Surrey Women in Business Awards

Surrey Women in Business Awards

On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, the Surrey Board of Trade hosted 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

Read more

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, Erin Brockovich as the keynote speaker for the 11th Annual Surrey Women in Business Awards Lunch.

It’s been over 15 years since Julia Roberts starred in the Oscar-winning tour de force, Erin Brockovich. The film turned an unknown legal researcher into a 20th century icon by showcasing how her dogged persistence was the impelling force behind the largest medical settlement lawsuit in history.

After being seriously injured in a traffic accident, Erin hired Masry & Vititoe to represent her. They won a small settlement, but she still needed work, so she got a job at the law firm as a file clerk. It was while organizing papers on a pro bono real estate case that Erin first found medical records that would explode into the largest direct-action lawsuit in US history.

Erin’s exhaustive investigation uncovered that Pacific Gas & Electric had been poisoning the small town of Hinkley’s Water for over 30 years. It was because of Erin’s unwavering tenacity that PG&E had now been exposed for leaking toxic Chromium 6 into the ground water. This poison affected the health of the population of Hinkley. In 1996, as a result of the largest direct-action lawsuit of its kind, spearheaded by Erin and Ed Masry, the utility giant was forced to pay out the largest toxic tort injury settlement in US history: $333 million in damages to more than 600 Hinkley residents.


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 (small business)
    Is an owner or significant shareholder of any business with up to 20 employees
  • Entrepreneur (large business)
    Is an owner or significant shareholder of any business with 20 or more employees
  • Corporate Leader
    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.
  • Emerging Leader
    This award identifies future leaders known for their innovative, meaningful contributions to the improvement of their profession and the efficiency of their workplace. Nominees in this category may hold entry to mid-level management positions.
  • 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:

Rhona Doria
101-14439 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC V3R 1M1
T: 604.634.0344
F: 604.588.7549

2019 Winners

© A Master Media

Santoshi Desai, Orange Oranges Technologies Ltd.

Santoshi is the co-founder of Orange Oranges Technologies Ltd. and an SAP Human Resource expert in her field, providing end-to-end solutions. Leading a team of five staff, she has been instrumental in providing project proposals and growing revenue at Orange Oranges. Santoshi holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial & Production Engineering, a male dominated field. Additionally, she has a diploma in Human Resources Management. Originally from India, Santoshi has broken through the cultural norms to travel to multiple countries to carry out work, something not common for women of her background.

Rupinder Khunkhun, Grandview Law Group LLP

Rupinder is a family law layer and partner/owner at Grandview Law Group LLP. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science from UBC and attended their law school, earning her Juris Doctor in 2004. She was called to the bar in May 005 and has a been a member in good standing with the Law Society for the past 14 years. Rupinder worked as an associate in a boutique family law firm for seven years where she honed her litigations skills. She is one of only a handful of female family law litigators that are fluent in Punjabi and can service the needs of the South Asian community. In June 2012, she and Paul Mann opened the doors to Grandview Law Group LLP. Under Rupinder’s leadership the firm has grown to include seven lawyers, an articling student, and a team of skilled support staff. Giving back to the community has been a core guiding principle for Rupinder. She is a member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Women Lawyers Forum and mentors and trains articled students. She is also a Director at Sources Community Resources Society.

Not-for-Profit Leader
Ninu Kang, MOSAIC

Ninu is Director of Communications and Development at MOSAIC. Ninu holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and completed the classwork for a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. Ninu’s public role leads her to often be interviewed by the media as an expert on issues of domestic violence, immigrant and refugee women and children as well as racism and youth gang violence in the South Asian community. Dating back to her teenage years, Ninu has been the founder of many ‘women only’ groups to empower women in building self-confidence and overcoming systemic oppression. She is one of the founding members of the Punjabi Women’s Organization, a member of Indo-Canadian Women’s Organization, and a member of the India Mahila Association. In the past she has served as board president of the Women’s Research Centre and the Battered Women’s Support Services. She has also started an annual youth forum in Surrey where she established a model to mentor and empower female and male youth teams from high school to become leaders by planning, organizing, recruiting and running the youth-centered conference during Victim Awareness Week in March.

Corporate Leadership
Alison Fuller, Venturis Capital Corporation

Alison is the Senior Vice President of Finance at Venturis Capital Corporation. Venturis is a capital investment company, most notable for their investment in Leavitt Machinery. Alison has been working in the accounting and finance field for close to 25 years, with almost 14 of those years spent at Venturis/Leavitt. She graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University, and went on to obtain her CA designation prior to the merger of the CPAs. Alison oversees the HR, accounting, finance, and IT departments that support Venturis and its subsidiaries, as well as corporate and cross border tax planning and estate planning for the owner. She is also a key member of the mergers and acquisitions team at Venturis, responsible for conducting due diligence work and operational transition. Most recently, Alison successfully completed an ERP implementation, a cross border transfer pricing project, as well as a $65 million acquisition in Texas.

Social Trailblazer
Sonia Andhi Bilkhu, Shakti Society

Sonia is an expert in her field of social services and mental health. She is a registered social worker and a family counsellor and has worked in the non-profit sector since 1987. Sonia is an innovative leader as the founder of the Shakti Awards and Shakti: Empowerment of Women, Children and Families Society, a non profit organization which aims to empower women, children and their families by inspiring, motivating and creating vibrant communities by utilizing and enhancing the social capital of local citizens. Sonia has sat on various committees and boards, including the board of Surrey Women’s Centre and currently she is the media chair of NEVR, the Network for Eliminating Violence in Relationships, a network of over 50 organizations such as local police forces, school teachers and administration, non-profit organizations and Kwantlen and Simon Fraser University.  Sonia was recently elected as a Board member of the BC College of Social Workers, a provincial body that regulates the social work profession in British Columbia. She sits on the Policy and Discipline committees of the College.

2019 Finalists

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.