With all the doom and gloom in the world, one of my friends decided to do something positive.

She picked twenty-five famous Canadians that she admired and wrote to them to say how and why she respected and admired them. A nice gesture. But imagine her surprise when some of the people replied. Two even phoned her!

All of which says that everyone likes to be recognized and thanked for their contribution to the world.

With Canada150 coming to a close, I started thinking about who I would select as my top 25.  Not as easy as it sounds. What about you? Who would you pick?

My immediate pick was Chris Hadfield because he made science and space come alive for many of us, let alone his courage to live in space.

Next was Rick Mercer because I love his sense of humour and the way he pokes fun at the sacred and is not afraid to deliver rants that echo how we feel but where he has the platform to speak out on behalf of us all.

Then I turned my attention to literature, my immediate thought was Oriah Mountain Dreamer who has written several books that make you think and question how you want to live your life. Her words from The Invitation – “It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living, I want to know what you ache for…” still resonate with me.

Talking of authors, I would be remiss if I didn’t include two successful businesswomen who have shared their leadership stories with us – Annette Verschuren in Bet on Me and Lisa Lisson in Resiliency. Neither sugar-coated their journey and we can gain so much from their insights on how to lead.

Another leader who was a champion of women is Charlie Coffey who was with RBC.  I remember fondly his being made an “honorary woman” at a women’s business conference in BC and his quick retort was that growing up with sisters and a household of women, he had no choice but to be supportive of women.

And then there’s Barb Stegemann, founder of Seven Virtues – through which she produces perfume from flowers found in war-torn countries, giving local farmers the dignity and opportunity to support themselves.

OK – that’s just seven… only eighteen to go. See what I mean?

As I reflect on who I have selected, and why, it becomes clear that I’ve chosen people based on my values – courage, lifelong learning, sense of humour, authenticity and those who speak up for others.

But what I find is I am actually starting to think of people I know, people who have made a difference in my life and the lives of others. The unsung heroes, particularly women who have championed and led the way for others.

And maybe that’s the point of this gratitude exercise – thank the people you know too. Too often we neglect to share our gratitude and feelings with those we care about, and then it’s too late.

So I ask again – would you pick?

In a season of giving, I believe our gratitude and thanks would make a wonderful gift. Why not write that note of thanks, and share that warm feeling of love with people you admire.

Anne Day

Anne Day

Company of Women

I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.