If you were at our AWE Awards reception on May 14th, 2019, you’ll know it was an evening full of good food, great conversations, and celebration of some of Alberta’s finest entrepreneurs. For those of you who weren’t able to join us, we’d like to relive some of the magic with you.
AWE was lucky to have Quinn Ohler from Global News Edmonton as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. She was an excellent host and made sure to keep everyone in the crowd entertained! There were also some inspiring speeches delivered by Marcela Mandeville (CEO of AWE) and Teresa Clouston (Executive Vice President of ATB, Business and Agriculture). Teresa Clouston remarked that “If you’re looking for a role model, look no further than this room, as it’s here in spades”.
Now, for the part that everyone has been waiting for: the awards! We’d like to recognize all of the finalists for this year’s awards and congratulate the 2019 winners.
Emerging Entrepreneur Award: Staci Millard, S. Millard Chartered Professional Accountant
Staci is an outstanding business woman who owns and operates her own accounting firm in Fort McMurray. She is the current treasurer for the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce and won the female entrepreneur of the year for the Chamber Awards in 2018. When accepting her award, Staci commented that “As women, we’ve come to believe that being in business has to be a struggle. And at one point, it was. But, being a woman business owner was one of the best things I’ve ever done. We are in the most abundant position as ever to be women in business”. Congratulations Staci!
Emerging Innovator Award: Myrna Bittner, RUNWITHIT Synthetics
Myrna has been involved in the tech industry for many years now, and is currently the CEO and co-founder of her third tech company - RUNWITHIT Synthetics. She has a tremendous reach and has even worked on projects with NASA and US West. She is a proud promoter of equality, diversity and representation. Although she wasn’t able to attend the event personally, in her acceptance video she gave some wise words on how “The best things aren’t easy, they are just profoundly worthwhile.” Congratulations Myrna!
Upsurge Entrepreneur Award: Allison Grafton, Rockwood Custom Homes
Allison is a hardworking and driven woman who is always looking to grow her business. She has won the RBC Women of Influence Momentum Award and has also been inducted to the WXN Hall of Fame. She is currently in the process of scaling her business and has just recently opened up a division of her business in the Okanagan area. In a field that is often dominated by men, Allison commented that “Out of all companies in Canada, there are only 2 woman-led construction companies. Any woman that comes into an industry looks at it differently, and that’s where our success comes from. As females, we always go above and beyond”. AWE is proud to recognize Allison for her achievements.
Celebration of Achievement Award: Karina Birch, Rocky Mountain Soap Co.
Karina has always been an advocate of the principle that “what goes on the body, goes in the body” and used this value to build her company, Rocky Mountain Soap Co. The company has grown tremendously and has been included in the Profit 100. Karina is committed to using natural products and ensuring that her business is sustainable and socially responsible. When speaking about the entrepreneurial spirit, Karina stated that “I started my business at 24 when I was naive but uber-confident! This is the entrepreneurial spirit”. Karina is an inspiration to so many women and AWE is incredibly proud to recognize Karina and the strides she has made in the world of business.
While the awards ceremony is over for this year, women will never stop changing business. As CEO of AWE, Marcela Mandeville, stated, “When women succeed, everyone succeeds”. We are proud of all the incredible women entrepreneurs out there, and if you know someone who should be recognized, nominate her today for the 2020 AWE Awards!