Last week I was fortunate to MC the event for the Women’s Business Network’s (WBN) Businesswoman of the Year Nominee Announcement. There are three categories for Buesinesswoman of the Year: Corporate, Entrepreneur and Professional. The names of these finalists had been kept strictly confidential for some time, so it was a pleasure to finally be able to celebrate their successes and stories so publically. In today’s post, we’re sharing the names of these inspirational businesswomen. AND, we’ve asked a few of the nominees to share with us their proudest moment in giving back to their communities. Read their comments below and see how work and purpose are so intricately tied together in their responses.
Elizabeth Kilvert, Owner of The Unrefined Olive:
“I am most proud of owning a store that is not merely a retail front and a transactional place for sales. It is a door to my community where I can step out and contribute and where everyone is welcome. My proudest moments are when I connect with customers who share stories of the work they do with seniors, food centres, urban agriculture, international projects, and youth at risk. I have shared stories, hugs, tears and my products and energy to help them achieve the important work that they do.”
Terri Storey, Executive Director Terrace Youth Residential Service:
“I am most proud about my commitment to youth and mental health. I feel very strongly that we all have work to do. Last year 3,000 youth went to the CHEO emergency room wanting help. There is a lack of services and long waiting lists.
I hosted a networking event to raise funds to enable families to access treatment beds for free. I have been working with companies to be corporately responsible for youth mental health in our community. I have been talking with insurance companies to consider expanding the definition of at home care funds so that families could use them for mental health care, as well. Lastly, I am working with families to write up proposals to charities for accessing funds for their youth struggling with mental health. Youth require the right services at the right time.”
Tracy Corneau, Partner, Trade Mark Agent, Bordon Ladner Gervais (BLG):
“I am most proud to be a supporter of children’s education. As a 10 year member of our BLG Reads to Kids program, both the firm and I are committed to the benefits that reading programs provide to children in the community. This year we also participated in fundraisers to provide a “Witherspoon” bear to each child in the classrooms we visit to encourage the children to read to their bear. We were truly touched by their response when we delivered the bears personally to each child at the school.”
Elaine Birchall, Owner of Birchall Consulting and Associates
“I am proudest of the feedback from most of my clients, fee paying and pro bono, that I have helped get “unstuck” in their homes, minds and lives. Facing down the things that overwhelmed them in one area cleared the way for their inner strength (spirit) to mobilize and lead to places where they had lost hope.
Many stay in touch keeping me updated. They have invited me back years after services ceased to show me proudly how they are maintaining their accomplishment of de-hoarding. At the same time, they tell me how they have used what they learned to make other positive changes in their life like letting go of grief, destructive relationships, healing others, resolving grievances, clearing up misunderstandings, accepting themselves, and facing down other personal challenges like addiction. Most often you can see it happen in their eyes. There is nothing as heart warming than to be part of that “click” moment.”
Luise Sander, Sander Geophysics
“My community involvement has been focused towards young people, ranging from kindergarten students in the Ottawa Reads program, elementary school age children in the Jackrabbit cross-country ski program to KEGS scholarships and work experience programs for undergraduate and graduate geophysics students. It is a no-brainer that we need to encourage young people to be successful in their academics and to promote a physically active lifestyle. With young people, it is easy to tell if programs make a difference; just look for smiles!”
Carolyn Bickerton, Owner of Pure Water Pool and Spa
“I could talk about the charity work Purewater has supported, but I think I would rather talk about the young people we have enjoyed watching become adults. A great number of our staff start out with us as young, untrained, somewhat wild kids. They have few skills, and they are fresh out of high school or they are in college or university. They don’t yet have money management skills and they certainly make some bad choices. Some of these kids are with us one summer, some are with us for 4 or 5 summers, and a few make a career in the swimming pool industry. Alex and I believe that investing time and energy in our young staff is extremely worthwhile. Often I look at myself as a bit of a den mother, guiding our staff through their tumultuous early twenties. Our system is simple; we have rules that must be followed, consequences if they are not, and a lot of guidance and training. I know we make a difference when these “kids” are getting married, owning homes and succeeding in their chosen careers. I have had staff who were bankrupt when they started and rebuild their lives step by step, to become home owners and good savers. Seeing that kind of growth in people is a wonderful and rewarding experience.”
Congratulations ladies on your finalist positions. And thank you to those who were able to respond (after we sent out a very last-minute email request) with your proudest moments. These short stories are such clear examples of work and purpose going hand-in-hand.
Now, with no more waiting, here is the full list of finalists for the WBN Businesswomen of the Year Award.
Corporate: Dianne King of AVW-TELAV, Audio Visual Solutions; Janice Menezes of Lockhead Martin Canada; Luise Sander of Sander Geophysics.
Entrepreneur: Carolyn Bickerton of Purewater Pool and Spa; Elizabeth Kilvert of The Unrefined Olive; Terri Storey of Terrace Youth Residential Services.
Professional: Elaine Birchall of Birchall Consulting and Associates; Melissa Clark of RBC Dominion Securities; and Tracy Corneau of Borndon Ladner Gervais.
We’ll be seeing more of them on Sister Leadership as we roll into our newest theme, plus there’s the upcoming WBN Businesswoman of the Year gala to look forward to! Congratulations to the 2013 Businesswoman of the Year Finalists!
Till next week,
Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, certified in EQi 2.0 and EQ360, a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), has been coaching high-level women and men for over six years, and is now opening her expertise to those emerging in business. Camille pulls her blog topics from her unique coaching approach that combines her training as a EQi 2.0 and EQ360 certified facilitator with the dig-deeper tools of NLP.
Get in touch here if you’d like to talk with Cam about group or one-on-one coaching, and EQ assessments. With the miracle of Skype and telephones – distance is no issue!