The energy started to change mid summer around the NLOWE office as the staff started to plan and prepare for the 2012 Awards Gala. With the excitement that was generated so early in anticipation of this event, I expected that the coming months would become more and more stressful as the event drew near. I expected longer hours and frustrated faces. This was not the case. Paula, Kristy, Judy and Julieanne seemed to put off the event with much grace and ease. Aside, from hearing the word ‘awards’ more frequently, I never knew that such major preparations were underway.
The day of the awards felt like Christmas Eve at NLOWE’s head office in St. John’s. Everyone was in an especially joyous mood. Everyone was excited for the night’s big event. And most to my surprise, everyone was super relaxed! All the small details had been taken care of and because of such a great planning team; there was no last minute to-do list. I was expecting not to get anything done that day; I was expecting to be busy with gala emergencies. I did not get interrupted at all. They had it all under control! We even sat as a group and had a Chinese buffet for lunch! In all of my experience, I have never witnessed such a well planned event.
Then when I arrived at the Sheraton and walked into the Fort William Ballroom, I was equally as surprised. This event was bigger than I had imagined. The room was decorated beautifully.
The night began with a networking session in the pre-function area where everyone chatted and enjoyed one another’s company.
In the middle of the room, a long table was set up show casing some of NLOWE’s member’s product and services – it was the silent auction, a highlight of the awards gala. Guests carefully reviewed each item and placed their bids.
When it was time for the ceremony to begin, people were having such a delightful time, it was hard to get everyone into the ballroom. I thought this was great to see; it meant that the networking session was a success and that people were truly enjoying themselves.
Once everyone was seated, Amy House, a local comedian, welcomed everyone. Amy was a great facilitator. She knew the ropes and was so funny as she guided us through the evening. Paulette Fudge (NLOWE Board President) was up next to offer grace. We then enjoyed a delicious meal served by the great people of the Sheraton. During this time, we got to know the people at our tables. I sat with some fine ladies who I very much enjoyed chatting with.
After dinner, Paulette returned to the stage to welcome everyone to the 15th annual NLOWE Awards Gala! She was followed by Premier Dunderdale who gave a very powerful and informative speech. She was very candid and it was a pleasure to hear her speak in this context. Karen Appleby, ACOA, took the stage next to offer congratulations to the winners and to NLOWE. Meanwhile, I was out helping other NLOWE staff organize the results of the silent auction.
Then it was finally time for the awards! Each award was presented by an award sponsor as well as an NLOWE board member. The award was introduced by the sponsor representative and a brief background was given about the award winner. These introductions were one of my favourite parts of the evening. I enjoyed listening to the positive success stories of these women. I felt like I was getting to know the business and the woman behind the business. They were powerful and motivating snapshots of their lives.
And the winners are!!!
And then came my absolute favorite part of the night – the acceptance speeches. These speeches allowed us to learn even more about the honored entrepreneur. And it was their moment; their moment to shine and to be proud of their triumph. Even though there were nearly 200 people there, it felt very intimate. The audience was very warm and truly happy for the award recipients. Everyone was there to celebrate one another’s successes.
After the award presentations, Amy House wrapped things up by thanking the event sponsors and everyone in attendance. The night did not stop here. Many stayed to chat and to congratulate the winners as they posed for numerous photos. The energy in the room was still glowing.
Then when it was just the NLOWE staff left, I learned why the days before this event were not chaotic and why the event was flawless – the NLOWE girls do not tire! With direction from Kristy, we undid what we had done just hours before. Within an hour, all of the décor and award supplies were taken down and neatly packed away, ready for next year!
Congratulations to the NLOWE Award winners as well as all of the nominees. In fact, congratulations to all of our entrepreneurs…you all are truly amazing.
Terilyn Anthony is a Start-up Business Advisor with NLOWE
Terilyn can be reached at email@example.com