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Inaugural women’s awards ‘the event of the year’ in Nanaimo

Women of Influence Nanaimo Awards were held Feb. 7 at conference centre
Blaise Hunter, organizer of the inaugural Women of Influence Nanaimo Awards, speaks during the event Wednesday, Feb. 7 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. (Photo submitted)

More than 600 people filled the conference centre ballroom for the inaugural Women of Influence Nanaimo Awards, “the event of the year,” according to organizers.

The WIN Awards gala happened Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. There were nearly 100 nominees in 11 categories recognizing the extraordinary accomplishments of women, non-binary, two-spirit and gender-diverse role models.

Blaise Hunter, awards chairperson, expressed in a news release her appreciation to the community for its support of the event.

“With hundreds of passionate individuals joining forces, we ignited a fire of celebration, championing the profound impact of our community,” she said. “In that room, the energy was electric and I am in awe of the extraordinary people and their tireless work.”

Desirée Pahl was chosen as the Breathe Fire Award winner for overcoming adversity and April Hilland was the winner of the Fan the Flame Award for allyship.

As well, Kix Citton was honoured with the Community and Social Responsibility Award, Nadiya Albishchenko was the Business Impact Award winner, Esther Charlie won the Health and Wellness Award, Deborah Saucier took home the STEM Award, bailey macabre won the Arts and Culture Award, Kerilie McDowall won the Creative Innovator Award, K’reen Kerr won the Trades Award, Talela Manson was recognized with the Youth Resiliency Award, and Judy Stephan won the Matriarch Award for individuals 50-plus.

“As we reflect on this achievement, let us remember that true influence transcends awards; it ultimately lies in our collective power to effect change,” Hunter said. “When we unite, empower and support one another, we all WIN.”

She added in the release that the success of the awards gala speaks to the community’s commitment to celebrating inclusion, diversity, empowerment and positive change, and confirmed that the WIN Awards will return in 2025.

Proceeds from the event benefit Footprints Infertility and Pregnancy Loss Support Society.

READ ALSO: Influential women in Nanaimo nominated ahead of inaugural awards night

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