| subscribe to magazine | français

HOT 20 UNDER 30
The next generation of leaders in their fields.
  • Munira Abukar
    Activist for Social Housing
  • Marika Bournaki
    Classical Pianist
  • Devon Brooks
    Founder, Blo
  • Melanie Burton
    Creator, Reading Rocks
  • Yael Cohen
    F**K Cancer Campaign
  • Alejandra de Miguel
    Owner, Vintage One Wines
  • Alanna Fitzgerald-Husek
    Founder, A Way Out
  • Jennifer Heil
    Olympic Skier
  • Shae Invidiata
    Founder, Free Them
  • Leanne Iskander
    LGBT Activist
  • Jennifer Kirby
    Top Golfer
  • Angela Liddon
    Blogger, Oh She Glows
  • Coco Rocha
    Model and Volunteer
  • Joannie Rochette
    Olympic Skater
  • Cat Ross
    Founder, KIDS
  • Hannah Taylor
    Creator, Ladybug Foundation
  • Tara Teng
    Miss Canada Social Activist
  • Michelle Vanderzon
    Youth Ambassador, World Vision
  • Lauren Woolstencroft
    Paralympic Skier
  • Nikki Yanofsky
    Singer
Hot 20 Under 30: Munira Abukar
Activist for Social Housing
An aspiring lawyer, Munira Abukar, 18, is a first-generation Canadian who has lived in Toronto’s social housing all her life. Why She Sizzles: Munira was elected to the board of directors for the Toronto Community Housing Corporation this spring. Her goal is to restore people’s faith in the beleaguered organization and reach out to other tenants to increase their engagement.
Hot 20 Under 30: Marika Bournaki
Classical Pianist
Why She Sizzles: Marika Bournaki, 20, is a Juilliard-trained classical pianist from Montreal. She has performed to critical acclaim in North America and Europe, including concerts with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra, at Carnegie Hall and Toronto’s Luminato Festival. She recently released a moving CD/DVD of Schumann’s works and is set to star in an upcoming documentary on self-discovery through classical music.
Hot 20 Under 30: Devon Brooks
Founder, Blo
Blowing Away the Competition. “The only route to success is through hard work,” says Devon Brooks, 25-year-old co-founder of Blo, the no-cuts, no-colour blow-dry bar she launched in Vancouver in 2007. Today, Blo has its own training program (Blo University) and 18 franchise locations across Canada and the U.S. Blo-cabulary: Hair Cadet (a Blo client), Blow Bro (a dude who digs dryers) and Bloer (a Blo stylist). Brooks’ advice for budding entrepreneurs: “Make time for exercise or adventure every single day. It will help you free your mind — endorphins are a gift.”
Hot 20 Under 30: Melanie Burton
Creator, Reading Rocks
Melanie Burton, 20, makes reading fun. She created Reading Rocks!, a network that promotes literacy by giving children access to material that suits their age and stage, and encourages them to read. To ensure everyone hits the ambitious goal of 100 books in a year, she’s also developed a tutoring program. Why She Sizzles: This young woman from Belleville, Ont., has helped Canadian children read almost 30,000 books.
Hot 20 Under 30: Yael Cohen
F**K Cancer Campaign
Why She Sizzles: Yael Cohen, 24, put cancer in its place by promoting proactive, early detection in people aged 17 to 35. Her “F--k Cancer” campaign started in frustration, while her mother was recovering from cancer surgery, but the powerful slogan quickly caught on. The Vancouver native has spoken at the Clinton Global Initiative and TEDWomen
Hot 20 Under 30: Alejandra de Miguel
Owner, Vintage One Wines
Why She Sizzles: Alejandra de Miguel, 30, brought winemaking from the countryside to the city. Alejandra owns Vintage One Wines, the country’s first urban winery. Based in Toronto, it lets merlot and chardonnay enthusiasts alike have a hand in the production process. The depth of her full-bodied wines could compel even the most hardline sommelier to find more reasons to raise a glass and toast. Always looking for a new challenge, Alejandra’s developing a travel show called Living Wine.
Hot 20 Under 30: Alanna Fitzgerald-Husek
Founder, A Way Out
Before medical school, Toronto-based Alanna Fitzgerald-Husek, 28, helped raise funds to bring over 25 clean-water wells to rural India. Why She Sizzles: She recently turned her focus to Namibia, creating A Way Out, a trust that funds practical-skills training, from sewing to small-business development, for women rescued from sex work. Her hope is that the economic freedom could help women break out of the sex trade. Alanna also set up northern Namibia’s first swimming and life-saving program to help prevent deaths during floods.
Hot 20 Under 30: Jennifer Heil
Olympic Skier
Jennifer Heil, 28, the reigning world champion in moguls and dual moguls won Canada’s first gold medal at the Turin Olympics and picked up a silver in Vancouver. Why She Sizzles: She hosts a girls’ mogul-skiing camp and helped create B2ten, a group that raises funds to support amateur athletes.
Hot 20 Under 30: Shae Invidiata
Founder, Free Them
After witnessing the sex trade outside her college-dorm room in Honolulu, Shae Invidiata, 26, founded Free-Them, an organization dedicated to eliminating human trafficking in Canada and overseas, with a big focus on those under 18. Why She Sizzles: The Oakville, Ont., native works in partnership with support groups, businesses and other key players to combat modern slavery. Her inspirational call for protective legislation and her 5-km annual Walk for Freedom in Toronto have already raised nearly $30,000 for after-care providers — and she’s just getting started.
Hot 20 Under 30: Leanne Iskander
LGBT Activist
Leanne Iskander, 16, became an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered teen rights after her Catholic school board in Mississauga, Ont., prohibited her from creating a gay-straight alliance. Why She Sizzles: She sidestepped red tape by creating an anti-bullying club, but she’s still campaigning to make social acceptance the standard in schools. After she hosted her school’s first anti-homophobia day, Pride Toronto named her “Honoured Dyke”.
Hot 20 Under 30: Jennifer Kirby
Top Golfer
Why She Sizzles: Jennifer Kirby, 20, is tearing up fairways across North America as one of Canada’s top female amateur golfers. She’s broken her university’s freshman record, and this Paris, Ont., native’s incredible long-ranging drive has wowed sports broadcasters and coaches alike. With six amateur wins in 2009 and a semifinal finish in the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, Jennifer’s definitely one to watch.
Hot 20 Under 30: Angela Liddon
Blogger, Oh She Glows
Angela Liddon, 28, started an online body-image revolution when she revealed her 10-year battle with an eating disorder on her blog, Oh She Glows. “For so many years, I was secretive about my eating but my recovery had to be public to stick. Blogging about the road to health let me connect with other women and recover.” Over several months, Angela received many emails and notes, and today her blog gets 1.6 million hits per month. Why She Sizzles: Her personal story has grown into a platform of empowerment for women hoping to have healthier relationships with food. Each day, Angela gives an inside look into her kitchen in Milton, Ont., and a cookbook deal is in the works.
Hot 20 Under 30: Coco Rocha
Model and Volunteer
Between Celtic dancing on Jean Paul Gaultier’s catwalk and gracing Chanel’s runway, Coco has worked at a Namibian soup kitchen and raised funds for children in Haiti. Why She Sizzles: She joined retailer Jacob’s no-retouching campaign. “I’m not against hiding blemishes, but when it comes to changing waistlines or lengthening legs — that’s no good,” says the Richmond, B.C., native. “I’m excited Canada’s pushing forward with this.” Next up? A jewellery collaboration with Senhoa, a charity for victims of human trafficking in Asia.
Hot 20 Under 30: Joannie Rochette
Olympic Skater
Why She Sizzles: Joannie Rochette, 25, turned grief into triumph. The national figure-skating champion’s heroic performance at the Winter Olympics— just 72 hours after her mother’s fatal heart attack – earned her a bronze medal, and her courage was contagious. The Montrealer is a spokesperson for Iheartmom, which raises awareness about heart disease in women.
Hot 20 Under 30: Cat Ross
Founder, KIDS
Cat Ross, 28, is the guru of good deeds. She is planning her third trip to Africa for KIDS (Kenya Initiative for Development and Sustainability), an organization she founded to improve life for children in the slums. Why She Sizzles: In addition to raising funds for medical care, food relief, orphanages and teaching HIV/AIDS prevention in schools, Cat’s a fundraising machine in Winnipeg, playing host to annual dinner parties with the Eat So They Can global campaign.
Hot 20 Under 30: Hannah Taylor
Creator, Ladybug Foundation
Hannah Taylor, 15, is teaching Canada how to share. After witnessing a homeless man rummaging through garbage in Winnipeg when she was five, Hannah wondered what would happen if people started to share a little of what they have. Her “little-kid theories” materialized three years later when the preteen created the Ladybug Foundation. Why She Sizzles: To date, Hannah’s spoken to the House of Commons, launched Red Scarf Day and raised over $2 million for national emergency shelters and soup kitchens.
Hot 20 Under 30: Tara Teng
Miss Canada Social Activist
Why She Sizzles: “Make no mistake,” says Tara Teng, 23, also known as Miss Canada 2011, “there’s no Toddlers & Tiaras in my background. I’m not a beauty queen. I’m an abolitionist.” Her pageant prowess gave her a platform to speak out against human trafficking, a cause she’s been involved in since age 12. Her 10-city Ignite the Road to Justice tour took her from Langley, B.C., to Parliament Hill, where she’s working on the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. “I won’t back down until the job is done.”
Hot 20 Under 30: Michelle Vanderzon
Youth Ambassador, World Vision
Why She Sizzles: Michelle’s fight for children’s rights has taken her to Rwanda and India, and her fundraising has touched earthquake victims in Haiti and Japan. The seventeen year-old’s documentary, Growing Up in India, followed the struggles of four children. A Canadian youth ambassador for World Vision, this straight-A student from Saint-Bruno, Que., wants to become a human-rights lawyer.
Hot 20 Under 30: Lauren Woolstencroft
Paralympic Skier
When the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games wrapped up, Lauren Woolstencroft, 29, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, left with a record-breaking five gold medals in her five alpine-skiing events. Why She Sizzles: Born missing her left forearm and both legs below the knees, the lightning-fast athlete slalomed her way to the top. “My parents always said if I wanted to do sports, we’d make it happen. I never let anything stand in my way,” she says.
Hot 20 Under 30: Nikki Yanofsky
Singer
Montreal’s darling of jazz-pop, Nikki Yanofsky, 17, uses her voice for social good. Her performance of “I Believe” at the 2010 Winter Olympics became a quadruple-platinum hit, and her debut studio album, Nikki, went gold. Why She Sizzles: Nikki’s impressive vocal range and pitch-perfect inflections have raised over $10 million to date for local and international charities.
2011 Women of the Year Winner Categories
View All Winners
How the winners were selected:
Winners were chosen based on their work and accomplishments in combination with votes by Chatelaine readers and our Leadership Panel.