Lethbridge: Six local women are being recognized as the YWCA and District 2011 Women of Distinction
Darcie James is the Woman of Distinction in the YWCA Champion category. Darcie was honoured as Winston Churchill High School's top female athlete in 1976, earned her Diploma in Law Enforcement from Lethbridge Community College in 1979 and was one of the first two women constables hired by the Lethbridge City Police in 1980. In 1996, she became the first woman in the agency to be promoted to Sergeant. In 2002, she completed her baccalaureate degree and in 2003, she earned the distinction of being the first woman in law enforcement in Lethbridge to achieve the rank of Staff Sergeant. Darcie is presently the Manager of the Victim/Witness Services Unit with the Lethbridge Regional Police Service, which, under her leadership, received the Excellence in Victim Services Award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police for 2010.
Dr. Olga Kovalchuk is the Woman of Distinction in the Community Leader category. Dr. Kovalchuk, M.D./Ph.D. was born and raised in Ukraine. Living close to Chernobyl inspired her research into the effects of radiation on living organisms. She is a medical doctor, active cancer researcher and professor in Biological Sciences at the University of Lethbridge. Her work is devoted to uncovering the molecular mechanisms of breast cancer development and using new approaches to cancer prevention, diagnostics and treatment. She has been published twice in Nature, the top scientific journal in the world, in which less than 1% of the world's scientists have been published even once. In 2009, Dr. Kovalchuk was a recipient of a Canada Top 40 Under 40 award.
Arleen Albiez is the Woman of Distinction 2011 in the Spirit of Women category. Arleen was a Returning Officer for the City of Lethbridge (1950 - 1995), the first female Returning Officer (Lethbridge West) for the Province of Alberta (1972 - 1979) and the first female Federal Returning Officer (Lethbridge) in Canada (1979 - present). She is still the Federal Returning Officer for Lethbridge. Arleen has also been a leader and volunteer extraordinaire in many other organizations in Lethbridge and District: The United Way (formerly Community Chest), Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Canadian Cancer Society, Head Start Program, Southland Credit Union, the Red Cross, the Order of Royal Purple of Canada, and the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization. In all cases, she recruited other women to these agencies as volunteers, encouraging and empowering women, both volunteers and clients of these organizations to help themselves and help others while making important supports and services available in our community.
Cheryl Dick is the Woman of Distinction 2011 in the Community Commitment category. Cheryl is the Chief Executive Officer for Economic Development Lethbridge and is highly respected for her strong and tireless commitment to providing exceptional leadership. Prior to joining Economic Development Lethbridge, Cheryl spent 15 plus years working with executive teams in international publicly-traded corporations and public institutions. From marketing and fund-raising to media and investor relations, her work has always achieved goals through effective collaboration and partnerships. Cheryl completed her MBA in Executive Management from Royal Roads University in 2003 and holds an "Accredited Public Relations" designation from the Canadian Public Relations Society. She has volunteer leadership positions with: the U-of-L Senate, Faculty of Management Advisory Committee, and Senate Honourary Degree Committee, Lethbridge College Business Administration Advisory Committee, Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and is a past board member of the Lethbridge and District Community Futures