“I’m not usually at a loss for words,” said this year’s Women in Business Athena Award winner Karen Bird, standing at the podium with tears in her eyes, speechless.
Bird, a Financial Advisor at RBC Dominion Securities, was one of 14 local business women nominated for this year’s Athena award – an award, sponsored by Sault College, recognizing individuals who:
- Have achieved the highest level of professional excellence.
- Contribute time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.
- Actively assist others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential.
This award ceremony was part of the Sault Chamber of Commerce’s 18th Annual Women in Business Breakfast, held at the Water Tower Inn on Friday morning as part of International Women’s Day.
The event included a panel discussion featuring local business and professional women, from a variety of industries, who shared their experiences, success stories and advice to help inspire and support business women in Sault Ste. Marie.
SaultOnline caught up with Bird after the ceremony, who said that she felt “humbled” to have won this award.
“When you respond to whether you accept the nomination or not, you actually have to write about yourself and it was very humbling to do that, just to take inventory of things that I’ve done in my life, which was very nice,” she said.
“It wasn’t really so much about how long the list was, it was thinking, as I was writing it I was thinking about those events and those people that I’ve spoken to over the years and people that have said thank you for things that I’ve done or things that they heard me say, and it was nice to relive those moments again.”
Bird, who was nominated both last year and this year by a friend, said she felt honored that her colleagues and peers recognized her hard work and what she does.
“You know people love what you do and people like to work with you, but when they put pen to paper and actually do something like that, you really get a sense for the confidence that other people have in what you do,” she said.
Bird said she’s inspired by her children and the people they are becoming.
“When I see my children displaying the qualities of a person that I have been trying to instill in them all these years, that empowers me to do even more,” she said.
Her advice to women starting their entrepreneurial adventure? Stay true to yourself.
“I think as women we think we have to do it all,” she explained. “We have to be super moms and have our capes on in order to be successful.
“It’s not even about how many different things you do, or being super, it’s just about every single day being true to yourself and trying to affect one person. I always say that if one person benefits from what I did, I’m happy.”