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Southeast Women of Distinction Awards to recognize women from the Estevan area

Five awards will be handed out.

ESTEVAN - A popular event will be happening in the southeast region this spring for the first time in four years.

The Southeast Women of Distinction Awards – presented by Support You Life Coaching and Consulting by Stacey Wempe – will be handed out on May 10 at the Estevan Exhibition Hall. A local committee, Women 4 Women, will be organizing this year’s event.

Previously it was known as the Quota International of Estevan Women of Today Awards, which ran from 1999-2019.

Committee members for the Southeast Women of Distinction Awards are Becky Cassidy (event committee chairwoman); Tania Hlohovsky-Andrist (nominations and awards committee chairwoman); Breanne Van De Woestyne (public relations); Mary Anne Veroba (awards banquet, entertainment and program); Brittany Zahn (nominee announcement celebration); Michelle Erdman (finance); and Tara Daoust and Lori Gervais (guest experience).

“We created a committee with women that are very experienced in event planning from southeast Saskatchewan, that I know are efficient and goal-driven, and then we gave ourselves the name Women 4 Women,” said Cassidy.

Cassidy told the Mercury they decided to bring the event back because they believe it’s “incredibly important” to celebrate the women of southeast Saskatchewan.

“With the event not happening since 2019, we just decided it was time to bring it back and continue on the tradition that’s been running for so many years,” she said.

The organizing committee has tried to give a nod to the Women of Today Awards while having a few additions.

The awards will be handed out at a midweek luncheon. A guest speaker, Corliss Rassyle, will present her Be the Best You speech.

Five awards will be handed out. Two of them are the same as the Women of Today Awards: Outstanding Contribution to the Workplace and Outstanding Contribution to the Community.

Two others honours are similar. The Ida Petterson Memorial Award for Outstanding Entrepreneur is now the Innovator Award for Entrepreneurship and Leadership; while the Shirley Orsted Memorial Award for Outstanding Young Woman of Today is now the Outstanding Young Visionary Award.

The new award is the Equity and Inclusion Award, which is for those who are overcoming barriers or those in non-traditional fields.

“We really want to acknowledge the women who are going above and beyond in the way of diversity, equity and inclusion, because it’s a really important part of society and making sure that everyone has a place,” said Cassidy.

It’s an open-ended category to include women in non-traditional roles, as well as those who have helped other women, newcomers or people from different cultures and ethnicities.

The deadline to submit a nomination is March 27.

“One thing we really are focusing on is making sure everyone from the southeast corner knows they are welcome to be nominated or to nominate somebody, because it’s really important that we receive [regional nominees],” said Cassidy.

They would accept nominations from the Canada-U.S. border to the south, the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border to the east and Highway 13 to the north.

Nomination packages and instructions can be found online at Nominators are asked to fill out the form and include the necessary information on the candidate.

“We’d like to see five for each award,” said Cassidy.

The nominee needs to sign off on the form.

In a press release, Cassidy said a Woman of Distinction is someone who has made a commitment and a significant difference in their community by showing vision, creativity and initiative.

“They have been a role model and continually inspire others through their leadership. They are innovative and have broken new ground or old barriers and continue to be an agent for change,” she wrote.

As for the guest speaker, Rassyle is described as a “coffee-drinking, nature-loving serial entrepreneur and mom of three,” according to a press release for the event.

“She has a passion for personal development and is the person to call when you are ready to step up to lead your life. She is an educator, author, speaker, connecter, podcast host, and your motivational BFF. She is a Canadian inspirational speaker, a certified Success Principles coach, a Dare to Lead trainer and the founder and CEO of Corliss Co. Consulting Inc.,” states the press release.

Rassyle is the best-selling author of the book Lead your Life; How to Live with Purpose, Passion and Confidence, and the host of the Conversations with Corliss podcast.

“She is very inspirational. She is comparable to Brené Brown in the way that she thinks and in the way that she perceives women and life and how to reach your goals.”

Men will enjoy listening to her as well, Cassidy said.

The mission of Women 4 Women, according to Cassidy, is to honour the ongoing efforts, dedication and leadership of the strong, talented and outstanding women who help shape communities.

“Taking the time to celebrate the contributions of the outstanding women from southeast Saskatchewan is not something that should be left in the past,” said Cassidy. “This event was an important pillar in the community, and there is a need to keep the tradition going.

“The Quota Club had organized the awards for many years, and now that they no longer have a chapter in Estevan, a group of us felt that we should continue to build on the legacy of the previous awards events.”

Everybody they have talked to about the event is very excited to hear it is making a comeback, she said.

A Trailblazer Memorial Walk is also being introduced for the awards ceremony. It will honour women of the past who made significant contributions to the workplace or the community. Four women who have passed on are to be recognized this year, Cassidy said. There will be banners with photos and an explanation of why they are deserving of the honour.

The four women will be announced at a later date.

Beneficiaries for the event have not been decided, Cassidy said, since this is the first year for resurrected celebration. There has been talk about scholarships for young women.

“Us, as a committee, are going to announce that after we see if we raise any money at the event,” said Cassidy. “Raising money … would be an awesome thing, but the main thing is just celebrating women.”

Tickets for the luncheon are $40 each or $300 for a table of eight, and can be purchased at Henders Drugs or from any committee member starting on March 1. Cassidy said they will be able to accommodate 250 people, and she noted the Women of Today Awards would always sell out.

The candidates for each award will be revealed at a celebration April 21 at Southeast College.