Communications alum named to the Order of Ontario

Author: 
Cindy MacDougall

A Royal Roads alum has received the Order of Ontario, an honour bestowed in recognition of her work to advance women in business and politics.

Nancy Coldham, a Master of Arts in Intercultural and International Communication graduate and a member of the School of Communication and Culture Advisory Council, was named as a 2019 appointee to the Order on Jan. 1, 2021. (Ontario delayed the selection of the 2019 honorees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

“Through her professional, social and charitable pursuits, Nancy Coldham is dedicated to the advancement of women in business and in politics and fighting injustice and gender discrimination,” reads the Coldham’s citation from the Province of Ontario. “She helps advance women and girls through supporting a number of well-established organizations locally as well as mentoring women entrepreneurs abroad in post-conflict countries, including Afghanistan and Rwanda.”

That work on behalf of women and girls was an integral part of Coldham’s study at Royal Roads. During her degree, she used her two years of mentoring women entrepreneurs in Rwanda as her core thesis research, tracking 30 women-owned and operated enterprises. That research ultimately brought improvements to the success of a business training and mentorship program run by Peace Through Business, a US-based non-government group that supports women entrepreneurs.

For her research, Coldham received the Governor General’s Gold Medal when she graduated with her degree in 2013. 

For Coldham, who started Toronto public affairs consulting firm The CG Group, the experience sparked a mission to connect business-savvy women with Western investors.

“Women entrepreneurship has been well-studied in developed countries. But women’s roles as entrepreneurs advancing economic development in war-torn and post-conflict countries are under-studied,” she says.

“This isn’t charity, this is investing. These women are nation builders.”

Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell will formally invest Coldham into the Order when the Province once again allows gatherings.