Strong, Smart And Bold Woman Honoured At Girls Inc's Women of The Year Awards

It was all about the girl power as Girls Inc. of Upper Canada celebrated their 2019 awards.

Five local women were honoured at Thursday night's Strong, Smart and Bold Women of the Year Awards.

One of those was inspirational speaker Ramona Braganza, who was honoured for her work fighting human trafficking and training women and girls to become fitness instructors to empower them.

She says that Girls Inc. -- which looks to provide young girls with the tools to become leaders in their community -- is an important program.

"I think girls have a lot of opportunity in our country, I just came back from India where the girls I work for have no voice at all," explains Braganza.

"So you know, having a voice is a big step forward, and then having the right voice, you know really looking at what you’re saying. These girls definitely have a good start with this organization around them."

Other award winners included artist Heather Haynes, and Trish McNamara for “providing opportunities and making connections as General Manager of KEYS Job Centre.”

Entrepreneur Wendy Merkley; As well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teacher Christine Wilson for her work with the Rideau St. Lawrence Science Fair.

 Braganza says that an important aspect of growing up is a good role model. She says for her that was her family, and that support allowed her to go out into the world "with courage."

Braganza, a former NFL cheerleader and wellness coach, says she's also impressed that sports were an important factor in the organizations teachings.

"I think that exercise makes a big difference in a girl’s life," she explains. "I'm glad to know there’s karate going on and self-defence and all that stuff, because it empowers girls to own their body whatever way it looks."