Earlier this week I had the privilege of attending the 24th Annual YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. I was nominated in the Entrepreneurship & Innovation category by the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), and before I tell you whether or not I won, I want to say that it was an honour to be nominated, and to attend this inspiring event. Over 1000 people attended the gala at the Westin Bayshore Vancouver, including many of the local community's top entrepreneurs, business leaders, media, educators, environmentalists and even David Suzuki, who was sitting at the next table supporting his wife, a nominee in the non-profit/public service category.
The event was hosted by Global BC's Chris Gailus and the Vancouver Sun's Valerie Casselton.
I had not seen Chris Gailus on TV before, but this towering man was absolutely hilarious and quick witted. One of the silent auction items was to spend a few hours with Gailus at Global to watch the production of a show and hang out with him, and while he joked about it throughout the night, the item was no joke to the YWCA, his donation of time ended up going for $500. Webnames.ca's silent auction donation of technology and inspirational books with domain names package was another popular item. The silent auction raised over $12,000 to support the diverse programs the YWCA offers.
The calibre of my co-nominees was amazing, and the event celebrated talent, innovation, achievement, spirit and social responsibility.
- Arts, Culture & Design
- Business & the Professions
- Community Building
- Education, Training & Development
- Entrepreneurship & Innovation
- Health & Active Living
- Non-Profit & Public Service
- Technology, Science & Industry
- Young Woman of Distinction
- YWCA Innovative Workplace
Entrepreneurship & Innovation Award nominees (from left to right) Lisa Palleson-Stallan - Lotuswear, Sarah McNeill - McNeill Nakamoto Recruitment, Cybele Negris - Webnames.ca, Nancy Mudford - Le Petit Spa, Andrea Shaw - VANOC, Tammy-Lynn McNabb - Vitasti
I couldn't believe I even made it on the shortlist for my category. And no, I didn't win, but I do know the winner very well through the FWE. Lisa Palleson-Stallan is an amazing woman, a former business professor with a PhD, co-owner of Lotuswear - a local women's clothing chain, and a mother of four. (I thought it was hard enough with two young ones of my own!)
It was great to talk to the other women entrepreneurs and realize we are all successfully juggling childcare, family, growing businesses and somehow still finding time for community service and social responsibility. Clickfor a profile of all the winners.
The Vancouver Sun will feature the recipients on June 1st and there was a great article in the May 31st issue about Dianna Louie, the phenomenal Young Woman of Distinction recipient.
A special thanks to the YWCA for the amazing job they do of helping disadvantaged families, in particular single moms. Four courageous women were featured in a video clip. One woman came from Japan and had a baby with a local man who immediately left them after the baby was born. She had no status to work or collect social assistance in Canada, no job, no home, no childcare and no options, except for the YWCA which helped her with childcare and the tools to complete her education and find a stable job. Another woman got up on stage and told her story of how she was able to pick up her life, complete her university education, get a great job counselling other women and raise her twins in a healthy and safe environment.
Such inspiration makes us appreciate where we come from and realize that while we think our own lives are hard, we are in fact very fortunate. I immediately picked up my pen and made a $200 donation and I challenge all of my co-nominees to meet or beat that. Find out more aboutto the YWCA of Vancouver to support their wonderful programs and make a difference in a family's life forever.