The YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards take place tonight at the Westin Bayshore as executives, innovators, and industry leaders from around our province gather to be honoured. I am proud once again to be the Social Media Sponsor of the awards and with that comes a live blog of the ceremonies tonight (as I did last year).
The silent auction and reception will begin at 5:30pm followed by dinner and the awards starting at 6:30pm. I should be settled in at our table by 6:00pm and John will be supplying photos throughout the evening. You will be able to spot my updates throughout the night as they will be tagged Update. I will include information about the nominees and gather quotes when winners are announced. There are 10 categories plus the “Connecting the Community” award that was voted on by the public.
Update 6:30pm: Hundreds of guests, nominees, family members, friends, and delegates are arriving at the Westin Bayshore for the event tonight. Everyone is now making their way into the ballroom for dinner and I’ve setup my liveblogging station for the night. Following the meal, the winner in each category will be posted.
Update 7:50pm Emcee Sophie Lui takes the stage to welcome everyone and present the nominees. Her “accessories” this evening consist of two Canucks branded foam fingers. Go Canucks Go!. Seated at my table is nominee Andrea Scott who is the co-owner of skoah inc.
Update 8:00pm: Finishing up our meals, Sophie takes to the stage (before being able to enjoy her baby lava cake… which was delicious by the way). She gives a shout out to the sponsors and hands the mic over to YWCA Metro Vancouver CEO, Janet Austin. Janet talks about the important role of the YWCA in our region. “Let us live in a world where the women in the Downtown Eastside can live past the age of 40, which is currently a reality.”
Update 8:05pm: A few more words from sponsor such as Scotiabank and TD before we get onto the awards.
Arts, Culture & Design
Recipient: Morna Edmundson, Artistic Director, Elektra Womenâ€™s Choir
Business & The Professions
Recipient: Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO, Vancity Credit Union
Quote: “It’s a delight to stand with my fellow nominees… …They’ve contributed so much to our community.”
Recipient: Christina Anthony, Director, Odlum Brown Limited; Founder and Chair, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs
Quote: “I am truly proud to be in the same category as these remarkable women.” Christine quotes Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” She ends her acceptance speech with “Go Canucks!”
Another award from the judges has been announced for Gladys Johnston who is the Founder and Volunteer Leader of the Mount Seymour Thrift Shop. Gladys accepts and say, “I would really like to thank the people who felt I was worthy of this award… …I thank you all very much.”
There’s a break to watch a YWCA video right now, focusing on some of the women who use the services and facilities provided throughout Metro Vancouver. In particular, the video focuses on personal stories from women who visit Emma’s Early Learning Centre and Crabtree Corner.
One of the women featured in the Crabtree Corner segment is on stage to say a few words. After being moved by a standing ovation, she continues to talk about how Crabtree was a safe haven for her (being homeless and with a child) – how it helped her turn her life around after years of addiction.
Education, Training & Development
Recipient: Malgorzata Dubiel, Senior Lecturer of Mathematics, SFU
Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Recipient: Beverley Pomeroy, Founder and CEO, Global Currents Enterprises
Quote: “I thank you very, very much for this award, I’m completely shocked.”
Health & Active Living
Verity Livingstone, Medical Director, Vancouver Breastfeeding Centre
Quote: “With our helps these babies will grow up to be healthy, wealthy, and wise… …And I’m really proud that breastfeeding is now getting the recognition that it deserves.”
McCarthy TÃ©trault LLP
Non-Profit & Public Service
Recipient: Linda Malcolm, Constable and Sex Industry Liaison Officer, Vancouver Police Department
Quote: “Thank you very much for this honour. Thank you to the YWCA… I’d like to thank you for all of your work and for supporting women…” Linda also thanks colleague Jodyne Keller (Constable and Homeless Outreach Coordinator, Vancouver Police Department) who was also nominated in this category.
Technology, Science & Industry
Recipient: Janet Wood, Executive Vice President, SAP
Young Women of Distinction
Recipient: Alia Dharamsi, Former President and Founder, UBC Meal Exchange UBC
Connecting the Community
Recipient: Saleema Noon, Principal, iGirl Empowerment Workshops
Congratulations to all of the women who were honoured tonight. Through donations made tonight at the table level, the awards raised $75,706 (which is more than double last year’s amount of about $37,000)!
I will have more photos available later tonight thanks to John Bollwitt for capturing some moments during the ceremony.