Eighty-six women from the North were nominated for Today’s Woman Awards. And for JoAnne Niwranski, who hatched the idea of the annual event, that in itself is a remarkable achievement. “The event itself is getting bigger and better every year,” said Niwranski. “There were about 230 people at the Awards Ceremony. That’s a good turn-out. About 125 breakfast tickets were sold and there was full conference registration with about 77 attending.”
The Today’s Woman event is still developing, she said. “This year, we added the Professional Development Day, that’s something that just evolved. In previous years, we focussed on the celebration of women as achievers and leadership. It was more of a consumers trade show before.”
Niwranski is always on the look-out for possible key-note speakers and presenters. “Lisa Martin who wrote Briefcase Mom was on a CBC Radio Show. Our keynote speaker this year, Lori Bamber, we found in B.C. Business Magazine which featured the Top 100 businesses and only two had women CEOs. Lori talked about the myth of the women executive. We try to involve out sponsors as much as possible. They help us define the program and the direction they want it to go including presentation topics.”
Deanna Nyce, Wilp Wilxo’Oskwhl Nisqa’a (Nisqa’a University College) won the Aboriginal Woman of Distinction Award (sponsor Aboriginal Business Development Centre) and the Forging Our Future With Education Award (sponsor Sprott-Shaw Community College.) Patricia Earle, Friends of Hudson Hope won the Community Enrichment Award (sponsor Prince George Free Press), Barbara Rayment of Birch Creek Nursary won the Innovator of the Year Award (sponsor Business Development Bank) and Business of the Year (sponsor Pacific Western Brewing Company). Jennifer Simm, Freestyle Mogul Skier, won the Focus on the Future Youth Award (sponsor Alcan.) Doris Brocke of the Kiwanis Enterprise Centre won the Leader in Knowledge Advancement Award (sponsor UNBC.) Karen Davies, regional director Nechako Campus of the College of New Caledonia won the Excellence in Mentorship (sponsor Minerva Foundation). Loraine Funk, Tumbler Ridge News won the Home Based Business of the Year Award (sponsor Community Futures Development Corporation.) Reverend Elizabeth Zook won the Health and Wellness Award (sponsor The Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation.)
Lucy Gagnon, Moricetown Enterprises Limited, won the Women in Leadership Award (sponsor Dean Mason and Company, Chartered Accountants). Wendy L. Fellers of Wendy L. Fellers, CGA, MBA won the Professional Woman of Distinction Award (sponsor Dick Byl Law Corporation). Sue Popesku, Fort. St. John Hospital Foundation, won the Influence and Impact – Woman of the Year Award (sponsor Lynda Kearns-Tillet of Clarica). Congratulations to all these outstanding women.