Our Impact

Inspiring and empowering young people

Empowering Young Women 2024

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Empowering Young Women is a one-of-a-kind event that inspires students of all genders to explore career opportunities that champion women and inclusivity in the workplace.

On March 26, 2024, our annual Empowering Young Women event marked a highlight of the continued celebration of International Women's Day. Presented by Church & Dwight, the event united teachers, volunteers, JA partners and over 220 students from Central Ontario. Together, we explored rewarding career paths across various industries, inspired by the theme ‘Realizing Boundless Potential by Investing in Women’.
Keynote speaker Tonka Karakas, Sales Director at Church & Dwight and a seasoned industry expert, illuminated the power of authentic networking and shared invaluable advice serving as a beacon of inspiration for women in leadership. Through her keynote and insights from over 70 career mentors, students were motivated to plan for fulfilling careers that match their values and future vision.
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"Our students really enjoyed the guest speakers and their valuable wisdom. There was one particular quote [from Tonka] that was important for them to hear 'that feeling of nervousness/anxiety...it's called growth...embrace it!''"

Teacher, Laila M., St. Elizabeth Catholic High School
Empowering Young Women 2024

As students navigate the complexities of today's world and envision their future paths, the need for inspiring mentors has never been more vital. Guiding them towards fulfilling careers that align with their values and aspirations requires dedicated individuals who are willing to share their experiences and insights.

Become the change-making mentor young people need today and consider signing up as a JA volunteer to share your career journey, experiences and stories with students and to motivate and inspire them as they plan their future careers.

Meet our 2024 speakers

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Event Emcee

Brooke Write - Public Speaker, Writer, Entrepreneur

Brooke Write is a dynamic Entrepreneur and Public Speaker who turned her trials into triumphs. From self-publishing her first book at 22 to overcoming job loss at 23, Brooke's journey has been marked by resilience and determination. By 30, she achieved significant milestones, reaching her first $100k as an entrepreneur and successfully relaunching her service-based business, Creative Collab, which helps speakers around the globe. Brooke is on a mission to empower entrepreneurs, sharing insights from her own path of self-discovery, growth, and success.  


Industry Expert Speaker

Tonka Karakas - Sales Director, Church & Dwight

Tonka's career has spanned 20 years of experience in the Canadian consumer packaged goods and have worked with many great people in the industry including all colleagues and customers. Tonka has had great support from her leaders and organization.  She is very passionate about leadership, people development and mentoring especially the advancement of women in the industry.

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Meet our 2024 sponsors
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About JA Central Ontario

JA Central Ontario envisions a world in which young people have the skillset and mindset to build thriving communities. They want to make sure all young people are economically empowered with the skills, confidence and networks to shape the future. 

As a youth-centred charity, JA Central Ontario works together with a dedicated network of volunteers, partners and educators to deliver immersive learning in work readiness, financial health, entrepreneurship and more. JA students benefit from mentorship and real-world experiences, transforming their knowledge, skills, attitudes, and aspirations as they build their futures.

JA Central Ontario impacts students in Halton, Peel, Toronto, York, Durham and Simcoe regions. They are part of one of the world’s most-impactful youth-serving social good organizations – JA Worldwide – and they work closely with our national network, JA Canada.