Recipient: Amanda Fletcher
Amanda Fletcher is currently the associate director of marketing for CAA Niagara. Prior to this, she worked on the marketing team at Penguin Canada. Fletcher has a Bachelor of English Literature and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Creative Book Publishing, with a specialization in marketing.
Over her eight years at CAA, Fletcher has risen from a marketing coordinator to manager and now associate director. She oversees all marketing activities for the business (membership, insurance, rewards, travel) and plays a key role in the launch of new products and services.
She has helped the organization grow from 117,000 members to nearly 140,000 and has expanded the marketing team. Twice, Fletcher has received CAA’s Values Award, recognizing positive contributions to the work environment.
Fletcher has struggled with anxiety and is a firm advocate for diversity and inclusivity. She is passionate about creating safe spaces for people of all backgrounds to share ideas and grow.
She recognizes the need for adaptability in today’s business climate and as a member of CAA Niagara’s Strategic Planning Committee, she can contribute to and help shape the organization’s short- and long-term direction.
Recipient: Taryn Herritt & Angela Osborne
The Atelier Collective
The Atelier Collective Canada’s leading digital platform and event series for ambitious women in business was co-founded by Angela Osborne and Taryn Herritt. The company provides top-tier brand experiences combined with a mission to support female-led, small businesses.
Osborne and Herritt identified whitespace in the women’s conference market, something missing that was experiential, content-heavy, energetic, and truly inspirational. In June 2018, they held their first vineyard event, hosting just over 300 women for a sold-out event in Niagara.
Over the past two years, Atelier has quickly become Canada’s leading event series. Since its inception, each live event has sold out in record-breaking time. They’ve been featured in numerous publications throughout Canada including Hello! Canada, FASHION Magazine, Bay Street Bull, and Kultured, to name a few.
Although the pandemic has significantly affected the events industry, Osborne and her partner knew they would have to make the shift from in-person to virtual. The co-founders used this opportunity to create a virtual event venue to bring their brand to the forefront of the event experience.
Atelier Collective’s next event, Beyond 2020, is anchored in the belief that we can move from just surviving the pandemic to actually thriving, featuring impressive keynote speakers including Mindy Kaling, Glennon Doyle, Angela Duckworth, and Sarah Lewis.
With the landscape constantly changing, The Atelier Collective plans to continue to find new ways to innovate and serve the community of women in business at The Atelier Collective.
Recipient: Vittoria Wikston
Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games
Vittoria Wikston is one of Niagara’s first Certified Meeting Professionals (CMP) having attained her Certified Meeting Management (CMM), she is also passionate about the events industry and has a passion for bringing people together.
With over 30 years of experience in sales, marketing, and front-line event operations, Vittoria has held the reputation as being a powerful economic driver in the hospitality, tourism, and special events industry.
During her Director tenure with Niagara Falls Tourism, event highlights would include destination project management of Rendezvous Canada 2015; Canada’s largest and impactful tourism trade marketplace involving inbound travel product purchasers from 31 countries. International sporting events would include IIHF U18 Women’s Hockey Tournament – 2016, and recently FIBA U18 Men’s Americas Championship – 2018.
As a member of the 2021 Canada Summer Games Bid Committee, she was responsible for launching the “Niagara Are You In” campaign that contributed to the Region’s successful win. Wikston’s approach is governed by her responsibility to a set of core values of being collaborative and inclusive while exporting professional initiatives with integrity and transparency.
Throughout her tourism and hospitality career she’s been challenged to find success in the most hostile business environments; such as 911, SARS, economic recessions, and now COVID-19. She’s succeeded by taking action and being flexible, as she believes leadership arises out of crises.
Wikston’s promise for the future is to continue to deliver at nothing short of an exceptional level, view the future as a transformation from the present, and to never stop, but remember to look behind you to see who’s looking up at you.
Recipient: Ericka Evans
Ericka Evans is an award-winning producer with 20 years of experience in the television, film, and interactive digital media industries. Her career started in film and children’s educational television, branching out into video games in 2006. In 2011, she became a partner in Phantom Compass, an independent video game development company, and has produced dozens of original video games and interactive digital media projects for clients, publishers, and other game developers across the world.
She sits on the board of directors for Innovate Niagara and the Program Advisory Committee at Niagara College and volunteers to mentor students at Brock University and Niagara College. Some of her notable achievements include the Gemini Award (2006), producer of award-winning video games in 2014 and 2017, Mayor’s Business Hall of Fame Award (Phantom Compass, 2015), and raising millions of dollars for her organization’s project funding in the last decade.
Evans has been running distributed work-from-home teams before Zoom was popular, while at Phantom Compass she has managed distributed teams of up to 25 people and is often asked to speak on the advantages of this business model. Evans is pleased to be part of the legacy of video game development as a senior developer and recognizes the responsibility to pay it forward.
Niagara has a small but growing, games and interactive media industry. Evans’ goal is to make Niagara a thriving hub for the IDM industry and advocates to keep local companies connected with Brock and Niagara video game graduates. She is also a mentor for entrepreneurs to grow their own companies, helps students network, and stays vocal about promoting the region as an excellent place to set up shop wherever she goes.
FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
Sara Palmieri is a dedicated and passionate arts professional, bringing nearly 20 years of arts management experience to the table. Beginning her career in Box Office at Brock University’s Centre for the Arts (CFA) in 1999, she quickly climbed the ladder to CFA’s sales and marketing manager.
Palmieri worked closely with the CFA team to engage people in exceptional performing arts experiences. This would range from developing innovative audience engagement initiatives, new programming avenues and relationships, reorganizing box office and customer service departments, and assisting with strategic planning as a few highlights of the role.
In 2015, she was hired as the programming and marketing manager at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC), where she has contributed to much of the PAC’s success in its first four seasons.
In her current role, she programs 75+ HOT TICKET presentations, oversees the Film House program (which screens more than 500 titles annually), and is collaboratively responsible for a $1.6M revenue annually.
Palmieri demonstrates a deep commitment and passion towards the artistic community, co-founding In the Soil Arts Festival (2007), engaging more than 5,000 local and visiting artists, and holding the role of Board President for local theatre company Suitcase in Point for six years.
She continues to display this commitment to the arts by adapting to the continuous challenges of the times, by utilizing her resources at PAC where she can. Palmieri strives to continue to take great care in developing programming partnerships, find new ways to utilize platforms, and show understanding, empathy, and respect through the arts.the region as an excellent place to set up shop wherever she goes.
Recipient: Amy Layton
Royal LePage NRC Realty
Amy Layton is in the top 10% of realtors with Royal LePage in the Niagara Region, this is because of her will to succeed and promise to do so. While Layton receives positive feedback from her clients 100% of the time, she also shows this unwavering commitment when giving back to the community. From day one she decided to take a referral-based business approach, which has allowed her to set standards for both herself and her clients.
Layton is currently serving her second term on her real estate board’s YPN committee and has also served on fundraising committees for Women’s Place of South Niagara for the last two years.
She was the recipient of the “2018 Individual Fundraiser of the Year for Ontario for Royal Lepage” and was also awarded the “Community Involvement Award for 2020” by the Niagara Association of Realtors. Layton has created a successful fundraiser for the Women’s Place of South Niagara called “Lip Sync Battle Niagara” which occurred this year (virtually) for the 5th year in a row. The event has raised just over $30,000 since its inception in 2016.
She is always finding new ways to make her business the best it can be, constantly researching current market trends and working 1:1 with her real estate-specific business coach.
Layton’s approach to business combined with her community efforts has garnered her much success and a positive rapport in Niagara. She shows other women in the community that if you hold yourself accountable and always search for new ways to improve, you can exceed your goals.
Recipient: Crystal D’Cunha
The INSIDE View Inc.
Crystal D’Cunha is The INSIDE View’s Chief Experience Officer, a respected leader in the customer experience industry, an award-winning customer experience design professional, international keynote speaker, and entrepreneur.
She worked her way up to be a Certified Leadership Coach (CLC) and a Certified Professional Speaker (CPS), a designation held by less than 12% of professional speakers. Organizations hire D’Cunha because of her commitment to customer experience excellence, as she leads leaders to implement the 7 foundational steps to CX mastery.
D’Cunha contributes to her community by serving on several boards and she has received numerous awards in sales, including the 40 Under Forty Business Award. She’s led sales teams to achieve the Avid Rating Award for CX; her team was recognized as being among the top 10 % of builders focused on CX nationwide.
Over the last eight months, The INSIDE View has been able to fully automate its courses, programs, and product line up. Offering virtual team building, online and in-person certification courses, customer journey mapping boot camps, and more.
During this time, D’Cunha has made some incredible accomplishments such as, creating 3 CX boot camps, launching a global affiliate group, hosted a series of virtual webinars, networking, and team-building events and the list goes on.
The vision of D’Cunha and The INSIDE View is to inspire and ignite leaders, excite employees, and delight customers to achieve record-breaking success. The INSIDE View will continue to follow a hands-on approach to suit the needs of different businesses and play a role in organizational transformation.
Recipient: Holly Mundula
Meridian Credit Union Business Banking
Holly Mundula has worked in banking for 16 years, a role in which she has consistently exceeded the expectations of her clients and colleagues. Mundula has two sons, aged 15 and 12, and four rescue pets in total.
She contributes to various organizations, currently serving as VP on the St. Catharines Club board, President of the Education Foundation of Niagara, Director of the Links for Greener Learning Board, a founding member of the Wise Girls Committee, Wise Guys, Hospice Niagara Golf Committee and volunteers with Gillian’s Place.
Mundula says her success is driven by the success of those around her, her end goal is clear both in business and in life, to meet and exceed the expectations of those people. Starting as a teller in the banking business, she built and grew two banking branches, created two successive roles in the growth of business banking deposits, and won a quarterly achievement award for excellence.
Her notable impact on the community does not go unnoticed, Mundula also helps to better the business community through initiatives such as the GNCC, Niagara Wine Festivals, Niagara River Lions, and more.
Due to the pandemic and changing markets, Mundula has taken many steps to adapt the way they are doing business at Meridian. Thanks to a new approach, she was quickly able to form a path that would increase margins for the business while protecting the interests of members.
Mundula has demonstrated that she continues to go above and beyond for her family, business, and the Niagara community.
Recipient: Carol Nagy
Carol Nagy, the executive director of Hospice Niagara, has been working in non-profits for over 33 years, 23 of which were in senior leadership roles. She has held various roles in the field of child welfare and even found herself managing the training and development department of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies.
Nagy is a member of the Quest board of directors and is a past chair of the Niagara Workforce Planning Board. She is a member of Rotary Club St. Catharines and a passionate group in Wainfleet who advocates for responsible development and growth in our rural communities. Finally, she is an active member representing Hospice Niagara and community sector organizations on the Niagara Ontario Health Team- Équipe Santé.
Each year, Hospice Niagara commits to an annual quality improvement plan that builds upon the success and learning of past years. The Transition Planning Program from 2019-2020 yielded successful results. Some of the successes include an increase in the number of people accessing hospice beds, no lost days of care, no crisis-state for patients and families, and improved communication that left 100% of patients/families feeling they were involved in decision making, with a 98% overall satisfaction rate.
Nagy and her team at Hospice Niagara meet the challenges of today’s climate in three ways, changing the healthcare environment, diversity and inclusion (expansion of services), and the pandemic response – developing new protocols, policies, and training programs.
Nagy’s vision for the future at Hospice Niagara is articulated in the strategic plan: Transforming Pathways. This plan is set to ensure new ways of authentic partnering, full engagement, and a complete understanding of the quality of life.
Recipient: Ashleigh Myers
Ashleigh Myers moved to the Niagara region in 2003, to join the teams at 105.7 EZ Rock, 97.7 HTZ-FM, and NewsTalk 610 CKTB. An enthusiastic marketing & business development specialist, she’s spent 20 years within the media industry helping businesses and organizations develop, manage, and implement strategic and tactical marketing and growth strategies.
Working for Bell Media, Myers works with businesses and organizations every day to assist them with individually tailored growth and development strategies. She also sits on several steering committees and consults with not-for-profit organizations. She consistently has one of the highest business retention numbers within Bell Media and prides herself on establishing meaningful connections and cultivating long-term business relationships.
A now Niagara enthusiast, Myers was able to combine her love for the region with the conception of the NewsTalk 610 CKTB Business Trip; a feature showcasing local businesses and highlighting Niagara’s diverse economic climate.
Myers was the recipient of the first-ever Bell Media Presidents’ Award in 2015 for outstanding performance, leadership, and significant contribution to revenue growth and generation. She also received a Bell Media Excellence Award in 2017 for outstanding achievements, passion, and commitment to excellence.
During the pandemic, Myers was able to provide stability and leadership within her organization and the business community, by conceptualizing the development of a “Shop Local, Support Local” on-air campaign across Niagara and Hamilton. She also worked in collaboration with several municipalities to develop strategically targeted COVID-19 campaigns to advise residents and visitors on proper public health and personal safety protocols.
Myers believes that true leadership is rooted in a desire to understand people, to hear, and recognize them for their unique abilities. She is constantly pushing herself outside of her comfort zone, to contribute to a better future.