(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
Broadcasting executive Denise Donlon, called “the most powerful woman in Canadian music," will be presented with the Humanitarian Spirit Award at the 24th Annual Music Industry Awards Gala on March 2 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in conjunction with Rogers Wireless Canadian Music Week.
Donlon will be recognized for her longstanding commitment to pro-bono initiatives while at City TV and MuchMusic, her work with institutions such as War Child, and most recently with events like the Tsunami Disaster Relief and LIVE 8.
"I've spent 20 years working in the Humanitarian world and worked with people who give of themselves and do it for no other reason than they want to make the world a better place," said Jim Rawn, manager, Television Production & Celebrity Relations for World Vision. "I've had the honor and privilege of working alongside Denise during Canada For Asia and LIVE 8 and I can honestly say there is no one in Canada who can step inside the world of entertainers and find the necessary touch points to not only enlist their support but to engage them as advocates for the less fortunate."
"Denise does this with intelligence, passion and without a doubt one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know. Denise is one of those rare individuals who does all of this with a constant smile, a lot of humility and a strong sense of teamwork…she's one of those leaders who you'd follow into any battle. She is a fantastic choice for the Humanitarian Spirit Award and I commend all who nominated her. Our world is a better place because of Denise and on behalf of the children and families around the world who have benefited thanks to her efforts, we say thank you for giving them a voice."
Donlon first joined MuchMusic as a host/producer in 1985 and moved on to be appointed MuchMusic/Citytv director of Music Programming in 1992. Her passion for engaging the youth audience in societal issues resulted in the broadcasting of a wealth of signature, award winning programming on the channel. Appointed vice president and general manager in 1997, Donlon played a key role in taking MuchMusic to an international audience in Finland, Argentina and the United States. In October 1998, Donlon brought the desire for relevant, engaging music television to a whole new audience and was instrumental in the launch of MuchMoreMusic, currently established as Canada's premiere adult contemporary music television network.
In fall 2000, Donlon took on a new challenge as president of Sony Music Canada where she was involved in signing, producing, manufacturing, marketing, distributing and selling a wide variety of recorded music. She worked directly with Canadian artists Celine Dion, Leonard Cohen, Garou and Our Lady Peace as well as with a wide range of international artists from Bruce Springsteen to Destiny's Child. While at Sony, and coinciding with the US war in Iraq, Donlon teamed with BMG to produce the Gold-selling Peace Songs CD for War Child, raising over $200K for war affected children.
Since leaving Sony Music in the fall of 2004, Donlon has maintained her community involvement and has been a champion of the newly formed Music Industry Coalition. With the Coalition, she has aggressively lobbied in Ottawa for copyright reform and successfully lobbied for renewed funding for Canadian music initiatives through the Department of Heritage.
Donlon is a past chair of the Canadian Recording Industry Association and Co-Chair of the Canadian Music Council. She sits on the boards of The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), the MusiCan Music Education Committee, Canada's Walk of Fame, and the Gzowski Literacy Foundation. She works closely with War Child Canada and has field- produced documentary programming on war affected children in Sierra Leone and the Thai-Burmese border.
In 1998 Donlon was named one of the "25 Most Important People In New Music" by Shift Magazine. In 1997 she was honored by Women in Film & Television Toronto with their "Outstanding Achievement Award." She has been awarded the "Broadcasting Executive Award" twice at the Canadian Music Industry Awards. She has won two Gemini Awards and an award at the Yorkton Short Film & Video Festival. Donlon has received ABC Canada's "Peter Gzowski Literacy Award of Merit" and was the subject of an hour-long profile in the CBC's prestigious "Life and Times" series. In 2001 Donlon was awarded the “Woman of the Year Award” by Canadian Women in Communications and the “Woman of Vision Award” by Wired Women. Donlon was inducted into the Broadcast Hall Of Fame in 2002 by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and in 2005 she was invested with Canada's highest civilian honour – The Order of Canada.
"Denise is one of those rare individuals who inspires trust from all who know her and if you don't know her she soon makes you feel like you do," says musician and War Child spokesperson Tom Cochrane. "She is charming and disarming, and can fill a room with her warmth and child like enthusiasm and at the same time is sharp as a knife when it means cutting to the chase or staying focused on issues and problems and getting things done. I am truly lucky to count her as one of my friends."
This award is given to an individual who has demonstrated the highest ideals and qualities of humanitarian service and, in doing so, has reflected those ideals of courage and compassion. These contributions are primarily seen as activities which promote the welfare of human-kind, especially through the alleviation or elimination of pain, suffering and hunger. These humanitarian activities may form a life-long pattern or be expressed in a single, widely noted occurrence. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner