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In honour of International Women’s Day, we spoke to a few of our alumnae and posed questions about empowerment, women leaders and what this annual day of recognition means to them.

Here's what they had to say:

Over the years, we asked our alumnae what lessons they’ve learned in life to be successful as a woman.


Stephanie Williams

Public Relations, 2011
Student Support Officer, York University

Stephanie Williams

“Always trust your 'self', and believe in your ability to make the best decisions possible for your overall well-being, and in every circumstance that you face. Always trust your gut in any and every scenario that you experience; that is your intuition talking. Your intuition is your body's sensory reflex; your intuition will not steer you wrong. Trust and honour the emotions and energies that you feel, and know that your belief in 'self' will reap greater intangible rewards. Your progress is a gradual process, and you are on the right path to reaching the levels of success that you aspire to achieve.”

Allison Hogg

Comedy Writing and Performance, 2005

Allison Hogg

“I used to think that I was a person that was naturally pre-disposed to dislike confrontation. I tended to be timid with anyone that held any sort of authority over me. I think I have learned that, for many women, it is something that has been subtlety taught to us. Women should be accommodating and all that usual stuff. My sketch teacher at Humber (the late Frank McAnulty) once told me that I should not be afraid to speak up and be heard, even if you are wrong. It is better to get your opinion out and apologize- if needed- later. Admittedly, it has taken well over a decade for that great advice to truly sink it. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to work with really talented and strong women that have demonstrated that opinions are valid and should be heard…loudly if need be.”

Meghan McPeak

Broadcasting – Radio, 2010
Play-by-Play & Host, Monumental Sports Network


“On this International Women’s Day, I want to pay homage and thank all the women who have come before me, whether they were in the sports industry or not. A lot of what you did, helped me be where I am today and without your work and your perseverance, I wouldn’t be in the position that I am today to be doing what I am doing. To my generation and the generations coming behind me, we have to continue to keep their perseverance and to continue to push forward. It isn’t just one day of the year that we celebrate women, we celebrate them all year, but we get one day to shine; one day to put a spotlight on all of us. I look forward to seeing the stories of the women of my generation and the generations to come. Happy International Women’s Day to all.”

Arda Zakarian

Journalism - Broadcast, 2011
Reporter, CP24

Arda Zakarian

“As a new mother, International Women’s Day takes on a whole new meaning. It is so humbling to truly understand the sacrifices my own mother and mothers everywhere have had to make for their children.

For generations women have done it all, and as I write this holding my son I think of everything I want to teach him about equality and empowering women. This is a day to celebrate everything women have achieved, but it’s also a day to remind us not to be complacent. The fight for equality is not over. There are still so many places in the world, and here at home where we need to raise our voices for equality. Whether that means equal pay in the workforce, or equality at home. Growing up, I was told by my parents to never have limits as to what I can accomplish... it was always others outside my home life that told me I couldn’t follow my dreams. This day, is a reminder to never lose faith in your own abilities and that the opinions of others can be changed by example.”

Teri Hart

Broadcasting – Radio, 2002
Television and Radio Host/Producer

Teri Hart

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” - Lucille Ball

“For me, International Women's Day is a thank you to the women who paved the way for me and a welcome to the women coming up after me, for whom I hope I am making things more equitable. It's a day to recognize the incredible women in my life and what they are continually accomplishing, the women who did incredible things before me and to think and dream of an absolutely equal society for women globally. Ask questions to yourself and to your family and friends. Why do I think this? What created these ideas of myself in my head? Often, as women, we have been told what our limitations are without even trying. Value yourself and your sisters, recognize where your privilege can help other women and take one risk a year.”

Eloise Ambersley

Graphic Design, 2017
Co-Founder & CEO, Oat Canada

Eloise Ambersley

"The most recent inspiring women’s empowerment moment for me was watching Whitney Wolfe Herd take her company public with her child on her hip. That was not by accident, she was making a statement. Her story is inspiring where former executives at her previous company discriminated against her based on her gender by revoking her co-founder status because having a 24-year-old “girl” co-founder “makes the company seem like a joke.” Today, she’s the youngest woman to take a company public. She’s breaking barriers and paving the way for other women like me. She demonstrated that from any negative experience there are opportunities to be found."

Karlene Nation

Journalism – Broadcasting, 1992
Host, of Media Nation
Sauga 960 AM Radio in Peel Region


“Success for me is to accomplish my goals in life, no matter what the obstacles. I dream big dreams and I think big. I do not allow anyone to diminish me in any way. I strip away negative people from my life. I speak my mind. I am very outspoken about issues I am passionate about. I am strong in my views and respectful in how I share my opinions.

Success for me is being kind, positive, being strong in who I am. Success for me is speaking up, to let people know I have something important to say. Success is supporting those who need help in our communities. Success for me is being a leader, never a follower. I say to students, chart your course and follow it!”

Gina Antonacci, PhD

Human Sexuality and Counselling Techniques, 1984
Associate Vice President, Academic, Humber College

Gina Antonacci

“International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the many contributions that women have made – and I, too, celebrate the many well-known women who have made a difference to us all. At the same time, International Women’s Day has always felt personal to me. When I think of the day – I immediately think of my mother, the person who has had the most profound impact on my life. My mom raised three of us alone, on a very modest salary. She somehow managed to introduce us to theatre, the ballet, travel and so many good times around the kitchen table. She was strong, independent, and full of love for us. Every International Women’s Day I am reminded of her journey - the obstacles that she had to overcome and the resilience that she demonstrated to raise us. She taught me how to dream and she taught me how to “keep on walking” through the hard times. I am so grateful for what she brought to my life and hope that maybe a little bit of her parenting style has rubbed off on me.”

Sanchari Sen Rai

Immigration Consultant, 2019
Co-Founder & CEO, Education Consultants Canada


“International Women’s Day is a celebration of women heard. It is a day to reflect that there is still many women who are unheard, but at the same time there are many who have come a long way and we have achieved a lot. ”

Lisa Morales

Broadcasting – Radio, 2004
Morning Traffic Reporter, NEWSTALK 1010, CP24, CHUM FM

lisa morales

“I've been fortunate enough to grow up with a solid foundation of strong, independent and hard working women. Being surrounded by these role models allowed me to clearly identify that I too wanted to follow in their footsteps. There's no doubt the world can be a tough place... But staying true to myself, making my voice heard where necessary, and trusting that my opinions DO matter have shaped me into the person I am today.”

Kelli Saunders

Marketing, 1985
President and CEO, Morai Logistics Inc.

Kelly Saunders

“Ask, ask, ask! Ask for what you want (if that be personally, professionally or otherwise)... otherwise you won’t ‘get’ what you want nor will anyone else know what you want. And, the awesome part, 9 out of 10 times when we ‘ask’ for something, we get it! Dress for the job you want and not the job you have. Meaning keep yourself current, dress properly, and never question your abilities! Spend money to make money! Always go with your gut! Surround yourself with the best of your best! Doing this allows us to excel at what we do well and allows those around us to complement our strengths.”

Justine McNeil

Child and Youth Worker, 2014
Motivational Speaker

Justine McNeil

“I have learned a lot of lessons in life such as not giving up, not worrying what others think of me and following my passions; however the two most important lessons would have to be allowing myself to be heard and having self-compassion. I would not be able to be successful as a woman without self-compassion, being open to everything life throws at me instead of fighting it or feeling sorry for myself, gives me a new perspective on how I approach each day.”

Amber Payie

Broadcasting – Radio, 1994
Freelance On-Air Broadcaster, Actor, Voiceover Talent

Amber Payie

“Success has nothing to do with money. It's all about your journey. The experiences you gain. The lives and stories that touch you. It is being grateful and being kind. Celebrate those who mentor you. Laugh with those who walk beside you. Learn from those who follow you, because everyone has a lesson to teach and a story to tell. Drink up every bit of good advice from those who have taken the time to believe in you. Turn around and gift that to another. That is success.”

Becky Coles

Broadcasting – Radio, 2002
Producer, Jerry Agar Show, NEWSTALK 1010 Toronto

Becky Coles

“If people are talking about you behind your back that's a good thing! It means you're doing something they're worried about. Accept who you are and ignore the whispers.”

Donna O’Brien-Sokic

Creative Cinematography, 1982
Professor, Humber College, Faculty of Media and Creative Arts

Donna O'Brien Sokic

“My career has been an amazing journey where I am always and learning and growing as a person, a leader and collaborator. I've realized along the way that there is no "luck" without hard work and preparation.  If I'm lucky, it’s because I've worked hard at being prepared.”

Asis Sethi

Film and Television Production, 2007
Freelance Producer, OMNI Television Freelance After Effects and Visual Effects Artist, Editor, Think Brown Media Inc. Writer, Producer, Director, Asis Media Production Inc.

Asis Sethi

“Measuring success is subjective. For me, to be happy is to be successful. I want to carve my own path, follow my own dreams, and make sure that I keep learning. That makes me happy, thus successful. If I succumbed to societal pressures of perhaps having a 9 to 5 job, which doesn't suit me, or if I felt I knew everything, I wouldn't ask questions, I wouldn't explore further - and that would have been detrimental to my growth and success. Be patient. Have faith and conviction in your processes, and get up each time. Obstacles will come and go, but getting over them is key.”

Dr. Jill Andrew, Ph.D.

Child and Youth Worker, 1998
MPP Toronto-St.Paul's
NDP Culture Critic

Jill Andrew

“I have learned that the best woman I can be is myself. I can learn deeply from other women I look up to and even pick up better practices along the way, but I cannot become them. I have also learned that experiencing nervousness when the stakes are high is a natural part of life. However, being afraid of my own potential doesn't have to be. I've found ways to embrace nervousness as a signal of my passion and my deep desire to do well at whatever it is I'm trying to achieve. I have learned that it is my right to take up space. It is my right to ask questions, to agree, to disagree, to not know everything and to say no when I need to. Above all as a woman who was raised in the generation of "good girls are seen and NOT heard" I've learned that I can be seen AND heard. My voice and my opinions matter and especially as a new politician I must be able to represent the opinions of my community accurately, ethically and responsibly.”

Do you want to share what International Women’s Day means to you? Email us at