Niagara celebrates annual Women in Business Awards

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The Niagara Region celebrated the importance of women’s contributions to business with the annual Women in Business Awards (WIBA). The event. Was held November 17 at the Crowne Plaza in Niagara Falls.

The awards themselves were presented by the Women of Niagara (WIN) council, which is a business council within the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC). The GNCC, is a champion for the business community with over 1,600 members representing 48,000 employees; it is the largest business organization in Niagara and the third largest Chamber in Ontario. Presenters included the founding partners of the event: The St Catharines Standard, The Niagara Falls Review, and The Welland Tribune.

Some of the awards ranged from, recognizing the women who have contributed to emerging businesses, cultural arts, and even entrepreneurship.

With over 70 nominations for all the different categories of awards, the awards and included many different dedicated and hard-working women in the Niagara region whose contributions to the community go well beyond what their roles necessitate. It is a spectacular way of celebrating the effort that women put forth to better the Niagara region.

“Women make incredible contributions to our business community every day,” said Nicole Regehr, chair of WIN Council, through a statement for The St Catharines Standard. “We are thrilled to be able to celebrate and recognize these accomplishments through this annual event, The caliber of women in leadership roles in Niagara is no surprise to us, but it never ceases to encourage and inspire.”

Additional to the awards being presented by WIN and it’s founding partners, many of the awards are also sponsored by Canadian companies and organizations, including local ones like Niagara College, the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre, and the Foster Festival of Science and Technology.

Winners included Kelly Liddycoat who received the Young Professional Award, Jennifer Harper of Cheekbone Beauty receiving the Social Enterprise Award, Annie Wilson receiving the Cultural Arts Award, Ann Mantini-Celima receiving the Community Spirit Award, Jody Vizza receiving the Business Leadership award, Emily Oriold receiving the Caters Tourism award, Jacqueline Igel-Del Col of Tintern Road & Zooma receiving the Entrepreneurship award, and Lisa Carlomusto of Dental Hygiene of Niagara receiving the Emerging Business award.

WIBA also presented a Lifetime Achievement Award, to Margie Spence, president of Royal Lepage Niagara Real Estate Centre, inc. which is an award winning family group that serves within the Niagara Region as well as catering to Hamilton and Haldimand areas. During the three decades she has spent in the real estate business, Spence has shown herself to have incredible and dedicated leadership skills that exemplifies what it means to be a leader in the workforce.

Not only is Spence at the helm of largest real estate brokerage in the Niagara region, but has also proven herself to be incredibly dedicated to bettering the community as well. Spense has given back through organizations like Gillian’s Place, the local women’s shelter that provides safe refuge and non-residential programs that help women and their children break the cycle of violence, South Niagara women’s shelters, Habitat for Humanity, a national non-profit organization working towards making sure every person has a place to live, food banks in the Niagara Region, and One-Foundation for Niagara Health system.

The WIBA has been operating within the Niagara Region since 2000, and has only grown further in size, including adding two new awards this year. The key mission of WIBA is to continue to inspire women to not only seek out, but reach for leadership positions in business, politics, and non-profit organizations, positions that have historically been filled primarily by men. It is through celebrating the work and the inspiring effort of women who have taken on these roles that they hope to create more equity and equality in the business sphere.

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