ON Wednesday, the Surrey Board of Trade hosted the 10th Annual Surrey Women in Business Awards Luncheon. This event recognizes the hard work of Surrey’s businesswomen and their contributions to the community, with a sell-out crowd of over 400 guests in attendance.
Master of Ceremonies Coleen Christie led the afternoon’s program and keynote speaker Betsy Myers delighted the crowd with humour and wisdom as she recounted her time as a senior adviser to US Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
“The Surrey Board of Trade’s Surrey Women in Business Awards inspires and illuminates guests in an ongoing way,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
Winners were announced in five categories:
Entrepreneur Category: Santoshi Desai, Orange Oranges Technologies Ltd.
Santoshi is the co-founder of Orange Oranges Technologies Ltd. and an SAP Human Resource expert in her field, providing end-to-end solutions. Leading a team of five staff, she has been instrumental in providing project proposals and growing revenue at Orange Oranges. Santoshi holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial & Production Engineering, a male dominated field. Additionally, she has a diploma in Human Resources Management. Originally from India, Santoshi has broken through the cultural norms to travel to multiple countries to carry out work, something not common for women of her background.
Professional Category: Rupinder Khunkhun, Grandview Law Group LLP
Rupinder is a family law layer and partner/owner at Grandview Law Group LLP. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science from UBC and attended their law school, earning her Juris Doctor in 2004. She was called to the bar in May 005 and has a been a member in good standing with the Law Society for the past 14 years. Rupinder worked as an associate in a boutique family law firm for seven years where she honed her litigations skills. She is one of only a handful of female family law litigators that are fluent in Punjabi and can service the ends of the South Asian community. In June 2012, she and Paul Mann opened the doors to Grandview Law Group LLP. Under Rupinder’s leadership the firm has grown to include seven lawyers, an articling student, and a team of skilled support staff. Giving back to the community has been a core guiding principle for Rupinder. She is a member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Women Lawyers Forum and mentors and trains articled students. She is also a Director at Sources Community Resources Society.
Not-for-Profit Leader Category: Ninu Kang, MOSAIC
Ninu is Director of Communications and Development at MOSAIC. Ninu holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and completed the classwork for a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. Ninu’s public role leads her to often be interviewed by the media as an expert on issues of domestic violence, immigrant and refugee women and children as well as racism and youth gang violence in the South Asian community. Dating back to her teenage years, Ninu has been the founder of many ‘women only’ groups to empower women in building self-confidence and overcoming systemic oppression. She is one of the founding members of the Punjabi Women’s Organization, a member of Indo-Canadian Women’s Organization, and a member of the India Mahila Association. In the past she has served as board president of the Women’s Research Centre and the Battered Women’s Support Services. She has also started an annual youth forum in Surrey where she established a model to mentor and empower female and male youth teams from high school to become leaders by planning, organizing, recruiting and running the youth-centered conference during Victim Awareness Week in March.
Corporate / Leadership Category: Alison Fuller, Venturis Capital Corporation
Alison is the Senior Vice President of Finance at Venturis Capital Corporation. Venturis is a capital investment company, most notable for their investment in Leavitt Machinery. Alison has been working in the accounting and finance field for close to 25 years, with almost 14 of those years spent at Venturis/Leavitt. She graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University, and went on to obtain her CA designation prior to the merger of the CPAs. Alison oversees the HR, accounting, finance, and IT departments that support Venturis and its subsidiaries, as well as corporate and cross border tax planning and estate planning for the owner. She is also a key member of the mergers and acquisitions team at Venturis, responsible for conducting due diligence work and operational transition. Most recently, Alison successfully completed an ERP implementation, a cross border transfer pricing project, as well as a $65 million acquisition in Texas.
Social Trailblazer: Sonia Andhi Bilkhu, Shakti Society
Sonia is an expert in her field of social services and mental health. She is a registered social worker and a family counsellor and has worked in the non-profit sector since 1987. Sonia is an innovative leader as the founder of the Shakti Awards and Shakti: Empowerment of Women, Children and Families Society, a non profit organization which aims to empower women, children and their families by inspiring, motivating and creating vibrant communities by utilizing and enhancing the social capital of local citizens. Sonia has sat on various committees and boards, including the board of Surrey Women’s Centre and currently she is the media chair of NEVR, the Network for Eliminating Violence in Relationships, a network of over 50 organizations such as local police forces, school teachers and administration, non-profit organizations and Kwantlen and Simon Fraser University. Sonia was recently elected as a Board member of the BC College of Social Workers, a provincial body that regulates the social work profession in British Columbia. She sits on the Policy and Discipline committees of the College.