40 Under Forty Awards


Calixte, Shana (39)

Calixte, Shana (39)

Shana is the executive director of the Northern Initiative for Social Action (NISA), a peer-led mental health organization. She is also a sessional instructor in women’s studies at Thorneloe University. A mother of three children, she was named Influential Woman of Northern Ontario, Executive of the Year in 2014.

Q: What makes you happy about living in Sudbury?
A: I have been lucky to have met many fantastic people who are working at the grassroots level in order to bring about change.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment?
A: I am most proud of being out and honest about my experiences of marginalization whether that be living as a sexual minority or living with a mental illness. This philosophy has propelled my work, where I spend a lot of time with people who often are ignored and marginalized in our society.

Q: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned?
A: Having three kids means I am reminded about the importance of fun and play every day. Watching how they let off steam, resolve conflict or even show emotion shows me how important it is to be free from some of the stresses older age often puts on you.

Q: What is your personal motto?
A: I don’t have a personal motto, but when it comes to inspiring quotes, I often look to influential community leader, feminist, lesbian and poet Audre Lorde. She once said, “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

Q: What advice would you give the other young leaders?
A: Make as many connections as you can and make those connections meaningful. Don’t be afraid to share strong opinions. Don’t be afraid to be flexible on them. Vulnerability is not a weakness, and neither is emotion. Be passionate, and share that passion,