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Awards Categories

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Has the nominee, in the duration of her lifetime living or posthumously impacted the lives of her community, fellowship, family, business. Has the nominee affected positive change and whose legacy will be remembered for future generations?

CHARITY OF THE YEAR AWARD

Has the nominee made a significant impact to its Charity and its Charity’s /charities relevance? Has the nominee affected positive change and whose charitable work will leave a footprint for future Charities to follow and will be remembered for future generations?

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AWARD

Over the last five years, has the nominee increased its sales? Has the nominee’s business strengthened its position in the marketplace? Is it currently financially stable? Do employees have job security? Are there other measurable variables to show the significance of the improvement?

POLITICAL LEADERSHIP AWARD

Has the nominee, in the duration of her political tenure living or posthumously impacted the lives of her community, caucus, family, business. Has the nominee affected positive change and whose legacy will be remembered for future generations?

BEST COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

Has the nominee assisted local charities, educational, cultural, or sporting activities? Has the nominee contributed to community development through social marketing? Is the nominee a member of any business associations?

SELF DEVELOPMENT AWARD

Was the nominee, in the duration of the year, enrolled in a self-development leadership or coaching program with the intent to share the gained knowledge amongst her peers? Does the nominee exemplify awareness, encouragement, grace and poise?

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT AWARD AWARD

Has the nominee impacted the Arts? Has the nominee provided a level of entertainment excellence? Has the nominee received recognition for her efforts in raising awareness for the Arts and Entertainment?

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Has the nominee assisted local charities, educational, cultural, or sporting activities? Has the nominee made a significant impact to the successful operation of the Charity? Has the nominee volunteered her services in excess of 150 hours per year?

MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT AWARD

Has the nominee worked diligently to impact a positive change on the physical level vis-a-vis, nourishment of the mind, body and spirit. has the nominee created awareness for her contribution to health? Has the nominee bee recognized for her achievements?

STUDENT OF THE YEAR AWARD

Has the nominee, in the duration of her studies, exemplified leadership amongst her peers? Did the nominee actively participate in extracurricular programs and retain a grade of 80% or more? Has the nominee volunteered her services in excess of 30 hours per year?

GLOBAL EXCELLENCE AWARD

Has the nominee worked diligently to impact a positive change on a Global scale?Does the nominee create awareness for leaving little to zero footprint on the Earth and has shown proven efforts in areas of recycling.

PHILANTHROPIST OF THE YEAR AWARD

Has the nominee actively promoted the welfare of others, vis-à-vis the generous donation of money to good causes? Has the nominee received recognition for her efforts in raising awareness to her various platforms?

Maria Martini Resilience Award

Has the nominee, in the duration of her lifetime living or posthumously overcome any personal challenges with perseverance and grace? Did the nominee live a peaceful life, one of resilience and filled with love? Has the nominee impacted the lives of her community, fellowship and family?

Click here to read more about Maria Martini


Maria Martini’s story of resilience began in a small farming town in Northern Italy. She was born Maria Anna Guglielmin on August 26, 1927. Those years were difficult years for her family. They were extremely poor and struggled to maintain a normal life for her mother and four younger siblings. When she was in her teen years, her husband Paulo Martini, who had always had his eye on the prettiest girl in the town, finally asked her to date him and the rest is history. It didn’t take long for them to marry in October 1948. The stories that Paolo still tells to this day about their courtship and their marriage are very entertaining.

In 1951, Gianna, Maria’s first child was born. Because her birth was a difficult one, Maria, who had some health issues, was told that she would never have another baby, which saddened her terribly since she had always dreamed of having both a girl and a boy. Maria and Paulo struggled to make a life for themselves in Italy but jobs were scarce and they were not making enough money from the farm to maintain their small new family. Maria’s brother, Nick, who had been sponsored to go to Canada through an uncle who was already there, suggested that they also immigrate to Canada where they could make an easier and better life. Maria did not want to leave her family and everything that she knew, but for the betterment of her own family, she agreed to go to Canada even though leaving her parents and all that she knew was very painful. Gianna still remembers to this day how tightly she would hug her while crying and thinking about and missing her own mother.

It took them 12 days to cross the ocean and to arrive in Halifax Harbor. Maria was seasick the entire time and had to spend all of her time in bed but they made it safely. Nick and his family had moved out of his house and into another so he helped Maria and Paulo to purchase the house where he and his family had lived in in North York. Nick was also instrumental in helping Paulo acquire a job in a steel mill where he was working. Paulo became an overhead crane operator, which he proudly did until the day he retired at 65. At about this time, Maria’s two youngest brothers were also being sponsored to come to Canada, along with another cousin. Because Maria was incredibly generous and always put family first, she insisted that they all live in the Martini’s small home. She spent hours cooking, cleaning, and making sure that everyone was taken care of. She never complained or viewed this as a burden, even when her brothers’ shifts had her cooking meals in the middle of the night. She always assured everyone that everyone in their household had everything they needed while Paulo often worked 20 hours a day so he could provide for everyone. Their plates were plentiful and so was the laughter and the happy memories that were made in a small house full of a tightly-knit family bound by dreams of a better life.

Two years after she had arrived in Canada, Maria’s most heartfelt wish came true…she was pregnant. She always joked that it must have been because “there was better air in Canada”. Her son and miracle, Gianni, was born. Maria was now working harder than ever with a newborn and a house full of people to take care of. Once her brothers got on their own feet, they moved out and Paulo and Maria rented the upstairs apartment to an English couple and their 3 children. No-one knew what anyone else was saying as Maria and Paulo did not yet speak English but they did the best they could. When Gianni was old enough to go to school, the Martinis bought a new home and Maria now had to go to work as she and Paulo had a dogged dedication to having a house that was paid off. Maria worked in plastic factories for many long, hard hours while Gianna and Gianni concentrated on their studies in the new home. Even though she was always exhausted, she always had the cleanest house in town, well dressed kids and warm food in everyone’s belly. The door was always open to their huge Italian family and their plates were always piled high as well.

There were times that one could see great sadness in Maria’s eyes as she thought about the parents that she missed so very much but she always suffered in silence. She knew that her and her husband had made the right decision for their family. She had that same sadness in her eyes Gianna and her husband decided to follow his dream job and move to New Jersey with her young granddaughter in 1976. What had happened to her earlier in her life was now happening again. Maria and Paulo often visited their family in New Jersey but she confided in Gianna how she wished they were closer. Thankfully Gianni and his family remained in Toronto and kept the Martini ties strong.

In addition to their NJ trips, the Martinis took several trips back and forth to Italy to visit family over the years but it was their trip to Italy in 1990 that was a different one. When Maria returned from this 6 week trip, she began to feel ill. She complained about feeling sore and stiff. Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and then later fibromyalgia. She began to live with chronic pain but she did not let this slow her down. Nothing ever slowed Maria down!! Her selfless dedication, loyalty, strength and perseverance through the hardest times in her life have always amazed everyone who knew and loved her.

She continued to work at her factory job until she was 65 and then finally retired. Retirement, which should have been a time of peace and tranquility, was not so. Her health began to rapidly decline. Doctors prescribed medications that often made things worse but, again, Maria never complained. She just kept doing what they were telling her to do and leaning on her strong faith in God to keep her in His grace. Her sincere love for Jesus and her church helped get her through many dark, painful days.

Six years ago, Maria began to show signs of dementia, much of it being triggered by all the different medication regimens that had been prescribed. She became weaker and more feeble and she began losing her short term memory rapidly. By early 2014, Maria had become almost totally bedridden, at which time Paulo was no longer able to care for her on his own. Gianni generously hired a live- in nurse to take care of her daily needs. Still Maria never complained…she just tenaciously persevered through her love for Paulo, her family and God. The pain that Maria suffered in her last years was insurmountable and she gave her soul to the Lord on April 17th, 2015 at the age of 88. There are many who loved this lady and were proud to have called her Mama, Nonna, Bis-nonna, Zia, wife and friend. Her family knows that she looks down on them and helps them through their own trials and tribulations and they hear her prayers of strength and love from the heavens. Her famous spaghetti sauce and her pasta and fagioli are now proudly made by her granddaughter, who will carry on Maria’s traditions with her own family.

Nomination Guidelines

The nominee must not be the subject of any legal investigations and must be a resident of Canada for a minimum of 6 months per year. Nominations that use false information will be automatically disqualified.

The annual nomination period runs from January to August and the awards ceremony is usually held in early November. Finalists will be notified in advance and may be required to submit additional information and/or participate in a due diligence process

Nominations must be made by a third party and forms must be received by the nomination deadline. Where appropriate, nomination forms may be supplemented by company literature, media coverage and other pertinent data.

The decisions of the judging panel are final. The judging panel may consider other factors as appropriate, such as industry reputation, environmental concerns, safety record, employee dedication, corporate stability, etc.

For more information regarding awards and nominees please contact brilliantmindedwomen@gmail.com