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A thank-you to IW supporters! (Influential Women).

When we approached prospects in the region to judge this year's nominations for the 2002 Influential Women of Northern Ontario Awards, we knew we were asking some very busy women to give up a large chunk of their time to participate in this special Awards program.

But when we collected all the nominations that had been forwarded to us, we realized that a large chunk of time would be putting it mildly. Not only did we receive more than 90 nominations, they were all outstanding and some contained volumes of information and documentation describing remarkable women.

Candy Mitchell, owner of Show Stoppers in Sault Ste. Marie and one of this year's judges, said "(we) were simply overwhelmed by the wealth of powerful women we read about. I personally was very humbled to be a part of this endeavour."

We were very thankful to have judges Helen Mulc, Linda Wiens, Marnie Hoey and Candy Mitchell participate this year to select the 2002 IW winners.

The selection process this year - as in previous years - was not an easy one. But 2002 brought some unique challenges to the judges.

Mulc and Mitchell, judges for the northeast, recommended that Karen Shaw be awarded the Special Recognition Award for her many years of contribution to the region. The Special Recognition Award was introduced in 2001 to honour women whose contributions do not currently fit the IW Awards criteria, or for women who have gone above and beyond to promote the IW mission throughout the region.

This year, for the first time, there was a tie for one of the private sector awards. It was just too difficult for judges to choose between two very successful women, Rosetta Sicoli of Sault Ste. Marie and Karyn Loree-Spacek of Kapuskasing, so the decision was made to award them both!

Chief Margaret Penasee-Mayer of Nipissing First Nation was this year's public sector whiner in the northeast. Her inspiring story serves as a role model to us all.

Paula Sdao of Thunder Bay was selected this year's private sector winner in the northwest. Her contributions to the engineering company she works for, and to the community as a whole, caught the judge's attention.

Nova Lawson, co-ordinator of Aboriginal initiatives for Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, was the northwest public sector winner this year. Her focus on Aboriginal youth serves to inspire many young people as they prepare for their futures.

Congratulations to all the winners and to all the nominees, who are also winners in many, many ways.

A very big thank you to the nominators who were inspired by these incredible women to send in these excellent nominations.

The judges this year also forwarded some valuable recommendations for next year's nomination process, and, along with the feedback from the questionnaires distributed to IW Awards luncheons delegates, there may be some changes in store for the 2003 IW Awards.

We thank the judges for their hard work and for their participation this year.

We also thank our sponsors, partners, supporters and advertisers, for without their valuable support, these Awards luncheons would not be possible.

The RBC Financial Group came on board this year as the Platinum sponsor, making them the co-presenters of the 2002 Awards luncheons, and a critical partner in helping us present these prestigious awards. Thank you for this support.

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. is this year's Gold sponsor for both the northeast and the northwest IW celebratory luncheons. Their participation is paramount to our mission to honour a group of leaders who inspire us all.

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is once again this year's Speaker sponsor. Because of this sponsorship, we are able to secure a very impressive keynote speaker for both celebratory luncheons.

The City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp. are Silver sponsors of the northeastern Ontario IW celebratory luncheon. We thank them for this support and for providing such wonderful support and encouragement throughout the planning and implementation stages of this event.

Thunder Bay Telephone has been on board with the IW program for the past two years as a Bronze sponsor. The northwestern Ontario event has benefited greatly from this support and we appreciate their continued interest.

Confederation College joined us this year as Bronze sponsor in the northwest. A very influential woman also heads this progressive educational institution, and we thank the college for its support.

The Cambrian Foundation also joined this year for the first time as a sponsor and supporter of the IW initiative. They were only too happy to help the IW mission to seek out, profile and honour women who have made a difference in our region. Thank you.

FedNor once again came on board as a major sponsor of With this year's support we will upgrade the functionality of our Web site even more, and launch a monthly e-newsletter to women leaders across our region. The IW Web site is a unique resource for northern women and we encourage you to use it often.

We thank WestJet,, Mafic Studios, Chatelaine, Lindt Sprungli, Shoppers Drug Mart, Allouette Cosmetics, The Beauty of It, Tropical Zoo Tan and Spa, Algoma's Water Tower Inn, Valhalla Inn, Valliant Florist and Flowers with Flair for their support and contributions to the 2002 Awards luncheons.

CBC Northern Ontario Radio One has been with us for five years now. Their promotion and support of this initiative is paramount to our success and we cannot thank them enough. MCTV/CTV joined us in 2000 as a media sponsor, and they have helped us considerably to promote our events and to raise the profile of this program. We thank you.

We thank Jim Hilsinger of Algoma's Water Tower Inn for coming on board as the venue sponsor for the IW celebratory luncheon in Sault Ste. Marie. Donna Hilsinger, the Water Tower Inn's manager, went above and beyond the call of duty to help us with this year's event. Her staff is to be congratulated for their superior service and for making us feel very welcome whenever we went to the Sault in preparation for the event.

The Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay rolled out the red carpet for us as the host hotel of the northwestern Ontario IW luncheon. We thank you for your service and for your attention to the critical details that make the Valhalla such a classy venue.

We also wish to acknowledge and thank our supplement advertisers and contributors whose presence resulted in the publication of this special report. Without this support, thousands of people around the North would not have the benefit of reading the winners' success stories in this very special publication.

We hope to see you all next year!

Patricia Mills

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Author:Mills, Patricia
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 1, 2002
Previous Article:The Superior way. (Thunder Bay Port Corp. Profile).
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