Councillor Pam McConnell image
Pam McConnell

Pam McConnell will be remembered as a tireless advocate for women’s rights and social justice in the City of Toronto. She was a member of Toronto City Council from 1994 (then Metro Toronto Council) to 2017 and was the former Chair of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Standing Committee on Increasing Women’s Participation in Municipal Government. She was the Champion for the City of Toronto’s Protégée Program, a mentorship program matching young women with City Councillors intending to increase women’s representation in electoral politics.

In remembrance of Pam McConnell, the Protégée Program is pleased to present the Pam McConnell Award for Young Women in Leadership, to recognize the exceptional leadership of young women in the city of Toronto.

Eligibility & Selection Criteria

The Award is open to young women residing in the City of Toronto, between the ages of 16 and 26 upon the application deadline who:

  • Have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills through a proven track record of volunteer and/or paid work in the community-based sector
  • Have shown a commitment to social justice work through creating or leading community-based programs or services for vulnerable youth or residents in Toronto
  • Have inspired other young women through formal or informal mentorship.

The award recipients were invited to an event at City Hall on March 5, 2020 and were presented with an award and a cash prize.


We would like to extend a very gracious thank you to Heather-Ann for her support and honouring the legacy of her mother, Pam McConnell.

A special thank you to Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam as a champion of the Award and Protégée Program for young women.

Thank you to the Selection Committee which was comprised of Heather Ann McConnell, community leaders, members from the Toronto Youth Cabinet and City staff.

2020 Winners

We are honoured to acknowledge and congratulate the 2020 winners:

Hannia Cheng

Wonton maker by day and space maker by night, her cackles can be heard from down the street. You can always find Hannia Cheng dancing wherever the music feels good. She is currently invested in social practice as a means of community care, creating agency, and building capacity. Hannia Cheng is the “lo ban” (Cantonese for “boss”) of Tea Base, a DIY community arts space tucked away in the basement of Chinatown Centre that opened up last year in January.

If you don’t see her in Chinatown, she’s probably riding her bike to a gig somewhere on stage performing/hosting/dancing/organizing/doing whatever she’s been hired to do.

Fatoumat Jikineh

Fatoumat Jikineh is a third year Nursing student at York University and a young mother. She is a co-founder and the vice president of the Gambian Canadian Youth Association and creator of Because I’m Honoured, a program for Muslim girls and young women aimed at promoting cultural and religious pride. She has a flexible and dynamic role within the communities that she serves. She is passionate about developing community through advocating for youth and children and empowering women. She believes in the power of unity, kindness and support enables any community to thrive even with limited resources, and she has experienced this first hand.

In her free time she works on developing her personal art business, volunteering, and spending time with family. Her dreams include becoming an obstetrician gynecologist and working to serve and empower women in less developed countries.

We would like to acknowledge our shortlisted candidates, who received a certificate for their outstanding work and achievements in 2020:

  • Ikran Ali
  • Nour Abu-Shaaban
  • Hailey McCalla
  • Faduma Mohamed
  • Khadija Waseem
  • Taylor Dallin
  • Leslie Anne St. Amour
  • Arezoo Najibzadeh
  • Loizza Aquino