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2020 Women in Business Winners!!

Thursday, March 05, 2020

The Barrie Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the winners for the 2020 Women in Business Awards, presented by BMO with support from Grant Thornton, Allstate Insurance, CIBC, Downtown Barrie Business Association, Georgian College, and Invest Barrie. The awards were presented to a sold-out room at Liberty North during the 3rd Annual Women in Business Awards Luncheon – just in time for International Women’s Day on March 8th.


For the person who best exemplifies the intrapreneurial spirit - a true passion for leadership from within the company, rising through the ranks, and pushing themselves and their coworkers to achieve big goals. The intrapreneur will have a demonstrated record of business excellence through innovation in product or service, organizational growth and profit record, customer service, management and coaching, and overall positive returns to the local economy and community.

Danielle Lazarevska, Sandbox Centre

It is no small task to take on someone else's vision and bring it to life. Danielle was brought into the Sandbox Centre because of her intrapreneurial spirit and her passion for leadership. As the Managing Director of this startup, she is continually pushing her team forward into the unknown. She often draws on her prior business success to keep the ship pointed in the right direction, and has been responsible for not only achieving organizational growth but in determining the success factors that will keep them moving forward.


Designed to recognize an individual in our community who is under the age of 30 and already making their mark in the Barrie area. Their individual achievements may be recognized through business success, community involvement, and/or contributions to the not-for-profit sector. We look for compelling stories that highlight business and community leadership.

Arlinda Demiri, Scholarly Elite Tutoring

After tutoring students in a variety of subjects, Arlinda recognized that there were major issues with the academic curriculum that could be mitigated to help students achieve their full potential with the proper instruction. With this in mind, she founded Scholarly Elite Tutoring in 2016 as a social enterprise, instilling the core principles of kindness and the growth mindset into program creation, and creating evidence-based programs designed to help students reduce stress and gain success in both the academic and personal spheres. Her business has grown to 100 tutors across the province.


For the woman in trade who has broken barriers in their field and excelled to new levels. This person's skills and dedication to what they do shines through and makes them someone to admire for their passion for the industry, and their unwillingness to give up. She may be an owner, operator, or employee, but must be a tradesperson.

Karen Zinn, Multi Tech Audio Visual Inc.

In her former workplace, Karen was their 1st female tow motor operator, 1st female - tool and die lathe operator, 1st female Line change-over technician, and their youngest and 1st female Line Supervisor. Not content with those achievements, Karen decided she wanted to build a sustainable local business where she could work together with her husband. Over the course of 4 years, Karen has built the company that allows her to live that dream. Along the way, she opened a 2nd company, supported the development of many local technicians, and has made it a priority to give back to her community.


For the person who best exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit – a true passion for building something great from nothing and pushing themselves to the limits to achieve big goals. The entrepreneur will have a demonstrated record of business excellence through innovation in product or service, organized growth and profit record, customer service, job creation and employee development, market served, and overall positive returns to the local economy and community.

Amy Ford,

Launching a business with only a laptop and a camera as start-up capital is not the ideal situation, but Amy and her husband believed in what they were working towards, and took a leap of faith. 6 years later, they have a team of 25, and have outgrown their office space twice! Amy uses the administrative tools she gained from her background in Legal Assisting and Paralegal studies to keep the company flowing and growing. She coordinates EVERYTHING - without her, there would be no fancy TV appearances, no brand or marketing strategy, no monthly budget, and no dinner on the table!


For the woman in business who is putting her heart and soul into our community; she is volunteering, donating, and lending a helping hand, all the while encouraging others to do the same. She is the first to step forward when a charity or non-profit needs something, and is often the last to step away from the efforts. As an owner or manager, she is leading her team in supporting our community and those who need assistance.

Shelly Skinner, Shelly Skinner Events, Event Management and Consulting

Dedication to the cause – whichever cause or organization Shelly is volunteering with, she's 110 percent dedicated and it shows in everything she does. This passion is reflected in the quality and quantity of collaborations, partnerships and sponsorships she attracts to any organization she volunteers with. She also uses her public stage to help build character in local business by promoting positive community partners and community events. Shelly embodies the community values that connect us as people, bring us closer together and encourage us to support each other.


For the person that has brought an outstanding vision to life, whether they created a brand new entity, or refreshed and strengthened an existing organization. This person's efforts have positively affected the Barrie community, and they are always going above and beyond to strive for business excellence. Through realizing their vision, this person has provided opportunities for others for employment, growth, charitable donations, etc.

Claudine Cousins, Empower Simcoe

With over 25 years of leadership experience with various Ministries within the Ontario Public Service and the not-for profit and profit sectors, Claudine was a natural choice to take the reigns as CEO of Empower Simcoe in 2018. Since that time, she has: initiated and completed the rebranding of the agency; ignited the Strategic Planning process, involving all employees; implemented assessment and evaluation tools; implemented employee-led committees; and refreshed and strengthened the agency as a whole. Through these efforts and more, she has gained the trust of employees and created a vision for the agency that everyone can work towards.

Bell Invest Barrie TD Canada Trust Barriston Law LLP Ontario Chamber of Commerce Canadian Chamber of Commerce Chamber Executives of Ontario