News & Events

Writing a Compelling and Complete Biography for a Woman of Distinction


Events, Women of Distinction, YWCA News

Are you preparing a Women of Distinction award nomination? Likely your nomination package is coming together beautifully so far…

There is a woman you admire for her accomplishments throughout her career. It took a little convincing, but she has agreed to let her name stand! You’ve told her that a Woman of Distinction nomination is a way to recognize her but also to shine a light on areas of her personal and professional life that she is passionate about.

You have tapped some shoulders in the community to identify personal or professional connections of hers who are perfect to write letters of support endorsing this nomination. You have answered the questionnaire to describe her contributions, skills, and values.

But now you are experiencing writer’s block. How do you sum up the information you have gathered about this incredible woman in 100 words? What are the most important things to include? Where do you start?

The final versions of biographies used in the Women of Distinction Awards announcements, StarPhoenix feature, and event program are carefully prepared by volunteers and staff working on the event. They use the 100-word biographies received from nominators like you, or from nominees themselves. The final “bios” may be strengthened with details and language gleaned from the supporting letters or questionnaire. Then they are edited for length and impact so that every woman who has been nominated is described with words that are balanced, honouring, and professional. We want to hold a mirror to show how each woman shines.

We love reading your nominations! Here are a few tips to consider as you begin writing.

Do include your nominee’s preferred full name, title, and area of expertise if appropriate:

“Dr. Lalita Bharadwaj is a toxicologist with the School of Public Health, with expertise in the areas of human and environmental risk assessment…”

Try to use compelling information about how your nominee stands out as a pioneer or has broken through the glass ceiling:

“Erin Wasson is the first veterinary social worker in Canada, and she continues to break new ground…”

Use language that describes the essential qualities and character of your nominee:

“Gail Hendry is a leader and change maker with a caring heart, who helps children succeed in spite of adversity.”

Do include information about your nominee’s projects, research, art, businesses, or brand, with correct spellings:

“Devon Fiddler is the Chief Changemaker of SheNative Goods Inc. and a co-founder of Her 4 Directions fashion incubator.”

Don’t provide a list of details straight from her C.V. just to add length. Instead, connect specific examples of community service and projects to the impact she has had in the award category you have chosen. Of course, you don’t want to overlook the absolutely essential details such as significant board involvement or academic credentials.

Your hard work to prepare this perfect biography will pay off as you watch her being piped into the the May awards dinner, along with a group of inspiring women who are leaders and community builders.