Info Session: Ask a Female Politician

Tuesday, November 14 | 7:00-9:00 PM

Innovation Guelph | 111 Farquhar Street (3rd Floor) [View Map]

No cost to attend | Parking available on site | All genders welcome

An open forum to explore the opportunities and challenges of municipal politics.

The evening will feature keynote speaker Karen Farbridge, former Mayor, City of Guelph, and a panel of current and former city councillors who will speak to their experiences running for municipal government.

Attendees will be invited to ask questions to our panel:

  • Leanne Piper, Councillor, Ward 5, City of Guelph
  • Brenda Halloran, Former Mayor, City of Waterloo
  • Chris Fonseca, Councillor, City of Mississauga

Co-hosted by June Hofland, City of Guelph Councillor


Leanne Piper

Leanne Piper, Councillor, Ward 5, City of Guelph

Leanne has proudly represented Ward 5 on Guelph City Council since 2006, after serving as a Trustee on the Upper Grand District School Board. Leanne began her political career at the grassroots level in the community with neighbourhood groups, school councils and numerous volunteer organizations. Her deep roots in the community provide a balanced representative voice for her constituents. In her role as city councillor, Leanne was Chair of the Planning, Building, Engineering and Environment committee, as well as a member on the Operations, Transit and Emergency Services committee. Past committees have also included the Governance Committee, Social Services, Land Ambulance and Heritage Guelph.

Leanne is the proud mother of four grown children who challenge her and keep her grounded on local issues. Leanne is an avid gardener, and enjoys hiking, camping, and serving her constituents as a member of Guelph City Council.

Karen Farbridge

Karen Farbridge, Former Mayor, City of Guelph

Karen’s career has been dedicated to building healthy and prosperous communities. She has worked in the non-profit, public and private sectors for over 25 years to promote sustainability and effective community engagement in local decision-making. She served for 17 years in municipal politics, eleven as mayor of Guelph and has a breadth of experience to share as a woman in politics. She is also a highly-respected speaker and thought leader who has delivered hundreds of talks on matter of current urban and political interest to a diverse range of audiences, both locally and internationally. She holds a MSc and PhD from the University of Guelph and a Chartered Director designation (CDir) from the McMaster University. She is currently President of Karen Farbridge & Associates, advising federal, provincial and municipal policy makers and industry practitioners on building healthy and prosperous communities.

 Chris Fonseca

Chris Fonseca, Councillor, City of Mississauga

Chris Fonseca was elected in October 2010 as Councillor for Ward 3 in Mississauga. She currently sits on the FCM Standing Committees on Environmental Issues and Sustainable Development, Increasing Women’s Participation in Municipal Government and Social-Economic Development. She is involved in regional committees such as the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee, Enterprise Programs and Services Section of the Debt Issuance Committee and she chairs the Audit and Risk Committee. She also sits on the Community Environment & Noise Advisory Committee at Toronto Pearson as well as Partners In Project Green at the TRCA.

Previously Chris ran her own successful business in the Health and Wellness sector. She has also worked extensively with not for profit organizations that understand the importance of responsible fiscal planning and management. While an Undergraduate and Medicine and Physiology Studies Masters student at the University of Toronto, Chris volunteered with many local charities throughout Mississauga.
Today Chris lives in Ward 3 with her husband and twin boys. She enjoys running, walking and cycling on the many trails in Ward 3, Mississauga.

Brenda Halloran

Brenda Halloran, Former Mayor, City of Waterloo

Brenda Halloran is a global leader with a local conscience. Often referred to as the people’s Mayor, Halloran successfully held the top job as the Mayor of the City of Waterloo, Canada from 2006-2014. She is a strong advocate for women and children, homeless citizens, seniors, victims of human trafficking and new Canadians.

Today, Halloran is the Chair of the Board of Startup Canada, President of the Trillium Innovation Venture Group and has her own consulting business. She believes in coaching and mentoring others and helping them achieve their highest potential and is dedicated to helping women pursue their own political aspirations.

Event Location

Innovation Guelph
111 Farquhar Street, 3rd Floor, Guelph, ON N1H 3N4
[View Map]