One of the highlights of Waterfront Magazine’s annual Outstanding Women Awards (OWA) event is the Legacy Lifetime Achievement (LLA) award that recognizes woman, who have made a big difference, in other people lives and their communities. In 2019 this distinguished award went to, Dr. Jean Augustine, PC CM CBE, for her trail blazing contributions in politics and community.

Over six decades, Dr. Augustine has led and crusaded to improve education and woman’s rights. On May 26, 2002, she was one of the first Black women to be elected to the House of Commons of Canada where she served as Minister of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women. She has established the Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment to support 7 to 17 year old girls achieve their potential.

Jean Augustine

Recently, Waterfront Magazine (WM) caught up with Dr. Jean Augustine to ask her a few questions.

What were your impression and feelings about your Waterfront Magazine Legacy award?

I was surprized and deeply humbled with the nomination and award. I was also impressions with the extraordinary turnout and the calibre of women that made this recognition event so important. There was a wonderful Waterfront spirit that exuded strong energy throughout the evening. I connected with some of these amazing women who offered to help support our girls at the Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment.

What message would you have for other women?

It is important that women are not afraid to underscore their efforts and contributions. Women do so many things that help other people; family, neighbours, community and business – spiritually and physically. In most cases only they know what they have done. This reminds me of the adage, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” by George Berkeley.
A venue like Waterfront’s Outstanding Women Awards helps to highlight some of these accomplishments that millions of women produce each day.

How can women help to empower other women?

Toronto has about 140 distinct neighbourhoods. Each has their own strength and opportunities for growth and recognition. We can develop a circle of communities where women can join forces to share their idea of empowerment in their family and communities. It would augment and nurture their diversity, talents and abilities to support their outstanding achievements.

You mentioned the Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment (YWE). Can you tell us more about what this centre does for young women?

The Centre is one of my passions. I believe that an empowered young girl or woman can improve her life and have a positive impact on the world around her. The Centre is committed to building the self-esteem and self-worth of young women and girls by positively influencing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons, & helping them to empower themselves.

Jean Augustine

Our VISION is to enrich the lives of girls aged 7 to 17 years old through mentorship, empowerment programs and civic engagement with opportunities that place special emphasis on personal development & experiential learning.

Our CORE VALUES are: Empowerment, Mentorship, Leadership and Civic Engagement.