“It’s important to honour people’s pronouns, have physically accessible all-gender washrooms at events, and talk about gender in less binary terms. It’s also important to check in on your trans and non-binary friends, and make room for them.”     -Nicole Jones-Abad

Age: 23

Hometown: Quito, Ecuador

Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta

Affiliations: Shades of Colour, RAYE (Rainbow Alliance for Youth of Edmonton), QWTF (Queer Women and Trans-folk Fest), The Edmonton Shift Lab

What influenced you to become a change-maker?

While I’ve lived in Canada virtually my whole life, I was adopted from Ecuador at seven weeks old, which is something that has influenced the way that I directly, and indirectly, navigate the world. I entered university dreaming of becoming either a doctor or a clinical psychologist, but realized that academia just wasn’t what I was meant to do. I found other things that got me excited, like public speaking, making videos, navigating governance, planning festivals, managing campaigns, and administrative work. But most of all, I have realized how important community is. I think when we have bodies that are politicized in particular ways, it becomes an act of survival to care about politics, and to care about, and hold space for each other.

How does your work promote gender equality in Canada and around the world?

I wear many hats within the queer and trans communities, but I would say that my main focus of work would be with Shades of Colour (SOC). SOC is a community in Edmonton for people that are QTIBPOC (queer and/or trans, Indigenous, Black, and/or People of Colour). This kind of space is needed because often queer spaces are white-centred and dominated, while spaces that aren’t white-centred may not always feel queer- or trans-friendly. In SOC, we acknowledge that our existence is political; however, we also acknowledge that it’s political to sit with each other, laugh sometimes, eat food together, build community, and hold space. The group has seen a lot of growth and community support in the past half year, and my amazing co-organizers and I are excited for what this could mean for outreach and becoming a self-sustaining group.

What change would you like to see in the world by 2030?

I feel much of the work in the trans community (especially for QTIBPOC) surrounds survival and basic needs, so it would be nice to move beyond that. Trans rights have become a highly politicized issue and currently there’s a lot of backlash. It makes so many of us feel hyper-visible and unsafe whenever we see the news or social media. With a provincial election this year, many of us fear what will happen to our rights that we were granted only recently, and we’re preparing for the worst.

More 2019 Top 30 Alumni

Koshin Mohomoud

"The most important thing for anyone wanting to make a change is to get involved. Whether you are able to volunteer a little bit of your time or a lot, it is always important." -Koshin Mohomoud Age: 29 Hometown: Surrey, British Columbia Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Edmonton Somali Professionals I am currently a senior policy advisor with the Government of Alberta. Prior to my current role, I worked in both the public and private sectors and spent time working in my...

Aditya Chaudhuri

"Realize that when you do not contribute to achieving gender equality, you are limiting the world from reaching its full potential." -Aditya Chaudhuri Age: 25 Hometown: Calgary, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Engineers Without Borders Canada (ACGC Member) I’m a musician, an engineer (in training), an absolute animal lover, but most importantly, a global citizen who is passionate about contributing towards a sustainable tomorrow. I used to think the world was only...

Nicole Jones-Abad

"It’s important to honour people’s pronouns, have physically accessible all-gender washrooms at events, and talk about gender in less binary terms. It’s also important to check in on your trans and non-binary friends, and make room for them."     -Nicole Jones-Abad Age: 23 Hometown: Quito, Ecuador Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Shades of Colour, RAYE (Rainbow Alliance for Youth of Edmonton), QWTF (Queer Women and Trans-folk Fest), The Edmonton Shift Lab While I’ve lived...

Ameer Farooq

"To improve gender equality, we need to understand the issue through data and research and make informed decisions that get at the heart of the problem." -Ameer Farooq Age: 29 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Alberta Health Services The corridors of Mohammad Ali Jinnah Hospital are smeared with the stains of spit-up paan. There are people everywhere—under the stairs, in every chair, in every bed, some moaning, some simply staring with large...

Lindsay Brouwer

"We need to promote the idea that your gender does not limit you with what you chose to do with your life." -Lindsay Brouwer Age: 28 Hometown: Lethbrdige, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Young Nurses Take Action Foundation,Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad, Project Amazonas, Stollery Children’s Hospital First and foremost, my parents were the most influential people in shaping who I have become. They provided me with constant unconditional love and...

Sonia Lal

"Reflect on the stereotypes and prejudiced views you may apply to others. Recognize if you’re discriminatory, and rectify your behaviour. Change starts with you." -Sonia Lal Age: 18 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: John Humphrey Center for Peace and Human Rights (ACGC Member) Students Invested in Health Association, Live Different, Big Brothers Big Sisters From a cheerleader with a bow in her hair to a Taekwondo competitor gearing up to spar on...

Stephanie Southgate

"Never underestimate the effect that your actions have on other people. Follow your interests and skills, and use them to make a positive impact." -Stephanie Southgate Age: 28 Hometown: Ipswich, United Kingdom Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: CAWST (ACGC Member) I have always been driven to make a positive contribution to others and the world. However, during a university internship in rural India, my resolve to shift my career path towards education was solidified upon...

Tina Guo

"As young individuals, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to advocate for marginalized populations, and strive to effect positive change in our communities." -Tina Guo Age: 22 Hometown: Calgary, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Students Against Domestic Abuse Association, Outrun the Stigma Calgary, Student Run Clinic Born to a poor, first-generation immigrant family, I understood at a tender age the irreplaceability of diligence and tenacity. However,...

Daryl Kootenay

"We must support gender equality in our gatherings by creating spaces in which female leaders can learn, engage, and act on each other’s ideas." -Daryl Kootenay Age: 27 Hometown: Morley, Alberta Currently Residing In: Morley, Alberta Affiliations: Stoney Nakoda Youth Council, Banff Center for indigenous leadership, Mni Ki Waka: Decade of Water Summit Since I was in high school, I have always felt a deep sense of the need and desire to help others. This aligns with my identity as a Stoney...

Sara Kardash

"Listen to the stories of the women and gender-diverse people in our communities and take the time to unpack your unconscious biases." -Sara Kardash Age: 22 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Engineers Without Borders Canada (ACGC Member) I am in my final year of civil environmental engineering at the University of Alberta, where I have been involved with the on-campus Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada chapter as co-president. I went into...
Share This