How these three Durham College alumnae are leading the way this International Women’s Day

International Women's Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Taking place on Tuesday, March 8, it marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year’s theme, #BreakTheBias, imagines a gender-equal world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination - one that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

This International Women’s Day, we invite you to read about three incredible Durham College (DC) alumnae and how they’re leading the way in their personal and professional lives since graduation.

  • Hannah Elkington – ’14 Police Foundations graduate

    After graduating from DC’s Police Foundations program, Hannah was hired as a police constable with York Regional Police. Two years later she took a job as an experienced officer with the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS), where she had previously worked as a Youth in Policing student and program coordinator.

    In the five years since returning to the DRPS, Hannah has dedicated herself to becoming a K-9 handler – a dream that finally came true in 2021, when she became the first woman in DRPS history to join the K-9 unit.

    Outside of her job as a detective constable, Hannah has shown resilience, grit and dedication to her community in other ways. As a student, she participated in the Impossible2Possible Botswana expedition in Africa, where she ran 200 km over four days across the Kalahari Desert. More recently, she organized Take Back the Walk, an event to raise awareness after a Whitby woman was attacked while exercising one evening on a nearby trail.

    Hannah has been formally recognized for her incredible achievements over the years. She was a 2016 Premier’s Awards nominee, a 2016 DC Alumna of Distinction, and received the prestigious Public Hero Award from the Intercultural Dialogue Institute.

  • Kristin Atwood – ’17 Culinary Management graduate

    Kristin Atwood has been combining her passion for food and filmmaking since graduating in 2017. What began as a freelance gig creating media content for local restaurants has since evolved into an award-winning independent production company called Chef Studio, where she produces cooking tutorials and web series that bring the joy and magic of cooking to digital streaming and video-on-demand platforms.

    With more than 5 million views on her channel, Kristin has been able to turn Chef Studio into a thriving full-time job. In 2021, her At Home Pasta series was nominated for an Emmy® Award in the Outstanding Single Camera Editing category. The series was also nominated for two Webby Awards in the Best Food and Drink and Best How-To, Explainer and DIY categories.

    Prior to her Emmy nomination, Kristin was recognized in 2020 with a prestigious nomination for a James Beard Foundation Award for her series The Crumby Bits, and most recently was a recipient of a Sony Alpha Female+ Grant, which provided funding for her to pursue a unique video project that will help her create more content to share with the world.

  • Tianna McFarlane – ’14 Supply Chain and Operations – Business graduate

    For Tianna McFarlane, starting her own company had always been a lifelong dream – but the opportunity to create something significant didn’t present itself until 2019, when she was inspired during a simple trip to the drugstore to buy bandages. As she searched for one that could cover a cut on her own leg, the lack of products for people of colour was striking. In that moment she knew she had an opportunity to bridge the gap – which led to the creation of Heal in Colour, her own brand of adhesive bandages for Black and brown skin.

    Since launching her product, Tianna’s business has received impressive national and local news coverage from CTV, CBC, CityTV, blogTO, Global News, the Toronto Star and CP24. She’s also secured major advertising space on billboards in the GTA, including Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto.

    Heal in Colour is the first Canadian company to sell bandages for Black and brown skin, with the brand now available in Canadian and U.S markets. Tianna has a strong growth and expansion plan already in place to offer new products in the near future, such as athletic wraps and waterproof bandages, and she hopes to provide bandages to hospitals, long-term care facilities, universities and colleges, elementary schools, daycares and more.

    Tianna was recently part of the DC Talks: Alumni Series – Making Lemonade and talked about the success she has found in her business.

This March, DC is hosting three exciting virtual International Women’s Day events hosted by various departments across the college, including the Career Development office, First Peoples Indigenous Centre, Durham College Alumni Association and the Durham College Student Association.

Help #BreakTheBias by attending one of the events and learning more about issues facing women today. Visit www.durhamcollege.ca/events for more info.