Six winners were honoured at the Women in Business Awards Friday (May 13).
The Surrey Board of Trade hosted the 13th-annual awards, with more than 400 guests in attendance as the event returned to an in-person format.
The MC for the event was Keri Adams of CTV Vancouver, while former MP Jody Wilson-Raybould was the keynote speaker and Canadian Armed Forces Maj. Vicki Ferg.
“The Surrey Women in Business Awards recognizes women that are making Surrey such a dynamic and vibrant city,” said Anita Huberman, president and CEO of the board.
“The Surrey Women in Business Team through the Surrey Board of Trade are revving up the recognition and opportunities for women in business.”
In the Professional category, Kathrin Matadeen, of TD Bank, was the winner. Matadeen was unable to attend the event and a TD representative accepted the award on her behalf.
Following her undergraduate degree and MBA, Matadeen began her career at TD Bank in 2001, according to the board. Matadeen is currently the vice-president for commercial banking at TD, and leads a team of 34 “banking professionals serving the needs of local businesses by offering customized services to help business owners meet their financial goals.”
Matadeen is also on the Downtown Surrey BIA’s board of directors, is the national co-lead for TD Business Banking Women in Leadership Committee and serves on the School of Business External Program Advisory Committee of the University of the Fraser Valley and on the Abbotsford Community Foundation Finance Committee.
In the Emerging Leader category, Rochelle Prasad was the winner.
Prasad is the founder of SPARK Foundation, a non-profit organization that “offers life education programs to young people across Canada,” notes the board.
“She is the youngest committee member on the City of Surrey’s Community Service Committee and the Provincial Committee on Diversity in Policing.”
Prasad has previously been awarded the Top 50 Changemakers in Canada by the Globe and Mail, the International Princess Diana Award, Canada 150 Award in Leadership, Surrey’s Top 25 Under 25 Award, and the Governor-General Sovereignty Award. She is also the author of Because We Can, a book about taking action for a better world that genuinely starts with oneself. She is also a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal advocate.
In the Social Trailblazer category, Florence Sufen Kao, of DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, was the winner.
Sufen Kao “came to Canada in 2007 with a world of experience as a senior HR manager,” the board notes. Her first job was at SUCCESS before she transferred to DIVERSEcity as a labour market settlement worker in 2010.
“Today, Florence is the heart and soul of DIVERSEcity’s Immigrant Entrepreneur Program,” according to the board. “As the program lead, she organizes and coordinates the program, develops curriculum, hosts workshops, liaises with funders, facilitators and partners, does outreach and marketing, and handles the one-on-one client self-employment counselling facilitation.
“As a result of her hard work, the program was recognized with a national entrepreneur CANIE Award for service.”
In the Not-for-Profit Leader category was another DIVERSEcity winner, Vandna Joshi.
Joshi serves as the manager of employment programs at the society, and she oversees the funding, development, implementation and outcomes of most employment programs offered at the non-profit.
“She strives to support and encourage the women at DIVERSEcity, both staff and clients, with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in their own right and offers guidance and her heart to create a compelling, loyal and hard-working team that sees high retention rates.”
In the Corporate/Leadership category, Alexandra Haukaas, of PCB Freight Management Ltd., was the winner.
Haukaas, a logistic professional who has been in the freight forwarding and brokerage industries for more than 18 years, “has worked in all modes of transportation, including air, ocean, rail, and project cargo,” according to the board.
She oversees over 10,400 shipments a year and is currently the operations manager at PCB., “a position she assumed during a global shipping crisis caused by the pandemic.”
Haukaas has also served on the BC Kids Help Phone – Home for the Holiday Committee and volunteers at South Meridian Elementary as co-vice-president of the PAC and as emergency preparedness coordinator.
In the Entrepreneur category, Maria Santos-Greaves, of Surrey Hearing Care, was the winner.
Santos-Greaves, the president and operations director of Surrey Hearing Care, which provides comprehensive hearing care services, including thorough hearing evaluations, a complete line of digital hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and counselling.
“With over 25 years of experience and sheer determination, Maria built a clinic from the ground up,” notes the board. “Initially only having one location with three staff, Surrey Hearing Care now has four locations with 15 diverse employees.”
Santos-Greaves is also a member of the board of directors of the Multicultural Helping House Society, a non-profit organization that provides help to new immigrants in Canada.