Our First Woman of Inspiration presented by Syncrude announced

July 31, 2012

(Fort McMurray, AB) Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude are proud to announce the first nominee for the Women of Inspiration series.

Elsie Yanik

Born in Fort Fitzgerald in 1917, Elsie Yanik has become a very well-respected Elder within the Metis communities of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. She worked her entire 95 years to help others and be a positive role model in the north.

She was raised by the Grey Nuns, and after her schooling, she took over as the lay person in the church.  Eventually, she moved to Fort Smith where she worked among the sick, aiding those with consumption and other illnesses.

Yanik is known for her volunteer work; she’s the President for the Voice of Alberta Native Women (now the ESQUOU organization), is a ten-year member of the Young Offenders Board, and provides recommendations for community health on the Nunee Health Authority Board in Fort Chipewyan.  She is also a huge advocate for education and the importance of successful Aboriginal women in business; two topics she has spent time discussing with the Northern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association and the Regional Aboriginal Recognition Awards.

More recently, she is quoted in the Keyano College Aboriginal Viewbook with these inspirational words to live by: “I love people. I look at the heart and not the color of the skin. My aim in life is to bring out the best in people.”

Just a few of Yanik’s achievements include the Governor General Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Stars of Alberta Volunteer Walk of Fame, a blessing from Pope John Paul II for her work within the Catholic Church, and an Honorary Diploma for Aboriginal Child and Family Services from Keyano College.  Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude will honour Yanik and eleven other Women of Inspiration nominees at the Women of Inspiration Gala which will take place in May 2013.

The Women of Inspiration Series 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 positive change. The series also aims to show local girls positive role models who live right here.

If you’d like to nominate a woman who has been an inspiration to you or someone you know in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Click here for a WOI inspiration Form.

Sean Conroy’s Interview with Elsie Yanik
Click to hear Sean Conroy’s Interview with Elsie Yanik

For more information, please contact:

Ann Dort-MacLean
Executive Director
Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta
Phone: 780-790-9236
Email: girlsinc@telus.net