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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Greater Niagara Chamber honours Women in Business Leaders

On Friday, November 16, the Women in Niagara (WIN) Council, a business council of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) and founding partners, The Standard, The Tribune and The Review, hosted the 18th Annual Women in Business Awards at the Crowne Plaza in Niagara Falls, sponsored by Canadian Tire Bank and the Pen Centre.

“Women make incredible contributions to our business community every day. We are thrilled to be able to celebrate and recognize these accomplishments through this annual event,” said Nicole Regehr, Chair of WIN Council. “The caliber of women in leadership roles in Niagara is no surprise to us, but it never ceases to encourage and inspire.”

The WIBAs are an annual event, honouring women from around Niagara whose contributions to the community go above and beyond the call of duty. The WIN council received over 160 nominations from around the region in many different sectors.

The 2018 Women in Business Award recipients are:

  • Business Leadership Award, sponsored by Alectra: Sarah Wood
  • Community Spirit Award, sponsored by Henley Honda: Carey Benvenuti
  • Cultural Arts Award, sponsored by Fallsview Casino Resort/Casino Niagara: Michele-Elise Burnett
  • Emerging Business Award, sponsored by Destination Niagara Falls: Jennifer Newman
  • Entrepreneurship Award, sponsored by Niagara College: Chris Robertson
  • Tourism Award, sponsored by Niagara Workforce Planning Board: Beverly Smith
  • Science and Technology Award, sponsored by Enbridge Gas Distributino: Stephanie Thompson
  • Social Enterprise Award, sponsored by Niagara Community Foundation: Renee Delaney
  • Young Professional Award, sponsored by RBC: Diana Aquino

The Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Verge Insurance Group, was presented to Betty-Lou Souter. As Chief Executive Officer, Community Care, St. Catharines & Thorold, Mrs. Souter is responsible for the overall management of the agency which provides emergency food and clothing, emergency assistance and access to shelter services and supports to the less advantaged in the communities of St. Catharines & Thorold.

In her work at Community Care, Mrs. Souter is responsible for several initiatives motivating and enabling the client group served to “do more with less” such as budget counseling, nutrition programs for children and other related life skills initiatives.

With more that 40 years experience in the voluntary sector, Mrs. Souter has earned a reputation as a committed and dedicated volunteer. Mrs. Souter’s familiarity with the social and health issues of the community coupled with extensive volunteer involvement at all levels has enabled her to develop a large network in all sectors of the community, locally, provincially, and nationally. She is considered the “Voice of Poverty” in Niagara.

We congratulate Mrs. Souter on her contributions and are honoured to recognize her with the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.

“We honour these women in our awards, but we recognize the achievements of so many more. The contributions to Niagara’s prosperity and community made by women are overlooked too often. I hope that the achievements of these extraordinary community leaders will lead to recognition of the work of others.”

– Mishka Balsom, President & CEO, Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce


The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce is the champion for the Niagara business community. With almost 1,600 members representing 50,000 employees, it is the largest business organization in Niagara and the third largest Chamber in Ontario. The Chamber Accreditation Council of Canada has recognized the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce with its highest level of distinction.

For further information, contact:
Mishka Balsom
President & CEO
Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce
905-684-2361 ext. 227 or