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'True honour': Lakehead official named Orillia's Woman of the Year

'It's really important to recognize women as leaders. I think that often women lead in a way that is under-recognized in our society,' says Linda Rodenburg

 Dr. Linda Rodenburg won the Nelle Carter Woman of the Year award on Wednesday evening.

Orillia Business Women’s Association (OBWA) vice president Trisha Cuthbertson says the way Rodenburg, the interim principal of Lakehead University's Orillia campus, presents herself caught the eye of the judges.

"They see her as someone who's forward-thinking in building community and relationships," she said.

Rodenburg says receiving the award during the 33rd OBWA gala was a "true honour."

"This really represents the team that I work with and the amazing women at Lakehead University," she said. "I think it's such a privilege to work in this community through all of our relationships."

Rodenburg, 48, says it's important to recognize women in the community through the OBWA event each year.

"It's really important to recognize women as leaders," she said. "I think that often women lead in a way that is under-recognized in our society."

Rodenburg, a native of Woodstock, says women often lead with care and compassion.

"I think we have to stand up and recognize that," she said. "We should celebrate it."

With Rodenburg at the Mariposa Best Western Inn & Conference Centre to accept the award on Wednesday evening was her 11-year-old daughter Evie.

"She inspires me every day with her open-mindedness and her willingness to try new things," she said. "It's really great to be able to be someone she can be proud of."

Also nominated for the Nelle Carter Woman of the Year award were Christina De Palma and Dr. Anna Naylor.

Twin Lakes Secondary School student Eleanor Waite was named the Lisa Brooking Young Woman of the Year on Wednesday evening.

Cuthbertson says Waite has made quite an impression on her peers, teachers, and guidance counsellors who nominated her for the award.

"She's made many contributions within the community," she said. "She has a willingness to help others and is an overall amazing young lady."

Waite, 18, says being the recipient of the Young Woman of the Year award "meant a lot" to her.

"It shows that the work that I've put in over all of my years has started to pay off a bit," she said. "I'm not going to ease back now; I'm going to like keep pushing forward because it makes me believe that I can really achieve a lot with my life."

Waite has put in countless hours working with the Special Olympics swim team and is involved with volunteering at Hardwood Ski & Bike for Nordic ski races and fundraisers.

"I'm involved in a whole bunch of different clubs at my school," she said. "I just do as much as I can to help as many people as I can."

Waite says it's important to recognize young women in the community.

"It allows women to strive to be whatever they want to be," she said. "A lot of times, women can be kind of pushed into a box. This kind of shows you just to live outside the box and fulfill your full potential."

In the fall, Waite is heading to St. Lawrence University in New York to study biochemistry while competing in track and field, cross-country running, and Nordic skiing.

Also nominated for the Lisa Brooking Young Woman of the Year were Orillia Secondary School student Naomi Couture-Gagnon and Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School Student Anna Holton.


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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