Nora M. Kelly – Board Chair

Nora is a career development and employability professional, adult educator and non-fiction copy editor. She has worked in all three sectors, including 10 years in the non-profit sector leading youth employment programs and employment services teams, facilitating workshops, providing one-to-one guidance and coaching, and writing successful grant proposals.

She enjoys bringing out the best in people so they can make their best contributions. She has seen first-hand how providing the right tools and encouragement can change someone’s life trajectory. She is inspired by the vision and values of Courage in Action and the opportunity to work with a team of committed women to empower more women across Canada to create new futures for themselves.


Colinda Laviolette –  Secretary

Colinda of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation of For Chipewyan, Alberta, on Treaty 8 Territory, grew up in a small isolated Indigenous community. She is the mother of six sons, the youngest two of whom live with Down syndrome.  Colinda pursued a career with the GNWT Justice Department within the Corrections Service.

Training in trauma with Dr. Gabor Mate, Colinda shares the knowledge, teachings and education she has acquired throughout this experience. She has found true joy and passion showing others that anything is possible when you believe in yourself.

She is a speaker, writer and has trained as a trauma therapist, working with both western and Indigenous cultural/spiritual practices.  She has been featured on CBC Radio, on various panels and is a contributor to “Women Like Me Community: Messages to Younger Self.”

An avid podcast guest and presenter, her most recent projects include writing a chapter for a book based on her personal story, being elected to the Board of Directors for Courage in Action and conducting Diversity and Inclusion training on behalf of the Compassionate Inquiry.

In her spare time, she enjoys creating beadwork and facilitating beading workshops.

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Shirley Gaudon – Treasurer

Human Resources Professional and Leadership Coach who’s committed to making a difference in people’s lives.  As someone who has risen above adversity and is continuing to grow and heal, I am aware of the power of women supporting and nurturing each other.  Recognizing and applauding our power, I’m proud to be a part of an amazing team of women that are committed to doing just that .

To quote a meme that resonated with me “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass it’s about learning to dance in the rain”

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Tricia Blake – Director

Tricia Blake Tricia is a Change Practitioner and XR Enthusiast who has developed her professional experience in the private and public sector. She has held senior management roles across operations, client services, project and change management. Tricia draws on over 15+ years of in the trenches experience to facilitate conversations that enable organizations to elevate their change experience by [transforming] conversations about the people side of change.

In addition, Tricia spearheads her own international give-back project, S.M.I.L.E. Butterfly that focuses on accessible education for children worldwide.

Why Courage In Action? I love the positive impact that they are making in women’s lives and there is nothing more beautiful than seeing someone thrive and overcome by becoming the best version of themselves.

Favourite quote: The question is not how to survive but how to thrive with.

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Shruthi ShivaKumar – Director

Shruthi is an HR Manager by the day. Passionate about content creation, training and development, fundraising, mentoring, digital marketing and branding.

A person can achieve extraordinary things when given the right help and guidance. Having raised and surrounded by strong women, I understand the need of having the resources to be the best version of oneself. Courage in action is the perfect platform to help as many lives as possible.

It is an honour to be part of a team of extremely talented and confident women who believe and are working towards the cause of women’s upliftment and sisterhood.

“There is nothing stronger than a woman who has rebuilt herself.” – Hannah Gadsby


Sophia Jacob – Director

Sophia Jacob is an award winning experienced event planner, marketing strategist & community organizer with specialties in fundraising for non-profit organizations & brand promotion for small businesses. Sophia is the President of Sophia J Events which is a boutique event planning & marketing firm, she founded the Canadian Women of Colour Leadership Network. In the last 9 years Sophia has successfully founded two business networks, the Ottawa Opportunities Network & Black Ottawa Business Network. In October 2021 at the Registered Professional Accounts of Canada small business month event Sophia received the Women’s Entrepreneurship Award for her accomplishments in business and for her dedicated community work.

Sophia joined Courage in Action organization as it is a place where you feel inspired and empowered. The work to close the gap and break down barriers that women face everyday is happening with this organization and I’m glad to be part of it




Barb Zaldin – Director

Barb is one of the founding committee members and is passionate about helping women move powerfully through their lives.  She helps people build their wealth and have their dreams come true. She is a Real Estate Agent who supports and helps sellers, buyers and investors make an educated decision. Barb helps people get from where they are to where they want to be.

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Denise Goldstein – Director

Denise is a long-time resident of the Markham community. She is dedicated business professional with a focus on delivering mutually beneficial success through results-oriented strategic alliances. Strong belief in building customer and partner engagement as a means to sustainable, meaningful development. Recognized public speaker and presenter. Lifetime learner with a strong belief in leading by example and collaboration. Denise & her husband recently sold their 21 year old business in 2021, she currently sits on various boards and enjoys golfing and hockey.

Denise joined Courage in action as she is a supporter of “When women support each other, incredible things happen.”

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Cindy Stradling – Executive Director

Facilitator, entrepreneur and resilience coach. I truly believe each and everyone one of us has untapped potential!

I am passionate about working with a team of powerful women on the Courage in Action Board and Committees to support the women we serve to move forward confidently in their lives.

Honoured to provide the women we serve access to resources that can provide them with the inspiration, tools and build the skills to live THEIR best life.