In my career, I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of delivering two different awards programs. The first was an employee incentive program. When I took it over, our nominations quadrupled because I marketed it like crazy. I thought it was fun and a great way to bring recognition to the work that people in our technology division were doing. The second was about ten years later when I project managed the Employees’ Choice Awards for the first three years of the program here in Ottawa.

Recognition is about stories of success

Both of these programs provided a story to their respective selection committees. It was fascinating to read the stories. We got to learn quite a bit about the accomplishments and innovations of the prospective recipients and how they were viewed by others. But the best part was the day we handed out the awards. It was gratifying to see how they were received and how excited people got when they won.

Every now and then those stories led someone to take action and create something new or make a change. Recognition is one way to fuel progress. Seeing women recognized, in particular, is important for the success of all women.

Recognition provides a catalyst for dreams

I was five years old when Sally Ride became the first woman to go to space. I lived in central Florida at the time and we could literally see the space shuttles launch from the front yard of my house about an hour away from Kennedy Space Center.

I got to hear over and over growing up that I could be an astronaut if I wanted, and Sally Ride and all the women in the space program who came after her proved it with the recognition they received. I truly believed it was possible.

While space was never my ambition, I believe we all need recognition for our achievements, and this is a challenge for women. Small recognitions bring on little bursts of encouragement, while large ones bring a (sometimes overwhelming) tide of positivity and affirmation of what we’re doing. It’s invigorating. Seeing a woman receive recognition for her achievements plants a seed in others.

Join us to recognize exceptional businesswomen in Ottawa

The BYAs - April 21, 2016 #BYAGalaApril is an exciting month of the year. Ottawa is starting to emerge from the grey cold of winter and look forward to the vivid colours and brightness of the world that comes with spring. It’s the perfect time to highlight the exceptionally talented women in our business community.

On March 1st, we announced the nine BYA Finalists who will be recognized on April 21st at the BYA Gala. These intelligent, ambitious, leading women are examples to their peers and the women who will follow in their footsteps. One of the reasons I love the BYAs is the opportunity to tell their stories and celebrate their accomplishments. I also know that their example will motivate other women to work hard to achieve their own ambitious dreams, regardless of the barriers they may face.

I hope that you’ll join me at the BYA Gala this year. The WBN is so very proud to support the BYAs and elevate the women in our business community to promote their growth and success. This is what we do. It’s why we exist.


We’d love to have you come to the Wine Down or Breakfast Mix and Mingle, too! All month long we’re going to keep talking about how we can elevate women to experience growth and success!

Karen C. Wilson, WBN President

WBN President, 2015-16 Karen C. Wilson Communications