Erin Brockovich was the keynote speaker at the Surrey Board of Trade’s 2020 Surrey Women in Business Awards on Friday, Oct. 23.

Erin Brockovich was the keynote speaker at the Surrey Board of Trade’s 2020 Surrey Women in Business Awards on Friday, Oct. 23.

SBOT announces ‘long-awaited’ 2020 Surrey Women in Business Awards winners

Erin Brockovich was the keynote speaker

After a months-long delay, the Surrey Board of Trade has announced the “long-awaited” 2020 winners for the Surrey Women in Business Awards.

The board hosted the 11th-annual awards digital event, which still included Erin Brockovich as the keynote speaker.

The event was originally scheduled for March, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I will always have a very special memory of this Surrey Board of Trade as I was scheduled to be with you in person and was to depart on March 12 for your March 12 event,” said Brockovich as she first addressed the event.

“It was becoming clear at that moment that covid-19 was a real story, a real pandemic. There was much to worry about. It was becoming widespread and it was upon us. It was so uncertain and it was frightening.

“I agonized, I truly did, over the dicey decision and had to make a difficult choice on that night and decided not to fly out. The event was cancelled and I learned shortly after the prime minister’s wife had COVID.”

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Brockovich, who said she is “best known for uncovering a corporate deception in a small town in Hinkley, California that was being poisoned by a toxic chemical that was harming the people which resulted in the film Erin Brockovich,” introduced herself during the digital event, reminding everyone she is not Julia Roberts.

She spoke about being dyslexic and how she didn’t fit into the “so-called box.”

Brockovich said her mom taught her the word “stick-to-itiveness,” reading her the definition from the dictionary.

“Propensity to follow through in a determined manner. Dogged persistence, borne of obligation and stubbornness,” she said. “Persistent, I got. Determined, check. Stubborn, my middle name.”

When she was in Hinkley, Brockovich said her instincts were on “overdrive.”

“I knew that something was wrong. This is the moment where moms across America, moms across the world, women across the planet are rising. This is a very big moment and I’m watching it unfold and I’ve been living it for years,” she said.

“They’ve found that stick-to-itiveness. They work with others, they have compassion, they understand the idea of being labelled or hearing that you are ‘just a mom,’ that ‘you could be overreacting,’ that ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about.’“All of this can send moms and women into action. They know what they see, they know what they experience and just like I did as a young girl, I knew (what) I knew.”

The Surrey Women in Business Awards are meant to “recognize the hard work of Surrey’s business women and their contributions o the community.”

Anita Huberman, the board’s CEO, said the event “inspires and illuminates guests in an ongoing way.”

This year’s winners are:

• Jean Su of GenerationsE Software Solutions Inc. for the Small Business Entrepreneur category

• Joy Mauro of Turnabout Luxury Resale for the Large Business Entrepreneur category

• Emily Kearns of Ankenman Assoicates Architects Inc. for the Professional category

• Azra Hussain of the Surrey Hospital Foundation for the Not-for-Profit Leader category

• Stephanie Howes of Kwantlent Polytechnic University for the Corporate/Leadership category

• Cherie Storms of Pacific Customs Brokers Ltd. for the Emerging Leader category

• Theresa Campbell of Safer Schools Together for the Social Trailblazer category

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