This award recognizes women under the age of 35 who have made a difference in their organization, field, or industry and exhibit undeniable promise.

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2018 Winner

Careesa Liu

Careesa Liu

PhD Student and Researcher
Simon Fraser University

Careesa Liu is a biomedical engineer with nearly 10 years of experience in ground-breaking research to advance medical technologies aimed at improving disease diagnostics and therapeutics. Careesa researches non-invasive evaluation of brain function with applications to dementia, brain injury and other neurological disorders. She recently ranked in the top three per cent among more than 700 candidates competing nationally for grant funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). Careesa makes time for colleagues and clients alike, building relationships and mentoring emerging leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. She is co-founder of SCORE – the Surrey Collaborative Outreach and Research Experience -- training students from high school to graduate levels in medical technologies. SCORE received a 2016 Global Best Award for excellence in STEM education – and Careesa recently received the Spirit of Canada 150 Award for outstanding community service.

Believe in yourself and your abilities, and trust your own resourcefulness in overcoming obstacles. Don't be afraid of making mistakes or asking for help when you need it. You will be surprised at what is possible with the right mix of dedication, hard work, and support!

2017 Winners

Jessica Gares

Jessica Gares

Senior Communications Officer
Media and Issues Management, B.C.

Jessica Gares is a passionate storyteller and communications strategist. Her skills were developed and strengthened over five years at CKNW where she worked as a Senior Producer for The Bill Good Show. During this time, Jessica used the radio platform to shine light on stories that would otherwise go unheard on issues ranging from social justice, drug addiction and access for people with disabilities.

Today, as a Senior Communications Officer at BCLC, Jessica is responsible for bolstering the corporation's reputation and achieves this through proactive storytelling, effective issues management and identifying different ways of telling BCLC's story and its positive contributions to the Province.

Jessica is dedicated to championing women and since joining BCLC co-founded AIM, a women's group that in one year has grown to more than 160 members, both male and female, across the organization. The group's purpose is to create professional development, mentorship and networking opportunities for its members.

Jessica is a volunteer for YWCA Metro Vancouver which allows her to support women and girls in the community. She is also a long-time supporter and volunteer for the CKNW Orphans' Fund.

Jessica is the recipient of an RTDNA journalism award for a documentary on drug addiction, recovery and hope in the Downtown Eastside, and is a recipient of the Gina Steeves award for her dedication and contributions to the CKNW Orphans' Fund.

Jessica has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Simon Fraser University majoring in Communication and studied Broadcast Journalism at BCIT. 

I firmly believe you aren't a successful leader until you develop and encourage other people to become leaders. Once you do this, you're unstoppable in business because you can inspire others to carry out your vision and demonstrate their own leadership abilities simultaneously.
Veronica Knott

Veronica Knott

Bachelor of Applied Science
Mining Engineering

Veronica Knott is a current student at the University of British Columbia pursuing a degree in Mining and Mineral Processing from the Faculty of Applied Science.

Veronica serves as one of three student members of the UBC Board of Governors, overseeing the non-academic governance of the $2.2 billion organization. Veronica has served on many committees and working groups including being Vice-Chair of the Land Use Committee.

Before this role, Veronica was President of the UBC Engineering Undergraduate Society. She oversaw the EUS Inclusion Project which resulted in a governance overhaul and the creation of the Iron Pin Ceremony, a new event incorporating ethics and professionalism into the first-year curriculum. Being President was not Veronica's first role serving engineering students as she chaired the National Conference on Women in Engineering 2013. This conference brought together over 150 delegates from engineering societies across Canada to discuss and inspire the recruitment and retention of women in engineering.

Within her department, Veronica currently holds the role of Captain of the UBC Mining Games Team. Along with her co-captain, Veronica oversees organizing the team through 23 technical competitions. The team is currently building on their 1st place finish last year. This competition is in additional to Veronica's recent 3rd place finish at the World Mining Competition 2016.

Veronica has shown a passionate commitment to student leadership, aiming to make her surrounding community more welcoming and inclusive.

I think the best advice I've ever received was to not be afraid to ask for help. Young women are often told a lot about independence and although this is essential part of leadership, the benefit of support should never be undervalued. I've learnt that having people around you to help guide, give advice, mentor and support is essential to success. I would be no where without the amazing individuals who not only told me to achieve the impossible, but ensured I had the support to do it.

2016 Winners

Laura Best

Laura Best

Lawyer and Co-Founder
Embarkation Law Corporation

In the six years Laura has been practicing law, she has contributed positively to the lives of her clients, her community and the legal profession. Laura specializes in immigration and refugee law – an area that she is passionate about primarily because it allows her to help individuals and families from diverse backgrounds in securing a better life in Canada. Laura began her career working tirelessly to secure the release a number of women, men and children who were arrested when the MV Sun Sea, a cargo ship that brought 492 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees fleeing the civil war arrived in British Columbia. Laura is also board member of the Vancouver Association for the Survivors of Torture ("VAST"). Despite being a young lawyer, Laura owns and operates a modern boutique law firm in downtown Vancouver that has four staff and three lawyers.

Speak up! Confidence matters as much as competence. Give presentations, ask for what you want, come prepared with your ideas and be sure to voice them. People are going to take credit for your ideas and accomplishments. Don't be afraid to take up the space you deserve and worked for.
Annie Chou

Annie Chou

Lions Gate Hospital

Annie has made a significant difference in her community and profession. Cardiology is a competitive, highly-challenging and male-dominated specialty of medicine with only 20 percent being women and 5 percent being 34 years old and under. Annie has had 7 peer-reviewed studies published and is active in her community as a committee member of the Children's Oncology Department of the Ronald McDonald House. Annie has volunteered her professional medical services in Thailand, Uganda and South Africa, as well as, teaching international medical students cardiac physical exams; educating first-year residents on reading electrocardiograms and is a mentor for female students in the UBC Faculty of Science, Women in Science and Engineering.

There are numerous definitions of success, including monetary gain or net worth. On the contrary, I believe that a person is successful in business when they achieve sustainable and effective working relationships - strong connections beget other connections.
Andrea Palmer-Boroski

Andrea Palmer-Boroski

Awake Labs

Andrea is an engineer turned-entrepreneur, autism health advocate, and exponential technology geek. Awake Labs is an autism health company committed to improving the lives of those living on the autism spectrum. Andrea graduated from Mechanical Engineering at UBC in May 2015 and has focused her efforts since then on social impact, quantified health care, and democratizing technology. Her product, Reveal, was recognized as "the most innovative product to impact the lives of 1,000,000 Canadians in the next 3-5 years" at the Canadian Global Impact Competition in 2015. Andrea has won several awards and is dedicated to building and mentoring companies and to creating strong entrepreneurial communities.

The best advice I could give to young women is to find something that motivates you, take chances, and make it happen. I had no idea what I wanted to do after university (or even during university), but I found a great network of people who were all motivated by the same thing: impact. We started Awake Labs, something that was truly motivating to change the lives of people, and went from there. So far that journey has brought me to California and Chile to develop the product, and I continue to try to take chances and do what I can to ensure its success. So for the young women out there, start by finding out what motivates you.
Maryam Sadeghi

Maryam Sadeghi

CEO and Co-founder
MetaOptima Technology Inc.

MetaOptima Technology Inc. is a female-led bright light in B.C.'s biotechnology and life sciences industry. Maryam and her team invented MoleScope, the first home-use mobile dermoscope - a game changer in the early detection of skin cancer. It is an easy-to-use, beautifully packaged, affordable smartphone attachment that provides a high-resolution, detailed view of the skin through magnification and specialized lighting. The reach of this product is global. Maryam continues to contribute to her community including organizing conferences and mentoring high school and undergraduate students at SFU's Let's Talk Science program.

It starts from you. As a woman, scientist, and entrepreneur, I understand how much confidence and self-esteem it requires to build your business. Self-esteem is a reflection of your personal evaluation. It is how much you believe in yourself and your power to make things happen. It is all about your drive and passion and hard work. Next is having expertise, domain knowledge, and eagle view to the problem and available solutions out there in the market.
Sharon Kaur Singh

Sharon Kaur Singh

Bennett Jones LLP

Sharon began her professional career with Rio Tinto in 2007 and since then has quickly moved up the ranks. In her role with Rio Tinto she worked closely with communities, governments, suppliers and Aboriginal peoples. In many of the engaged Aboriginal communities, Sharon created a Women's Circle to encourage the women to learn about the resources sector so they could gain the confidence to voice their opinion in the public consultation process. As self-confessed policy wonk Sharon strives to encourage a diverse (sex, ethnicity, ability) range of next leaders to learn and engage in public policy to help grow the province.

1. Ask for advice from others. 2. Get involved and give back to your community (professionally and socially). 3. Help others to grow their career. 4. Love what you do, and if you stop loving it, move on. 5. Be genuine. 6. Recognize other's involvement and give credit.

2015 Winners

Paulina Cameron

Paulina Cameron

Business Development Manager
BC & Yukon, Futurpreneur Canada

Paulina's impact in the community began while in her 3rd year of University, where she co-founded the BC-based non-profit organization, Young Women in Business (YWiB). The vision behind the creation of YWiB in 2008 was to create an organization that would provide young rising female leaders with the opportunities to build their networks, engage in personal and professional development, and create a path of success for themselves. Under her leadership, the organization supports over 2000 young women, engages with over 200 mentors + community leaders each year, runs over 50 events a year, and has radically shifted how young women think about their careers. She is also a committed mentor and valuable connector, and generously shares her time, expertise and network to further support young women. While establishing YWiB, Paulina obtained her Chartered Accountant designation at KPMG Vancouver as the youngest graduate. In 2011, she was recognized by KPMG's National Senior Executive team for her leadership and community contributions and was awarded the National Leadership Award.

Choose what kind of a leader, community member, colleague, friend, and partner you want to be. Challenge yourself to show up that way every day. Asking right questions of yourself and others is more important than having the answers.
Dr. Farah Remtulla

Dr. Farah Remtulla

Dr Terry Mah Inc.

Farah is a staunch advocate of promoting women into decision-making roles, and leads by example through her board work. She is also passionate about improving access to dental care. Farah has provided dental care to troubled youth at the Burnaby Youth Custody Centre in Burnaby, and in 2009 was awarded the Dental Undergraduate Society Award in recognition of her commitment to volunteer dentistry in the Bronx, New York. Most recently, Farah volunteered three months of her time with Aga Khan Health Services in Tanzania , where she set up a dental clinic which now offers the highest standard of dental care in the country.. In this short period of time, Farah overcame what she initially felt were insurmountable challenges: finding her voice as a young female leader in a male dominated workplace, creating a social movement to motivate complacent staff members to strive towards excellence, mentoring a local dentist whose skill level was overwhelmingly sub-par on North American standards, equipping an empty clinic to be fully operational and teaching herself Swahili in order to be more effective as a leader.

I prefer to think of success in terms of the journey: immense, all-permeating joy, characterized by days on which I feel compelled to dance while brushing my teeth. I feel successful when my activities reflect my values to the highest degree.
Erin Treloar

Erin Treloar

RAW Beauty Talks & The Studio
Treloar Physiotherapy Clinic

Erin started RAW Beauty Talks (a collection of interviews, no makeup photo shoots and more) because of her own experiences as a teenager. A perfectionist by nature, she was greatly influenced by the media's limited portrayal of beauty and the value that it held. At the age of 16 she developed an eating disorder that shifted her perception of herself so drastically that she ended up hospitalized for three months. Throughout her recovery she was forced to dig deep, do "the work", and rebuild a positive relationship with herself so that she would be able to accomplish her most audacious goals – who has time to change the world when they are obsessing over numbers on the scale?!"

Before you start investing time, money and energy into a career path make sure it's right for you. Do your research and have a clear understanding of the job structure (hours, pay, expectations) and the personality traits and skill set you'll need to succeed in the industry.
Alexa Young

Alexa Young

Partner and Chief Inclusiveness Officer
Lawson Lundell LLP

As a young woman working in both an industry (mining) and a field (government relations) that have traditionally been dominated by men, Alexa has been pushing against boundaries and the status quo from day one. At meetings, she is often the only woman present, but always ensures her voice is heard and adds significant value to the discussion. The career progress Alexa has made, the respect she has earned, and the leadership she has demonstrated across both sectors illustrates how she truly embodies Wendy's famous spirit and is helping strengthen the representation of women in business. She is seen a role model by many women within Teck and throughout the sector.

Dive right into your career - and at every stage throughout it - with awareness of and confidence in your skills and ability, and a recognition that your opinion always matters.
Ambrosia Vertesi

Ambrosia Vertesi

VP Talent

Quirky tech culture is well known and adapted by Hootsuite but Ambrosia goes deeper than the beanbag chairs and yoga classes. Using her understanding of the motivators in these target employees she created a completely new performance evaluation system that was sensitive to the Gen Y culture but gave her the information she needed to monitor employee output. She also purposefully linked community service to the socializing functions of the company because research shows the millennial's desire to "give back". And rather than limit social media time for the employees she encouraged it – allowing employees to tell the good brand stories Hootsuite wanted told. (see next section) Ambrosia's mission to use "Social HR" as a company culture creator has resulted in coverage across this continent and in Europe.

Solution based thinking and hustle are two attributes I think stand out in successful business leaders. It is easy to get stuck on roadblocks but seeking solutions and driving them forward is challenging and a key differentiator looking through an HR lens.