Michelle Plouffe is the Vice President, General Counsel and Compliance Officer at MacEwan University.  Michelle is responsible for managing the legal affairs of the University.

She directly supervises the Risk and Assurance Services, Emergency Management, Internal Audit Services, Privacy and Records Management, and Legal portfolios. She is a legal and strategic advisor to the Board of Governors and its Audit Committee, Campus Planning Committee, Governance and Human Resources Committee, and Foundation Board.

Michelle is responsible for development and implementation of significant institution-wide programs. Michelle has been a volunteer member of the Law Society Audit Committee since 2015 and is dedicated to the prevention of gender-based violence and the preservation of human rights for women and girls.


Teresa Spinelli wasn’t supposed to be one of Edmonton’s most successful entrepreneurs and community advocates. She was supposed to get married and have babies. But when her father Frank Spinelli, founder of the Italian Centre Shop’s family of business passed away in 2000, she took over the business.

After years of fighting comments like ‘your dad didn’t do it that way’, Teresa built her dad’s legacy from a single store and wholesaler, to three locations in Edmonton, one in Calgary and a major importer and distributor of Italian and European goods. Teresa’s business philosophy comes from her dad, “The more you give, the more you get”. The most important ingredient for business success in Teresa’s heart is in people.

If you take care of your staff, they’ll take care of the customers. Teresa is married to Mike Newberry and they have a son Massimo, born in 2007.


Yazmin Juarez came to Canada in 1992 as a refugee, following an ongoing civil war in her home country Guatemala.

Yazmin Juarez is a self-taught visual artist. As an artist, Yazmin has shown her artwork at various community events and has collaborated with others to organize showcases that raise awareness on environmental, discrimination and human rights issues. Some of these showcases include Masala Mix and Unpacking Boxes.

Yazmin operates YEG Social which is a group of local artists who feel passionate about making art accessible to everyone. In addition to being a two-time nominee for Artist of the Year at the Latin American Chambers of Commerce, Yazmin also sits on the Equity Committee for the Edmonton’s Arts Council.  Yazmin who is expecting her first child, hopes to continue to work with many communities to create equal opportunities for all.


Dama Diriye is a settlement practitioner at Edmonton Immigrant Services Association (EISA) working with Immigrant and refugee Children, Youth and their families since August 2012.

Dama was born in Mogadishu Somalia. She fled from her home country at a young age due to a civil war that forced her to live in Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya- the world’s largest refugee camp where she took her prime time.

Dama moved to Canada mid-2006 after finishing high school and winning a full scholarship and sponsorship through the World University Service of Canada (WUSC), a Canadian organization that gives the scolariships to top refugee students.

In Kenya, Dama has been a role model and an advocate for youth in general and girls in particular. Dama is a recent graduate of MacEwan University’s faculty of health and Community Studies and a mother of two.


Shawna Grimes grew up in St. Albert. In 1993, despite her family’s concern for her safety, she joined Edmonton Police Service, Class #82. She was a farm girl who went on to become the first ever-female Staff Sgt.

Shawna Grimes has been with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) for 23 years and is currently a Staff Sergeant in the Homicide Section. Prior to this, she was the Staff Sergeant in the Sexual Assault Section and to this day continues to work with Edmonton community groups to help increase education and awareness around the issues of sexual violence in our city.

Shawna is a single parent to two amazing teenage girls, Faith and Kara. She is dedicated to volunteering in the community and to raising her daughters to be strong and independent women.


My name is Linar Dahir and I am from Ethiopia. I arrived to Canada in late 2010 with my three siblings and mom and no one in my family spoke English so life was hard.

I am the parent in my family, I register my mom to school,I am the one to contact if anything goes wrong I am the one to fix it, and I have to missed a lot of school and work days.

When your parents are newcomers now you’re no long the child, you become the parent to your family because the language barrier, and they will depend on you. we as children of new Canadian need to be patient because does only our family depend on us also our community.

On my free times I teach computer classes to adult newcomers and I helped newcomer students in my High School in a program call Peer Leaders and every year I had go and get training.

I have received RISE Awards 2014 for the Youth Achievement and the story of Heroesof 107th.   

I strive for positivity and I help my community.