Notice as of August 19, 2020 — The Women’s Business Network of the National Capital Region has announced the annual Businesswoman of the Year Awards Gala has been cancelled.

The Businesswoman of the Year Awards are proudly supported by PWL Capital Inc and organized by the Women’s Business Network of Ottawa.

Join us in the celebration of the Businesswoman of the Year Awards as we come together to shine the spotlight on twelve incredibly accomplished and inspiring women from Ottawa’s business community.

Find out which four Finalists (one in each category) will be awarded the Businesswoman of the Year. This prestigious honour has recognized the accomplishments of outstanding women in the National Capital Region since 1983.

Congratulations to the 12 Finalists

Twelve finalists were announced at the Finalist Cocktail Reception on Thursday, February 13, 2020; and were recognized in one of four categories: Emerging Entrepreneur • Established Entrepreneur • Professional Services • Organization, for their expertise, achievements and community involvement.

Finalists for a Businesswoman of the Year Award are, from left, Jennifer Reynolds (Fresh Legal), Tonya Bruin (To Do Done Services), Meghan Dagenais (Restoration Co.), Heather Desjardins (The Open Door Educational Services) Roxanne Whiting (Sign Language Interpreting Associates Ottawa Inc.), Jennifer Stewart (Syntax Strategic), Anjali Dilawri (Logan Katz), Karen Brownrigg (iHR Advisory Services), Sabrina Fitzgerald (managing partner of PwC), Vanessa Kanu (CFO of Mitel), Jennifer Conley (chief advancement officer at Carleton University) and Jacqueline Belsito (vice president at the CHEO Foundation). Read full article

Photo by Matt Stewart – Ottawa Business Journal.

Emerging Entrepreneur Category

For women who organize and operate an emerging business or group of businesses

Established Entrepreneur Category

For women who organize and operate an established business or group of businesses

Professional Services Category

For women in a vocation or occupation requiring special education, knowledge and skills

Organization Category

For women who are key decision-makers in their organization or company

What are the BYAs?

The Businesswoman of the Year Awards (BYAs) – celebrate the business achievements, professional expertise and leadership of outstanding women in the National Capital Region and is presented to four recipients in the professional, Emerging Entrepreneur, Established Entrepreneur, Professional Services and Organization categories. The Businesswoman of the Year Awards Finalist Reception and Gala are organized by The Women’s Business Network (WBN).

What is the WBN?

The WBN – Women’s Business Network, is a volunteer-run organization, that empowers businesswomen to achieve success on their own terms by providing opportunities for development, fostering valuable connections, and facilitating member success through business and career growth. WBN’s membership includes entrepreneurs, professionals and corporate executives within the private and public sectors.

How are nominations chosen?

  • Nominations are made in the fall of each year, during September and October.
  • Nominees are required to accept their nomination via email and complete the application form.
  • All nominations go through a committee process in January of the following year to select 12 finalists.
  • A Nominee Reception is held in February for all nominees and to announce the 12 finalists.

Nominees are judged on the following criteria:

  • Proven business acumen
  • Outstanding leadership skills
  • Notable achievements

Nominations will not be moved forward and nominees will be notified if the:

  1. Application was incomplete or did not meet submission guidelines outlined in the application form
  2. Application did not meet the criteria of the category selected
  3. Application was not submitted by deadline of November 30, 2019
1. When do nominations open and close?


For the 2019-2020 Businesswoman of the Year Awards, nominations will open in September 2019 and close October 31, 2019.


2. Are men allowed to submit a nomination?



Of course! We are looking for the very best candidates for the WBN award. Our Nominations Committee is made up from men and women in the community.



3. Do nominees have to be a WBN member?


No. We accept nominations for within AND from outside the WBN network. We want to celebrate Ottawa’s community of inspiring and successful businesswomen. All women are welcome.


4. Do I have to KNOW the person to nominate them?


You do not need to know your nominee personally. However, you need to know the following details about them in order to submit the nomination: First Name, Last Name, Contact Phone and Email, Organization, and Position.


5. Can you explain the steps that happen once I nominate the person? How will they hear about it?
  • Your nominee will receive an email from WBN. She will be asked to accept the nomination.
  • Upon acceptance of the nomination, your nominee will immediately be sent a questionnaire requesting a summary of their achievements in the following categories: proven business acumen, outstanding leadership skills, notable achievements in her area of expertise, and community engagement.
  • Your nominee will fill out the questionnaire and return via email to the WBN by November 30, 2019.

The application form that nominees are required to fill out can be found here.

6. I’m not exactly sure which category I should nominate the person for. What do I do?

Go ahead and select the category you think best suits the nominee. Your nominee will have the opportunity to change the category selection when she completes the next phase of the process.

7. Can I nominate more than one woman?

Yes! The more nominees the better.

8. Can I nominate myself?

Yes! The more nominees the better.

9. Can I nominate past finalists and nominees?

Yes! The more nominees the better.

10. Who do I contact if I have further questions on the nominations process?

Please contact for any further questions or concerns.

The Businesswoman of the Year Awards are
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For more information please contact us:



Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship of the BYAs is an opportunity to promote your brand and connect with prominent business women, decision makers and individuals with strong networks and purchasing power.

Women’s networking groups provide lucrative opportunities and added value to the bottom line…they are power circles that enhance personal, professional and company brands. To find out more about our Sponsorship Packages for The Businesswoman of the Year Awards, please click the button below.