You know how you hear about this person or that person being super cool, and someone you ought to meet? Well here are a few amazing women in Peterborough and the Kawarthas we've compiled. If you ever get the chance to have coffee with them, don't pass it up. In no particular order, here we go...
1. Peggy Shaughnessy
For starters, Peggy is the owner of the legendary Whistle Stop at the corner of George & Charlotte—which has some of the best poutine (and conversation) you'll find anywhere on the planet. But much more than that, Peggy is an angel to the less fortunate in society—or those just struggling in their day to day lives. She is a tireless crusader who helps people who come in off the street looking for help or through her mental health Redpath programs she runs across Canada. She is also one of the funniest people you'll ever meet, a great storyteller—and an even greater listener.
2. Maryam Monsef
Maryam is the current Federal Liberal candidate for Peterborough [UPDATE: and now MP] and was a close runner-up in the Peterborough mayoral race last fall. Politics aside, she has an infectious energy and attitude toward life. She believes anyone—regardless of age, race, gender or experience—can change the world through courage, passion, conviction and knowledge. She's living proof of that. She also totally loves Peterborough—it saved her life—and knows that everyone has a story to share, and that anyone can make a difference.
3. Sofie Andreou
Sofie is known for her passion of leveraging the power of online marketing—speaking and training people in Peterborough and far beyond. But she is also a community ambassador, with her countless roles with supporting local charities and business initiatives and economic development. This entrepreneur has instrumental roles with Women's Business Network (WBN) and the Bears' Lair Entrepreneurial Competition. She's also witty, supportive and helpful to all—a great sounding board. A true community builder.
4. Leslie Bradford-Scott
On a cash crop farm in Bailieboro, Leslie has the makings of a global empire with her funky gift products for men and women put out by her company Walton Wood Farm. Leslie has written award-winning screenplays but one could also write a screenplay about her own life—see her quirky "Owner's Story" here. She sees the great comedy in life's situations, which is reflected in her hilarious display copy and fresh approach on her Walton Wood products. Her story is one of perseverance, fortitude—and humour—and it's no wonder her business is taking off. If you meet her, you'll see why she has all the right ingredients to succeed. And she'll likely share some great nuggets of wisdom with you.
5. Kate Wells
Kate is a passionate autism advocate—often live tweeting the daily ups and downs of living with a child of autism. Kate is remarkably transparent about the huge extremes of dealing with her teenage autistic son Aidan, giving us a raw look into the impact it has on her family and mental health. But Kate's attitude is amazing through the highs and lows, and if you meet her in real life you'll see why. She's smart, funny, self-deprecating and insightful all at once. And she could care less about being judged. She owns her own life. Oh, and she is also a great writer who one day we'd like to see write a book about living with autism—an extended version of her Twitter handle.
6. Cindy Crowley
Cindy pictured with her husband Dave
Cindy co-owns Ricky’s All Day Grill with her husband Dave. She makes comfort food there, but also is comfort food. When you meet Cindy, you feel like you've known her forever—like re-connecting with a long-lost friend or family member. Cindy is a life-long resident of Peterborough and is supportive of all things that build community. Say hi to her next time you're at Ricky's and see you'll see what we mean.
7. Kemi Akapo
Kemi has the best smile in Peterborough—but that's just the beginning. A passionate community advocate and social activist, Kemi is Settlement Services Coordinator at New Canadians Centre—and earlier this year was an NGO delegate at United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, attending as a representative of the YWCA. She also has a great radio voice—and is a terrific interviewer—hosting a People of Peterborough show on Trent Radio. Meet her if you can.
8. Anne Arnold
The former Director of Business Development at The Venue, Anne is also a wife, mom, nana, volunteer and passionate community ambassador. She's been involved with many organizations and charities over the years, including International Dragon Boat Festival, Habitat for Humanity Women Build Committee, Easter Seals Telethon Committee, Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life and more. She can offer great wisdom and advice based on her years of experience in business and volunteering. Oh, and she once took Bobby Orr waterskiing in Parry Sound. But we'll let her tell you about that.