Folds Wear.
Computer engineer turned designer, Nina Kharey has made a profound impact in 2021 — developing and releasing the world’s first and only patent protected 100 percent recyclable anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-bacterial medical scrubs through her new medical apparel company, Folds Wear.
After discovering that healthcare workers’ scrubs provide little protection and comfort, Nina developed materials that has functional use, comfort, and style. They are made from pre- and post-consumer goods, like airbags and old carpets, while being a full-circle garment; keeping millions of yards of fabric out of landfills every year.
She also relaunched her first women’s luxury clothing brand, Nonie, as a full circular technology-driven brand, in partnership with Folds Wear, to advance the future of sustainability in fashion. Her first product? A trench wrap coat made from the same materials as the Folds scrubs; with all the same benefits of being zero-waste, zero-pollution, microplastic- and microfibre-free, anti-viral, and fully recyclable.
What she does: Founder of Wander the Resort
Wander opened after a challenging year of being cooped up at home, when Canadians needed a local getaway. With a Scandi-inspired cabin retreat in Prince Edward County, Shannon had a vision of redefining the resort experience; where Nordic design meets County comfort.
“Nordic design believes simplicity is the ultimate luxury. We took the nostalgia of the classic Canadian cabin, lightened the palette and let in light to create spaces that are simple and layered, modern and warm, luxurious and familiar,” says Shannon. It turns out this is exactly what people were looking for. The cabin retreat has since had two sold out seasons hosting a distanced experience, launched a beach club, and has an expansion currently underway this year.
Opening a new business during a challenging year, making business expansions and designing a dreamscape, engaging in community partnerships, and negotiating pandemic bylaws surely isn’t a walk in the park. But doing all this all while taking care of two homeschooled kids and keeping her home running? That’s being superwoman. We’d love to know how she does it all!
Karen Cleveland and Michelle Bilodeau
What they do: authors of The New Wedding Book: A Guide to Ditching All the Rules
After their own experiences of getting married, friends Michelle Bilodeau and Karen Cleveland wrote the wedding planning book they wish existed.
Michelle and Karen’s book, published in April 2021, threw a giant feminist wrench into the wedding industrial complex. Being writers by profession — Michelle working in Canadian media for nearly 20 years, and Karen contributing lifestyle content to media outlets — they spent years interviewing couples, psychologists, financial advisers, and other trusted voices for the book; seeking to explore how weddings got so homogenised and pigeonholed couples (women in particular). They debunked everything from manufactured traditions; taboo subjects like the pressure to be thin and perfect for a wedding; and why having uncomfortable conversations during the planning process makes for happier marriages.
These two women made such impact that Vogue, Refinery29, and others recognized the book as the long overdue shake-up weddings need!