Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta 4th Woman of Inspiration 2013-2014 Presented by Syncrude Announced

(Fort McMurray) Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude are proud to announce the 4th nominee for the Women of Inspiration series 2013-2014:

Melissa Blake

As Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Melissa Blake has been an ambassador for the women of the region for many years. A mother of two young sons, Mayor Melissa Blake has not let the pressures of raising a family stop her from a demanding political career. Not only has Melissa been able to do the job of Mayor for three consecutive terms while juggling a family, but her increasing share of the popular vote in each election has proven her leadership ability.

After graduating from high school, Melissa pursued an education with a diploma in Business Administration from Keyano College, followed by a Bachelor of Business Administration from Athabasca University, and became increasingly involved in the community, eventually taking those skills and giving back to the community by standing for public office.

Aside from her daily duties as Mayor, Melissa has not only helped steward the development of the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan as a member of the Regional Advisory Committee, but she also participated as a member of the Community Development Advisory Board that helped to shape the Parsons Creek development as a model of 21st century living.

Melissa has twice been named by Alberta Venture as one of Alberta’s Top 50 Most Influential People, named a Global Television Woman of Vision in 2006, and named to the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame by Keyano College in 2010. Melissa has also been honoured with several awards for her efforts, including receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award from Athabasca University in 2008, accepting the Sustainable Community Recognition Award from the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce and being honoured by Canadian Hadassah WIZO (the leading Canadian Jewish Women’s philanthropy) in 2009, and being invited to the International Visitor Leadership Program (a U.S. State Department sponsored 21-day US tour to discuss energy security and climate change with American policy-makers, research scientists and engineers) in 2010.

Originally from Quebec and with an aboriginal background, Melissa was honoured in 2012 by the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women when she was inducted into the Circle of Honour at the 17th Annual Esquao Awards. She has served on several committees that have worked to assist aboriginals including those related to development, protective services, community services, and affordable housing. As a Mayor for the primarily aboriginal communities of Anzac, Conklin, Fort Chipeywan, Fort McKay, Fort Fitzgerald, and Janvier, there are not many people more familiar with the challenges faced in those communities than Melissa Blake.

The first person to win three consecutive terms as Mayor since the amalgamation of Fort McMurray and Waterways, Melissa has set a tremendous example both locally and nationally of what the women of this region can accomplish. With her continuing success Melissa has proven that female mayors can certainly succeed in industrial towns despite the gender stereotypes that we are sometimes exposed to today.
Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude will honour Melissa and 11 other nominees, at the Women of Inspiration Celebration which will take place May 24th, 2014.

The Women of Inspiration is a partnership between Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude, with a goal to recognize women throughout the Wood Buffalo region who inspire others, break new ground or old barriers and help create change. The series also aims to show local girls positive role models who live right here.
For more information about the Women of Inspiration series, please visit our website at or contact the Girls Inc. office at 780-790-9236.

For more information, please contact:

Ann Dort-MacLean
Executive Director
Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta
Phone: 780-790-9236