Words: Sumona Roy
An Evening of Women Empowering Women
The 23rd Annual RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Galawas held at the Royal York Hotel and was presented by “Women of Influence”. This group is dedicated to the advancement of professional women. They produce inspiring, progressive and celebratory events across the country. They strive to fill the gap for women looking for mentors or looking to connect with like-minded individuals on their path to success.
According to the group a “Woman of Influence” possess qualities that include being an authentic leader, an inspiring role model, an extraordinary achiever, a catalyst for change and is someone engaged in life.
The evening consisted of amazing music provided by the Universal Boogie Band with an elegant, magical ambience created by Bliss Events. The energy in the room oozed with excitement with a flurry of networking and socializing by the attendees of the empowering evening.
These amazing women from across Canada provided inspirational stories and shared their amazing successes through the ups and downs of their journey.
It was absolutely remarkable to be in the presence of these fabulous women from diverse backgrounds and experiences. They truly radiated positivity and a positive mindset towards women empowerment.
The process of these awards begins with the nomination forms being distributed by all of the sponsors, past winners, and business associates across Canada. They reach out to women in businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries.
This year there were more than 5,000 women nominations and over 200 that followed the Award process through submitting a completed application to the judging committee. The team of judges come from across Canada with successful business pedigree. Deloitte conducted a rigorous due diligence process including a review of financial statements, site visits, and reference checks before confirming 2015 winners.
Here are the different award categories and a short explanation of each with the deserving names of the winners:
This award celebrates the achievements of a woman who, in a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years, has developed her business into one that’s ready for the next level of growth. Since starting the business, the recipient has been successful in building a profitable business and a comprehensive and sustainable business plan.
Winner: Dr. Wendy McClelland, Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Vets to Go Inc.
This entrepreneur has successfully overcome obstacles and capitalized on opportunities to deliver 10% or more growth, year-over-year for more than three years. Through expanded management, empowered employees, and demonstrated excellence, she has created a flexible and responsive business that is able to adapt to changing market environments and leverage opportunities for continued growth.
Winner: Allison Grafton, President, Rockwood Custom Homes
Through timely innovation, strategic thinking and smart execution, the recipient has launched and built one or more successful companies with a track record of growth, profitability, industry leadership and breaking new ground. This pre-eminent entrepreneur possesses the drive, managerial acumen and leadership traits that others aspire to have, and has positioned herself for future achievement. She is a role model for all those who believe in the power of entrepreneurship and her exploits have generated an uncommon degree of economic growth and social change.
Winner: Ann Kaplan, President & CEO, IFinance Canada Inc.
If you are a small business generating annual revenues of under $1 million, this award category is for you. Your business is in any industry, any stage and any region, and must demonstrate a successful growth rate. This award honours a company that proves small businesses can still have great impact, innovation, momentum and more.
Winner: Sharon Vinderine, Founder & CEO, PTPA Media Inc.
Awarding an exceptional leader of a not-for-profit or charitable organization that is dedicated to helping others help themselves. They assist in causing social change and improving the quality of lives around us. Applicants have garnered extraordinary support from the community by being champions for philanthropy and volunteerism in Canada.
Winner: Marcia Nozick, Founder & CEO, Embers
This entrepreneur is a true trendsetter. She has recognized a new market, product, service, technological advancement or opportunity and led the way. She has demonstrated outstanding leadership within her company and her market and she has set standards for originality, quality and successful management. She is a mentor, a visionary, a leader, a successful businesswoman and a trailblazer in her field.
Winner: Janice Larocque, President, Spirit Staffing and Consulting Inc.
The collective impact of our country’s female entrepreneurs cannot be overstated. This concept was proven this evening starting with the amazing women who were nominated, the women who filled this room, the supporters as well as the ultimate winners of the evening for this prestigious occassion. Without the support of the judges who were in their own right amazing mentors, successful leaders and positive role models, this evening could have not been a success.
A special thank-you to the judges: Beverley Topping, Carol Toller, Carrie Kirkman, Jill Earthy, Joanna Track, Julie Cole, Rajini McRae, Raymonde Lavoie, Sandra H. Altner, Susan Dagg Fulton, Tracey Scarlett and Tracie Crook.
The RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards has proven to be one of the premier national awards program celebrating the achievements of the most successful in this inspiring group.
In its 23rd year, over 120 women have been recognized for demonstrating excellence — from economic growth to social change; from local to global reach; across multiple sectors. It was an honour to spend the evening with some of these spectacular women as they were recognized and this prestigious spotlight was shone upon them.
A very special thank you to Kayla, Women of Influence, and the organizers that were involved.