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Honouring women leaders, entrepreneurs.

Program profiles women who contribute to wealth, job creation and economic diversity of Ontario s' North

In March 2000, the National Post published the profiles of 50 women in a special section called The Power 50. They highlighted these women as Canada's most influential women, and the list was very impressive. It included Suzanne Labarge, vice-chair and chief risk officer for the Royal Bank (the most powerful woman in the Canadian banking sector), Barbara Stymiest, president and CEO of the Toronto Stock Exchange, and Bobbie Gaunt, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd.

Their stories of success were inspiring and educational, and confirmed to us that the Influential Women of Northern Ontario program was on the right track, and a few years ahead of similar initiatives.

Northern Ontario Business published its first Influential Women of Northern Ontario (IW) supplement four years ago. The initiative was imitated by other business publications, and the launch of the Influential Women of Northern Ontario Awards luncheons in 2000 was followed by similar events in other parts of Canada.

There appears to be growing recognition that women leaders contribute, not only to the social well being of our communities and of our country, but also to economic wealth, job creation, innovation and leadership in many key areas of our economy.

It is no different in Northern Ontario.

While we do not house international automotive plants like Ford Motor Co. or central banking giants like the Royal Bank, Northern Ontario does have its share of successful local and regional businesses, many of which are operated by women as owners, operators or partners.

As well, some of the key decision-makers in economic development in the North are also women who control budgets in the millions and millions of dollars and economic policy that contributes resources to all entrepreneurs.

NOB has been profiling the success and struggles of its business community for 20 years in both its main news pages and in many special sections of the paper -- from mining and forestry reports to engineering and construction reports. These reports highlight the backbone of our economy.

But missing from many of its pages were the struggles and triumphs of its women leaders, who continue to contribute more and more to the economic diversity the North is relying upon for growth. This was not intentional. When one looks at the economic base of the North, it was, and largely still is, dominated by mining and forestry. Technology, improved transportation links and a global market are allowing more opportunities for northern entrepreneurs. This is also true for the North's women leaders.

When NOB embarked on its mission to seek out, profile and honour those women who had contributed to economic wealth, job creation and growth in Ontario's northern region, we knew it would be a growing initiative.

The 2001 IW program consists of two awards' luncheons, one in northeastern Ontario and one in northwestern Ontario, a networking Web site (, a special publication, and later this year the launch of a networking conference. All of these components of the IW program are geared to encouraging more of our women leaders to create or increase economic development in our region.

Four women will be honoured at this year's luncheons -- two from the private sector and two from the public sector. The luncheons will be held at Laurentian University in Sudbury on May 29 and at Old Fort William in Thunder Bay on May 31. More details of the luncheons can be obtained from the IW Web site at or by contacting Keitha Wilson, executive director of the Northern Ontario Business Executive Programs at 1-800-757-2766 ext. 306.

The IW program complements the goals of various women's organizations in the North and boasts growing support in the region.

Maggie Ash, an investment adviser with National Bank Financial in Sudbury and an IW supporter says, "surviving in business is enormously challenging, to say the least. It requires hard work, dedication and often much sacrifice.

Influential Women is an important tool for connecting the women of Northern Ontario. It offers women new resources, ideas and contacts, all of which are essential components for success."

As with all its special reports, publications and associated programs, NOB can only accomplish its IW mission with the support and encouragement of our readers, subscribers, contacts and advertisers.

Nominate a woman of influence, become a sponsor of the IW Awards program, congratulate a woman of influence in the special IW supplement to be published with the June issue of NOB, purchase tickets to the events (or sponsor tables for enterprising female students) and encourage women of the North to keep looking for business opportunities.

After all, the success of the North's women leaders benefits the whole region.
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Feb 1, 2001
Previous Article:Award winning campaign.

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