Barrie’s Leading Ladies: Inspiring Women Making a Difference

Barrie is fortunate to be home to a remarkable group of women who are making […]

Barrie is fortunate to be home to a remarkable group of women who are making a significant difference in our community. 

From entrepreneurs and educators to advocates and philanthropists, these inspiring individuals are leaving their mark. Their dedication, passion, and commitment to making a positive impact serve as an inspiration to us all. 

Let’s meet some of these exceptional women …

Barbara White

Barbara White has been a business owner in Barrie for over 30 years. A local philanthropist at heart, she’s passionate about making our community a better place to live and grow. 

Barbara White | Source: LinkedIn

Barbara co-founded Ripple of Kindness, a group of amazing women who’ve donated over $700,000 to local charities. She’s also a board member of the Barrie Chamber of commerce, and a beloved mother, Nanny, wife and friend, who inspires those around her to make a difference. 

Shannon Murree

Shannon Murree is a champion for change who thrives on connection, collaboration, and inspiring others. She’s known for advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially for women, girls, and BIPOC individuals. 

Shannon Murree | Source: RE/MAX

As a domestic violence survivor and woman of colour, Shannon understands the challenges faced in life and business. Celebrating 20 years as a licensed real estate agent, her personal and professional experiences help her empower women and colleagues everywhere. 

Sharon Smith

Sharon Smith, owner of Connect Hair Studio, is a nominee for the Barrie Chamber’s Women in Business Community Impact Award. Driven by joy, gratitude, and the belief that success is a continuous journey of making the most of what we have, her journey began with visiting long-term care facilities with her mom and with those less fortunate.  

Sharon Smith | Source: LinkedIn

Giving back has always been important to Sharon. It’s what led her to start the Raw and Reflective Calendar project, which has raised over $120,000 for Gilda’s Club. She is also a part of the “Everybody is Somebody,” a free hair-cutting event for people experiencing homelessness. 

Alexandra Gronfors

Alexandra Gronfors, a Barrie native and former teacher, is a stage four Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor who found solace in art during her treatment. She shares her journey and inspires others through her vibrant and colorful artwork. 

Alexandra Gronfors | Source: LinkedIn

Her goal is to bring joy and a unique perspective to the world. Inspired by people, landscapes, and nature, Alexandra has brought countless smiles with her custom artwork, prints, lessons, and inspiring story.

Jamie Grant

Jamie Grant is the Community Development Manager for the Barrie and Innisfil Farmer’s Markets. She also serves as a chair and director of several Simcoe County not-for-profit groups and she has been a volunteer with Canadian Blood Services for over a decade.

Jamie Grant | Source: Innisfil Farmer’s Market

 When Jamie’s not busy helping the community, she claims to make the world’s best butter tarts!

Amanda Baysarowich

Amanda Baysarowich founded IBI Behavioural Services in 2006 to help children with autism and other neurodiversities. Seeing the growing demand for neurodiverse programs, she launched Unique Minds Academy.

Amanda Baysarowich | Source: Unique Minds Academy

The Academy is Simcoe County’s first neurodiverse private school offering JK to Grade 8 ministry-approved education tailored to each child’s unique needs.

Nikki Glahn

Nikki Glahn, the founder Barrie Families Unite, recently won a Community Builders Award for her commitment and leadership. She’s grown Barrie Families Unite from a Facebook group that rallied the community during COVID, into an essential non-profit serving thousands. 

Nikki Glahn | Source: Facebook

Nikki and her team work tirelessly to ensure everyone has access to essential needs, allowing them to focus on breaking the cycle of poverty.

Peggy Hill

Peggy’s built a powerhouse real estate team, consistently ranking among the best in Canada and globally. Her motto, “Keeping it Real,” reflects her honesty, connection, and market expertise. 

Peggy Hill | Source: The Peggy Hill Team

Peggy’s well-known for her community support through partnerships with local charities and groups. Every day, Peggy and her team work hard to nurture these partnerships so that they can continue to make a difference in the community. 

Chantale Boileau

A librarian at the Barrie Public Library, Chantale Boileau is a finalist for the Chamber’s Women in Business Awards. 

Chantale Boileau | Source: Barrie Public Library

Through her work at the Library, she creates opportunities for small businesses to shine through community events and programs. She’s also a fantastic supporter of her colleagues.

Claudine Cousins

Dr. Claudine Cousins is the CEO of Empower Simcoe, a scholar, practitioner, and community changemaker. 

Claudine Cousins | Source: Empower Simcoe

Driven by social justice and its link to business, Dr. Cousins is a local advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion. She shares her experiences through presentations, mentoring, and championing women.

Darlene Price

Owner of Skinsational Day Spa, Darlene Price, has been in business for 36 years and is passionate about giving back. 

Darlene Price | Source: LinkedIn

She regularly helps Rotary with fundraising events, such as Cash Calendar and Lobsterfest. Darlene also donates to various charities like the Foodbank, RVH, and The Women’s Shelter. 

Sandra Yaquo

Sandra Yaquo, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones, is a driving force behind Christmas Cheer Barrie. She embodies the spirit of community and generosity. 

Sandra Yaquo | Source: Facebook

Through Christmas Cheer Barrie, Sandra leads efforts to provide gifts and essentials to families in need, spreading smiles and hope during the festive season. Her passion and commitment to both her professional role and her extensive charitable work make her a true pillar of our community. 

Cheryl Russell

With a passion for helping others, Cheryl Russell shines through in her work at Canadian Blood Services and the many charities and organizations she’s supported over the years. 

Cheryl Russell | Source: LinkedIn

Cheryl is a proud mother of two and a dedicated helper of anyone she meets including many furry four-legged friends.

Women Making A Difference In Barrie

These are just a few of the many extraordinary women shaping the future of Barrie. Their diverse contributions across various fields – from business and education to social justice and healthcare – highlight the immense impact women have on our community. 

As we get ready to celebrate International Women’s Day, let us acknowledge their achievements and continue to advocate for equality and empowerment.

And remember … even small actions can make a big difference.