2020-2021 Selected Women of Excellence

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Home Based Business Excellence, Sarah Hayes

The judges were impressed with her investment of significant time and energy into educating herself in the areas of expertise. She has taken it upon herself to educate others locally and abroad and employs several others in her home-based business and continues to expand. She has operated her business since 1997 thus exhibiting a significant track record of success in doing so. The contribution to public health offered by her business is recognized by other professions in the area; and she has created, maintained and grown a substantial and recognized professional business in a significantly rural setting.

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Mentor of Excellence, Crista MacNeil

The judges were impressed by her recognition of a void of female scientists in her workplace which led to her vision of creating a sustainable science program for young girls in her community.  Without any skills in this area, she sought out her own mentors and developed a science program for young girls that teaches them computer programming and robotics.  She created learning spaces where the girls have faced defeat and encouraged them to stand strong and keep trying.  She has exposed these girls to high-level scientists, and they have competed internationally on the world stage.  She has created a sustainable science program that will have a lifelong impact on the girls.  The fact that she did all this outside of her work with no knowledge in the field speaks to her commitment to developing strength in young women through role modelling and mentorship.

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Excellence in Collaboration, Stephanie Townsend and Michelle MacIsaac

This team has an overall inspiring narrative.  They have affected a significant social and economic impact in the Annapolis Valley.  They are clear in their goals and elements of success, meaning the balance between their business acumen (mission, vision and values) and their workplace culture.  They foster an environment of work-life balance and support, sensitivity and responsiveness, attention to self-awareness and a collaborative effort to keep clients, fellow employees, and each other happy.



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Young Woman of Excellence, Margaret Hopkins

She is an exceptional young woman with a passion for science, math, music and sport. She actively shares these passions with young women and through volunteerism and coaching, hosting community workshops at camps, school events and organizations to promote and inspire the next generation in science, technology, engineering and math.  She is a pioneer in her sport of bouldering and a talented musician playing in numerous brass ensembles and singing in choirs. Her nominator said of her; “her infectious smile and seemingly unfaltering positive attitude magnetize people to her. She seems capable of tackling any challenge she chooses.”

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Honorary Woman of Excellence, Frieda Burger

As a businesswoman and a volunteer, she has been contributing to valley life since the days when as a little girl she would scold her parent’s workers if she thought they were slacking; the workers called her a pint-sized version of her Dad. She eventually took over the family business and Has been recognized in many ways including the Eastern King’s Chamber of Commerce lifetime achievement award. She has been an active and engaged member of the PROBUS Rotary Club, a founding member of the Valley Women’s Business Network, Valley Business Connections and PROBUS. She is relentless in raising funds for charitable organizations including Valley Regional Hospital Auxiliary, Camp Brigadoon and Victorian Order of Nurses. She is old-fashioned in all the right ways kind, courteous, attentive to detail and genuinely interested in other people and in giving back in a myriad of ways to her community; yet she is very much a 21st-century woman continuing to learn and grow.

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Business Woman of Excellence, Liz Huntley

She exemplifies ‘Business Woman of Excellence’ to a tee. She has taken a great personal risk to start and grow her own business ventures, along the way adapting to changing consumer tastes, weathering ups and downs in the local economy, and maintaining a loyal customer base amid the proliferation of e-commerce competitors. She has proven her perseverance and resilience time and again. She has been a champion for women in entrepreneurship and has inspired her many employees and customers to maximize their potential and to be the best version of themselves.

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Community Leader for Betterment, Jaymee Lynne Dowell

Passion for community and social change is especially evident in this nominee. She recognized a gap in her community for an underserved and underrecognized group and took it upon herself to create an organization to meet their needs. The judges were particularly impressed by her drive, commitment, and breadth of her approach to community leadership and social change, especially given her young age. She recognized a community need, developed a program herself with little to no financial backing, and is now working towards expanding her campaign provincially.

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Pioneer of Excellence, Sarah Anderson

Some factors which have contributed to this nominee’s selection include her identification of a unique niche in the marketplace, her innovative approach to her business, the growth in profitability since the inception of her business, and the impact on the local economy, both current and anticipated.

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