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2020 Excellence Awards WinnersIt is with great pleasure that WBE Canada announces the winners of its 2020 Excellence Awards celebrating Supplier Diversity.

2020 President’s Award

WBE Canada’s President’s Award recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated significant contribution in supplier diversity benefiting or promoting Canadian women-owned businesses. Selected by WBE Canada’s President, Silvia Pencak, this year’s honour was awarded to two organizations. Both recipients have significantly contributed to the success and awareness of supplier diversity and growth of women-owned businesses in Canada.

2020 President’s Award – Accenture

The first 2020 President’s Award was presented to Accenture, a WBE Canada Corporate Member since 2009. Accepting on behalf of the Accenture Canada team was Dora Silva-Bolanos, Senior Manager, Supplier Inclusion and Sustainability. Accenture is fully committed to the success of Canadian women-owned businesses and well as other diverse suppliers. In addition to working with diverse suppliers, Accenture is also committed to enabling corporate supplier diversity programs, providing a variety of tools like benchmarking, consulting, audit and reporting. Accenture openly and actively encourages eligible businesses to become WBE certified and for corporate and government large buyers to be WBE corporate members in order take advantage of the support, resources, networking opportunities and may other benefits provided by WBE Canada.

2020 President’s Award – Redwood Classics Apparel

The second 2020 Presidents Award was presented to Kathy Cheng, President of Redwood Classics Apparel. As a leading boutique manufacturer of retail apparel and branded merchandise, Redwood Classics pivoted early in the Covid-19 Pandemic and within one week, was able to re-tool their operations to provide PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to frontline workers and vulnerable communities. Due to supply chain issues, border closures and the issue of gathering materials, Redwood Classics launched DIY mask kits as a scalable way to ensure communities had access to pre-made masks and DIY kits. In accepting this award, Kathy Cheng acknowledged the entire Redwood Classics team for their unwavering commitment to their success and to their clients for their commitment to buying their products and supporting Canadian women-owned businesses.


2020 Top Corporation – RBC

This award recognizes a WBE Canada Corporate Member who is making a distinct and describable difference in the advancement of Supplier Diversity in Canada. The recipient of this award is an organization acting as a leader in a wide range of areas, including but not limited to growth, opportunities, visibility, and participation. The 2020 Top Corporation Award was sponsored by TELUS and presented by Lloyd Switzer, Chief Procurement Officer at TELUS. The winner of 2020’s Top Corporation was RBC. Accepting on behalf of RBC was Natalie Marchesan, Global Head of Procurement. RBC developed its Supplier Diversity Program in 2004 and in 2009 was a founding corporate member of WBE Canada. For RBC, supplier diversity is more than “just doing the right thing” and being a good corporate citizen. They believe supplier diversity drives business value, helps gain access to competitive offerings, greater innovation and a culturally diverse customer base. RBC works directly with diverse suppliers, including Canadian women-owned businesses and encourages its suppliers to implement their own supplier diversity initiatives.


2020 Top WBE Supplier – Wonderkind

This award recognizes a certified women-owned business which has demonstrated excellence in business and support for other women owned businesses. The winner of this award achieved business growth, impacted the economy and showed dedication to supporting other women. The 2020 Top WBE Supplier Award was sponsored by GM. The winner of WBE Canada’s 2020 Top WBE Supplier award was Wonderkind, an online gift catering business creating one of a kind gifts for corporate events and personal on line ordering. Co-founders Shawna Pereira and Tara Cochrane accepted the award on behalf of their entire team. Nominated by Staples Promotional Products and Opportunity International Canada, Wonderkind is praised for their innovative and personalize approach to gift giving. They source from Canadian women-owned businesses, caring deeply about the end user. Wonderkind’s every interaction is met with grace, professionalism and a strategic approach that is not common among all suppliers. With unwavering commitment to women, Canadian content and giving back, this company definitely stands out.


2020 Most Improved Supplier Diversity Program – TD Bank

This award recognizes a WBE Canada Corporate Member that has made a distinct and describable difference in their Supplier Diversity Program. The recipient of this award is an organization with measurable improvement to their procurement benefiting diverse suppliers. The 2020 Most Improved 2020’s Most Improved Supplier Diversity Program award was sponsored by Cotton Candy. Presenting the award was Jenn McAvoy, Vice President, Client Engagement at Cotton Candy. The winner of 2020’s Most Improved Supplier Diversity Program was TD Bank. In accepting the award Michele Albanese, Head of Responsible Sourcing and Supplier Diversity, Strategic Sourcing Group at TD Bank Group expressed TD’s dedication to supplier diversity and the inclusion of Canadian women-owned businesses in its supply chain. TD’s program was launched in 2011 with the intent to level the playing field for all suppliers, believing that supplier diversity is necessary to achieving the goal of being a better bank and encourages all their suppliers to integrate supplier diversity into their supply chains.


2020 WBE Leaders – Andrea Robinson, Marte Belisle, Maryse Benhoff, Michele Bailey

This year, four recipients were recognized as 2020 WBE Leaders. Sponsored by Staples Promotional Products, this award celebrates certified women-owned businesses that are actively engaged with the WBE Canada Community or its partner organizations. The recipients significantly contribute to growth and support of other women-owned businesses in their region or industry. Steve Pons, Managing Director, Staples Promotion Products presented this year’s awards to Andrea Robinson, Robinson Global Management Inc., Marte Belisle, SommEvents, Maryse Benhoff, BG Communications International Inc. and Michele Bailey, Blazing Design & My Big Idea

Andrea Robinson

Andrea Robinson, President, Robinson Global Management Inc. was recognized for her willingness to support the WBE community with her expert advice, whether at WBE Meetups or teaching WBEs to improve their RFP responses. Always ready to inspire and encourage others. Andrea was the recipient of WBE Canada’s 2019 Rising Star Award.

Marte Belisle

Marte Belisle, President SommEvents was recognized for her active engagement with WBE Canada events and support of the WBE community as a member of the Supplier Advisory Committee (SAC). Marte is a true role model and champion amongst WBEs.

Maryse Benhoff

Maryse Benhoff, President, BG Communications International Inc. was lauded for the second year in a row as a WBE Leader. Maryse is the chair of WBE Canada’s Supplier Advisory Committee and the voice of the WBE community on the Board of Directors. Maryse is a true champion of WBE Canada.

Michele Bailey

Michele Bailey, President, Blazing Design & My Big Idea, both WBE Canada certified businesses. Michele was the very first women-owned business to certify with WBE Canada in 2009 and continues to be an active role model of the community and is a true champion and connector of women-owned businesses.


2020 Supplier Diversity Leader – Michael Pacholok, Chief Procurement Officer, City of Toronto

The 2020 Supplier Diversity Leader award recognizes a procurement professional within WBE Canada’s Corporate Membership who is a champion among peers. This individual has shown tremendous leadership while leveraging innovation to advance supplier diversity. A role model internally with colleagues and externally with vendor partners, this individual is a visible champion in the supplier diversity community as well as their respective industry. This award was sponsored by BGIS and presented by Anna Kobilaski, Strategic Sourcing Director, BGIS. This year’s recipient of the Supplier Diversity Leader award was Michael Pacholok, Chief Procurement Officer, City of Toronto. Michael has showcased inspiring leadership in supplier diversity, not just in 2020, but since his involvement in the supplier diversity space. He is not only a champion of supplier diversity but is always willing to help other corporate organizations with their supplier diversity initiatives with advice and feedback. Actively engaged as a WBE Canada Board Member, Michael also helped develop a Public Service Development Committee designed to help diversity supply chains in public entities across Canada.


2020 Rising Star – Staff Shop

The 2020 Rising Star is awarded to a certified WBE, who in the first 3 years of their certification, has demonstrated significant achievements or progress. This award was sponsored by IBM Canada and presented by Michael Bourne, Senior Manager – GBS, Caribbean Sourcing, Financial Operations, Supplier Diversity and Ombudsman. This year’s Rising Star recipient was Staff Shop Inc. Accepting the award on behalf of the entire Staff Shop team was Jennifer Menard, Founder and CEO. Staff Shop’s niche was heavily focused on temporary, contract and direct hire Hospitality & Event staffing prior to COVID – proudly supporting flagship events in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. The pandemic virtually shut down the industry overnight, severely impacting Staff Shop’s business and employees. However, Jennifer and her team modeled resilience and grit by shifting their focus to staffing essential services, providing payroll solutions, consulting, cleaning/disinfecting, PPE, essential resources, and a 10% profit share referral program across North America. They invested in their assets resulting in not only keeping the business alive, but expanding across 9 additional Canadian provinces, the US and the Caribbean, experiencing unprecedented growth.


2020 WBE Canada Champion – BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada)

The WBE Canada Champion category recognizes an individual or organization that demonstrates commitment to supplier diversity in Canada, namely through referring new Corporate Members and/ or WBEs to WBE Canada, tracked through membership and certification applications approved between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020 The winner of the 2020 WBE Canada Champion Award was BDC. Accepting the award on behalf of BDC was Maude Pariseau, Director, Procurement. BDC has been a supporter of WBE Canada for many years and in 2019, became a corporate member. BDC recognizes the impact supplier diversity has on Canadian women-owned businesses, and has been excited to share the work of WBE Canada with women-owned businesses who might benefit from WBE certification or organizations with buying power and potential to impact the growth of Canadian women-owned businesses.

Congratulations to all the winners of our 2020 Excellence Awards!

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