The eight finalists have been announced for Vernon Woman of the Year 2017.
Elise Allan, Emily Hladych, Kim Nasipayko, Mary Jo O’Keefe, Pamela Owen, Sareena Nickoli, Sue Beaudry and Suzanne Robert were chosen from 12 nominees for the award hosted by Vernon Women In Business.
The finalists were announced at an event at Okanagan Spirits.
“Our judges had an incredibly hard task to narrow the selection down to 8 finalists, says Carla Dahlen of the award committee. “Hearing the stories from all our nominees made me tear up many times. I know we have to make a judgment for the one woman of the year, but I personally wouldn’t know where to start. These are all phenomenal women”, says Dahlen.
The nominees will be honoured, and the winner announced, at a dinner event May 11th at the Prestige Hotel.
The award recognizes community, family, and professional contributions.
The 2017 Woman of the Year recipient will also receive a beautiful pearl necklace set donated by Sweet Smiles Society and a two-day stay at any Prestige Hotel & Resorts location.
Tickets for the event are available at:www.ticketseller.ca /Tel: (250) 549 7469
Elise Allan is known to her two beautiful daughters as mom, to her colleagues as a passionate lawyer, and to several organizations as a tireless volunteer. Native to Lavington, Elise earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia in 2003. She achieved her LLB in 2006, and was then called to the British Columbia Bar in 2007. Besides offering pro bono legal services in special cases, Elise provides immeasurable contributions to the community through her volunteer efforts. She’s the president of the VJH Foundation and spends countless hours organizing fundraising events and volunteering for various charitable organizations. Elise is also the proud recipient of several awards, including KPMG’s Top 20 Under 40 and the Interior Health
Volunteer Service Award.
Emily, a mother of three, has spent hours, days, weeks, and years pioneering the Waldorf-inspired Cedar Bridge School on her family’s farm land. Emily has devoted the better part of the last decade integrating academics, land stewardship, health awareness, and developmental principals into her outstanding curriculum.
Throughout this time, Emily has also served as a student, a teacher, a mentor, and a principal in the hopes of providing the children of our community a place to grow, learn, and be inspired. Emily’s passion for creating a stimulating environment for children is evident in each student that walks away healthy, well-rounded, capable, and educated. Cedar Bridge School students enjoy this incredible education thanks to so much of Emily’s tireless efforts.
As the owner of Caufield’s Engraving, Kim Nasipayko has been an active business owner in our community for the last nine years. With a passion for helping others, including pets and animals, Kim donates her time and efforts to countless organizations that benefit our community as a whole. If she’s not overcoming challenges at work to benefit her customers, she’s serving on the board of
the Kalamalka Rotary and the United Way’s community donations board, or sponsoring a sports tournament. If all that isn’t enough, Kim is also a devoted mentor in the Community Futures North Okanagan Enterprise Challenge, and has been filling that role since its inception.
Mary Jo O’Keefe
With deep-rooted community values, entrepreneur and founder of MJO Tours, Mary Jo O’Keefe strives to make Vernon a great place to live and visit. Her participation in the Downtown Vernon Association, Vernon City Council, Arts Council of the North Okanagan, and many, many other organizations demonstrate her passion and commitment to our community. By creating new initiatives, Mary Jo plays a vital role in moving many different committees forward to achieve their visions and goals. Her mentorship and support, both in her profession and community involvement, has inspired more volunteers to step forward in an effort to make our community stronger than it’s ever
With a radiant smile and a positive attitude, Pamela Owen has become an important member of the North Okanagan community. Whether she’s helping clients find a way to afford their dream home or donating her time and energy to non-profit organizations and fundraising events, Pamela is devoted to helping those in need.
She’s donated her time to the Vernon Rotary Club, the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce, the Transition House, the Canadian Mental Health fundraising team, and Vernon Women in Business. Pamela’s affordable housing advocacy efforts, strength, and determination have propelled her into a position of trust and admiration among colleagues and
Sareena Nickoli has inspired so many individuals in the community through her dance classes. After offering classes at various studios throughout the city, Sareena finally opened her own studio: Soul Studio. When she’s not spreading her passion for health and well being through dance, Sareena plays a big part at City Furniture, her family’s furniture company. Through these two outlets, Sareena is able to donate much appreciated funds to Upper Room Mission, the Transition House, Teen Junction, the food bank, and many others. She’s also donated her time and studio to countless fundraising events and functions.
Sue Beaudry uses her compassion, strength, and determination to entertain and help community members. Through Kalamalka Caring Klowns, Sue dons a clown outfit and wig to lift the spirits and well being of community members in need. Her bright spirit and caring attitude are instrumental in her mentorship endeavors. As Director of Development for the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation, Sue made it her mission to provide leadership in many fundraising campaigns. Using her time, knowledge, and creativity to give back to the community, Sue has played a big role on the Vernon Restholm Board of Directors, in Vernon Women in Business, for the Canadian Cancer Society, and many otherorganizations.
The mastermind behind Vernon’s largest dancing light show, Suzanne Robert continues to give back to her community in fun and interesting ways. Donations accepted for the annual light show on Pleasant Valley Road are given to the Vernon Women’s Transition House. When Suzanne isn’t setting up and tearing down her Christmas light display, she’s volunteering her hairstyling skills and her time to a variety of worthwhile causes throughout the area. From providing underprivileged teens with stunning updos through the Cinderella Project to providing hair and wig services to cancer patients, Suzanne has brought joy and smiles to so many faces.