Lia Grimanis

Current affiliation:
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Up With Women

NGO, business, entrepreneur

Lia Grimanis comes from 13 years of non-profit leadership, following 13 years of managing complex projects in the technology sector. Her work in the homelessness sector is informed by lived experience as an abuse survivor and formerly homeless autistic teen. A high-school dropout, she climbed the corporate ladder to later become Regional Head of Financial Services, Americas for a division of the global technology firm TIBCO. She now manages Up With Women’s career program fulltime. Prior to creating and building Up With Women, Lia founded the non-profit the Mighty Lola Ballsy Girls Arts Fund, which provided grants to female artists doing cutting-edge work. She is also a co-founder of Social Venture Partners Toronto, an organization that blends the power of business with the passion of philanthropy to assist grassroots organizations that are focused on poverty reduction. On a civic level, she has served on the Toronto Mayor’s Communications Advisory team as a Public Relations Strategist and Speechwriter.

In 2011, Financial Post Magazine listed her as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women. She was also named Chatelaine Woman of the Year. A gym class flunkie, Lia now holds two Guinness World Records: Heaviest Vehicle Pulled 100 feet by a Woman (18,000 lbs.) and Heaviest Vehicle Pulled in High Heels (15,000 lbs.). She uses these to attract media attention to the issues of poverty, homelessness, and violence against women. Up With Women has been covered globally, including by The TODAY Show, The New York Times, CTV News, CBC, Global TV, CNN Money, Chatelaine, More Magazine, Flare, the UK’s Daily Mail, Toronto Star, Calgary Herald and The Calgary and Toronto Sun newspapers, among others.

  • September 5, 2019
    Each year, the Foundation selects Mentors who are real-world actors from all areas of endeavour and who devote themselves to developing the capacity for engaged leadership among Scholars.   On the International Day of Charity, we are shining a spotlight on three Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Mentors whose dedication to their areas of interest and expertise go the extra mile.