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Wholehearted applause for IW supporters.

Clarity sometimes comes in the most unlikely form at the most unlikely time. Such was the case recently when a northern community leader was applauding the business success of a local entrepreneur. The community leader acknowledged the entrepreneur in a public venue by pointing him out to the audience and highlighting his success.

The only problem with the accolade was the omission of the identity of the entrepreneur's business partner. She was there, sit ting next to her business partner (who is also her husband), but she was not asked to stand before this business audience to benefit from the recognition. Her name was never mentioned and her contribution to the success of this business was never acknowledged.

This slight was not intentional, but I couldn't help but shake my head, yet again.

Clarity. We may have come a long way, baby, but we still have a long way to go.

However, this year's Influential Women of Northern Ontario nominators gave me a ray of hope. Some of this year's IW Award winners were nominated by men, and most of these men wrote the best endorsement letters I have ever seen.

Our mission is to seek out, profile and honour women who have contributed to economic wealth, job creation and growth in Ontario's north and to honour women who have made a difference.

The dozens of nominations we received this year are testament to the growing recognition that women are a leading force in our region and to the quality of their leadership.

Lila Cyr from Blind River, Tracey Vigars from North Bay, Margaret Thomson from Thunder Bay and Sandy Dickson from Atikokan are this year's IW winners. They are inspiring examples of what this program is all about. Their stories are included in the pages of this special report.

Also included are profiles of the winners of this year's inaugural Special Recognition Awards. We introduced this new category to acknowledge and thank the on-going support of our alumni, sponsors and supporters who have helped us to promote women's economic development and the IW mission and mandate.

Maggie Milne from Thunder Bay and Louise Paquette from Sudbury are the first winners of this very special award.

This year's judges had the inevitable task of selecting the 2001 IW winners from the incredible nominations we received. Gisele Chretien, Karen Lacasse, Patricia Lang and Deborah Kraft receive our warmest thanks.

The IW Awards ceremonies could not have been possible without the commitment of our partners, sponsors, advertisers and supporters.

A sincere thank you goes out to the CIBC who is this year's Platinum Sponsor. They were eager to support this initiative because, like us, they know that women-led businesses are growing and are adding to the economic fabric of our region. This is an important economic trend that needs to be encouraged and supported.

Ontario Exports, Thunder Bay Telephone and College Boreal invested in IW this year as bronze sponsors and we thank them for their support. We also thank the Business Development Bank of Canada for their speaker sponsorship.

FedNor once again came on board as a major sponsor of www.nobwomen.com. With this year's support, we will upgrade the functionality of our Web site and launch a quarterly e-newsletter to women leaders across our region.

We thank NYGARD.com, Calm Air, Vaillant Flowers, Lougheed's Flowers, Apollo Restaurant, Muirheads, Indulgences, the Travelodge Airlane Hotel in Thunder Bay and Maffic Productions for their support.

CBC Northern Ontario Radio One has been with us for four years now. Their promotion and support of this initiative is paramount to our success and we can't thank them enough.

MCTV/CTV joined us last year as a media sponsor and they have helped us considerably to raise the profile of this program. We thank you.

Northern Life, Sudbury's community newspaper joined our media sponsor list this year and ongoing promotion by our sister publication was much appreciated.

We thank Lionel Rudd and Laurentian University's School of Engineering and Aramark Canada Ltd. for hosting our Northeastern Ontario luncheon and the Travelodge Airlane Hotel and Old Fort William for hosting the Northwestern Ontario IW luncheon.

In Thunder Bay, we were approached by PARO to partner with them. PARO is an organization focused on helping women start and succeed in business. It was a natural tie-into our IW mission and we wish them every success in their mission.

Joan Kulmala of Thunder Bay has worked incredibly hard to help make the IW Awards luncheon there a success. We thank you.

We also wish to acknowledge and thank our supplement advertisers and contributors whose presence resulted in the publication of this special report.

Finally, the staff of Northern Ontario Business did an outstanding job of helping to bring it all together. A special thank you to Keitha Wilson, executive director of the NOB Executive Programs division, who has worked tirelessly for the past six months to make the 2001 IW Awards luncheons a success.

We hope to see you all next year.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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:Jun 1, 2001
Words:833
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