Lia Grimanis comes from 10 years of professional non-profit leadership, following 18 years of managing complex projects in the technology sector.
Grimanis’ work in the homelessness sector is informed by lived experience, as an abuse survivor and formerly homeless teen. A high school dropout, she climbed the corporate ladder to her most recent corporate position as Regional Head of Financial Services, Americas for a division of the global technology firm TIBCO. She now manages Up With Women’s women’s career program full-time.
Prior to creating and building Up With Women, Grimanis founded the non-profit, the Mighty Lola Ballsy Girls Arts Fund, which provided grants to female artists doing cutting-edge work. She also is a Co-Founder of Social Venture Partners Toronto, an organization that blends the power of business with the passion of philanthropy to assist grass roots organizations that are focused on poverty reduction.
On a civic level, she has served on the Toronto Mayor’s Communications Advisory team as a PR strategist and speech writer with a special focus on the Mayor’s “Opportunity for All” platform. 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, Grimanis now holds two Guinness World Records: “Heaviest Vehicle Pulled 100 ft by a Woman” (18,000 lbs) and “Heaviest Vehicle Pulled in High Heels” (15,000 lbs). She is now preparing to pull a jet to raise awareness about family homelessness in the fall of this year.
Grimanis uses these world record attempts to attract much needed media attention to the issues of poverty, homelessness and violence against women. Up With Women has been covered globally including The TODAY Show, the New York Times, CTV News, CBC, Global TV, CNN Money, Inc, Chatelaine, More Magazine, Flare, UK’s Daily Mail, CBC Radio, Toronto Star, Calgary Herald, The Calgary and Toronto Sun newspapers and more.