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7 Surrey Women in Business award winners named at sold-out luncheon

Surrey Board of Trade hosted the annual event with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau as keynote speaker
Winners of the 2024 Women In Business Awards pose for a photo with the Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman in Surrey on Friday, April 12, 2024. (Photo: Anna Burns)

Over 450 guests filled a hotel ballroom to celebrate the seven winners of the 2024 Surrey Women in Business Awards in Guildford on Friday (April 12).

The Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT) hosted the 15th annual gathering at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, where Sophie Grégoire Trudeau was the keynote speaker and CTV’s Keri Adams emceed.

Grégoire Trudeau shared several excerpts from her upcoming book “Closer Together: Knowing Ourselves, Loving Each Other,” which comes out April 23.

As a mental health advocate, she spoke about the importance of a leader taking care of their mental health, especially as a leader. “

“If you’re leading teams, and you’re not leading yourself and regulating yourself properly, your type of leadership can’t evolve with what the world needs right now,” Grégoire Trudeau said. “Which are well-regulated, discerning human beings, who are not threatened by the difference of others.”

She reminded attendees that they were worthy of rest and encouraged them to take the time to know themselves better.

“By facing our truths as leaders in every sphere of our life, we will become the most creative beings, and we will create sustainable, equitable, just abundance and wealth, and there is no capital wealth without mental health.”

READ MORE: Sophie Grégoire Trudeau to speak at Surrey Women in Business awards in April

The annual event recognizes the work of Surrey businesswomen and their contributions to the community.

“We are proud to celebrate the achievements of all women-identifying persons for their accomplishments, strength, and resilience,” said SBOT president and CEO Anita Huberman.

Friday’s award winners were Katherine De Vita, Ocean Pointe Business Centre (for Small Business Category), Mona Matta, Verka Food International Ltd. (for Large Business Category), Anita Atwal, Anita Atwal Law (Professional), Mannu Sandhu, iSAFF – International South Asian Film Festival (Non-for-profit leader), Madhvi Ramnial, Powertech Labs Inc. (Corporate Leadership), Trisha Dulku, United Way British Columbia (Emerging Leader) and Lauren Simpson, Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo (Social Trailblazer).

The winners’ bios are posted below, as sent by SBOT.

Entrepreneur – Small Business Category: Katherine De Vita, Ocean Pointe Business Centre

Katherine is the Company Director and Owner of Ocean Pointe Business Centre, which specializes in providing professional executive office spaces for rent, offering top-notch amenities at a fraction of traditional costs. With over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience, she empowers local businesses and start-ups, particularly championing women in business and fostering inclusivity. Her expertise in contracts, finance, and business strategy, combined with a Psychology degree from the University of British Columbia, amplifies empathy and fosters individual and business growth. Additionally, Katherine serves as Vice President of the Semiahmoo Community Safety Society, exemplifying her dedication to community service.

Entrepreneur – Large Business Category: Mona Matta, Verka Food International Ltd.

Mona is the Owner and CEO of Verka Food International, specializing in importing, manufacturing, and distributing premium South Asian ethnic food products, boasting an extensive range of over 1,400 items. Serving major retailers like Costco, Walmart, and Sobeys and over 1,200 ethnic stores across Canada, Verka Foods is a prominent player in the market. Under Mona’s leadership, Verka Food thrives with a dedicated workforce of over 100 professionals in both Canada and internationally. Honoured with the Shakti Award for Excellence in Business in 2016, Mona actively supports women’s empowerment initiatives, engaging as a guest speaker at networking events and sharing her journey of success and challenges across various media platforms. Additionally, Mona serves as an advisory board member at BBold Pvt Ltd., a venture dedicated to empowering women on their journey toward womanhood.

Professional Category: Anita Atwal, Anita Atwal Law

Anita is the Owner of Anita Atwal Law and a distinguished legal professional specializing in workplace investigations, mediation, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility initiatives. With over 15 years of experience, she is highly regarded for her expertise in labour, employment, and human rights law. Her leadership extends beyond her practice; she sits on the Board and chairs the HR & Governance Committee at B.C. Infrastructure Benefits and serves as the Special Advisor to the Vice President of People Equity and Inclusion at Simon Fraser University after serving as the Principal Consultant of SFU’s Human Rights Office. As the longest-serving president of the South Asian Bar Association of BC, she mentors aspiring lawyers and advocates for justice. Anita’s work ethic and commitment to community service drives her success.

Not-for-Profit Leader Category: Mannu Sandhu, iSAFF – International South Asian Film Festival

Mannu has transformed Surrey’s cultural landscape through her dedicated service and visionary leadership. Her journey with the International South Asian Film Festival (iSAFF) showcases her unwavering commitment to community building and the arts. Starting with a modest one-day festival, Mannu’s strategic guidance has propelled iSAFF into a prestigious 5-day event, attracting talent from across North America. Her strategic acumen is evident in the festival’s innovative marketing endeavours, leveraging her extensive network and collaborations with renowned film festivals. Recognized as one of the Top South Asian Influential People, Mannu amplifies diverse voices through iSAFF on social media, contributing meaningfully to the cinematic world. Under her guidance, iSAFF has become a vital platform for diverse artists, earning recognition as a qualified Canadian screening award festival.

Corporate Leader Category: Madhvi Ramnial, Powertech Labs Inc.

Madhvi Ramnial is the Senior Director of Corporate Services and Business Operations at Powertech Labs. She is distinguished leader with a Ph.D. in Chemistry and a Master’s in management technology. She has led groundbreaking research, managing teams that significantly helped achieve a revenue increase from $20M to $60M. Madhvi’s strategic leadership blends scientific acumen with business insight, overseeing major facility improvements and leading ISO standards upgrades at Powertech. Renowned for transformative leadership and corporate strategy, Madhvi is a role model for women in business, championing diversity and breaking barriers through the Highlighting Our Women Leaders initiative in a male-dominated field. Madhvi’s dynamic and forward-thinking leadership positions her as a formidable force in the corporate landscape. Her innovative contributions span research and development, strategic market expansion, facilities optimization, crisis management, and community engagement. Furthermore, her instrumental role in establishing a subsidiary in the USA underscores her visionary approach and commitment to Powertech’s global growth, solidifying her reputation as an innovative and dynamic corporate leader.

Emerging Leader Category: Trisha Dulku, United Way British Columbia

Trisha Dulku is the Strategic Initiatives Manager at United Way British Columbia, where she manages child and youth strategic investment portfolios totalling over $6 million per fiscal year. Known for her advocacy and collaboration in the child and youth sector, Trisha is a role model for women in business. Her success is marked by achieving meaningful goals and promoting the well-being of others. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts in World Literature and History from Simon Fraser University, Trisha’s leadership skills were developed through her experience in external relations and the Office of Community Engagement, where she spearheaded university projects in Surrey. Currently, Trisha also contributes to her community as a board member of CityHive.

Social Trailblazer Category: Lauren Simpson, Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo

Lauren is the leader of the Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo. Through her volunteer work and lived experiences as a person with Down Syndrome, Lauren advocates for accessibility, inclusion and human rights on multiple ongoing projects within her community. Her hope has always been for people to better access and share information, as well as be part of the conversation. Lauren’s innovation in transforming housing surveys into plain language has shifted perspectives and empowered people with disabilities. Not only has Lauren’s voice been included, but she has shifted the paradigm and led the conversation. She has paved the way for people with disabilities to take on leadership roles and has shifted the perspective of what they can accomplish. When Harmony Apartments was rejected by the previous council, Lauren wanted to create public awareness around the importance of inclusive housing. Lauren’s Story is a documentary that follows the journey of housing activist and disability advocate Lauren Simpson as she works for affordable housing for herself and others and tries to convince municipal decision-makers that cities are stronger when they are inclusive and that everyone has the right to belong. Her tireless efforts have reshaped conversations around disability, making her a beacon of positive change.

-With files from Tom Zillich

Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I started with Black Press Media in the fall of 2022 as a multimedia journalist after finishing my practicum at the Surrey Now-Leader.
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