Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Women of Distinction Awards 2012

By Cathy Watters on Jun 27 2012 • Filed under Business

Women of Distinction 2012 - Entrepreneurship nominees (Photo)The 2012 YWCA Metro Vancouver Women of Distinction Awards was held May 24 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel.

“A YWCA Women of Distinction Award is recognized nationally as one of the most prestigious awards in Canada,” Cynthia Roney, this year’s Event Chair (and Founder/CEO of Executive Passage), said in her programme book message, “as it fosters and acknowledges deserving women and organizations whose exceptional achievements add to the health and future of our communities.” 
 
The success of this event is evident not only in how long it’s been going on (this year marks its 29th anniversary)but in the numbers:approximately 1000 people came out to honour 71 nominees vying for top spot in 11 categories.
 
I was one of the 71.
 
This is the first time I’ve been in the running for a business award and I was absolutely thrilled to be nominated. Thank you, Karen Dodd, for nominating me, and to everyone who supported the application.
 
I’ve actually never been to an awards ceremony before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. While I hide it well, I’m actually quite shy. So, you can imagine how much I agonized over the idea I might have to give a speech. I poured over the articles by Narges Nirumvala, Executive Speak, on public speaking techniques and by Katherine Lazaruk, ICU Consulting, on style, as well as various posts on networking etiquette.
 
Women of Distinction 2012 - Entrepreneurship Award Winner (Photo: Cathy Watters)There was a photo shoot in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, and from the moment we walked in until we left, the organizers treated us like a million dollars! They welcomed each nominee as we arrived, had us review our bios, gave us coffee and time to chat and network. The process was streamlined so we didn’t have to wait long for our photos, and I was impressed by how quickly the photographer and his assistant were able to put me at ease. The resulting photograph looks great!  My photo and bio, along with the photos of all the nominees, appeared in the Vancouver Sun newspaper on May 5, page E22. (Want to see my photo? Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.I'm the last one on the list.) And to top it off, they gifted each of us with a lovely flower as we left.
 
On the night of the ceremony, we were given a nametag, corsage, and framed certificate. I was surprised at how many people were there!  We enjoyed a pre-ceremony reception, participated in a group photo, then were led into a room where we lined up in our categories and practiced walking onto the stage several times (where more photos were taken) before the ceremony began. While waiting backstage between practices, I had an opportunity to speak with some of the other nominees and take some photos of my own. I was one of nine people in the Entrepreneurship category, and enjoyed getting to meet the other women in person, some of whom I’d already “met” via Twitter and email.
 
Women of Distinction 2012 - Innovative Workplace nominees (Photo: Cathy Watters)I was amazed athow many people I saw at the ceremony who I already knew from other business events or had seen around on social media. Chen Lizra, who I interviewed in 2010, was nominated in the Arts, Culture & Design category. Tracy Themes, nominated in the Education, Training & Development category, has written several articles (with co-author Kamal Basra) for Entrepreneurial Woman magazine.
 
Once we had been presented to the audience, we were released to join our dinner companions. The night was emceed by Sophie Lui of Global BC, who has a wonderful sense of humour, and the highlight of the evening was our surprise Guest Speaker, Premier Christy Clark. And of course, there were many wonderful speeches as the awards were presented.
 
Grace Valador and Cathy Watters at the 2012 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards in Vancouver. (Photo)In addition to supporting and honouring Women of Distinction, the event also serves as one of the YWCA’s largest fundraisers for the year.YWCA highlighted its Affordable Housing initiative with a video showcasing success stories and interviews with some of the women and children whose lives have improved as a direct result of being able to access income-linked housing.
 
If you’re looking for a good way to connect with a lot of movers-and-shakers, make plans to attend the next Women of Distinction Awards. Whether you’re a nominee or attendee, you’ll have plenty of time to network at the reception, silent auction, and over dinner.
 
Winners of the 2012 Women of Distinction Awards for Metro Vancouver:
 
Individual Awards:
 
1. Arts, Culture & Design: Violet Goosen (Vancouver Chamber Choir)
2. Business & The Professions: Patricia Graham (Pacific Newspaper Group)
3. Community Building: Ginny Dennehy (Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation)
4. Education, Training & Development: Catherine Vertesi (Capilano University)
5. Entrepreneurship: Nicole Stefenelli (Urban Impact)
6. Environmental Sustainability: Louise Schwarz (Recycling Alternative)
7. Health, Wellness & Active Living Award: Ann Meraw (professional swimmer)
8. Non-Profit & Public Service: Wendy Au (City of Vancouver)
9. Science, Research & Innovation: Dianne Miller (surgeon)
10. Young Women of Distinction: Alison Lee (UBC medical student)
11. Caring Community Award: Wendy Au
 
Business Award:
 
Innovative Workplace: SAP Canada
 

 
See Also:
 
By Fiona Anderson, Vancouver Sun May 24, 2012
 
By Rebecca Bollwitt, May 24, 2012
 
Women of Distinction Facebook Page has a really good, full group photo here (taken by Joshua Berson):

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