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WIB FINALISTS: Visionary

Monday, February 24, 2020

Women in Business Finalists - Visionary Category

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.


Debbie DeCaire, Nandieco Inc.

Starting out in the banking world, Debbie soon felt the effects of the glass ceiling. After various efforts to advance did not achieve the expected results, she realized that her best option would be transitioning into an owner role. This would place the full weight of risks and responsibility on her shoulders, but would also allow her reap both the rewards and failures of her own efforts. Upon making the change to ownership, Debbie quickly found that learning to lead herself was one task, but learning to lead others was better, and focusing on teaching leaders empowered her team to make things happen, with success as the natural result.


Barb Richards, A Touch of Class Auctions

In the late 1970's, Barb was helping individuals leaving the correctional system and developing programs at Georgian College for women entering or returning to the work force, and training for non-traditional occupations. In 1986, she became one of the very first female auctioneers in Canada, in a largely male-dominated industry that still hasn’t changed much. Since establishing her business, Barb has helped thousands of people through often challenging times, a move, downsizing, settling an estate, etc. She is not afraid of technology, and thinks about the future in a creative and imaginative way. With a positive energy and enthusiasm, Barb is a supporter of women, sharing her insights with compassion.





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