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Businesswoman of the Year Awards Gala celebrates the success of Ottawa women

BYA dinner fêtes 12 finalists, announces four winners for top awards.

The WBN Businesswoman of the Year Awards Gala was full of hugs, tears of joy and expressed gratitude as it honoured 12 Ottawa women for their entrepreneurial and professional achievements.

The glitzy black-tie dinner and awards ceremony, presented by BMO, was held Thursday at the Infinity Convention Centre. It attracted more than 350 attendees — the largest crowd ever for the BYAs.

By the end of the night, four of the dozen finalists — an employee recruitment specialist, a lawyer, a cancer care fundraiser and an interior designer — came away with a coveted Businesswoman of the Year Award.

“It’s just amazing to see how many more women are involved in business today,” Shirley Westeinde, who won the award 21 years ago, told during the cocktail reception.

The award winners were: Donna Baker (Keynote Group) in the emerging entrepreneur category, Cathy Hay (Hay Design) in the established entrepreneur category, Linda Eagen (Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation) in the organization category, and Karen Hennessey (Gowling WLG) in the professional category.

“Wow!” uttered Hay, president and founder of commercial interior design firm Hay Design, in amazement as she accepted her award on stage. “As entrepreneurs, we don’t need much recognition but, man, it feels good.”

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