Surrey Women in Business Awards: Margaret Trudeau spoke and local women were celebrated

Eight annual event held Thursday at the Sheraton hotel in Guildford

Keynote speaker Margaret Trudeau (fifth from left) with award winners and Surrey Board of Trade officials at a luncheon Thursday (March 9) at Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel.

SURREY — More than 450 people heard Margaret Trudeau speak during the eighth annual Surrey Women in Business Awards luncheon on Thursday, March 9.

The sell-out crowd heard Trudeau talk about her struggles with mental illness and her path to a better future.

“The Surrey Board of Trade event illuminated and inspired the attendees with the amazing female leadership in Surrey,” stated Anita Huberman, the board’s CEO.

The 2017 winners are listed below, with descriptions provided by Surrey Board of Trade. Nominations were submitted in five categories and judged on the nominee’s work in Surrey, business acumen, leadership, balanced lifestyle and community involvement and service.

Entrepreneur Category:

Noel Asmar – Noel Asmar Group Inc.

“Noel Asmar is a creator, builder and innovator. Seeing the effect that a uniform can have on a business, Noel developed SpaUniforms.com in 2002 – the first online uniform company catering to a market that had been largely overlooked and neglected. Her talents as a designer, marketer and business developer have seen her brand grow into an international success, now servicing more than 4,000 properties in over 60 countries worldwide including Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Elizabeth Arden, Aria, Sandals Resorts, and Harrah’s. Creating new divisions of the Noel Asmar Group of Companies, Noel finds motivation in developing new, unique and creative design solutions for niche markets, including her successful Equestrian, Contemporary Fashion and Handbag collections, as well as Pedicure Bowls & Accessories.”

Professional Category:

Sonia Virk – Virk Viyas & Associate Lawyers

“A first-generation immigrant in the legal field for 13 years, Sonia is the co-founder of Virk Viyas & Associate Lawyers in Surrey. After moving to Canada in 2000, Sonia was required to have her degrees assessed and re-qualify in order to practice law. She completed her Canadian law degree at the University of New Brunswick before returning to Surrey. Sonia used networking to build her presence in the community, and in turn, build her practice. She is often invited by the media to be the legal expert to discuss current legal issues. In 2007, Sonia was elected as the youngest President of the Indo-Canadian Business Association, and the first woman to hold the seat. She has also been appointed to BC’s Small Business Rountable, and serves on the Board of Directors for G&F Financial Group, holding the 2nd Vice-President position since 2015. In March 2016, Sonia was appointed as a public member to the board of the College of Dieticians of British Columbia.”

Not-for-Profit Leader Category:

Louise Tremblay – The Semiahmoo Foundation/Semiahmoo House Society

“Louise Tremblay holds a Master of Arts Degree in Leadership that she partially fulfilled by conducting research on the barriers that people with disabilities face when looking for employment. Since, she has become a professional advocate for people with disabilities and other vulnerable adults, while applying her strong people skills along with her business experience to support a number of non-profit societies. Louise holds many positions, including Director of Development with The Semiahmoo Foundation which supports Semiahmoo House Society, an organization that provides services to people with disabilities and their families, and Regional Mentor with the BC Association of Community Response Networks, whose mandate is to create awareness about abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults. In addition, she volunteers on the Board of Directors of Seniors Come Share Society, an organization that provides services to an aging population. Louise is a strong advocate for inclusive workplaces and leads by example by hiring and nurturing a diverse team that reflects the mandate of the organization.”

Corporate/Leadership Category:

Dona Hurry – Mansonville Plastics Group of Companies

“Dona Hurry joined Mansonville Plastics Group of Companies in 1982. Throughout the years Dona worked closely with Mr. Cormier, the late President of the company. She served as the Vice President when Mr. Cormier passed in 2015. She then took on the leadership role as the President and Director for Mansonville Plastics Group of Companies. Mansonville currently employs over 80 full-time employees and over 20 contractors. Along with the management team, she continues to carry out the founder’s vision and legacy in providing expanded polystyrene solutions, fulfilling customer needs with quality products and services, while enacting her vision of product. She has cultivated a safety culture in the organization, investing significant resources, both financially as well as in human capital, to develop and implement a comprehensive health and safety management system.”

Social Trailblazer

Paola Ardiles – SFU/Bridge For Health

“Paola has published and contributed to work in various public health areas including: mental health promotion, health literacy, cultural competency, immigrant & refugee health, and women’s mental health. In September 2012, the Canadian Mental Health Association-BC awarded Paola with the Dr. Nancy Hall Public Policy Leadership Award of Distinction, for her work to advance the mental health agenda in Canada. Paola joined Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences in 2013 to design and teach a new curriculum on Health Promotion in the Canadian Context for the Master of Public Health program. In 2013, Paola founded Bridge for Health (B4H), a local and global network focused on social innovation to promote health and wellbeing. Since then, Paola worked tirelessly on this voluntary effort to engage students, academics, Professionals, activists, and organizations to share their talents, ideas, and solutions in the B4H creative space. To ensure voices from partners and global members, Paola created a B4H global advisory group made up of research and policy experts from South America, the US and Europe. The results from this group were captured in Bridge for Health’s briefing report, which resulted in the creation of a youth symposium at the World Health Organization’s international conference in Shanghai in November 2016.”

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