Close to 450 luncheon guests filled a hotel ballroom to celebrate the seven winners of 2023 Surrey Women in Business Awards in Guildford Friday (March 10).
The Sheraton hosted the 14th annual gathering, where Canadian musician/actor Chantal Kreviazuk was the keynote speaker and CTV’s Keri Adams emceed. Kreviazuk shared stories and performed two songs to the sold-out crowd.
Surrey Board of Trade’s event, held during the week of International Women’s Day, recognizes the work of businesswomen and their contributions to the community.
Nominations were submitted in seven categories and judged on their work in Surrey, proven business acumen, leadership, community involvement and service.
Friday’s award winners were Kamaljit Lehal, Lehal Law Corporation (for Entrepreneur in Small Business), Lesley Jones, EconoWise Sunrooms & Patio Covers (Entrepreneur, Large Business), Gurjit Kaur Tiwana, Invictus Law LLP (Professional), Amanda McNally, Peace Arch Hospice Society (Not-for-Profit Leader), Lisa Skakun, Coast Capital Savings (Corporate Leadership), Anamika Sangar, Surrey Schools/Community Schools Partnership (Emerging Leader) and Dr. Jennifer Marchbank, Surrey Pride Society, SFU, Youth 4 A Change (Social Trailblazer).
Event and award sponsors were Prospera Credit Union, DP World Fraser Surrey, Fasken, the Health and Technology District, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Manning Elliott LLP, MNP and Richards Buell Sutton LLP, Scotiabank, Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, Central City/Blackwood Partners, CTV and Surrey Now-Leader.
The winners’ bios are posted below, as sent by SBOT.
The 14th Surrey Women in Business Awards Featuring Chantal Kreviazuk @SBofT @anitahuberman @SurreyNowLeader 🧵 pic.twitter.com/gbx4YPePQp
— Anna Burns (@AnnaBBurns) March 10, 2023
Entrepreneur – Small Business Category: Kamaljit Lehal, Lehal Law Corporation
Kamaljit is the Owner of Lehal Law Corporation, focused on immigration law and mediation work. She has been practicing law for over 32 years and has gained a solid reputation for representing victims of violence and immigrant women fleeing abusive interpersonal relationships. She is passionate about representing some of the most vulnerable in our community through legal-aid and pro bono work. Aside from running the business and overseeing four staff, Kamaljit is also a regular speaker on legal remedies available to immigrant women fleeing violence and has served on the Board of Directors for Options Community Services Society since 1996, and as Board Chair since 2019. She was recognized by the Immigration section of the National Canadian Bar Association for her committee work on anti-racism initiatives. In 2019, she received the prestigious Equity and Diversity Award from the Canadian Bar Association for her contributions and advocacies outside the legal profession.
Entrepreneur – Large Business Category: Lesley Jones, EconoWise Sunrooms & Patio Covers Ltd.
Lesley is the Founder, Owner and CEO of EconoWise Sunrooms & Patio Covers Ltd., which primarily converts yards into comfortable, attractive leisure spaces, providing outdoor living benefits to many homes for the last 14 years. Working in a traditionally male-dominated field, Lesley recognizes and helps support women to develop their talents and skills, opening new opportunities. Before embarking into the world of business, Lesley was a high school physical education teacher. From sports coaching to being an educator to working with Laidlaw Environmental, Lesley gained the skills she needed to work in an environment that requires teamwork, strategic thinking, advanced communication skills, and the knowledge necessary to provide quality products and develop others on the journey to excellence. The longevity and success of EconoWise are a testament to Lesley’s confidence, drive, resilience, and ability to inspire loyalty and commitment from the individuals and business professionals she has worked with over these many years.
Professional Category: Gurjit Kaur Tiwana, Invictus Law LLP
Gurjit has been a lawyer for 20 years and is the Founder, Co-owner and Managing Partner of Invictus Law LLP, a law firm primarily focused on family law. Gurjit brings both the practical and intuitive perspective in criminal law to her practice, which she gained from her previous position as an ad hoc federal Crown Prosecutor with the Department of Justice. To serve the community, Gurjit has taken on files pro-bono to ensure that the party and their children are fairly represented and protected. As a businesswoman, wife and mother of two, Gurjit strives to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle, a successful practice and a happy home life. She also participated in the Women of Options campaign last year, raising over $30,000 in funds to help youth. She encouraged clients to contribute by reducing their legal bills by the same amount as their donation.
Not-for-Profit Leader Category: Amanda McNally, Peace Arch Hospice Society
Amanda is the Executive Director at Peace Arch Hospice Society (PAHS), a non-profit organization providing professional programs and services free of charge to individuals, their families and friends who are facing terminal illness or bereavement. Amanda started her current role, leading 15 staff and over 300 volunteers at PAHS during the pandemic. She had to be an innovative leader from day one, ensuring the safety of all staff and clients in both the Supportive Care Centre and the Thrift Store, which PAHS operators. She drives some of PAHS’s campaigns, such as the Legacy Circle and the annual Thank-a-Thon. Under her leadership, PAHS was awarded the Peace Arch News Readers Choice Awards for Best Thrift/Consignment Store for two consecutive years and the Best Non-Profit Organization in 2022. She played an important role in establishing the Federation of Fraser Region Hospice Societies and currently serves as a Board Director.
Corporate Leadership Category: Lisa Skakun, Coast Capital Savings
As Chief Legal, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs Officer of Coast Capital Savings, Lisa is a multi-faceted leader responsible for all legal, corporate development, public affairs, corporate governance, compliance, and financial crimes risk management functions. Over her career, she has stepped into multiple executive roles, which include heading up mergers and acquisitions, the leadership of the people team as Chief People Officer, head of communications and public affairs and most recently, as Chief Compliance Officer, where she oversees financial crime risk management. Lisa also co-led a seconded team of individuals that laid the foundation for Coast Capital’s journey from being a provincially regulated credit union to a national and federally regulated cooperative under the Bank Act. Lisa serves on the Coast Capital’s Business Women’s Network, a community of female employees who support each other in growth, learning and friendship. She firmly believes in the power of using her voice and influence to create space and opportunities for the women of tomorrow.
Emerging Leader Category: Anamika Sangar, Surrey Schools – Community Schools Partnership
Anamika works as Program Facilitator at the Surrey School District through Community Schools Partnership (CSP), a non-profit organization that provides targeted programming, opportunities, and resources to children, youth, and their families faced with barriers and challenges in accessing programs and support. She oversees a team of outreach workers while managing and supporting them in their work, plans and develops versatile programming and services in the Surrey School District. Some of these programs are the parent and community engagement portfolio chapter to address the needs of Surrey Schools and the community, TEAM, empowerment and social justice-based after-school program for female-identifying high-school students, Clubhouse 36, a physical literacy-based after-school program which focuses on social-emotional development, and Star Power, a mentorship and social justice-focused lunchtime program for elementary school students.
Social Trailblazer Category: Dr. Jennifer Marchbank, Surrey Pride Society, SFU, Youth 4 A Change
Dr. Jennifer Marchbank is a Professor of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University, Vice President (and former President) of the Surrey Pride Society, and a Co-founder of Youth 4 A Change (Y4AC). As a professor, she mentors academics and graduate students in an inclusive and intersectional approach, and her academic interest intertwines with her community work. One success of this synergy is the creation of Canada’s first-ever educational materials on elder abuse in the LGBT community. Y4AC provides community engagement initiatives with LGBTQA2SI+ youth and supports them to become the next generation of advocates, activists and educators. At Surrey Pride, she has always been at the forefront of social justice issues and working within the 2SLGBTQ+ (Rainbow) community to support elders, youth, and all marginalized people. She donated her Surrey Pride archives to the City Archives and is working with them to create the first archive materials reflecting the rainbow community. Indeed, Jennifer is leading the way to create a more inclusive community.
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