Lisa Craik, former publisher of The News, was named Business Leader of the Year. (The News files)
The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Business Excellence Awards on Saturday evening, honouring standout individuals and organizations in a virtual gala.
The Business Leader of the Year is Lisa Craik, the former publisher of the of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows News, and former publisher and managing editor of Bijou Lifestyle Magazine.
After winning numerous awards and accolades in the publishing industry, Craik has taken her talents to real estate, where she now serves as director of operations, marketing and realtor relations for Re/Max Lifestyles Realty.
“Lisa has been a leader in all areas of her life for the past decade,” wrote the Chamber in announcing her honour. “She sits on boards, fundraises, donates, participates, attends events and is an integral person within our community.”
Her former colleagues from Black Press were excited for Craik’s recognition.
“On behalf of myself, the Maple Ridge News and Black Press I would like to congratulate Lisa on receiving this wonderful award, and we thank her for all the work she has done for our community while at the Maple Ridge News,” said group publisher Lisa Farquharson.
“I met Lisa 19 years ago when we quickly bonded at Black Press conferences over our love of good music and our competitive nature. Lisa’s passion for working with and helping businesses and organizations in Maple Ridge always showed in her connection with the community.”
Craik expressed her appreciation on Sunday morning in social media.
“A big thank you to whoever nominated me for a Business Excellence Award. To say I was humbled by that is an understatement… to have won Business Leader of the Year Award last night … well I have no words,” she wrote.
“I was in great company with the final nominees, you all inspire me! It was a very special moment in my career to have been recognized by my peers, and that includes the wonderful team I had the privilege of leading for many years at The News.”
Craik’s volunteer work in Maple Ridge included seven years as a board member on the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation, where she served a year as chair of the group’s annual gala. She was also a director of marketing for the 2020 BC Summer Games.
Community Spirit of the Year: Paul Gurm – RBC, Hospital Foundation Board, South Asian Cultural Society
Judges felt like Gurm has made a big impact within the community. As busy as a person he is, he still manages to sit on a couple of different boards and help fundraise and bring large amounts of money to special causes within the community.
Non-Profit Organization of the Year: Friends in Need Food Bank
The Food Bank played a key role for families last year who were hardest hit during the pandemic. They always have and will continue to keep our community fed with a smile on their face.
Under 40 Professional of the Year: Matteo Signorelli – Air Rec Center
Judges were impressed with how much success Signorelli has received at his young age, operating his indoor bike and skate park. Creating the idea for such a unique space while he was in high school, and being able to grow it into the popular place that it has become, has been no easy feat.
Small Business of the Year: Westgate Flower Garden
The love that Westgate Flower Garden has for our community is shown through their constant donations, time, and happiness. You can always count on Sandra Taylor for a smile when the going gets tough.
Medium Business of the Year: Maple Ridge Towing
Maple Ridge Towing has been a staple in our community for many years. Their transition to new ownership right when COVID-19 hit could have been a challenge for many, but they tackled it with grace and courage and have remained the same family-owned business that we all know and love.
Large Business of the Year: Naturally Splendid
Judges were impressed with their ability to navigate COVID-19, and respected how they chose to overcome the struggles that they were faced with. They also were intrigued by all their new and innovative ideas, as well as the passion they have for what they are doing.
The annual awards event was taken online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and chamber executive director Flori Chaykowski said she regretted the chamber couldn’t bring its membership together. Still, there was much impressive business acumen to recognize.
“I was amazed by the ability of businesses to adapt to COVID,” she said. “There were a few who stood out because of their ability to adapt during exceptional times.
“It’s great to have a couple of hours of celebrating our businesses, and how they’ve been able to shine during these challenges.”