• This was so well written and worth re-posting here.
    Thanks to Roxanne Hooper of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times

    Vicki McLeod Crowned Business Leader of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce

    Vicki McLeod has worked with, and for, various levels of government, many of the community’s non-profit organizations, and countless small businesses in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows during the past several decades.

    And in the last 20 years, she has shared her range of talents as a business coach, marketing expert, social media guru, and community cheerleader from the helm of a business she and her husband, Ian, share – Main Street Communications.

    It was all those years of dedication to this community and all that she has given on a personal and corporate basis that earned McLeod a special distinction Saturday night.

    McLeod was crowned business leader of the year by the Chamber of Commerce Serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

    Still a little shocked by the win, McLeod took her glass award out of its protective box again – just a few minutes after being presented the trophy and a lengthy ovation – to read the engraved wording and verify that it did – in fact – bare her name.

    She actually never expected to win, McLeod said, noting she’d been nominated for at least three chamber awards in past, as well as provincial and national small business accolades – but she’d never won.

    “I’ve had my fair share of nominations – how does it go ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” she chuckled.

    But that all changed Saturday night.

    Vicki McLeod was crowned business leader of the year by the Chamber of Commerce Serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, giving an appreciative peck on the check to her husband Ian. – Roxanne Hooper/TIMES

    McLeod beat out two other shortlisted nominees for the business leadership award, one of them being her own natural health practitioner Dr. Cobi Slater, the other being Fred Formosa – the owner of Falcon Homes and a developer who McLeod described as a Maple Ridge institution.

    “What makes this award even more of an honour is that it is for the person, not the business. So, it means I’m recognized by the community as a person… who is valued by your peers for having made a real difference in our community. Wow!”

    McLeod hopes that by receiving this award on the weekend, her story will serve as an inspiration to other small local business operators to keep going and to persevere.

    Sharing with the sold-out crowd of 200 people, McLeod said she feels fortunate to be acknowledged for doing what she loves.

    Her recipe for life, she told the crowd, is to “do what you love, with people that you love, and in a place that you love… if you have all that going for you, how could life be anything but incredible.”

    In addition to the business leader award presented Saturday night, the chamber also bestowed other excellence awards.

    Honeyland Canada was crowned the 2014 agri-business of the year, Simplified Business Solutions given accolades as the home business of the year, Maple Ridge Towing was acknowledged as the small business (1-20 employees) of the year, Meadowridge School was crowned small business (21+ employees), Alouette Addiction Services was given the non-profit organization of the year award, and Lorraine Bates and Tom Cameron – of the Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society and the agricultural association’s Country Fest – each received a 2014 community spirit award.

    “One of the key actions of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce is to support and promote local businesses,” said Andrea Madden, the chamber’s executive director.

    “This evening’s celebration is a prime example recognizing those businesses and leaders’ whose greatest achievements have made a significant impact in our community,” she added.

    “They have a reputation for excellence and have demonstrated themselves to be leaders in their fields through their successful business strategies and community spirit,” Madden said, acknowledging the winners and nominees alike.

    “Each finalist is distinguished in their own field,” she said.

    Chamber president Terry Becker was also impressed by the calibre of nominees this year.

    “All were deserving” she said of the nominees, explaining why there were no surprises for her when each of the winners was revealed in an Oscar-style announcement.

    She hopes to make the nominee luncheon an ongoing feature of the chamber’s annual business excellence awards, noting that it gives the community more opportunities to recognize each of the town’s best businesses for their “outstanding” commitment and their contributions to both Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.

    Looking around the room as guests emptied out after the awards presentations, Becker concluded: “It’s nice to see a function like this that can draw over 200 people to celebrate the small businesses that give so much to the community in time, treasure, and talent.”

    • Stay tuned to The TIMES online edition for more from Saturday’s business excellence awards night.

    Vicki McLeod