Lia Grimanis

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Lia Grimanis
Lia Grimanis giving a speech at the Sheraton Centre (Photo: Tanja Tiziana 2009)
Lia Grimanis giving a speech at the Sheraton Centre (Photo: Tanja Tiziana 2009)
Born (1971-12-12) December 12, 1971 (age 50)
EducationHigh School Drop-out
OccupationBusinesswoman, Community Activist, Adventurer
Notable workFounded Up With Women,[1] The Muff Scouts,[2] Mighty Lola Arts Fund,[3] co-founded Social Venture Partners Toronto [4]
PartnerAlexandra Shimo[5]
AwardsCanada's 100 Most Powerful Women[6]

Chatelaine Woman of the Year, International Alliance of Women World of Difference Global Unsung Heroine, Flare Volunteer of the Year Amazing Woman's Day Business Trailblazer,

Nominated for Canada's Top 40 Under 40[7],

Lia Grimanis (born December 12, 1971) is a Canadian Charity founder and CEO, Guinness World Record Holding Strongwoman and adventurer .[8] She is the founder of Up With Women, an organization dedicated to helping homeless and at-risk women to rebuild their lives.

Up With Women[edit]

Grimanis founded the organization to give women and children inspiration and strategies for rebuilding their lives after homelessness. Grimanis was driven to establish Up With Women because of her time spent as a homeless teenager. Up With Women's mission: Success Belongs to Everybody

Up With Women works to:

  • Provide advanced career and life-building coaching and education for recently homeless and at-risk women.
  • Provide leadership mentoring for formerly homeless children to help them to become leaders in their communities. Up With Women Child Advocates participate in a variety of projects. One of the more notable activities is to create a community action project and creatively give back to the community.[9]
  • Raise public awareness about women's homelessness, through community outreach[10] and media relations.[11] Up With Women's media work aims to share positive stories about formerly homeless women and children who have rebuilt their lives.[12] The media work also works to highlight key issues surrounding women's and family homelessness,[13] while engaging the public to support the cause of ending homelessness, poverty and violence against women.


Lia Grimanis on her pink BMW motorcycle (2008)

Grimanis has almost 25 years of experience as a successful businesswoman and entrepreneur.[14]

On a civic level, she has served on Toronto mayor David Miller's communications advisory team, with a special focus on the "Opportunity for All" platform. She served as a media strategist and she wrote the Opportunity for All platform speech.

Financial Post Magazine listed her as one of Canada's 100 Most Powerful women,[15] and Chatelaine named her one of the 2012 Women of the Year.[16] The global businesswomen's organization the International Alliance of Women recognized Grimanis as one of 50 women around the world making a notable impact on the economic empowerment of women,[17] and she was named Volunteer of the Year[18] by Flare Magazine. Grimanis has also been nominated as one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40.

Grimanis holds a Guinness World Record for strength, the Heaviest Vehicle Pulled in High Heels (14,520 lbs)[19] She also held another Guinness World Record for strength, the Heaviest Vehicle Pulled 100 ft by a Woman (17,820 lbs) (from 2013[20] to 2018[21]). She uses these feats of strength to send a message to women survivors of violence, poverty and homelessness that we're stronger than we think we are.[22]

Grimanis has been involved in a variety of community engagements, outside of Up With Women. She is a co-founder of Toronto-based Social Venture Partners,[23] an organization that blends the power of business with the passion of philanthropy to assist grass roots organizations that are focused on poverty reduction. She sits on the advisory board of Future Possibilities for Kids,[24] and has also worked in partnership with the United Way, the Canadian Women's Foundation and Raising the Roof. She is also a founder of Muff Scouts, an international adventure sport organization for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women.[25]

Grimanis has frequently appeared in the media, having had news and story features appear on NBC morning news program Today, Inc Magazine, CNN Money, Global, CTV, CBC Television, Citytv, More Magazine, the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun. She focuses in on the media to help disseminate the positive stories of women and children coming out of homelessness, while raising awareness about the issues today.

She is frequently asked to give speeches to such diverse groups as business people,[26] women's groups,[27] sales professionals,[28] community service providers,[29] and government workers.[30]



  1. ^ "Up With Women".
  2. ^ "Muff Scouts Conquer Adventures and Fears with Style". Xtra Magazine.
  3. ^ "Mighty Lola Website".
  4. ^ "Social Venture Partners Toronto".
  5. ^ "Corey Mintz makes dinner for entrepreneur and philanthropist Lia Grimanis: Fed". Toronto Star, July 5, 2012.
  6. ^ "Financial Post 100 Most Powerful Women". Financial Post. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 2014-10-23.
  7. ^ "Canada's Top 40 Under 40".
  8. ^ "About Up With Women". Up With Women. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
  9. ^ "Metro - Girl says thanks to shelter". 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  10. ^ "Our Achievements So Far". Up With Women. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  11. ^ "Media". Up With Women. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  12. ^ CA. "From homeless to business owners - More magazine". Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  13. ^ Richards, Gwendolyn (2009-08-07). "Recession puts pressure on Calgary shelters". Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  14. ^ Flacks, Diane (2008-03-15). "Advocate for homeless knows what it's like". Toronto. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  15. ^ "Top 100 Most Powerful Women". Financial Post. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 2014-10-23.
  16. ^ "Women of the Year - Everyday Heroes". Chatelaine Magazine.
  17. ^ "The International Alliance for Women". Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  18. ^ "2009 Flare Volunteer Awards Recipients". 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  19. ^ "Guinness World Records Heaviest Vehicle Pulled in High Heels". Archived from the original on 2014-10-24. Retrieved 2014-10-23.
  20. ^ "Heaviest Vehicle Pulled 100ft by a Woman: Lia Grimanis breaks Guinness World Records' record (VIDEO)".
  21. ^ "Guinness World Records Heaviest Vehicle Pulled 100 ft by a Woman". Retrieved 2014-10-23.
  22. ^ "Never Fail: Up With Women PSA - Pulling for Women". 8 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-10-23.
  23. ^ "Partner Profiles". SVP Toronto. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  24. ^ "About Future Possibilities". Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  25. ^ "Muff Scouts Rule!". Diva, July 17, 2012.
  26. ^ "Compagnie F - Entrepreneurship pour femmes". 2009-09-28. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
  27. ^ "Past Newsletter - April 2009". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
  28. ^ "The workshops". Bilingual Link. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2009-10-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "London Abused Women's Centre Breakfast". Irene Mathyssen. 2009-03-13. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
  31. ^ "Financial Post 100 Most Powerful Women". Financial Post. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 2014-10-23.

External links[edit]