At a gala event on Tuesday evening (April 9) at Personal Touch Banquet Hall in Peterborough, the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough (WBN) announced the winner and two finalists of the 2019 Women in Business Award and the winner of the 2019 Judy Heffernan Award.
Trent Valley Honda owner and general manager Monika Carmichael was awarded the 2019 Women in Business Award for demonstrating outstanding female business leadership, with Erin McLean of McLean Berry Farm and Bridget Leslie of My Left Breast as the two finalists.
Kim Appleton — local businesswoman, mentor, and volunteer — received the 2019 Judy Heffernan Award for her efforts at empowering other women.
Also announced were the two recipients for the new Female Business Students of the Award, honouring one student from Trent University and one from Fleming College. The award, which includes $500 in cash, was presented to Tara Spence from Trent University and Jo Oanh Ho from Fleming College.
A total of 29 women were nominated for the Women in Business Award and 14 women were nominated for the Judy Heffernan Award (see the complete list of nominees below).
Monika Carmichael, 2019 Women in Business Award recipient
Monika Carmichael was chosen as the recipient of the 2019 Women in Business Award, which recognizes a woman who demonstrates leadership that has led to job creation, innovation, and increased business acumen. The award also recognizes her impact on the community at large; including fundraising, volunteering, and other contributions.
“It is a real inspiration to be acknowledged and to be amongst other powerful women,” Carmichael said in an earlier interview with kawarthaNOW about her nomination for the award. “It is so important to be part of a movement that empowers women in our community.”
Carmichael’s work is a great example of this, with her own Honda dealership being one of only a few owned by women across Canada. She has managed her business through a successful expansion, and she is renowned for hiring the best people for the job — which means women fill significant positions throughout her organization.
When she’s not running the dealership, she’s acting as a leader in her community as a sponsor for Peterborough MusicFest, she’s a major fundraiser for Fleming College, and she works with a staff team to participate in the YWCA “Walk a Mile in her Shoes,” initiative. She supports Kawartha Food Share and is also involved with the WBN.
Most recently, Carmichael and her team from Trent Valley Honda participated in the “JA Days” program for Grade 7 and 8 students offered by Junior Achievement Peterborough, Lakeland, Muskoka.
Carmichael said her nomination is extra special for someone who has been in business for as long as she has.
“It’s important to still be recognized and to still feel relevant as so many new leaders emerge,” she explained. “The nomination was not a shock but it’s an honour, because of this, in a different way.”
Erin McLean and Bridget Leslie were also recognized at the April 9th gala as runners-up for the prestigious Women in Business Award.
Erin McLean, 2019 Women in Business Award finalist
Erin McLean started working on her family’s farm when she was just four years old. Now, as a seasoned member of the Ontario Farming Community, she hires and trains 40 staff each year, she manages two farm stores, participates in six farmers’ markets, and oversees seasonal pick-your-own operations at McLean Berry Farm.
As a leader in agritourism and an organizer of two festivals each year, McLean doesn’t stop there. She’s on the board of Farmers’ Markets of Ontario and she’s offered workshops and seminars at industry evets as a way to share her knowledge.
“This is such an honour,” McLean said in an interview with kawarthaNOW about her nomination. “To be recognized in a group of women who are just so mind-bogglingly amazing is exciting. These women have done so much for the community and I really look up to them. This is just my everyday life but these women inspire me to always do more.”
McLean says she loves the idea of lifting up women and supporting each other through WBN initiatives.
Bridget Leslie, 2019 Women in Business Award finalist
Also known for lifting up women, Bridget Leslie of My Left Breast, also earned a top spot as an award finalist.
Launching her business from her basement after her own battle with cancer, Leslie’s has grown into a successful storefront operation that helps women access the products and services they need to look and feel better as they deal with the harsh realities of living with cancer.
With monthly workshops, information sessions and a long list of products, Leslie is registered with the Ontario Government’s Assisted Devices program as a fitter and vendor or medical compression garments.
When she’s not running her busy shop, she’s a member of the Survivors Abreast Dragon Boat Team and the Birdies 4 Breast Cancer Golf Tournament that raises funds for women diagnosed with breast cancer who need financial support during treatment and recovery.
Leslie says she loves working for her community and that the nomination was unexpected.
“I am thrilled,” she said in an interview with kawarthaNOW about her nomination. “It’s so wonderful to have this recognition from peers. We know we do well when our customers thank us, but this is really appreciated because it’s different when it comes from your peers. They know how hard this can be.”
Leslie says she didn’t launch her business to be a good citizen, but through exposure to business people connected and committed to community, she took everything to heart that was shared by women who mentored her through the years.
“These women showed me how giving back was a win-win,” Leslie said.
Nominees for the 2019 Women In Business Award and 2019 Judy Heffernan Award
Women In Business Award (alphabetical by surname)
- Sofie Andreou (Sofie Andreou & Associates)
- Karen Auger (BDO Canada)
- Rhonda Barnet (Steelworks Design)
- Marlaine Bennett (Bennett’s Home Furnishings)
- Leslie Bridget (My Left Breast)
- Tina Bromley (Tiny Greens Plant Café)
- Monika Carmichael (Trent Valley Honda)
- Colleen Carruthers (T-R Group)
- Darlene Cook (Peterborough Housing Corporation)
- Vanessa Dinesen (Dinesen Financial)
- Jennifer Garland (The Mane Intent)
- Shannon Gray (Sugar Me Right!)
- Vanessa Oake Hogan (Century 21 United Realty Brokerage)
- Karen Irvine (A Taste of the Kawarthas Magazine)
- Jenni Johnston (Art School of Peterborough)
- Teresa Kaszuba (The Morning Show on Global Peterborough/CHEX)
- Theresa Longo (Theresa Longo Brands.)
- Jay Lough Hayes (RE/MAX Rough River Realty Ltd.)
- Ann Marie Maly (Bruce Maly Plumbing and Drain Services)
- Erin McLean (McLean Berry Farm)
- Tracey Ormond (That’s a Wrap Catering)
- Louise Racine (Thirteen Moons)
- Jennifer Scates (Central Smith Creamery)
- Leslie Scott (Walton Wood Farm)
- Catia Skinner (Mega Experience)
- Martha Sullivan (Sullivan Law Ptbo)
- Christine Teixeira (Accountability Financial)
- Shelby Leonard Watt (SOS Save Our Soles)
- Sheneese Wilkins (Mink Magic Beauty Bar)
Judy Heffernan Award (alphabetical by surname)
- Kim Appleton
- Anne Arnold
- Rhonda Bernet
- Colleen Carruthers
- Diana Carter
- Susan Dunkley
- Michelle Ferreri
- Jennifer Garland
- Theresa Longo
- Tracey Ormond
- Grace Reynolds
- Peggy Shaughnessy
- Jeannine Taylor
- Sheneese Wilkins