Linda Solomon Wood wins Vancouver Board of Trade Award for Entrepreneurial Innovation

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Awards honour pioneer in women's business leadership 

The late Wendy McDonald, according to The Globe and Mail, was an "indomitable force in business." She survived three husbands, had numerous "fiancés," and loved her family above all else. She had 10 children, and "collected" another ten, according to her daughter, Penny Omnes. She took the helm of BC Bearing Engineers as a widow raising young children and made a success of it that led to wealth and influence. She treated her employees as "extended family," her daughter also said. Despite being thrust into a male-dominated business, she thrived. In her last year, at ninety, she found love again, and died peacefully.

The late Wendy McDonald  in a photograph for her book, "You Got That Right!"

The Times Colonist called her "BC's top female entrepreneur." She has been called "a pioneer of women in leadership." As the former president of BC Bearing Engineers Ltd. her leadership made her company a sought-after international competitor in the industry. According to the Board of Trade website, "Wendy was a tireless advocate for the Metro Vancouver community and an original investor in the Vancouver Whitecaps. She left an indelible impression on The Vancouver Board of Trade when she became the organization’s first female chair in 1990."

Other winners of the Wendy McDonald Awards for 2015 include Laurel Douglas, CEO of the Women’s Enterprise Centre, in the 'Community Catalyst' category. Douglas works to increase awareness of women entrepreneurs in BC and the positive impact they have on our economy.

Another winner in the Entrepreneurial Innovation category alongside Solomon Wood was Madeleine Shaw of Lunapads International Ltd. and United Girls of the World Society. Shaw and her longtime business partner Suzanne Siemens support girls' education in the developing world with the Pads4Girls and One4Her programs, which have touched the lives of over 300,000 girls in 17 countries. They have been working to use their business talents to achieve social impact.

Karen MacMillan, Partner and Chief Inclusiveness Officer, Lawson Lundell LLP, was given the award in the 'Outstanding Mentor/Sponsor' category. She hosts several monthly lunches with her formal and informal mentees. McMillan also mentors associates with whom she works by providing opportunities and coaching them.

Bob Elton, Chief Risk Officer at Vancity, received an award for being a ‘Diversity Champion’ for women and immigrants. Bob also shifted the strategic mindset of Vancity, by placing several women in senior leadership roles, including 50 per cent of the executive team.

Dr. Farah Remtulla was awarded one of the ‘Women of Promise' awards for promoting women in decision-making roles. Remtulla recently concluded three months of volunteer work abroad with the Aga Khan Foundation, and has helped Burnaby residents receive access to high quality dental care.

Another winner in the 'Women of Promise' category was Alexa Young, government affairs manager at Teck Resources. 

After the reception, federal Status of Women and Labour Minister Kellie Leitch spoke to the audience about women's leadership. She spoke about her upbringing in Fort McMurray, being picked by Prime Minister Stephen Harper for a cabinet minister position, and being recruited to run for the Conservative Party in 2010, while she was still a practicing surgeon.

Leitch spoke about the importance of championing young women, rather than simply mentoring youth, and urged executives to choose one young woman under 35 to champion for a full year. 

Full list of winners:

Entrepreneurial Innovation

Linda Solomon Wood

CEO, Observer Media Group


Madeline Shaw

Co-founder and Creative Director, Lunapads International Ltd.,

United Girls of the World Society

Diversity Champion

Bob Elton

Chief Risk Officer, Vancity


Community Catalyst

Laurel Douglas

CEO, Women’s Enterprise Centre


Outstanding Mentor/Sponsor

Karen MacMillan

Partner and Chief Inclusiveness Officer, Lawson Lundell LLP


Women of Promise

Paulina Cameron

Business Development Manager, BC & Yukon Futurpreneur Canada


Erin Treloar

Founder, RAW Beauty Talks & The Studio at Treloar Physiotherapy Clinic


Ambrosia Vertesi (nee Humphrey)

VP Talent, Hootsuite


Dr. Farah Remtulla

Dentist, Dr. Terry Mah Inc


Alexa Young

Manager, Government Affairs, Teck



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