Panel 1

Dr Ngawati smiles in front of a white background, curly hair tied back and circular dark glasses. Wearing a black blazer with pink shirt

Dr. Nicola Ngawati

Director, New Zealand Kaiwhakahaere Matua Ministry of Women

Nicola leads the Mana Wāhine joint roopū (in partnership with Te Puni Kōkiri). This roopū is leading the government response to the Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry currently before the Waitangi Tribunal and focuses on improving outcomes for wāhine, kōtiro, and whānau Māori across the state sector.

Nicola joins the Ministry following a varied career in the New Zealand diplomatic service. During her policy career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Nicola led policy engagement on a range of issues impacting New Zealand. Nicola has represented New Zealand offshore in Brussels, Belgium (Second Secretary), Rarotonga, Cook Islands (Deputy High Commissioner/Acting High Commissioner) and in many regional and international contexts.

Nicola was raised in Auckland and holds degrees in Law (Auckland); Masters in Public Policy (Victoria); PGDipBusAdmin Management (Massey) and a PhD (Victoria University School of Government). Her research centres on how Māori are represented as part of New Zealand’s diplomacy through people, art, and design.

In 2020, Nicola was appointed to the Board of Diversity Works New Zealand as one of the public sector representatives.

Chunyan is smiling in front of a window with thick black rim glasses, straight dark hair, a pink blazer and multi-coloured scarf.

Chunyan Zhu

Academic Advisor, Memorial University

Chunyan came to Canada from Shanghai, China in 2007 for higher education. Now she is an academic advisor working in the Academic Advising Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She holds a master’s degree in education specializing in curriculum, teaching, and learning.

Chunyan is passionate about international education. She has been working in multiple positions at Memorial working with thousands of international students since she started her career as an international student coordinator in 2011. She has developed an in-depth understanding of international students’ needs and concerns as well as university visions toward international education, which influences and reflects in her work on a daily basis.

Chunyan is also a mother of three children who has been actively leading the family program for the Chinese Youth Association since 2018. She and many female volunteers from the NL Chinese community offered a variety of programs and events for children in the community. This group of women are dedicated to promoting Chinese language and culture in the NL community.

Ledon is smiling with curly red hair, red lipstick, big circular glasses and a yellow/white striped shirt.

Ledon Wellon

Founder of “Faces of Fertility”

Ledon is a 31 year old hairstylist living in Mount Pearl. Her and her husband Trevor have been together for 13 years and spoke of wanting children on their first date. They were diagnosed with infertility in 2017.

She started speaking publicly about the inequality of reproductive healthcare in NL after having to travel across country after 3 years of infertility to access IVF.

Ledon started Faces of Fertility in May 2020 to bring a public voice to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador in the fight for reproductive health care access.

Kate is smiling in front of a brown background, wearing a white shirt and black sweater with long light brown hair

Kate Cadigan

Youth Leader, Grade 12 Student at Gonzaga High School

Kate Cadigan has a passion for creating safe and welcoming spaces. Her care for others and ability to lead is reflected in her volunteer work. Her resume includes Student Council (ranging from school president to committee member for both Gonzaga High School and MacDonald Drive Junior High), Peace and Justice Committee, Special Olympics/Unified Sports, Student Mental Health Coalition, Alumni Club and Mentorship.

Kate has been a leader from an early age. In 2015 she was honoured with The Feildian of the Year Award, in 2018 received the MacDonald Drive Citizen of the Year Award and she has achieved Leadership Level II certification. Most recently, Kate has been recognized with the CARES Award from Violence Prevention Avalon East and was a political science panelist for the Morrison Scholarship Foundation. For her work in the community, Kate was appointed to the St. John’s Youth Advisory Committee.

In 2019 Kate was granted a ticket to see Barack Obama speak. Obama talked about civic responsibilities – that as a democratic society we have a responsibility as citizens to take care of this privilege. This sparked a desire in Kate to be involved in democracy and to recognize it as a foundation to build safe and caring communities.

ophelia is standing outside in front of a yellow house with lots of greenery. She's wearing a beautiful black dress and black choker with red lipstick

Ophelia Ravencroft

Feminist Researcher & Local LGBTQ2S+/Sex Worker Advocate

Ophelia Ravencroft (she/they) is a nonbinary lesbian woman, feminist researcher, and advocate long active in local fights for sex worker, queer, and trans rights.

Ophelia ran for St. John’s City Council in 2020 on an intersectional anti-oppression platform, delivering a historically substantial vote share for an openly transgender candidate in this province, and is standing again in the Fall 2021 election.

She is also engaged in PhD research in ethnomusicology at Memorial University of Newfoundland, studying issues of gender equity in the St. John’s heavy metal community.

A close up head shot of Sandra smiling with short black hair, gold hanging earrings and a black shirt.

Sandra McKellar

Executive Director, NL Sexual Assault and Crisis Prevention Centre

Sandra McKellar is the Executive Director of Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault and Crisis Prevention Centre. Over the past thirty years she has gained experience as an employee and volunteer in the non-profit sector. Sandra uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed and her belief that one individual can make a difference to remain engaged in issues of interest to her – primarily those involving women and children.

Her experiences include that of Executive Director for the Gander Status of Women Council, Chairperson for the Gander Military Family Resource Centre and member of the Gander Community Advisory Committee.

Prior to the move to Newfoundland and Labrador she was employed as a psychoeducational consultant for a rural/urban Board of Education. Other experiences include that of President of the Ontario Council for Children with Behavioural Difficulties and Board member of the Status of Women Council for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Union.