Zonta Service Club celebrates 12 amazing local women


As a celebration of International Women’s Day and Zonta Rose Day on March 8th, the Zonta Club of Sault Ste. Marie Area presented a yellow rose to 12 women who have made outstanding contributions to our local community. The following were honoured:

  1. Heather Edwards – Among her many accomplishments as Zonta Club President and currently Past President, Heather serves as a board member of Algoma Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Centre and brings forth new ideas and community projects for the Club to work on.
  2. Diana Kovacs – As a breast cancer survivor Diane has quietly and privately supported and coached countless women and their families. She has written inspirational articles for the Sault Area Hospital Newsletter, was a keynote speaker for Run for the Cure and was a calendar girl for Tracey’s Dream.
  3. Jodie McNabb – Jodie is the owner/operator of Yes It Fits!, a realtor, a toastmaster, and a community leader. She is a grassroots volunteer of the StartUP Sault Ste. Marie movement, an organization that brings together entrepreneurs and others passionate about collaboration, innovation, and learning to build a strong community network. She gives motivational speeches and plans/engages in workshops about women’s empowerment. Jodie has a passion for helping women feel better and confident about themselves through her retail business and whenever an opportunity arises. As an example, she is involved in Operation All Dressed up to foster positive self-esteem in young girls, eliminate the anxiety girls experience when preparing for these events, and ease the financial strain on their families
  4. Domenica Braido – Domenica helped raise over $3,000,000.00 for charities including Pauline’s Place, Women in Crisis, Habitat for Humanity, The Soup Kitchen, Twinkie Foundation, ARCH, Sault Area Hospital, Special Olympics, Algoma Autism Society and Group Health Centre and many local athletic sport teams. Her yellow rose was presented to her husband, Boomer, her mother and sister.
  5. Tracy Dinelle – Tracy created the charity “Tracy’s Dream” to provide free parking for cancer patients while they are undergoing treatments. The yellow rose was presented to her husband,  Dennis.
  6. Audrey Robinson-Vair – Annually, Audrey has been involved in Christmas Cheer packing up food boxes (not 2020), Coldest Night of the Year, several fundraisers at her school, including being part of the Rotary Club, Student Senate, and Student Council. She helped create a clothing closet at her school for those in need, has done food drives and bake sales for Rotary, etc. Most notably, in 2020, she found out about a grant for $750 and applied for it, on her own, to benefit the community. The project she designed was to design fun, reusable masks for kids, and make sure that underprivileged youth would have fun masks and not just the blue disposable ones so that they would be more willing to wear masks and keep the community safe. She was successful in getting the grant, and used all $750 towards the masks purchase. She donated masks in several original designs (gender-neutral and colourful) locally to Algoma Family Services and to DSSAB.
  7. Liz Moran – Liz dedicates countless amounts of volunteer hours towards the success of the Korah Musical Theatre Productions. She has been a foster mother since her own kids were young as well and has helped many kids in need. Liz volunteers at the pregnancy center, oversees the music at her church and as well decorates the nursery for holidays.  Besides all of this, she fosters cats for TAAG.
  8. Michelle McCleave-Kennedy – Michelle is an outstanding role model in all she dedicates her time to. Currently Michelle is SSM District Labour Council President (a role not commonly filled by a woman), Ontario Federation of Labour Vice-President, coaches figure skating and basketball. Michele is known for her advocacy on health and safety and children’s mental health.  In 2018 she ran as a candidate in the Provincial Election and is currently standing as a candidate for the 2022 election.
  9. Jocelyn Murray – Jocelyn has been volunteering her time at the Hospital Gift Shop.  She minds the Shop at least once per week, does the ordering and buying for the Gift Shop.  She is also a regular volunteer through the VON, visiting patients with no families available to visit them, providing each patient with comfort and company. She also volunteers for Harvest Algoma whenever needed.
  10. Erica Hogan – In October of 2020, Erica and her husband Spencer welcomed their second child Piper into the world.  Sadly the same day, Piper passed away.  As the couple grappled with their grief, a small idea started to form from a conversation they had had with their daughter Sophie.  She had told her parents that she wanted a baby sister so that she could read stories to her like mommy and daddy.  From this was born the “Piper Project” and so began the collection of books to be donated the Sault Area Hospital Maternity Unit.  The Piper Project’s intention is that every baby born can go home with a new book and hopefully spark the love of reading. The Piper Project has a website and a Facebook page telling about the project and where individuals can donate books to the project.  According to their website, the Piper Project has collected and donated 591 books!  Their annual goal is to collect/donate 900 books – the approximate number of babies born each year at SAH.
  11. Janice Maki – Janice is a long time Zonta member, sitting on many committees over the years. While on the Service committee, she suggested focusing on an Ovarian cancer Information project and made our first contact with Ovarian Cancer Canada. Since that time, the club has fine-tuned our efforts including Knowledge is Power presentations in the community and Teal Ribbons on Queen Street, to name a couple. At the present we share the proceeds of our fundraiser “Purses, Pies & Pinot” with Ovarian Cancer Canada. She is a caring and soft-spoken advocate for mental health and presently sits on the Board of Algoma Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Centre (Breton House and A New Link).
  12. Sharon Kirkpatrick – Sharon is the current President of the Zonta Club of Sault Ste. Marie Area and Chair of its Board of Directors. At the same time, Sharon also chairs the Sault Area Hospital Board of Directors. This represents hours of combined volunteer commitment and a clear passion for the advancement of healthcare and empowerment of women. Especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sharon is courageously leading these Boards despite unprecedented challenges. She is truly making a difference in our community. Sharon has also served on the Board of the Victorian Order of Nurses, lead fundraisers for various organizations and participated in public awareness campaigns.

“We have been honouring women in our community since 2006 and are always amazed at the variety of experience, ages and strengths of these community leaders. Presenting each of these wonderful women with a yellow rose on International Women’s Day is a simple act of recognition for the contributions they have made to Sault Ste. Marie and area and/or globally. They are part of a special group of women honoured across the world on Zonta Rose Day. The Zonta club is proud and privileged to do this,” said Kathy Rydall, Vice-President of the local club. “This year we also want to thank Tamar Trends for the beautiful yellow roses that we presented.”

Zonta is a global organization of members working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. Zonta International celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2019. The Zonta Club of Sault Ste. Marie Area has served the Sault Ste. Marie Area since 1978.