The YWCA Women of Distinction AwardsBarbar Mowat Daughters Christy Clark Vancouver

In a packed house of over 1100 Guests at the Westin Bayshore, Vancouver last night, women from all backgrounds, cultures and education joined to celebrate with the YWCA for the Metro Vancouver Women of Distinction Awards. The goal of these awards is to promote the YWCA Programs, connect women and celebrate their success.

“The YWCA Women of Distinction Awards honors individuals and organizations whose outstanding activities and achievements contribute to the well-being and future of our community. This year we were proud to celebrate our 30th year of the Women of Distinction Awards. Since 1984, YWCA Metro Vancouver has paid tribute to more than 247 award recipients and more than 1450 nominees. YWCA Metro Vancouver is a registered charity, providing a range of integrated services for women and their families, and those seeking to improve the quality of their lives. From early learning and care to housing, health and fitness, employment services and leadership, YWCA Metro Vancouver touches lives in our communities.”– YWCA Website

Last night at the awards, founder and owner, Barbara Mowat was awarded the “Connecting the Community“ Award last night. All nominees were eligible for this award and it was powered by an online vote. Scotiabank will be donating $10,000 to the YWCA Metro Vancouver program of the recipient’s choice. ( For photos of the event click here)

“I want to thank Scotiabank for their charitable donation; Joanne Gassman from BMO; for nominating me; Leslie Meingast and Michelle Pockey for their letters of support, as well as all the great friends and I have around the world who voted for me. I also have my two wonderful daughters here this evening and if it wasn’t for the YWCA they might not have been here tonight. And you’re probably wondering how is that possible? Sixty-six years ago, their Grandmother Mowat who lived in Greenway, Manitoba had lost two children after the birth of her first one. She had to stay at the YWCA Winnipeg for 6 to 8 weeks bedridden, when she was expecting the baby who would one day be their future father. It was the safest place for Grandma Mowat to stay ensuring her baby was born healthy by being close to the hospital.” -Barbara Mowat

Barbara was nominated for The Entrepreneur Category and would like to congratulate the winner : Shahrzad Rafati, Founder & CEO, Broadband TV who has done so much for women in technology and is a wonderful example for young women who want to build their own success.

All nominees were winners, and being part of these awards is continually building community, showing other women what is possible and allows mentors to share their gifts and success with the next generation.

The winners for each category last night were:

Arts, Culture & Design -Chan Hon Goh ¬- Principal, Goh Ballet Academy/Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker Award winning Prima Ballerina, Producer, Director of Goh Ballet and Entrepreneur, Chan Hon has shown exceptional leadership in the Canadian arts landscape.

Business & The Professions -Lois Nahirney – Executive Vice President, Corporate Resources, Teekay Corporation. An Executive VP of Teekay, Lois has more than 25 years of global experience at the executive level of transitioning industries. She has spent more than 10 years as Chair of WXN in Vancouver.

Community Building – Kamal Dhillon- President, Black and Blue Sari
An inspirational speaker and writer, Kamal founded Black and Blue Sari to educate and empower communities to end domestic abuse.

Education, Training & Development – Elizabeth Croft- Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC -Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UBC, Elizabeth is an advocate for increased participation and retention of women in the engineering profession.

Entrepreneurship – Shahrzad Rafati- Founder & CEO, BroadbandTV -Innovative and fearless, Shahrzad founded and grew BroadbandTV to be one of the world’s largest online video entertainment networks.

Environmental Sustainability – Mae Burrows- Founder, Toxic Free Canada – The founder of Toxic Free Canada, Mae’s visionary work to eliminate toxins distinguishes her as one of BC’s leading conservation voices.

Health, Wellness and Athletics – Maureen de St. Croix- Founder & Head Coach, Ocean Athletics – Founder and Head Coach of Ocean Athletics is a talented and dedicated athlete, coach and mentor.

Non-profit & Public Service – Dianne Watts- Mayor, City of Surrey -As Mayor of the City of Surrey, Dianne has changed the lives of thousands of families by creating a healthier, safer society

Technology, Science and Research -Deborah Money- Vice President, Research, BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre -The Vice-President of Research at BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, Deborah is an internationally recognized expert in women’s reproductive infectious diseases.

Young Woman of Distinction -Sara Eftekhar- Youth Activist – Sarah is the BC Youth Ambassador for Refugees and has represented Canada twice at the World Youth Congress.

Innovative Workplace – Vancouver City Savings (Vancity) -Vancity is an innovator in diversity initiatives, leadership development programs, community benefits and professional development opportunities.
( List of winners taken from YMCA Press Release May 29, 2013)