The Women in Business Awards (WIBA) is an annual event to recognize the leadership and success of women in our business community. The WIBAs aim to encourage more women to seek out and reach for leadership roles in business, non-profits, and in their community.
“The Women in Business Awards is our opportunity to provide some well-deserved recognition to women who have excelled in the business world,” said N’ora Kalb, Chair of the GNCC’s Women in Niagara Council (WIN). “This recognition not only celebrates their achievements, but also empowers them as role models for aspiring women in business.”
“Representation is important; when women see themselves in leadership roles, it tells them that it is possible for them to achieve their goals,” said Mishka Balsom, CEO of the GNCC. “It sends a powerful message about the value of gender diversity. This recognition can drive organizations to prioritize gender equality, foster inclusive work cultures, and provide equal opportunities for women to succeed.”
This year’s recipients are:
Business That Gives Back Award, sponsored by Niagara Community Foundation: TD
Community Impact Award, sponsored by Anchor Niagara: Rochelle Ivri
Corporate Leadership Award, sponsored by Hatch: Cassandra Ogunniyi, Niagara Region
Cultural Arts Award, sponsored by CAA Niagara: Jean Bridge, Rodman Art Institute of Niagara
Emerging Business Award, sponsored by Niagara Region Economic Development: Stacey Stemplowski, Grounding Balance Wellness & Psychotherapy
Entrepreneurship Award, sponsored by The Pen Centre: Lori McDonald, Provisions Food Company
Equity Entrepreneur Award, sponsored by Niagara College: Arielle Smith, Fix My Books Inc.
Excellence in Trades Award, sponsored by Kraun Electric: Shelley Parker, Alectra Utilities
Excellence in Hospitality and Tourism Award, sponsored by DDL & Co.: Whitney Rorison, Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers
Excellence in the Not-for-Profit Sector Award, sponsored by MNP: Nicole Regehr, Gillian’s Place
Health Care Hero Award, sponsored by Alectra Utilities: Karen Lutz, Niagara Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Award, sponsored by Mountainview Homes: Dr. Darby McGrath, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
Young Professional Award, sponsored by Ridley College: Krystal Riddell, Essentials Cremation and Burial Services Inc.
At the awards, Valerie Pringle was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Airbus. Valerie has been a television host since 1985, and helped launch the CBC-TV news and current affairs program, MIDDAY. She co-produced, co-wrote and hosted a documentary called “After the Fall” for Discovery Channel about the clean-up of the World Trade Center, which was sold around the world. She has completed 33 episodes of her Travel Series “Valerie Pringle Has Left the Building” for CTV, two seasons of “Test of Faith” for Vision-TV and four Seasons of “The Canadian Antiques Road Show” for CBC-TV. She volunteers her time to the Trans Canada Trail, where she serves as Chair of the Board, and as Chair of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation (CAMH), a Major 100 charity and one of Canada’s largest charities in terms of donations. CAMH authored over a thousand peer-reviewed research articles in 2022, leading to major breakthroughs in the treatment of mental illness and addiction.
She has championed AIDS research for CANFAR, not only raising valuable funds but working to remove the stigma from the disease. Valerie was made a Member of the Order of Canada for her work in broadcasting and philanthropy in 2006, received an Honourary Doctorate from Toronto Metropolitan (Ryerson) University in 2010, and is an honourary fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.
The Ruth Unrau Legacy Award, sponsored by LJM Developments and created in the name of Women in Niagara co-founder Ruth Unrau, is to be conferred upon a woman who shares Ruth’s spirit and dedication to advocacy for women in business, and who has lifted up female entrepreneurs through her work and support. The award recipient in 2023 will have championed women in trade and commerce, and empowered others to achieve success. For 2023, the award went to Deborah Rosati, an award-winning corporate director and entrepreneur. Deborah is the founder and CEO of Women Get On Board Inc. (WGOB), an 850-member social-purpose company. Deborah is building a community of the next generation of women corporate directors, advancing equity, diversity & inclusion (EDI), collaboration, courage, and confidence in the boardroom.
Deborah is currently Chair of the Board for Profound Impact Corporation, and has led and served on numerous special committees with various mandates (including going public, going private, M&A, restructuring and special investigations).