Skip to content
Sponsored Content

St. Albert's faces of International Women's Day

St. Albert Interface Connects celebrates the Honourable Lisa Tchir, Irene Leduc, Barb Riley, Danielle Reed and Madison Manchakowsky

International Women’s Day, traditionally held March 8, is an annual United Nations campaign to increase gender equality throughout the world and celebrate women’s achievements. 

For the 2024 campaign, St. Albert Interface Connections chose the theme “Inspire Inclusion.” The St. Albert’s International Women’s Day event, one of the longest running in the province, marks its 27th anniversary. 

This year five female faces who have served both locally and internationally are honoured. They are the Honourable Justice Lisa Tchir, Irene Leduc, Barb Riley, Danielle Reed and Madison Manchakowsky. 

Celebrations take place on Friday, March 8 at 6 p.m. at St. Albert Community Hall. 

Justice Lisa Tchir 

Humanitarian/Indigenous Rights/Status of Women 

Justice Lisa Tchir, the fifth of seven children, grew up on a mixed farm near Derwent, Alberta. Early in life she learned the meaning of hard work and the value of sacrifice, faith and service to the community.  

Throughout her childhood, Tchir desired a career serving others. Following this path, she first obtained an honours degree at the University of Alberta followed by a law degree. She worked in both the private and public sector, eventually becoming a recognized expert in criminal law issues. 

Tchir rose through the ranks of the federal crown focusing on organized crime and drug prosecutions. By 2008, the Alberta Provincial Government offered her the role of Assistant Chief Prosecutor, a position where she conducted many significant and complex prosecutions. 

But by 2015, Alberta’s deputy minister of a new ministry for the Status of Women invited her to join the department. At the time, there was no Status of Women department in Canada. 

Through this department she addressed and prevented gender-based violence, advanced women’s economic security, and created a pilot program providing legal advice for survivors of sexual abuse. 

“Of all the things that are most meaningful to me, I wanted to make a difference. Examples are the Status of Women department and, through that, the legal advice I was able to give survivors of sexual abuse. It was hard work, but it was not until I actually talked to someone who used the program that made it worth it,” said Tchir. 

In addition to advancing gender equality, she has provided advice on Indigenous relations and policy matters, worked for the John Howard Society, and contributed to Amnesty International. 

“My only work has been in the criminal division. It’s hard to hear about so much grief, suffering and strife. But it’s important to let people know when they are taking positive steps. I have to be mindful of this. The day they see me may be one of the most important days in their life, and I take it seriously. It’s an incredible privilege.”  

Irene Leduc 

Unsung Heroine/Humanitarian  

Born in Guatemala, Irene Leduc came to Toronto when she was 7 years old. Her humanitarian spirit developed early in life and she joined the Canadian Armed Forces Medical Branch for 25 years. 

She began her career as a medic, received a degree in nursing and was then trained as an assistant physician. Leduc served two tours overseas in Bosnia (2001) and Afghanistan (2008). 

In Afghanistan, she supervised in a Multinational Field Hospital, specifically the emergency triage unit. But after seeing too much tragedy, she retired from CAF. To heal her own trauma, she turned to her faith and serving the community. 

The list of community projects Leduc offers support is lengthy from sewing feminine hygiene products for women and volunteering at St. Albert Food Bank to making sack lunches for the homeless and fashioning quilts for the marginalized. 

Barb Riley 

Community Service 

A resident of St. Albert since 1991, Barb Riley has contributed largely to the healthy growth of communities through her commitment to faith, theology and church. 

Riley has a diploma in theological studies and has assisted in pastoral care and chaplain duties throughout the province. 

Throughout the decades, she was part of the pastoral care team at St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Centre and was an organizer for World Day of Prayer. Within the St. Albert community, she has been active at Parents’ Place, Newcomer’s Connection Program, and St. Albert Host Lions’ Club. 

Riley also received the 2022 Platinum Queen’s Jubilee Medal for volunteerism. 

Madison Manchakowsky 

Youth Community Service 

Madison Manchakowsky,  a Grade 12 student at Bellrose High School, is nominated for her outstanding efforts as a school athletic trainer. A natural leader, her goal is to pursue sports medicine. 

Last fall, she was invited to work with Bellerose junior and senior football teams assisting taping up injuries, monitoring past injuries, helping players prevent injuries, providing first aid and writing injury reports. Once basketball season starts, she’ll be back assisting players avoid injuries.  

Manchakowsky interest in athletic training developed after she enrolled in a sports medicine class in Grade 10.  

“It sounded interesting. I was going to take a course in sports medicine at the university and this fit,” said Manchakowsky.  

A natural leader and sports enthusiast, the high school student used to play soccer with St. Albert Soccer Club until she broke her arm. Since the accident, she’s shied away from playing. 

“I still love sports and this athletic training will help me get back in, but in a different position.”  

Danielle Reed 

Youth Empowerment 

Danielle Reed, a school counsellor at Paul Kane High School, is nominated for uplifting contributions to both youth and teachers. 

Reed is the author of It’s Time to Stop Making Bagels, a book that emphasizes it’s OK to be imperfect. A leader, author, public speaker and co-founder of Fit and Fierce, she has provided mentorship in mental health, fitness, nutrition and giving back to the community. 

She started a student group called the Ted Lasso Club encouraging real talk, and in January, conducted a workshop that emphasized leading a balanced life. 

Sage Goonewardena, Reed’s nominator, had this to say. 

“She has helped me have the language for emotions, the confidence to always be oneself, and the courage to be vulnerable, and above all else — to be kind.” 

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks