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ALL BUSINESS: The Business Laureates of British Columbia Hall of Fame was created by Junior Achievement British Columbia in 2005 to honour the lifetime achievements of outstanding B.C. business leaders whose enduring contributions have shaped our communities, province and country. Now numbering more than 70 members, the Hall of Fame provides an invaluable register of success stories for future leaders to survey as they build their own legacies. Located in the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Hall of Fame would add four more names to the already impressive list of business pioneers.
Chip Wilson left his little black stretchy pants at home, donning more traditional attire for the gala dinner and induction ceremonies, presented by RBC and Faskens. Founder of Lululemon Athletica — now a $100 billion-a-year global business — Wilson was among the Class of 2019 inductees honoured at the sold-out, black-tie event staged at the Hotel Vancouver. Chaired by event founder Barbara Brink and co-chair Bill Weymark, the formal affair reportedly raised $875,000 for JABC to deliver business education programs free-of-charge to almost 38,000 students across the province annually.
The buzz-worthy event attracted more than 1,000 people — B.C.’s foremost business and academic leaders — who convened to raise a glass to Wilson, as well as entrepreneur J. Haig deB. Farris, real estate developer David Podmore, and the late Samuel Belzberg, a self-made businessman and philanthropist.
Farris, president of Fractal Capital, and pioneer of the venture capital industry in Canada, was cited for his entrepreneurial spirit, mentorship and funding of many of B.C.’s technological firms over the past three decade.
One of the most influential contributors to the real estate industry, and co-founder of Concert Properties, Podmore was a no show at the induction dinner. Recouping from heart surgery, Podmore’s children accepted the award on behalf of their father.
Belzberg’s widow Frances accepted the award on behalf of the late financier and merchant banker. A leading member of the business and financial community for more than 30 years, Belzberg was lauded by his peers for his deft deal making, business acumen and philanthropy.
“I would like to congratulate the 2019 Laureates,” said Brink. “This distinction is truly a testament to their lifetime achievements, success and contributions to our society and throughout the province. They have set a tremendous example for future business leaders.”
“It is our honour and pleasure to induct these four individuals into the Hall of Fame, added Weymark. “Their achievements inspire young leaders to continue to shape our province and economy.”
Cause We Care Luncheon
SUPPORTIVE MOMS: The Vancouver-based charity Cause We Care Foundation hosted its fifth Mother’s Day Luncheon, successfully raising a record $138,000 to support single mothers and their families in need in Metro Vancouver.
Founder Andrea Thomas Hill and event chair Vandana Varshney-Lecky welcomed a full house to the power lunch at Parq Vancouver’s Victor Restaurant. The annual event presented by Capital Direct and emceed by Global TV’s Sophie Lui attracted some of the city’s leading ladies and community builders.
Many notable bold face names made the scene; an esteemed group that included Joanne Brown, Jane Young, Saeedeh Salem, Jill Lyall and Sarah Bancroft convened to celebrate motherhood and support the foundation’s newest endeavour — the Single Mother’s Fund — a holistic new initiative designed to support single mothers ready to go back to school or back into the workforce.
“The fund will remove gaps and barriers by providing unique wraparound financial support for single mothers determined to advance out of poverty and lead a life of economic independence,” said Hill.
“The funds will cover everything from computer equipment, transportation costs, food and clothing, tutoring and child care services.”
YWCA Women of Distinction Awards
ACCOMPLISHED WOMEN: Mothers were also the focus at the YWCA’s flagship event. The 36th YWCA Women of Distinction Awards drew 1,300 people to Parq Vancouver, raising $180,000 to help single moms build better futures for their families.
Newly appointed CEO Deb Bryant, formerly at the helm of the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of B.C., and event chair Sue Paish steered the annual dinner and auction honouring women — leaders in their field — contributing to the economic and social vitality of the province.
Sixty six extraordinary nominees were feted with ten women singled out: Dana Claxton (Arts & Culture); Connie Fair (Business & the Professions); Bethany Edmunds (Education); Carolyn Cross (Entrepreneurship); Sheila Early (Health & Wellness); Lauren Hornor (Environment); Ingrid Kastens (Non-Profit); Suzanne Lewis (Research & Innovation); Jennifer Wildi (Youth) and Colleen Yee (Community Champion).
Yee was a double winner. Creator of the Vancouver Police Department’s Women’s Personal Safety Workshop, the first of its kind in North America, Yee recruited a team of female police officer to volunteer and deliver life-saving workshops to more than 3,000 women in Metro Vancouver; many of them vulnerable to violence and who historically had negative perceptions and/or experiences with the police.
The innovative program also received a Connecting the Community Award and a $10,000 cash prize from Scotiabank, the gala’s presenting sponsor.
“Tonight we celebrate our nominees for continuing to shape our province through their innovation, leadership, and creativity and entrepreneurship. Through their dedication and commitment, they have made our province better,” said Paish, addressing the raucous and celebratory crowd.
Since the awards inception in 1984, the Vancouver YWCA has honoured more than 300 deserving women. Last year more than 47,000 British Columbians benefited from program at YWCA Metro Vancouver.
Mosaic’s Ninu Kang and Indian Summer Festival’s Laura Byspalko were among 66 remarkable women feted at the 2019 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards held at Parq Vancouver. Photo: Fred Lee.