Margaret Trudeau will be the keynote speaker at the 17th Influential Women of Northern Ontario Awards in Sudbury and Thunder Bay.
Trudeau, the former wife of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and an accomplished author, actress and photographer, is expected to share an inspirational message that will address issues beyond the world of business.
“She can speak to everyone,” said Brandi Braithwaite, marketing director of Northern Ontario Business, which hosts the award ceremony and trade show.
In 2010, Trudeau published her book “Changing My Mind” about her battle with bipolar disorder.
Since 2006, when she came out publicly about her experience with the disease, Trudeau has advocated to reduce the stigma of mental illness through speaking engagements across North America.
Trudeau will speak at a continental breakfast at the Radisson Hotel in Sudbury, on June 2 and at the Victoria Inn on June 5, 2014.
After her speech at both events, the annual trade show will kick off, and lead into the awards ceremony.
In addition to the awards for executive, entrepreneur and young entrepreneur of the year, Influential Women of Northern Ontario has added three new categories for 2014.
Those categories are for tradeswoman of the year, First Nations leadership and influential community trailblazer.
Kimberley Wahamaa, Northern Ontario Business' operations manager, said the award for tradeswoman of the year will be an opportunity to inspire young women to consider fields that have traditionally been dominated by men, but are in growing demand.
The award for an influential community trailblazer, said Braithwaite, will honour a woman who may not be working in business anymore, but has contributed a lot to her community through voluntary activities.
As in previous years, one young woman in Grade 12 will receive a $3,000 scholarship to help pay for her studies. To qualify for the scholarship, candidates will need to write an essay about their goals, accomplishments and post-secondary aspirations.
“It really ties in almost all age groups,” Wahamaa said about the event. “It's an inspirational day.”
The deadline to nominate influential women in any of the six categories is Feb. 28, 2014.
To nominate someone visit http://secure.ontarionorth.com/influentialwomen/nomination and fill out the required fields.