Women in Food Industry Management

Message from WFIM Chair Barbara Onyskow - Year in Review PLUS planned 2021 Spring events (tbc covid-19 guidelines)

It is hard to imagine that we are already well into December, and it will soon be time to say goodbye to 2020. It certainly has been a challenging year for all of us! WFIM had great plans for Golf at Glen Abbey, June & December Galas, plus other great events that never took place due to the arrival of Covid-19.

However, we were most fortunate to have great memories of the March 6th Event at the Glen Erin Inn before the lockdown took place. I miss the warmth and personal connections plus the energy of participating in WFIM live events! The Glen Erin Inn provided a unique atmosphere and delicious foods for us. The speakers were motivating and inspirational. Little did we know that this March event: “Be the Best you can be inside out” would be our last live event in 2020. Our Team kept pushing out all the Event schedules forward in hopes of being able to get back to “normal”.

We truly hope that we can create a hybrid version of events for 2021 to satisfy regulations applicable at that time. Our Team has tentatively planned the following:

  • February 4th 2021 Vanessa Judelman kicks off Female Leadership Session & Program
  • March 8th 2021 International Women’s Day – Celebrating Diversity & Inclusion
  • April 8th 2021 Sustainability Summit
  • May 26th 2021 Golf at Glen Abbey
  • June 16th 2021 Gala with Nancy Modrcin

Our WFIM Team has worked very hard during this pandemic to modify our format, and continue to provide value to Members by moving to an on-line virtual event via Webinars. A big thank you to Brenda Seto our WFIM Head of Marketing for pivoting WFIM to create a series of webinars in 2020 (Leadership Series (Spring Session – from Vanessa Judelman, Jennifer L’Heureux, and Double Header with Todd Grierson / Jen James, then followed by Fall sessions on our Emotional Wellness Panel with four experts (Janine Mosley, John Windisman, Richard Morden and Jen James), and our December Virtual Panel with Tony Chapman and three extraordinary female business owners – Kristi Knowles, Patrice Mousseau and Sheena Russell – How to breathe life in your brands, career and entrepreneurial dreams.)

Based on survey results and feedback thus far, they were each well received, and much appreciated by our attendees! On the plus side, registrants also received recordings and bonus gifts. We hope you were able to find value in each of these webinars.

If you have any speakers or topics you would like to see going forward, kindly send your suggestions to admin@wfim.ca . WFIM is all about supporting, developing and connecting us to be the best at the table.

During the pandemic thus far, Registration by Members and Guests in the WFIM Webinars allowed us to give back to front line workers. WFIM provided matching funds and proceeds from Webinar sales to the OMA Toronto area Doctors’ front-line covid-19 with totals amounting to over $11,000.

The 2020 Donna Messer Scholarship Winners this year were announced by Mariana Macovei our Director of Scholarship. We were fortunate to receive many quality applicants and it was a tough decision, resulting in a tie with two remarkable winners Sidra Mohammed – UofGuelph and Mariia Melnychuk - Niagara College. Congratulations to each deserving winner of $1000 WFIM grant!

With 2020 being a different year, our Mentorship program went though different phases as balancing and defining a new normal was top of mind for everyone. We did have some wonderful relationships established and some changes in priorities. Going forward we will work towards enhancing the program and building close relationship in days of physical distancing. A huge Thank you for all our Mentors and Mentees for resilience and tenacity through this year!

I would like to thank all our dedicated WFIM Volunteers and the WFIM Board for all their hard work in collectively making 2020 a successful year despite the many challenges encountered!

It has truly been my pleasure to work with these extraordinary professional women who share a common passion for WFIM! We are proud of our achievements, the greatest being the development of lasting friendships. I thank you all for this opportunity to be part of this sisterhood of such wonderful supportive women!

Thank you to our WFIM Members, WFIM Sponsors, and WFIM Corporate Partners for your continued support! WFIM definitely couldn’t do it without your unwavering participation!


Wishing you and your loved ones a safe & healthy 2021!

All the best and hope to reconnect in the New Year!


Barbara Onyskow
WFIM Chair






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