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IW Awards honour women

BY MARLENE MOORE Do you know someone who is deserving of public praise for her business acumen, career success, professional drive and contribution to community? Consider nominating her (or yourself) for a prestigious 2006 IW Award! The ninth-annual

Do you know someone who is deserving of public praise for her business acumen, career success, professional drive and contribution to community? Consider nominating her (or yourself) for a prestigious 2006 IW Award!

The ninth-annual Influential Women (IW) of Northern Ontario Awards program has just officially launched the call for nominations.

Six women will be honoured at two separate events this coming spring. Combined attendance is anticipated to exceed 700. Three recipients from northwestern Ontario will be recognized at the first awards luncheon, to be held in Thunder Bay at the Valhalla Inn on May 29.

In Sudbury on May 31, three recipients from northeastern Ontario will be similarly honoured at the second celebratory luncheon, to be held at the Radisson Hotel, located in the Rainbow Centre downtown.

?As the 21st century gets underway, it is estimated that women will start half of Canada?s new companies,? says Northern Ontario Business publisher Patricia Mills. ?We need innovators, mentors and risk-takers,? she adds. ?We also need to acknowledge those women who do venture into the world of business and economic development, and we need to encourage more to follow.?

IW has expanded its program with the re-introduction of a concurrent trade show component.

In 2005, this popular addition provided some 60 exhibitors with the opportunity to showcase their state-of-the-art products and services to more than 500 delegates at luncheons held in Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. The exhibition was a huge success, and booth space is expected to sell out quickly again this year.

The nomination process covers three award categories: private sector, public sector and young entrepreneur.

The Private Sector and Public Sector awards will be presented to established or up-and-coming leaders who hold senior positions in their workplaces.

These candidates may have facilitated business between sectors. Young Entrepreneurs between the ages of 19 and 35, who have operated an enterprise for at least three years, will also be recognized for their business acumen.

In all categories, the following questions should be addressed in the nomination package:

- How has the nominee positively influenced her workplace, community, and/or field of endeavour?
- How has she contributed to economic wealth, job creation and growth?
- Has the nominee demonstrated extraordinary leadership?
- In what way has she initiated change through innovation?
- Has she overcome professional obstacles to achieve her goals?
- Describe the nominee?s volunteer involvement, including how she has enriched her community.

The selection of award recipients is made by an independent panel of judges, and winners will be invited to attend celebrations in their respective areas.

In the last five years, several Greater Sudbury-area women have earned the distinction of being named Influential Women. These include Louise
Paquette, the late Karen Shaw, Mona Sims, Gisele Chretien, Kathy Wells-McNeil, and Karen Lacasse.

Karen Lacasse was honoured with a 2005 IW award for her achievements in the field of exporting. Lacasse co-owns Lacasse Fine Wood Products Inc. with her husband Roger. Over two decades, their seven-employee company has gone from producing furniture to including the manufacture of wood moldings, spindles, railings and flooring, to meet the demands of hobbyists and home renovators. Passionate about e-commerce, Lacasse has established highly successful e-business websites, which attract global sales. Lacasse also earned a prestigious Northern Ontario Business Award in 2003.

In 2004, Kathy Wells-McNeil was named IW Young Entrepreneur of the Year for her outstanding achievements as a young businesswoman in the health-care field. That year, she was also distinguished with a Northern Ontario Business Award, and been recognized for professional excellence by her alma mater, Cambrian College, and the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce. Wells-McNeil graduated from Cambrian in 1995, and started Total Nursing Care Inc. while she was still a nursing student. The company recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, and has now expanded to North Bay.

The Influential Women of Northern Ontario program was launched in 1998 in order to seek out, honour and profile women in Northern Ontario who contribute to the north?s economic success and expansion.

Close to 150 movers and shakers have been recognized since the program?s inception. The roster of award winners continues to grow.

Premier Dalton McGuinty, in his message published in last year?s annual souvenir IW magazine, commends Influential Women for promoting and facilitating an environment that celebrates women business leaders.

To nominate online, visit The deadline is Friday, Feb. 17.

The IW website also archives previous years? events, including profiling the 2005 winners and supporting sponsors, and featuring interesting current news stories. Media partners for 2006 include Northern Life and sister publication Northern Ontario Business, as well as CTV and CBC Radio One.

For more details on the Influential Women of Northern Ontario awards program and related events, visit, where you can link to for regular updates, or phone 673-5705.

Marlene Moore is director of executive programs. The IW program is one of many initiatives organized by the events division of Northern Ontario Business.


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