MRVCBA Inaugural Outstanding Women Awards Winners

MRVCBA Inaugural Outstanding Women Awards ceremony honoured four women for their remarkable contributions to business and local communities. The Awards recognize female leaders as part of the Association's commitment to drive the advancement of women by highlighting contributions in four categories. The 2019 Inaugural Outstanding Women Awards recipients are:

Female Entrepreneur of the Year: Diana Yeh

As the founder of Great Mountain Ginseng in 1989, Diana Yeh has grown the business from a family growing operation into the first Chinese owned and operated company to establish a major commercial ginseng agri-business in Ontario and the largest ginseng brand in Canada, with 5 stores in the GTA area and continue to expand in Canada. Diana was able to grow the business to greater heights by introducing new products such as ginseng maple syrup, honey, ice wine and others that help keep their brand fresh and innovative. Over the decades, Diana overcame challenges such as the discrimination she experienced as a minority businesswoman. To balance work and family, Diana takes pride in managing her business while always attending her children’s events and being a part of their lives. Her advice for female entrepreneurs is to start their enterprises and let their actions do the talking. She encourages people not to dwell on their ideas, but rather to make them a reality. She also reminds them that they need to work harder than others in order to be successful.

Outstanding Corporate Management Award: Danna Guo

Danna Guo started working for Nexus Holidays ever since she immigrated to Canada in 2006. She worked her way up from travel consultant to assistant manager, before being promoted to Global COO of the entire Nexus Holidays Group. The Group employs over 400 employees worldwide and serves over 100,000 customers annually. Under Danna’s management, Nexus holidays has opened 7 additional retail branches, resulting in an increase in retail sales from $8MM annually to $30MM. Danna also worked alongside Nexus’ IT team to design a cloud-based ERP system which resulted in an over 30% improvement in efficiency from the sales agents and accountants. As a woman in business, Danna feels that she is more personable and social, which is an advantage in her industry. Danna’s advice for young women is to always keep confident and to never stop seeking to better yourself. She believes strongly that if you have what it takes, sooner or later you will succeed in your goals.

Outstanding Brand Operation Award: Debbie Fung

Currently managing as COO, Debbie Fung co-founded Yoga Tree alongside with her husband Jason Lu in 2007. Back then she was at the age of 24, but her passion for yoga led her to go on a four-month trip to India to get authentic yoga and health training before opening their first studio. By 2011, Yoga Tree ventured into downtown Toronto, including their existing 10,000 square foot flagship studio. This year, Yoga Tree is slotted to open their sixth studio at the heart of Yorkville. Yoga Tree’s success comes in courtesy of Debbie’s ability to build a strong brand reputation and to attract clients from different walks of life. Yoga Tree has established a strong digital presence and utilizes it to engage with clients and grow their network organically. Debbie’s advice to female entrepreneurs is to pursue what they want to do and to persist despite hurdles. She reminds them that great ideas require great execution, and that many of the hurdles come from your own internal fear.

Outstanding Community Service Award: Kam Lo

Kam has been a director at Hong Fook Mental Health Foundation since 2005 and has been actively involved in fund raising efforts of the organization. Since 2015, she is the Chair of the Foundation leading a board of 10 directors to continue to expand. Under the leadership of Kam, fund raising results has improved close to 150%. Kam also serves as a mentor at University of Toronto and at CPAC, an organization helping internationally trained professionals in gaining recognition and career advancement in Canada. Kam is the recipient of the 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award. Her advice to other women is to make time for themselves and take initiative to ask for help when needed. She encourages young professionals to give back to their community. They may consider sitting on a board and run the charity like business. Lead by example and show others what you’ve done in order to make a difference in the world.

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