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2013 Woman of the Year

Leslie Fournier

LESLIE FOURNIER Creator of Streets Alive
In 2007, Fournier, who owned Jack & Maddy A Kids’ Store, founded the downtown Festival of Banners in 2007, which has since grown into Streets Alive!, the city’s largest outdoor art installation.
She’s also an Orillia Museum of Art and History board member, the driving force behind the Art Meets History homes tour and a volunteer basketball coach with the Orillia Lakers, a league in which both of her kids play.



Orillia’s Woman of the Year, Leslie Fournier, right, is pictured with Young Woman of the Year, Marlie Standen, at the Gala award banquet May 8th, 2013 at the Best Western Mariposa Plus on Memorial Ave.

Marlie Standen

WINNER of Young Woman of the Year 2013
Standen is a Grade 12 student and advocate for equality at Park Street Collegiate Institute, where she is the president of the United Differences social issues club, sits on student council and plays flag football.
She gained early acceptance to Queen’s University, where she hopes to study psychology before going on to pursue a career in the mental-health field.

Katelyn Ayers

Katelyn Ayers


Shayne Jose

SHAYNE JOSE Nominee of Woman of the year 2013

Lori Barker

LORI BARKER Nominee of Woman of the Year 2013!

Elisabeth Riley

ELISABETH RILEY Nominee Woman of the Year 2013

Deb Sammit

DEBBIE SAMMIT of Pretty Woman Fitness
Nominee of Woman of the Year 2013



NICOLE CRAWFORD Nominee of Young Woman of the year 2013

2013 WOTY Nomination Package no judges

Runners-up for Woman of the Year:
Lori Barker – Family Fit Studio
Elisabeth Riley – president and CEO of Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital
Shane Jose – Perfect 10 Nail Acadmey
Debbie Sammit – Pretty Woman Fitness.
Runners up for Young Woman of the Year:
Valerie Stanton – Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School
Katelyn Ayers – Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute
Nicole Crawford – Twin Lakes Secondary School


Leslie Fournier named Woman of the Year

By Roberta Bell, Orillia Packet & Times

ORILLIA – Leslie Fournier has never been one to settle for anything less than her best.

“She inspires others to believe in themselves that they can do more,” said Donna Howlett, president of the Orillia Business Women’s Association (OBWA).

Fournier was named the 22nd Nelle Carter Woman of the Year Wednesday evening during an award ceremony at the Best Western Mariposa Inn.

Howlett has known Fournier for four years, but wasn’t aware of how extensive her community involvement was until she read her nomination package.

While Fournier is not shy, she is humble, Howlett said.

“You wouldn’t know she’s this go-getter.”

In summer 2007, Fournier, who owned Jack and Maddy A Kid’s Store on Mississauga Street, adorned downtown Orillia with 150 bright-colored banners.

“She wanted it bigger, better,” said Howlett.

In June 2010, in partnership with the Mariposa Folk Festival, Fournier rolled out 50 seven-foot-tall guitars decorated by local artists, beginning Streets Alive! which has since become the area’s biggest outdoor art installation.

In 2011, Mississauga Street was lined with large, steel sailboats and, in 2012, replicas of Stephen Leacock’s antique chair to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. This summer, it will be letters of the alphabet.

“She’s turned this town around,” Howlett said.

Fournier, an active volunteer and proponent of art and art education, is also the driving force behind the Orillia Museum of Art and History’s Art Meets History home tour each fall.

“She encourages others to tap into their creativity and go for it,” Howlett said.

Runners-up for Woman of the Year were Lori Barker of Family Fit Studio, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital president and CEO Elisabeth Riley, Shane Jose of Perfect 10 Nail Academy and Debbie Sammit of Pretty Woman Fitness.

Nominees were judged in four categories: business/workplace excellence, volunteerism, leadership and recent local accomplishments.

“It was just so close,” Howlett said of the judging. “There are so many outstanding women in Orillia that I look up to.”

Also presented Wednesday night was the ninth annual Lisa Brooking Young Woman of the Year award.

The award went to Marlie Standen, who will be graduating from Park Street Collegiate Institute in June.

Last year, while still in Grade 11, Standen received the Excellence in Education award, which is traditionally reserved for a Grade 12 student.

The award is one of the highest honours a student can receive through the Simcoe County District School Board.

A social advocate, Standen is president of Park Street’s United Differences social issues club, a role she has had for the past two years.

She is also a member of student council and has played on the school’s flag-football and soccer teams.

This past Christmas, when teachers were in a work-to-rule position because of a labour dispute with the Ontario government, Standen took the initiative to co-ordinate a holiday assembly.

She was offered early acceptance to Queen’s University, where she will be studying this September. She wants to be a social worker or psychologist.

“I hope that I will be able to help people who struggle with mental-health concerns,” wrote Standen, who wants to put an end to the stigma in society, in a write-up she submitted to the judges about her future goals.

“… Helping others has always been a critical aspect of my life,” she wrote.

What sets Standen apart is not only the fact her goals are very specific and achievable, but the fact she’s determined to go after them, said Howlett.

“She will make a difference.”

Runners-up for Young Woman of the Year were Valerie Stanton (Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School), Katelyn Ayers (Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute) and Nicole Crawford (Twin Lakes Secondary School).

Like Woman of the Year nominees, Young Woman of the Year nominees were judged in four categories: academic excellence, volunteerism, extracurricular participation and a 200-word write-up detailing their future goals.

Winners were presented with plaques from the OBWA, Mayor Angelo Orsi on behalf of the City of Orillia, Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop on behalf of the Province of Ontario and Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton on behalf of the Government of Canada.

The evening included a tribute to Judge Joe Carter, who died March 20. He was the son of Nelle Carter, the first female to sit on Orillia council and recipient of the inaugural award in 1991.

Like the Woman of the Year award, the Young Woman of the Year award is named for its first winner, Lisa Brooking, who took home the honor in 2005.