Algoma University President, Asima Vezina, presented with the ATHENA Leadership Award

Asima Vezina, recipient of this year’s ATHENA Leadership Award.

Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce Women In Business Celebration Goes Virtual

Sault Ste. Marie – 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce’s annual Women In Business event. As with many events however, COVID-19 necessitated shifting the event to an on-line format, so on March 8th, the SSMCOC kept with its long-standing tradition or recognizing International Women’s Day by hosting its first VIRTUAL Women In Business Celebration.

The online event attracted more than 100 participants and included a panel discussion featuring local business and professional women from a variety of industries, who shared experiences, success stories and advice to help inspire and support business women in Sault Ste. Marie. The panel included:

  • Dr. Laura Stone, an Emergency Doctor at Sault Area Hospital
  • Asima Vezina, President & Vice Chancellor of Algoma University
  • Gail O’Connor, Entrepreneur & Principal of River Rock Gifts and The Voyageur Lodge & Cookhouse, and
  • Erica Hogan, Entrepreneur & Principal of Hogan’s Homestead

The panel discussion was led by Jasmyn Rowley of Village Media / Sootoday.com. During the discussion, panelists opened up about some of the challenges of being women business leaders and entrepreneurs, and of operating in a pandemic economy during her last year. They each related personal stories of times that they had to “Choose to Challenge” – the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day.

Event emcee, and Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce Board member, Gabrielle Sarlo, Human Resources & Communications Manager with S & T Group, says of this year’s theme, that a challenged world is an alert world.

She suggests that “we should be choosing to challenge and call out gender bias, and we should be doing it everyday, not just on March 8th. But we also need to remember that the challenge also starts with ourselves. We should all be endeavoring and making a conscious effort to rise to the challenge of creating a better and more equal world for everyone.”

Monday’s Chamber of Commerce event included the presentation of the Chamber’s ATHENA Leadership Award. The ATHENA Award is recognized internationally and has been sponsored locally by Sault College for 13 years. It is presented to a woman (or man), who is honored for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.

The recipient of this year’s award is Asima Vezina.

Vezina was recognized for her extensive community involvement and her leadership role at Algoma University, including her commitment to openness and inclusivity and to the advancement of healing and reconciliation.

The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce wishes to thank our Women In Business Celebration presenting sponsor: TD Bank Group; our ATHENA Award sponsor: Sault College; our partner sponsors, OLG, Bell, Kevanna Fine Photography, YMCA Sault Ste. Marie and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.