It’s no secret that Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to many strong, independent businesses led by committed community leaders.
And the delivery of the Women in Business Awards last Friday honored some of them: NOTL women who are the driving force behind several successful institutions in the city.
In fact, NOTL women won top honors in four of 12 categories at awards sponsored by the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.
Rima Boles of the Niagara Pumphouse Center for the Arts, Catherine O’Donnell of Willow Cakes and Pastries, Stephanie Reis of Ferox Winery, and Melissa Marotta-Paolicelli and Angela Marotta of Two Sisters Vineyards shared their gratitude and pride in winning a Women in Entrepreneurship award. .
In addition, several women from the NOTL area were finalists for the awards, including Madison Vine of Andrew Peller Ltd. and Sarah Kaufman of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum.
Niagara Pumphouse Center for the Arts
“I was humbled and speechless when they announced I had won,” Pumphouse director Rima Boles said afterwards.
“Still, it took me a while to figure it out.”
She was nominated for her outstanding leadership in the arts as the director of Pumphouse for the past eight years.
For Boles, one of the most rewarding aspects was the public recognition of Pumphouse’s role in the community and shining a light on the role of visual arts in the community.
“I am delighted that Pumphouse has been recognized for all the work we do in the community,” she said.
“I love Niagara-on-the-Lake and all the great work that the people do here is being represented.”
Willow cakes and pies
Catherine O’Donnell is one of those women who does a great job in the city.
Founder of Willow Cakes and Pastries and a pastry professor at Niagara College, O’Donnell actively shares her passion for baking with the community every day.
“When I won, I was very surprised because I don’t win anything!” O’Donnell said.
Over the years, she has been nominated for numerous awards but has rarely won, she said.
Needless to say, she was grateful and proud to be recognized for her hard work in the baking arts.
“I think (I was nominated) because even during the pandemic, we were still able to do things to give back to the community, especially our community because we have an amazing one,” O’Donnell said.
Among other things, his shop is famous for the Canada Day cake that he produces every year for the July 1 festivities.
“The Willow is what it is because of all the amazing people who work here, from our retail staff to our support staff, and being the director of such an amazing business, I think people see my core beliefs and values come through. include in everything. ”
O’Donnell expressed her immense gratitude to the mystery person who nominated her for the award and for the incredible ceremony itself.
“I was the only girl in my class when I went to college 42 years ago. The evolution is wonderful to see.”
She was unable to make it to the awards ceremony, but Stephanie Reis of Ferox Winery called from Florida to share her excitement with The Lake Report.
“I was in the company of many great candidates from different types of businesses and backgrounds, so I was very honored to win,” she said.
Reis, who has a background in sports and event marketing, believes she was nominated for all of her behind-the-scenes work at Ferox.
“Our brand, Ferox, are my husband’s wines and I think many people assume that it is all his because he is the visible face. But I deal with a lot of background stuff.”
“In our business, it’s not just about making great wine. It’s also making sure we deliver products to our customers and we have to tell our story,” he said.
“My husband makes it a little easier for me because it turns out he makes really good wine.”
Reis thanked RBC’s Kristen Wakani, who nominated her for the award, as well as all those who have supported Ferox in its evolution as a company.
“We started in 2015 with three barrels and now we are producing 7,000 cases not even 10 years later.”
Two Sisters Vineyards
Two Sisters Vineyards is no stranger to awards, being named the “Best Performing Small Winery of the Year in Canada” for 2018.
But the sisters and co-owners, Melissa Marotta-Paolicelli and Angela Marotta, were honored to win the Women in Business Award.
“We were nominated by Minerva Ward, who is the president of the NOTL Chamber of Commerce, someone we have come to know very well,” said Melissa.
“She has been doing amazing things for our city and businesses. It was an honor to be nominated by her for this particular award.”
The sisters were recognized for their dedication to charitable causes, including Gillian’s Place in St. Catharines and Sick Kids.
“We will continue to support all of the charities we are currently committed to, specifically Gillian’s Place and Sick Kids Hospital, as both places hold a special place in our hearts,” said Melissa.
“Although it was an honor to receive this award, we are not looking for any recognition,” he said.
“The very idea that we can positively impact the lives of those around us is enough and we will continue to do so with charities and organizations that are important to us as a family.”
The siblings also expressed their gratitude to the Two Sisters team.
“We are very proud to say that we have the most incredible staff. Without their dedication and hard work, we would not be where we are today and we would not be able to give back.”