The new competition honours exceptional leaders at businesses large and small throughout the province

Everyone knows that B.C. is home to some exceptional female business talent. Our new Women of the Year Awards aim to recognize the very best.

The finalists for the inaugural competition, who hail from organizations large and small across the province, were chosen by a panel of four judges listed at the bottom of this page. At the judges’ suggestion, we expanded the original four categories to six: Leader, Entrepreneurial Leader, Innovator, Community Builder, Change Maker and Rising Star.

Please join us in honouring the winners and runners-up at an April 2 ceremony at the Westin Bayshore hotel in Vancouver (details coming soon). We will also feature the contenders in the April issue of BCBusiness.

Here are the finalists, listed alphabetically.


Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade

Susannah Pierce, director, corporate affairs, LNG Canada Development 

Juggy Sihota, vice-president, Telus Consumer Health

Vivian Smith, executive director, Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation 

Pauline Stevenson, founder and president, Excel Career College

Entrepreneurial Leader 

Bridgitte Alomes, founder and CEO, Natural Pod 

Margaret Brodie, CFO, Rubicon Organics

Pilar Portela, president and CEO, Astra Smart Systems Corp.

Ashley Ramsay, CEO, Yeti Farm Creative

Shannon Byrne Susko, CEO, Metronome United


Julie Angus, co-founder and CEO, Open Ocean Robotics

Toni Desrosiers, founder and CEO, Abeego Designs

Shevy Levy, CEO, Lambda Solutions

Carlyn Loncaric, founder, VodaSafe

Brianne Miller, founder, Nada Grocery

Community Builder

Kelly Ann Woods, founder and owner, Gillespie’s Fine Spirits and Boozewitch; founder and CEO, State B Cannabis Beverage Co.; founder, Squamish Craft Beverage Association and Squamish Fresh Food Co-op

Tara Black and Marion Scott, co-founders, Origin Bakery

Meredith Garritsen, owner, Hervana Coworking Collective

Tessa McLoughlin, founder and director, Kwench

Alyssa Melnyk, VP, strategic engagement and communications, Castlemain Group

Change Maker

Supneet Chawla, owner and CEO, ACE Trades and Technical Institute

Tiana Sharifi, owner, Sexual Exploitation Education

Livleen Veslemes, CEO, BioLytical Laboratories

Maryn Wallace, senior manager and client service leader, Deloitte

Leeza Zurwick, owner, Happy Gut Probiotics

Rising Star

Shaina Azad, CEO, Suva Beauty

Kyla Dufresne, founder and CEO, Foxy Box Wax Bar

Laura Patrick, founder and CEO, KidsPhysio

Lyndsay Scott, owner, Culture Kefir Co.

Lu Wang and Ashley Wu, co-founders, Sparks STEAM Academy


Katie Baker, director of programs, Minerva Foundation for BC Women

Laurel Douglas, CEO, Women’s Enterprise Centre; director, Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada; organizing partner, We for She; co-founder, WEB Alliance of Women’s Business Networks

Jill Earthy, principal, Risery; entrepreneur in residence, Women’s Enterprise Centre; co-chair, We for She; adviser, Female Funders

Tina Strehlke, CEO, Minerva Foundation for BC Women