"I now declare the nominations for the Quota Women of the Year Awards open."

With that, Quotarian Melanie Sorensen officially kicked off the Women of the Year Awards season at the Credit Union Community Room Tuesday morning. The public was invited out to enjoy coffee and doughnuts while also hearing the stories of women who have won awards in the past.

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This year's Awards Luncheon, which takes place in April, will feature four awards and guest speaker Andrea Robertson, CEO of STARS Air Ambulance.

"Our speaker this year is Andrea Robertson and we are extremely excited about her coming and she is going to be telling her personal story at our awards luncheon," said Quotarian Joanne Bannatyne-Cugnet. "She started as a nurse, she eventually went to Harvard and now this woman is in charge of STARS in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. she's in charge of procuring helicopters, working with government, working with various organizations because fundraising is always ongoing. She has the maintenance crews, she has the hangars, the facilities, she has to deal with trauma teams. All this is under the umbrella that Andrea has to look after and she is an inspiration to all people, men and women, as to the job she does and I just know she is going to do a great job for us at the awards luncheon as well."

Ahead of the Luncheon, up to March 8th, people can nominate a woman for one, or all, of the four award categories; The Weyburn Credit Union Workplace Excellence Award, The Access Communications Exceptional Entrepreneur Award, The Hoffman, Michel & Associates IG Private Wealth Management Young Woman of Distinction Award, and the M. Isabelle Butters Quota International of Weyburn Community Service Award.

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"It's my privilege to have my name on the Quota International of Weyburn service award. It's a privilege for me to be able to represent the organization," said Isabelle Butters at the kick-off. "I was here 65 years ago when Quota International of Weyburn was chartered in April of 1954. Can you imagine the service that has taken place in that 65 years by the members of Quota? They've been involved in many, many activities, made many, many donations to people who needed help and to functions in the community and it's been a very important organization as far as this city of Weyburn and area are concerned."

During the kick-off, Weyburn Credit Union presented the Quota club with $5,000 and pledge continuing support as presenting sponsors.

"I'd like to announce on behalf of the Weyburn Credit Union that the Credit Union has signed on to be the presenting sponsor for the next five years for the Weyburn Women of the Year Awards," said Tana Torkelson, VP of marketing for WCU. "We try to do three things in the community. We try to help our members improve their lives by achieving their financial well being, we try to help our employees shine the brightest, and we help to build a strong and vibrant community. We're just so happy to partner with this organization that really inspires other women to be better, brighter, and stronger in our community and celebrate those achievements."

Nomination forms can be found online at Discover Weyburn and hard copies are available throughout the city. Joanne Bannatyne-Cugnet noted that the nominations are what make the entire event possible.

"We all know women that we admire. Those who are volunteering in our community, we see them every day and sometimes we take them for granted. This is an event that actually recognizes their contributions and celebrates what women do to make Weyburn a great place to live," said Bannatyne-Cugnet. "Those nominations go forward to our judges, individuals picked from our community. It's a very tough job but they have to work off of what the nominations present so it is important that it is done well. The better job you do, the easier it is for them to make their choices."

The nominees will be presented in March at the annual Nominee's Tea, which Bannatyne-Cugnet noted as one of her favourite events.

"All the women have their bios read and presented and I've actually been brought to tears hearing what some of the women in our community have done and I didn't know that, I didn't know this, about them. And it's allowed me to admire my neighbours, the people I see at the grocery store, and to know what they are doing and I celebrate that and I'm very happy that Quota is involved in putting on this event."

Tickets to the luncheon will be available following the Nominee's Tea on March 24. Nominations are due March 8.

Nomination forms can be found HERE.

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