is dedicated to teaching young girls the skills to know their own value and how to build on it to create their own future. This multi-faceted program was inspired by an amazing grandmother, a strong little girl, and professional experience working with young people ranging from toddlers to teenagers. The program is designed to empower young girls between 6-12-years-old to realize their true potential without external validation or permission.
In our current digital world, 70% of young girls experience low-self esteem, and 30% experience anxiety and depression from the high increase in socialization through social media. The constant flow of images dictating how girls and women should look, act and behave sets a normalized impossible standard for girls to live up to. With such a dramatic rise in mental health, it’s time we empowered our girls to know themselves, their value, and their own voice.
With 37% of American 4th graders believing boys are smarter than girls, and 17% of American 4th graders believing a man would make a better boss than a woman (a statistic that typically increases amongst young women of Asian, Black or Indigenous descent), it’s critical we support our girls to see themselves as future leaders and young women.
All young women should embrace who they are, define their own future, and live a life they love.
Empowering young girls everywhere to become limitless women.
That every girl fully realizes their own incredible potential, to live an unstoppable life they dream of, without limits.
Our Board of Directors
Jacqualine Chan, Chairperson
Accountant and Event Planner
She has 20 years of accounting and 15 years of event planning background that she will leverage to help Girl. Strong. thrive. With her financial background and event management skills, she hopes to make a meaningful contribution to the board and help the organization realize its vision.
Christina Varga, Communications Director
Former Editor for the Globe and Mail
She has a background in journalism as a writer and project editor for The Globe and Mail, among other publications. With previous experience as a Girl Guides leader, and having had responsibility for the Globe and Mail’s Canadian University Report magazine for nearly 10 years, Christina understands how critical the so-called soft skills of leadership and an entrepreneurial mindset are for young people, especially girls.
Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives
She promotes respect for everyone’s rights and dignity and is devoted to raising the awareness of community members about human rights, equity, and inclusion related issues. Alicia previously provided advice to corporate executives, human resources, diversity and inclusion practitioners, and individual contributors of leading Canadian and global corporations on strategies, initiatives, and programs to accelerate progress for gender equality in corporate leadership. Alicia believes in building community through volunteering. She supports 3 non-profit and charitable organizations committed to education and celebrating diverse cultures.
With over 20 years of experience in media sales and five in commercial real estate sales, Aili brings a passion for revenue generation and partnerships to Girl. Strong. As a Girl. Strong. parent, she has seen firsthand how beneficial the program is for young girls and is excited to apply her professional experience to broaden the program's reach.
Practicing pharmacist in the Toronto area, and is currently involved in several social impact projects; Corporate Social Responsibility for Spinmaster Ltd, Presidents Disruptor's Think Tank at the UJA (thinking about innovative ways to solve poverty), fundraising for Hospital for Sick Children's Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Program, and co-founding Girl. Strong. Karen is also a member of Toronto Foundation's Vision 2020 and Trust Collective groups. “I am a mom of two young boys who keep me on my toes, and I am thrilled to be the chairperson of this initiative.”
Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto
From 2017 to 2019, he was the University’s Associate Vice-President, International Partnerships in the University's Office of the Vice President, International. From 2013 to 2017, he was the Director of the University’s Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering.
Yan Kiu Chan,
Domestic and International Affairs at Ontario Securities Commission (OSC)
Yan Kiu Chan is a lawyer, a former engineer, and a mom. She supports the OSC’s relationship and engagement with domestic and international governments and regulating bodies. Yan has also worked as Legal Counsel in the Corporate Finance Branch and Compliance and Registrant Regulation Branch at the OSC, where she gained extensive operational and policy development experience regulating Ontario's capital markets. Before joining the OSC, Yan completed a clerkship at the Court of Appeal for Ontario, practiced at an intellectual property law firm, and worked as an engineer at a semiconductor company in Silicon Valley.
Director of Training and Franchise Development at Sportball
He is a leading provider of non-competitive multi-sport programs for children 16 months to 12 years of age. He is responsible for curriculum design & implementation. Jason also oversees the sales, training, and support of franchisees across Canada, the United States and Singapore. Jason is also the Creator and Chief Storyteller at JR Storytellers - A Children's Storytelling and Book Publishing Company. He is the author of "My Mom My Superhero" and co-author of "Nothing but Yet!". His passion and creativity as an author and storyteller derives from almost 20 years of experience in the field of childhood development and education.
Principal at Flemington Public School
CherylAnn Samuel-Graham, daughter, sister, aunt,friend, wife and mother of three beautiful young men. She has had a passion for teaching from a very young age. In 1998, CherylAnn attained her formal Teaching Qualifications from the Universities of Toronto and York. In 2006, her passion, dedication and desire to have a greater influence to give students greater life chances and choices she pursued a role in administration. In this role, CherylAnn has been fortunate to serve a variety of communities including the Dufferin/Bloor, Dewson, Amesbury, George Syme and Flemington. Her moral compass is guided by truth, integrity, hard work and an unwavering desire to lead with lens of equity and inclusivity to ensure all students succeed. Her partnership with Girl Strong began in 2018 from a recommendation from a sister school. In 2019, when asked to be on the Girl Strong Board, without hesitation she joined...Girl Strong, together we are better.
Senior Partner at Tator, Rose & Leong
Edmund Leong, CPA, CA is a senior partner at a mid-sized Toronto firm. His leadership, sense of diversity, and community are at the forefront of both his personal and business ethos. Edmund currently serves as an advisor to the board of Career Colleges Ontario (CCO) and takes on various other governance and community activities including public speaking engagements at CCO and as well various published articles on Condominium governance in CondoVoice Magazine. His participation in annually over 100 annual general meetings for various not of profit boards and associations has given Edmund a strong framework understanding of board and membership governance and fairness. Having 4 children of which 2 are in post-secondary and 2 in elementary school who have played competitive hockey and who are in competitive dance respectively allows Edmund to take a second full-time career a mentor and chauffeur.
Global HR Partner at LinkedIn
Lyana Halpern works with leaders around the world to help them show up as the best version of themselves. Known as a talent and culture champion, Lyana currently works at LinkedIn where she is the HR Lead for Canada and Business Partner to client groups across the globe. With over 15 years of Human Resources experience, she partners with businesses to help build and scale their teams. As talent as the number 1 priority, Lyana helps foster a culture that helps its employees reach their full potential. “I look forward to leveraging my experience to help realize this inspiring vision, which will shape the lives of so many.”