Media Release – 2018 WBE Canada Awards Winners

It is with great pleasure that WBE Canada announces the winners of its 2018 Awards celebrating Supplier Diversity. The recipients of Corporation of the Year, Supplier Diversity Leader of the Year and WBE of the Year were celebrated during the Awards Luncheon sponsored by BMO at this year’s annual conference Thursday September 27th.

Here are the outstanding organizations and leaders who made an impact in supplier diversity space in Canada in 2018.

2018 Corporation of the Year – City of Toronto

Corporations of the Year 2018

In 2016, Toronto City Council adopted the Social Procurement Policy and in 2017, the City of Toronto began implementing the program across all 44 City divisions.

The Social Procurement Program changes the way the City of Toronto procures 2 billion dollars worth of goods and services each year. The City of Toronto Social Procurement Program has two streams – supply chain diversity and workforce development. In the supply chain diversity stream, City staff include at least one certified diverse supplier when making purchases less than $100,000. In the first year and a half of the program, the City of Toronto awarded close to $500,000 in procurement contracts to certified diverse suppliers.

The City of Toronto Social Procurement Program has partnered with six Supplier Councils and through this work, the City has advanced WBE’s vision of strengthening Women economic inclusion. City of Toronto plays an important convenor and collaborator role in educating about, and promoting supplier diversity, and strengthening diverse supplier growth.

2018 Supplier Diversity Leader of the Year – Catherine Grosz

Supplier Diversity leader of the Year 2018

Striving to encourage, educate, and celebrate, Catherine Grosz has been instrumental in not only enhancing awareness of supplier diversity within BMO, but in other activities and events that she participates in. She is a true believer and promoter of supplier Diversity in Canada. As Chair of the Board of Directors for WBE Canada she is the bridge between executives and WBE’s. Internally at BMO, Catherine has is involved in multiple outreach programs including Mentorship Programs, and BMO Celebrating Women, As well she has been instrumental in partnerships that have been created between BMO and organizations such as Women President’s Organization and Gro-Your-Biz that promote mentorship between women business owners.

Catherine has been described by her peers as a navigator. While her impact can easily be measured in financial terms, it is the many programs she has created that have greatly affected women’s confidence in their own abilities through education and networking. Catherine’s advocacy in turn creates more advocates in employees, suppliers and business owners.

Catherine’s pride and passion for diversity is evident in any encounter or meeting you have with her. As evidenced by those who nominated her, If she doesn’t have it at her fingertips, she will leave no stone unturned until she finds it and gets back to you. Catherine Grosz truly believes in the strength and power of supplier diversity, and especially women-owned businesses.

2018 WBE of the Year – BOWEN Group

WBE of the Year 2018

Year over year, BOWEN has grown substantially in terms of employees and revenue with a growth rate of just under 43% and an 8.5% increase in employees between 2016 & 2017. This is a reflection of the company’s agility and ability to transform and adapt to changing trends and market conditions. Shannon Bowen-Smed has been instrumental in this transformation as she has led the company’s growth strategy through affiliates, partnerships and networks, aligning the company with local recruiting specialists to scale and meet national business needs resulting in Bowen’s expanding and growing business across 9 Canadian Provinces.

In the last year, BOWEN helped more than 3,000 individuals find meaningful employment. Because of Shannon’s ability to inspire others to be entrepreneurial and work towards a unified goal of empowering diverse workforce solutions, BOWEN is one of the largest independent firms in Canada, offering temporary and permanent placement, recruitment solutions, contingent workforce management, payroll and independent contractor management, executive search and Indigenous recruitment. BOWEN is positioned uniquely in the marketplace, thriving in the highly dynamic and transformative human capital space.

Shannon’s personal mission is to enrich lives that reach far beyond the world of business and into our community. Whether it is helping to build playgrounds in needy neighbourhoods, supporting programs that feed hungry children or offering hope to families who have experienced the tragedy of infancy loss, Shannon gives freely of her time, energy and support. Over the past five years, Bowen Workforce Solutions has contributed more than $500,000 to worthwhile causes, including Community Kitchen Program, KidSport, Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation, Calgary and Area Foster Parents Association, Canadian Cancer Society, YWCA and the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund as well as over $477,000 to the Calgary Health Trust.

in addition to the honour of being the 2018 WBE of the Year, Bowen Workforce Solutions is also the recipient of a GM TUCK Scholarship.

Congratulations to the winners of 2018 WBE Canada Awards!