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March 31, 2010  

Prominent Ontario women to select winner of Brescia’s Take the Lead Public Speaking Contest

London, ON – Fifty-six female students from Ontario high schools are registered to compete for one year’s free tuition at Brescia University College in the Take the Lead public speaking contest to be held at Brescia on Saturday, April 10, 2010.

The Institute for Women in Leadership (iWIL) will host the second annual contest for young women in Grades 11 and 12 who will research and present on the topic of women in leadership, in keeping with Brescia’s commitment to help develop women who choose to lead.The winner will receive full tuition for her first year of study at Brescia, provided she meets eligibility requirements. Second and third-place competitors will receive cash prizes, and all three will receive certificates.

Take the Lead will empower contestants to build confidence in presenting their ideas in a public forum – a valuable leadership skill. Registrants are coming from London and surrounding communities, Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe, and from as far away as Sudbury. All contestants will be judged on content and delivery in a preliminary round by Brescia staff and faculty members as well as many esteemed individuals from the city of London. They will select the top five contestants who will advance to the final round. The following panel of final-round judges will determine the winners:

  • Gina Barber, controller with the City of London;
  • Andrea Dunn, on air personality on the FM96 afternoon show;
  • Mary Lou Finlay, journalist, writer, and broadcaster best known as former host of the popular CBC program As It Happens;
  • Joan Francolini, O.ONT., chair of Brescia University College Foundation;
  • Cynthia Good, director of Creative Book Publishing, Humber College;
  • Sheriann Heath-Johnson, BACS, CHRM, alumni manager at Hillfield Strathallan College.

Take the Lead judge Cynthia Good, past president of Penguin Books Canada, made one of the single biggest contributions to Canadian literature of any publisher during her 20 years at Penguin. She is now the Director of the Creative Book Publishing Program in the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Humber College. “I'm delighted and honoured to be a judge for this public speaking contest. I encourage young women to find the best ways to express themselves and to develop their leadership qualities, and I applaud Brescia for creating this competition.”

To learn more about the Take the Lead contest, visit

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Brescia University College, Canada’s premier women’s university college, is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. The 1,100 women registered as either full or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more information, please visit

For more information, please contact:

Jocelyn Lagerquist
Outreach and Special Events Coordinator
519.432.8353, ext. 28395