May Court Club celebrating Women in Excellence

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The 2022 Women in Excellence award winners, clockwise from upper left: Dr. Sarah Mayes-Tang, Tracy Bultje, Madeline Van Der Paelt, Madame Justice Lucy Glenn, Marlene Schaap Kuri, and Brenda LeClair.

The May Court Club of Chatham’s Women in Excellence awards are back following an enforced absence due to the pandemic.

The awards dinner is slated for June 3 at the John D. Bradley Centre in Chatham.

May Court spokesperson Catharine Hogan said the club ran the Women in Excellence awards in 2016, and again in 2018. The plan was to run them every other year, but 2020 delivered something else – the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We ramped up to do it in 2020 and had to cancel,” Hogan said of the awards. “We rescheduled and cancelled it again. Finally, we are up and running again.”

Hogan said the club looks at the awards dinner as a great way to offer recognition for local women who are outstanding in their respective fields, as well as utilize it as a fundraiser to help fuel various May Court projects in the community.

This time around, as with the awards in the past, the recipient list is comprised of a diverse and talented group.

Local artist Tracy Bultje will be recognized in the Arts & Culture category. In Business & Professions, Madam Justice Lucy Glenn was chosen. Brenda LeClair is being recognized for Community & Volunteerism. Dr. Sarah Mayes-Tang is the awards recipient in Education & Training. Marlene Schaap Kuri is recognized for Health, Science & Technology. Madeline Van Der Paelt received the nod for Young Woman of Excellence.

“I’m in awe looking at some of those bios,” Hogan said. “It’s exciting. You look at someone like Brenda LeClair (of Outreach for Hunger). It’s amazing the work that group does. It’s so important to our community. I’m very pleased with the calibre of the people we are able to honour. They really are such capable women.”

Bultje is a local artist whose landscapes have been featured in various juried shows and have been showcased in galleries as far away as Toronto and Vancouver.

Glenn initially practiced law for 17 years before being appointed as an Ontario Court Justice, a position she held for 24 years before retiring in 2020.

LeClair helped start Outreach for Hunger in the late 1980s, and has been the executive director since 1990.

Mayes-Tang holds a PhD in Pure Mathematics, became a university professor at just age 27, and has transformed the teaching and curriculum at the University of Toronto’s math department in recent years, leading a team of a dozen instructors and 45 teaching assistants.

Kuri has spent 37 years at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, holding a variety of positions of leadership in nursing. 

Van Der Paelt, sporting a degree in computer engineering, came out of school and led the way in a host of proposed improvements to the Professional Engineers of Ontario before moving up the promotion ladder at Trend Micro, a global leader in enterprise data security and cybersecurity solutions.

Diane Bradley, president of the May Court Club of Chatham, encourages people to come out to celebrate the successes of these individuals.

“Our members are pleased to once again have the opportunity to recognize the deserving Chatham-Kent women who have been selected as Women of Excellence 2022. Proceeds from the sale of tickets for the Women of Excellence reception will help fund May Court’s important work with women and children in our community,” she said.

The May Court Club provides student nutrition at a host of schools in Chatham-Kent, as part of its support services.

Tickets are $75 each and can be purchased by contacting either Maxine at 519-436-0692 or Anne at 519-352-2710.

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