WBN Businesswomen of the Year Gala 2013

5 May

The Women’s Business Network 31st Annual Businesswoman of the Year Gala – let me tell you all about it! Of course, it is important to celebrate success, and important to celebrate the success of others. I’ve shared that take-away before back when I went to the WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Summit and Awards in Toronto in December 2012 and the Gala Prix Femmes d’affaires du Québec in Montreal last October at the REFAQ (Le Réseau des Femmes d’affaires du Québec). Well, this year the Sister Leadership team went together to the Businesswomen of the Year Gala (BYA) in Ottawa and had such a good time celebrating the nominees and the mixing with ladies we met across the evening.

So, I wore my purple ball gown with the handy accessory of my camera, and picked up recently featured Catherine and we headed to the gala. The reception area was jammed when we arrived (fashionably late, but only by ten minutes), and it was a mixture of business, glamour and selfies taken on the phone. I cannot begin to describe how much work gets put into this evening, and the efforts paid off with this gathering of talent and the high-energy buzz that was in the air.

We spent about thirty or forty minutes mixing and milling, and our talented editor Norma Goldsmith joined us to complete the Sister Leadership team – it was a ladies’ night out!

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Terri Storey executive director at Terrace Youth Residential Services: 2013 WBN women of the year: entrepreneur category

This was a great time to celebrate the success of all the fantastic events the WBN puts on throughout the year. (My next WBN project is high tea at the Billings Estate, with delicious nibbles and storytelling about Lamira Billings, a pioneer and amazing leader.) So we met and chatted, and met and chatted, and met and chatted – champagne in one hand and business cards in the other! It was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and meet their companions.

Eventually the banquet doors opened, and in we went to take our seats.

The evening was broken up into four different segments to reflect the 2013 finalists for the BYA: Corporate, Professional, Entrepreneur, followed toward the end with the announcement of the winners. We were able to “meet” the nominees one profile at a time via video clips. The Rogers TV team had interviewed them, and created short clips of their stories. It was wonderful to watch these compelling interviews and appreciate the incredible women in this city (as we do every week here with the Sister Leadership blog!)

Oh, and in between these segments, an acrobat was on the stage doing some very impressive, very challenging routines with glitter, hoops and flexibility! And, I ought to mention the beautiful gifts left at each place setting of either garlic olive oil or pomegranate balsamic vinegar, donated by BYA finalist Elizabeth Kilvert of The Unrefined Olive. Yummy & so generous.

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Luise Sander, co- president of Sander Geophysics : 2013 WBN Women of The Year Corporate Category

But here was my absolute favourite part of the evening:

Actually, this is my favourite part of networking events as a whole, particularly events where you are allowed to simply sit at a table and talk with the people around you. It’s perhaps useful for those who are very shy to be given little tasks and challenges when networking, but I personally have to say that the best connections come from real & involved conversations. However, that’s another blog post to be written.

Okay, my absolute favourite part of the evening:

It has to be sitting at the table with such a fantastic group of ladies. I was privileged to sit beside a particular woman with whom I found myself having quite the connection. As we were able to talk between each of the nominee presentations, we just went deeper and deeper into our commonalities. This to me is why these networks are so powerful. If it wasn’t for the BYA Gala, and if it wasn’t for the WBN, and if it wasn’t for that initiative to bring together amazing women, I would have never met Lisa Anna Palmer owner of Cattelan Palmer Consulting. Our conversation was so engaging – what kindred spirits!

So, my take away from this lovely gala is that real relationships and connections can happen from networking. But not only “can they happen”, they happen all the time. You sit beside someone, you ask each other some introductory questions, you hit on a common thread and then you’re off and running. It has happened over and over in my experience with networking scenes, and it’s the real beauty and the real purpose of coming together – to find one another, and to be able to offer up support.

It’s Sister Leadership, essentially. We’ve been privileged to feature many of these connections here on the blog. And it was my privilege to meet women like Su Thomas, Lisa Millar, Lisa Anna Palmer and other leaders at the BYA Gala. You just never know who you are going to sit beside and engage.

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Melissa Clark from RBC Dominion Securities – WBN 2013 women of the year- professional category and Pauline Fleming, President of WBN

Sister Leadership would like to congratulate all the organizers of the WBN Businesswoman of the Year 2013 Gala. Ladies, you did an excellent job, and you certainly deserved that moment to celebrate in your success.

As well, Sister Leadership would like to congratulate all nine nominees on being supreme businesswomen with such impressive stories. Very well done to Terri Storey (who we are soon to feature on Sister Leadership – keep an eye out!), Melissa Clark, and Luise Sander on winning Businesswoman of the Year in your respective categories.

Overall, it was quite the night! Were you at the evening? What did you take away from the evening?

Cheers once again and congratulations to all.

Till next week,

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