Belinda Stronach – WOMAN of ACTION™

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A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life of one of Canada’s most successful, youngest and philanthropic driven women. Born into industry, this woman has taken time from her busy life to travel to the developing parts of our world, experienced and witnessed the imbalance that our world is suffering and Took Action to create positive change through any and all paths that she has available to her. Establishing her own Foundation, she is now on the road to developing global equity through her efforts in the area of education for girls; both in developing countries as well as in her homeland, Canada.

We celebrate her this Canada Day season, in honour of her vision and work to better the lives of women and girls; celebrating her belief that when one educates a girl child, one saves a village.

 
 
 
 

WOMAN of ACTION™

 
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Belinda Stronach

 
 
 
 
Belinda Caroline Stronach is a natural born leader, a Canadian businesswoman, philanthropist and former politician.

Stronach was born in Newmarket, Ontario, the daughter of Magna International founder and chairman Frank Stronach and the former president and chief executive officer of the company. Her father was born Franz Strohsack in Kleinsemmering, Styria, Austria to working-class parents, Stronach’s childhood was marked by the Great Depression and the Second World War. At age 14, he left school to apprentice as a tool and die maker. In 1954, he arrived in Montreal, Quebec, and later moved to Ontario.

belinda frank bookIn 1956, Stronach started his first business, Multimatic Investments Ltd., in the old manufacturing district of Toronto. In 1969, his firm acquired its first automotive parts contract and merged with Magna Electronics. In 1973, the name was converted from Multimatic Investments Ltd to Magna International Ltd. Over the following decades, after several mergers and acquisitions, his business gradually became the major force it is today. He also was integral in the re-building of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, establishing the greatly challenged alternative living compound for hurricane survivors named Canadaville, leading by example for a future of philanthropy, for his daughter and heir.

Teaching a human ‘how to fish’ does have its challenges, when many simply want to ‘eat’.

belinda allenwyman.jpeg.size.xxlarge.letterboxBut after five years, the unique Canadian humanitarian effort is winding down, and villagers including Wyman and his family will likely be gone by the end of December.

“It kind of gave me a new way of looking at and doing new things,” he said Friday in a telephone interview from the village. “I really don’t want to leave and don’t know quite yet what I’m going to do.”

Wyman, who worked as a cook before Katrina hit New Orleans, said he gained a lot of other skills in operating a farm business in Canadaville and growing crops ranging from sweet corn to cucumbers and watermelons.

Belinda is definitely born into a bloodline of a self-made industrial magnate; making her a natural born leader, destined to create positive change.

Born in 1966, she graduated from Newmarket High School and attended York University in 1985, where she studied business and economics, but dropped out after one year to work at Magna.

She speaks English and German fluently.

stronachs_reutersStronach was a member of the board of directors of Magna from 1988 until 2004. She became a vice-president of the company in 1995 and executive vice-president in 1999, until her appointment as president and chief executive officer. She has chaired the boards of Decoma International Inc., Tesma International Inc., and Intier Automotive Inc., all in the auto parts sector.

She was a founding member of the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council and served on the Ontario Task Force on Productivity, Competitiveness and Economic Progress. She is a director of the Yves Landry Foundation, which furthers technological education and skills training in the manufacturing sector.

In February 2001, she was appointed chief executive officer of Magna, succeeding Donald J. Walker (who became CEO of Magna spinoff Intier Automotive Inc.), and in January 2002, she also became its president. While CEO, the company added 3,000 jobs in Canada, 1,000 of them being in the Newmarket-Aurora area she would later represent in Parliament. Under her leadership Magna had record sales and profits each year. Though he held no formal operational role during that time, Frank Stronach remained as Chairman of the Board.

As a CEO, Stronach was widely viewed as more conciliatory to organized labour than her father, who was noted for his strong opposition to unions at Magna. While head of Magna, she ceased fighting the United Auto Workers in a dispute before the National Labor Relations Board, and the union organized numerous Magna workers in the United States.

In 2001, the National Post named Stronach as the most powerful businesswoman in Canada. In the same year, the World Economic Forum named her a “Global Leader of Tomorrow“. Fortune Magazine ranked her #2 in its list of the world’s most powerful women in business in 2002. She was also named one of Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40“.

Conservative Party Elections Are Held In CanadaIn April 2004, Time Magazine ranked her as one of the world’s 100 most influential people. CEO and President of Magna International, a major auto parts company started by her father Frank Stronach, Belinda Stronach entered the leadership race for the new Conservative Party of Canada with no political experience and came in second. In the 2004 election Belinda Stronach won the Ontario riding of Newmarket-Aurora and was named trade critic.

In May 2005 Belinda Stronach made a surprise move and joined the Liberals as a cabinet minister.

Belinda Stronach, Executive Vice- Chairman, Magna International Inc. and Chair of the The Belinda Stronach Foundation explains how investing in and advocating for action on the most pressing challenges that face our world today is more than a corporations ethical mandate as a good corporate citizen.

Effective corporate philanthropy can be a key competitive advantage for companies, positioning them as leaders on issues and in communities that will be key drivers of economic development, growth in existing markets and entry into new markets such as Africa and Latin America in the years to come.

Presented at the 2009 Canadian Business Leadership Forum.

 

 
 

Philanthropy and honours

Belinda Stronach: Philanthropy as Competitive Advantage

belinda lc_bottom2Belinda Stronach, a former MP and CEO of Magna, explains how she got started in philanthropy. It started with Spread the Net, a campaign she began in 2005 with Rick Mercer, which has raised $5-million to buy insecticide-treated bed nets for children and pregnant women in Liberia and Rwanda.

belindaTBSF-About-Mission-Statement2The Belinda Stronach Foundation builds partnerships with individuals, non-governmental organizations, business large and small, as well as other foundations who work in Canada and around the world to develop and incubate innovative programs confronting global challenges.

The Belinda Stronach Foundation is established to provide educational opportunities for young women and aboriginal youth, and to improve the lives of young people in developing nations. A core program of The Belinda Stronach Foundation (TBSF), OLPC Canada strives to empower Aboriginal youth to play an active role in their own education through access to learning centered technology. Canada’s first National OLPC program, TBSF has partnered with schools and community centres to provide 3700 laptops to First Nation, Métis and Inuit children in rural, remote and urban communities.

belinda TBSF-Our-Pillars-Aboriginal-YouthOLPC Canada is a testament to the strength of partnerships and the important role the private sector, government and NGOs can play in strengthening communities and strategically investing in Canadian children.

belinda place york regionThe program has been generously supported by Vale, BMO and the Government of Ontario. For more information please visit www.olpccanada.com.

She is also the Co-founder and Honorary Chair of Belinda’s Place, York Region’s first homeless women’s shelter and serves on the boards of numerous national and international nonprofit organizations dedicated to finding innovative solutions to the challenges of poverty.

belinda shelter generosityHomelessness among women in York Region is mainly hidden, but the reality is more than 10,000 single women lived in poverty in York Region in 2006. Single women in York Region are more than 3 times as likely to be living in poverty as other people in York Region.

Each year, in York Region, over 100 women are turned away from shelters for violence against women, because they don’t meet the criteria, and they’re turned away from family shelters because they are single (and without children). So, if a single woman is homeless, where can she go in York Region?

The answer is NOWHERE.

Currently, there are NO beds allocated to homeless women in York Region. As hard as it may be to believe, many of these women live under bridges, in their cars, in the bush or in other unsafe situations, with no access to personal hygiene products, a hot shower or clean clothes.

IN YORK REGION: MORE THAN 10,000 SINGLE WOMEN WERE LIVING IN POVERTY IN 2006. SINGLE WOMEN ARE MORE THAN THREE TIMES AS LIKELY TO LIVE IN POVERTY THAN OTHER RESIDENTS. THE NUMBER OF FEMALE CLIENTS USING SERVICES FOR THE HOMELESS CONTINUES TO INCREASE ANNUALLY. MORE THAN 500 WOMEN ARE TURNED AWAY EVERY YEAR FROM SHELTERS SERVING AB– USED WOMEN AND FAMILIES. NOT ONE SHELTER EXISTS TO SERVE SINGLE WOMEN WITHOUT HOMES.

THE YORK REGION COMMUNITY PLAN TO ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS SETS A SHELTER FOR SINGLE WOMEN AS A PRIORITY.

In the wake of an eye-opening study commissioned by the York Region Alliance to End Homelessness that highlighted the urgent need for a shelter and support for homeless women, Newmarket Mayor Tony Van Bynen and former Newmarket-Aurora MP Belinda Stronach joined forces to make a difference.

A Community Team was established in June 2009 through the leadership of Mayor Van Bynen and Ms Stronach and began working to make this much needed project a reality.

The Globe and Mail is taking an in-depth look at the state of charitable giving. As part of the series, we’ve interviewed prominent philanthropists about their causes and their perspective on charitable giving.
 

 
Stronach is honorary chair of the Southlake Regional Health Centre fundraising campaign and a former honorary chair of the Howdown fundraising campaign. In 2003, she received one of Canada’s oldest and most distinguished awards, the Beth Shalom Humanitarian Award, presented in recognition of outstanding achievement in humanitarian service.

belinda and rick mercer With the NetOn November 9, 2006 she co-chaired the Millennium Promise Convention in Montreal with Canadian television personality Rick Mercer. This event was a national campaign to enlist Canadians to help protect children in Africa from the ravages of malaria. RICK MERCER’S BLOG

Together, Stronach and Mercer co-founded Spread the Net, a grassroots organization that raises money to buy insecticide-treated bed nets for families in Africa, reducing the risk of acquiring malaria by mosquito bite. For her efforts, Stronach received an honorary degree from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario in 2009.
 
 

Personal life – marriage

Stronach is twice divorced; her first husband was current Magna CEO Donald J. Walker and her second was Norwegian speed skating legend Johann Olav Koss. She has two children from her first marriage, Frank and Nikki.

Cancer diagnosis – Healing with dignity: Belinda Stronach aims to highlight breast cancer surgery option unavailable to Canadian Women

Former MP Belinda Stronach pushes for better access to breast cancer care in Canada

BREAST CANCER AWARENESSOn June 23, 2007, the Toronto Star reported that Stronach had been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, a form of breast cancer, in April 2007, and had undergone a mastectomy on June 19 in an undisclosed Toronto hospital.

According to a September 14, 2007 article from CTV News, Stronach traveled to the United States for breast cancer surgery in June 2007. According to the article, Stronach’s spokesman Greg MacEachern said that the hospital in the United States was the best place to have this type of surgery done. The article also says that Stronach paid for the surgery out of her own pocket.

Stronach raised over a million dollars in funds for the Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery, at the University of Toronto, following her own breast surgery.

A single lump in her right breast was the loose thread that sent Belinda Stronach’s world unraveling.

“It kind of stops you in your tracks,” Ms. Stronach said in an exclusive interview. “You go about your daily life and you don’t wake up in the morning thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m going to have breast cancer.’”

 
Women in Canada can be screened less frequently for breast cancer and doctors should stop performing routine breast examinations altogether in women without symptoms of the disease, according to new Canadian breast cancer screening recommendations.

The guidelines for average-risk women — updated for the first time in a decade — recommend no routine mammography screening for women aged 40 to 49 and lengthen the screening window for women ages 50 to 74 from every other year, to every two to three years.

Women have been told for years that regular mammograms save lives. READ MORE – By Sharon Kirkey
 

 
social-mediaFIND BELINDA HERE

TWITTER – @BelindaStronach
 
Facebook – Belinda Stronach

Facebook – The Belinda Stronach Foundation
 
Belinda’s Place – WOMEN SHELTER PROJECT
 
MALARIA NO MORE – Belinda Stronach

 
WOMEN IN THE WORLD – Belinda Stronach ( Video )
 
Nomination: Meetika Srivastava
 

 
 
 
 
 

A Celebration of Women™

welcomes this awakened powerhouse into our global Alumni with open arms, celebrate her work and look forward to many collaborations in bettering the lives of women and girls, globally.

 
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Brava Belinda!

 

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