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Grande Prairie recognizes 2022 Women of Influence

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Three Grande Prairie women were recognized Tuesday morning for their incredible contributions to the community and beyond as part of the 2022 Women of Influence Awards.

Mariah Braun, entrepreneur and indie filmmaker, is the winner of the Young Woman of Influence award. She is an entrepreneur and she says she’s thankful for all the people who helped her accomplish the feat, including Kiesha Mastrodimos, the subject of her latest documentary titled Able.

“It just feels so good to be recognized in my community and my hometown. Being recognized by the community is truly really special for me. I also want to thank Kiesha Mastrodimos and I share this award with her. I’d like to encourage young women to find their voice,” she explains.

“Definitely use it to amplify the voices of others, use it in powerful and impactful ways that will impact your community because that’s really how you make a difference just being involved in your community.”

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Natasha Collins Decoste, a lawyer at KMSC Law and the chair of the board at the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta, is the winner of the Trailblazing Woman of Influence award. She wants women to know that support is there when it’s needed.

“It’s so important to be confident in yourself but also to seek out help when you need it. I think a lot of us, as female professionals, like to just put our heads down and work really hard. There are so many fantastic men and women in our community who are supportive when you need assistance,” she says.

Mieke de Groot of Spinal Cord Injury Alberta is the winner of the Distinguished Woman of Influence award. She says that she’s grateful for the support of the community.

“When I was nominated for this award I really didn’t know how to feel about it. As the days grew I realized that I am accepting this award not only because I was nominated but because there are so many people who influence each and every one of us to be the very best people that we can be,” she says.

International Women’s Day is an event recognized worldwide to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and to advocate for the continued advancements of equal rights. The IWD 2022 theme is #BreakTheBias. It is a call-to-action that we collectively challenge and call out gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping. while seeking out and celebrating women’s achievements. The Women of Influence Awards have been handed out in Grande Prairie since 2018.

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