Surrey Women in Business Awards

Surrey Women in Business Awards

On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, the Surrey Board of Trade hosts the 10th Annual Surrey Women in Business Awards Luncheon. The event recognizes the hard work of Surrey’s businesswomen and their contributions to Surrey. The event’s philosophy has been rooted in the purpose of educating our audience. Some of the best and brightest women of Surrey’s business community are celebrated and receive well-deserved recognition. The purpose of the event is to inspire, motivate and educate the audience.

Female Statistics

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It’s a story that has been heard many times: a goal oriented businesswoman works long hours, does a great job and puts her heart and soul in to her job but doesn’t quite know how to climb the career ladder to the boardroom or find the resources to be a business owner. The numbers speak for themselves. More than half the companies in Canada have no female directors. And only 2% of chairs and chief executives are women in Canada.

Some facts:

  1. In 2013 it was reported that Canada is falling behind other countries when it comes to putting women on corporate boards, according to a report by TD Economics. While participation in the labour force has increased significantly for women, that change has yet to be reflected at the top of Canada’s largest companies, according to the report.
  2. According to a University of Ottawa report, putting the Surrey Board of Trade’s government advocacy hat on, Canada lacks a coordinated national women’s economic development strategy. Their report suggests, “(A) national strategy would support increased funding to existing women-focused small business training programs and program expansion. The report also indicates that to clear the path for more Women-owned businesses would be to increase access to commercial capital and dedicated financial resources.
    Further a strategic Small and medium sized business procurement policy is an under-utilized mechanism to enhance supplier diversity for different levels of government and hence, Canadian competitiveness.”
  3. In Canada, 4 out of 5 businesses are started by women. Representing 47% of small and medium-sized enterprises, women-owned businesses are growing at a faster rate than those run by men

Women business owners generate almost 40% of their sales in foreign markets and provide jobs for 1.7 million Canadians.

Today’s Canadian woman in business and in leadership positions:

  1. Is more likely to be highly educated
  2. She’s probably married, as self-employed women are more likely to be married than Canadian women in general (77 percent as opposed to 58 percent of the general population).

Through the years at this event the Surrey Board of Trade sees Surrey’s business landscape, full of entrepreneurial women who have developed a strategy, have created a vision and communicated this vision to bring them to be recognized at this prestigious awards program.

The Surrey Board of Trade will welcome, to Surrey, the former Senior Adviser to USA Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Betsy Myers as the keynote speaker for the 10th Annual Surrey Women in Business Awards Lunch.

A leading advocate in the advancement of women in both business and politics, Betsy Myers was one of the masterminds behind President Barack Obama’s 2007-2008 campaign. Since then she has become one of the most sought-out speakers and consultants on the changing nature of leadership.

Betsy Myers served as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Adviser to Barack Obama’s 2007–2008 presidential campaign and chaired the Women for Obama organization. As Chief Operating Officer, Myers used her customer service expertise and business savvy to establish Obama’s national campaign operations in January 2007. Though Obama was initially considered a long-shot candidate, Myers built up a $100,000,000 organization that stayed focused and turned Obama into a serious competitor after a historic win in the 2008 Iowa Caucus. Ultimately, her team helped secure him the White House in a general election in which he received 69.5 million votes, the highest amount of votes ever won by a presidential candidate.

Betsy Myers was also a senior official in the Bil Clinton administration. She was the first director of the White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach.

Before joining the Obama campaign, she was Executive Director of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. She currently serves as Founding Director of the Center for Women in Business at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. She lives with her family near Boston.

Betsy has a wealth of experience in corporate, political and higher education. Betsy has been taking the message of leadership and women’s advancement to organizations and corporations around the globe. Betsy’s book, Take the Lead, was voted one of the top leadership books of the year by The Washington Post.

Guests will experience an inspirational presentation that will add to their businesses and to the city of Surrey.

Speaker Topic: Women and Leadership 
In this provocative presentation, Betsy discusses important research and thinking around women in leadership. She explores the history of the movement for equality and shares insights gleaned from her work with Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, and Bella Abzug. Tracing her own career path, Betsy brings perspective from her experiences as a successful female leader. She helps audiences understand what it will take to continue closing the confidence gap, how to confront the balance question, the different leadership styles of men and women, and leadership necessary for the next generation of women. Betsy will translate lessons learned from the campaign and President Obama’s leadership style that could be applied to every organization and leader in both the public and private sector. Myers outlines key elements of respectful leadership and provides insights for leaders who want to improve both their personal and organizational success.

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Nominations are closed for 2019.

Award Categories

The Surrey Board of Trade reserves the right to move a nomination into another category. Previous winners of the award may not be nominated again for a period of 3 years.

  • Entrepreneur
    Is an owner or significant shareholder of any business size.
  • Corporate/Leadership
    Holds a senior/executive level position in a public or private-owned business.
  • Professional
    Nominee has a professional designation, i.e. accountant, notary, lawyer, engineer.
  • Not-for-Profit Leader
    Nominee holds a paid position as CEO, Executive Director or senior manager.
  • Social Trailblazer
    A founder or leader of an organization, initiative, or project that makes a significant social, economic, or environmental impact by building progressive and sustainable solutions to a complex issue facing our local community.


  • Work in Surrey
  • Leadership Skills
  • Proven business acumen
  • Community involvement
  • ONE reference letter must be included
  • Must be either a Surrey based business or a member of the Surrey Board of Trade


Please submit your nomination to:

Melissa Peel
101-14439 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC V3R 1M1
T: 604.634.0347
F: 604.588.7549

2019 Finalists

Santoshi Desai, Orange Oranges Technologies Ltd.
Kelita Haverland, Heart & Soul Music
Cathrine Ann Joncas, Service Evaluations Mystery Shopping Inc.

Sonia Andhi Bilkhu, Shakti Society
Rupinder Khunkhun, Grandview Law Group LLP
Karen Sawatsky, PwC

Not-for-Profit Leader
Ninu Kang, MOSAIC
Hanne Madsen, Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland
Heather Lynch, Options Community Services Society

Corporate Leadership
Laurie Cavan, City of Surrey
Alison Fuller, Venturis Capital Corporation
Linda McCrossin, Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel

Social Trailblazer
Sonia Andhi Bilkhu, Shakti Society
Jennifer Benjamin, Benjamin Residential and Vocational Options Inc. (BRAVO Inc.)
Shilpa Narayan, How a Struggle Became a Journey

Previous Winners


Entrepreneur Category
Yvonne Hogenes
Malary’s Fashion Network

Professional Category
Shalini Das
Symbiosis Pediatric Therapy Inc.

Not-for-Profit Leader Category
Ingrid Kastens
Pacific Community Resources Society

Corporate/Leadership Category
Rowena Rizzotti
Lark Group

Social Trailblazer Category
Elly Morgan
Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Indigenous Entrepreneur Category
Roxanne Charles



Entrepreneur Category
Noel Asmar
Noel Asmar Group Inc.

Professional Category
Sonia Virk
Virk Viyas & Associate Lawyers

Not-for-Profit Leader Category
Louise Tremblay
The Semiahmoo Foundation/Semiahmoo House Society

Corporate/Leadership Category
Dona Hurry
Mansonville Plastics Group of Companies

Social Trailblazer Category
Paola Ardiles
SFU/Bridge For Health



Entrepreneur Category
Sara Hodson
LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic

Professional Category
Amanjit Lidder

Not-for-Profit Leader Category
Melanie Houlden
Surrey Libraries

Corporate/Leadership Category
Janice Comeau
LMS Reinforcing Steel Group

Social Trailblazer Category
MaryAnne Connor
NightShift Street Ministries Society



Entrepreneur Category
Angela Herd
The Family Hope Clinic

Professional Category
Dr. Jane Fee
Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Not-for-Profit Leader Category
Coreen Windbiel
Surrey Association for Community Living

Corporate/Leadership Category
Hanne Madsen



Entrepreneur Category
Tracy Bell
La Belle Fleur Floral Boutique Ltd.

Professional Category
Mary Jane Wilson
Wilson Rasmussen LLP

Not-for-Profit Leader Category
Neelam Sahota
DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society

Corporate/Leadership Category
Kathy McGarrigle
Coast Capital Savings



Entrepreneur Category
Jill Martyniuk
Romancing the Home

Professional Category
Christine Trischuk
Christine Trischuk Consultants

Corporate/Leadership Category
Peggy White
Guildford Town Centre

Innovator Category
Wendy Bollard
Peninsula Productions Society

Not-for-Profit Leader Category
Christiana Flessner
Canadian Wheelchair Foundation



Entrepreneur Category
Kim Russell
Canadian Tourism College

Professional Category
Vivienne Wilke, CGA, MBA
City of Surrey

Leadership Category
Ellie King
Royal Canadian Theatre Company

Corporate Category
Amy Hennessy

Not-for-Profit Executive Category
Kathleen Kennedy Strath
Kinsmen Lodge

Community Achievement Award
Bonnie Burnside



Entrepreneur Category
Lorraine Duclos
PDQ Post Group Inc.

Professional Category
Karen L. Baillie
Laurel Place

Corporate Category
Heather Bell
Nav Canada

Leadership Category
Jonquil Hallgate
Surrey Urban Mission

Not-for-Profit Category
Beth Barlow
Surrey Libraries

Community Achievement Award 2011
Karla Pearson



Entrepreneur Category
Yvonne Hogenes
Malary’s Fashion Network

Professional Category
Joanne Curry
Simon Fraser University

Corporate Category
Susan Robinson
Irly Distributors Ltd.