With the Lady Boss Awards Ceremony happening today (February 23, 2017), a moment is taken to pay honor to all the nominees who have through service and commitment been selected for one or more of the four category awards at the event. The Businesswoman of the Year; Woman Entrepreneur of the Year; Woman Community Activist of The Year; and Woman Sponsor of the Year celebrate women who are in all sense of the word Lady Bosses with their humble and grace throughout all life’s obstacles has brought them to the top of their careers.
These twelve deserving women have been nominated in each category as follows:
- Business Woman of the Year :
- Victoria Morgan
She is the CEO of Finistra Canada Inc. and an educated lawyer and business writer for SMJ Magazine. She has a BA from York University, Bachelor of Laws from Coventry University and Masters of Laws from University of Southern California.
“I have always been driven to achieve academically from an early age growing up with grandparents who placed high value on education and entrepreneurship. As such, this fueled my passion of becoming a lawyer and being an entrepreneur.” – Victoria Morgan.
She has worked with many other firms such as Citizens Advice Bureau and Davies Bagambire and Associates. She is working on a project known as ‘Brighter Minds Youth Initiative’, a non-profit to empower Jamaicans through education, resources, scholarships and entrepreneurship. She is also a proud mother of three sons.
Her Facebook handle is: @VictoriaAMorgan
- Tamar Huggins
“Canadian Superhero,” “Entrepreneur of the Year” and one of the “Top Black Women to Watch” are a few titles awarded to Huggins throughout her career. The serial entrepreneur founded DRIVEN Accelerator Group, a non-profit which strives to improve the status of marginalized persons through technology and also Tech Spark a design and tech school for inner-city youth. Other projects under her belt included Knexxion Communications Group and The CEO Project. She has worked for H&M, Nike Canada and Cadbury Adams. Huggins holds advanced diplomas in Creative Advertising from Centennial College and in Public Relations from Humber College. She is an amazing wife, mother of one and very involved in her Christian community.
Her Instagram handle is: @tamarhuggins
- Woman Entrepreneur of the Year:
- Andria Thompson
“All women are uniquely beautiful. We are Queens with an eternal crown.” – Andria Thompson.
She is an ambassador, consultant, educator, activist, global coordinator of the Black Women Honor’s and the Empowerment Queen’s Program, founder of “UR Woman Ministries” and host and reporter at Gospel Faith TV. The UR Woman Ministries is a ministry which promotes the confidence, positive body image, and self-love in all women. She has become a master of time as she also identifies as being an author, entrepreneur and business woman.
- Natasha Morris
“I am a hard-working, determined individual who refuses to quit despite the many setbacks that I face including my ongoing battle with Sickle Cell Anemia” – Natasha Morris.
Warrior, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and mother, everything has been indeed a journey for Natasha Morris who has been faced with one of life’s challenges. Regardless, she is a steadfast and determined woman who works as an Assistant Manager providing support for eighty lawyers and legal assistants in her line of work. She is a graduate of Centennial College and possesses a diploma in Paralegal studies. She is the founder of Gift’d By Natasha, a gift concierge boutique which offers personal shopping, event consulting and customized gifts for purchase. Through her business, she has delivered swag bags for conferences, fundraisers, concerts, workshops, events. She has worked with CurvyExpo, United Way, City Moguls, House of Levi, Federal Health Campaign, Embrace Woman Service, Toronto International Film Festival, Blake Miller Counselling and AYCE Employment, to name a few.
She also educates persons on becoming aware of sickle cell anemia throughout her community and is an active member of the New Life Covenant Centre and speaker with the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario, Sickle Cell Association, TAIBU Community Health Centre and Camp Jumoke. She strives to help those who struggle with any illnesses that maim them and to provide hope and guidance to achieving the dreams of others through her motivation to accomplish success.
“We should not be content with someone else’s definition of who we are or allow our circumstances to dictate who we can become” – Natasha Morris.
- Tamara Carter
Tamara has been an accomplished stylist and makeup artist with over twenty years of experience in the beauty industry which has afforded her opportunities to travel across the world teaching her skill through workshops and trade events.
She went to York University to attain her communications degree and Bruno’s School of Hair Design for the expertise she honed in styling. She owns and operates a successful franchise in Hamilton and Brampton, Ontario where she founded Ne Plus Ultra International Beauty Academy, her training center, as well as her line of eyelashes and hair extensions. She is the spearhead of the non-profit organization where she promotes women empowerment and entrepreneurship. She has worked with the likes of Little X, Noble Jones and top music producers and TV personnel. She has her own TV show being produced to showcase women in business, fashion and finance.
- Woman Community Activist of the Year:
- Vanessa Wheatle
It is extremely admirable to know that you give your life to God based on the firm belief that he has a plan for you and wishes to use you as a vessel to perform his duties here on Earth. Pastor Vanessa Wheatle believes that her life was orchestrated by God and has journeyed through trials and has emerged triumphant.
In 2010 she founded a group known as “Neighbourhood Swat”, who strives to touch the hearts of residents who are victims of teen pregnancy, bullying, violence, poverty, and experience self-esteem issues, in her neighbourhood. She also founded “Victorious Works Ministries” which aids in feeding the homeless alongside her team and volunteer any way she can. She finds joy in volunteering her time, talent and treasure and through God’s many gifts that he has bestowed on her, reaches out to members of her community and the society through breaking the socio-economic barriers. She is dedicated to meeting the needs of others across the world as she is host to her own online show which keeps viewers up to date with entertainment and news around the city. She has also partnered with many organizations which provide services for shelters, penitentiaries, nursing homes and so on.
She has an EP released called “Butterfly” in 2014 comprising of three songs, including Thank You Lord and You’re the One. She launched her sweet perfume oil line called “Confidence”, “Butterfly”, “Purity” and “Paradise”.
2015 marked the year that she was awarded for her fifteen years of service for evangelization of persons in penitentiaries.
“No life is beyond the reach of God’s power, and envisions a future in which countless prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families, are restored, redeemed, and reconciled through the love and truth of Jesus Christ.” – Pastor Vanessa Wheatle.
In the spring of the same year Pastor Vanessa graduated from the Greater Works Bible Program and was selected as the class Valedictorian, after which she became an ordained Pastor. She sings at various events and functions for world leaders and politicians while pastoring in her church in Mississauga, Ontario; she started in 2016. She was also awarded for her accomplishments over the years as CIBWE’s ‘100 Women to Watch In Canada’.
Pastor Vanessa balances her work, business, school, music career, evangelization and motherhood. She indeed leaves a legacy for her children as they share the life-changing ministry alongside their phenomenal mother.
“My desire is to impact people with my voice and preach around the world and impart what God has given me to develop influential leaders for tomorrow.” – Pastor Vanessa Wheatle.
- Tanya Marie Macleod
Tanya often goes above and beyond her call of duty, not only in her career but being a forty-four year old mother of seven, experience comes with age like a fine bottle of wine. She loves to portray her passion in various tasks; you cannot find her confined to one organization but she is the foundation on which many newcomers look for when migrating to Canada as well as women in abusive relationships and mentoring youth. She has partnered with various initiatives and helped with fundraising projects, like the Fund for Haiti. She has also volunteered at Shiloh Christian Institute where she received the Mother of the Year and Volunteer Award in 2010 and from her home she offers weekly Bible studies to children. She has truly dedicated her life to selflessness.
- Nicole Barham
“Just because you see me, it doesn’t mean you know me. Just because you know my name, it doesn’t mean you know my story.” – DLMP est. 2008
CEO and Founder of “Don’t Label Me Project”, Nicole has birthed the movement through labels placed on her as a teenage mother where she felt isolated and the pangs of loneliness in a judging society. However, she pushed through the barriers and overcame all hindrances through determination and graduated from high school and college with honours. She was also able to become a Child and Youth Worker, mentor to youth and certified coach. Nicole is a graphic artist and successful entrepreneur. In 2016, she relaunched her project and gave youth the opportunity to be transformed through a series of workshops, motivational speakers, one on one mentoring and community outreach. She then partnered with Woodgreen Community Services and gifted the youth with twenty-five Kwanzaa packages.
Nicole’s testimonies do not go unnoticed as she sees her story in the youths that she helps which in turn helped her realize that they needed encouragement and support to cope with their barriers and issues.
She is a single and remarkable mother to three beautiful and successful children.
- Woman Sponsor of the Year:
- Marsha V. Watson-O’mara
A wife, mother, gift-giver and owner and creative consultant of “Divine Greetings and Gifts”. This home based business is based in Toronto and debuted in 2002 through the passion Marsha had for gift-giving while working in the corporate world.
“What makes Divine Greetings & Gifts unique is that we take the time to survey our clients to find out their needs, likes and personality of the individual who will be receiving our baskets. All of our baskets are made with love and pure and positive heart and it exudes in the design of each baskets we create.” – Marsha Watson-O’mara.
She wanted to change the way persons received gifts, which often meant getting thoughtless, generic looking baskets during seasonal holidays and occasions. With that in mind, Marsha began creating baskets with more consideration as to the recipient’s personality and with more goodies that they could actually show appreciation for having received. These persons were noticeably happier and gave her encouragement to design and customize more baskets for family members and co-workers.
However, in 2010 when she was getting a handle on balancing her life and her passions, her son became ill, then she had to operate on her heart and lung which resulted in her halt from all forms of work for several years. This allowed her to put more focus on her family and faith and she encouraged herself by the positive affirmation over her life, her family and her passion, which was creating baskets.
- Bianca Knight
“We may not have started this marathon of life well [but] by the grace of God we can and will finish well.” – Bianca Knight
Raised in a single mother household in Rexdale, Bianca has learnt that in order to be victorious she has been given resilience, which gives her the opportunity every day to prove to the world that she is indeed a force to be reckoned with. She has many traits which makes her outstanding – her sense of style, her meticulous work ethic, her smile, her unwavering faith and determination. Her challenges has not gotten the best of her just yet as she rose above her obstacles and was resolute to put her mark on the world; and that she did.
Bianca is an advocate for both children and youth and she helps them excel and rise to the occasion and command their destinies through the resources and support over the years. She also lends her helping hand to women, especially those in need, of recent years.
“My ultimate goal while working with individuals and their families is to help encourage and equip them with the essential tools they need in order to live abundant, purposeful lives.” – Bianca Knight
By Alexandra Daley