WomAn Exporter of the Year Award
The Woman Exporter of the Year Award honours an outstanding woman entrepreneur who, through her exporting endeavours, is advancing women and the image of Canadian business women in the international community. Please note that OWIT Board Members are not eligible for this award.
2022 Winner: Yvonne Robertson with Sabine Soumare, WEKH
Yvonne has lived in midtown Toronto for over 30 years, where she has grown an international business and raised a family. She is a proud small business owner, Torontonian, mother, community advocate and Conservative.
In 1997, Yvonne began her professional career leading her own company, Matrix Power Services Ltd., distributing specialized electrical products throughout North America.
Her professional commitments grew as she developed other products for her companies and brokered new markets. Sahara & Co, a wellness company, now reaches markets across the world. Robyn’s Cookies is her newest acquisition and managed to keep this local iconic cookie company in Toronto. Her expertise in business and trade have seen her participate in trade missions with provincial and federal governments, advocating for Canada across the world.
She is a passionate advocate for community safety and an experienced businesswoman with fresh, bold ideas to strengthen Canada and Ontario’s economies, to make life better and more prosperous for all Canadians.
Two Winners in 2020: Diane Reko (left) and Janet Stewart (right)
DIANE REKO, REKO INTERNATIONAL
Reko International Group is a diversified, technology-driven, manufacturing company located in Lakeshore, Ontario, specializing in the design, manufacture and deployment of robotic automation solutions. It has had international sales since its establishment in 1976, with sales of over $40 million and exports to the US, Mexico and occasionally other markets.
Their board of directors and management team have a strong complement of women to serve as role models. Diane also inspires as a successful second-generation business leader, and is a premier example of the success that a family businesses can achieve.
Recent panels include the Empire Club on the topic “The Evolution of an Economic Engine – Assessing the State of Canadian Advanced Manufacturing” and the US Commercial Services Women’s Global Trade Empowerment Series as the Canadian representative for the panel on “Women Owned Company Success Stories”.
Diane also participates in local events, where she can raise the profile of women in manufacturing and international trade. Diane Reko is a pillar in the Windsor manufacturing community. She serves as a strong mentor for females in manufacturing and in executive leadership positions.
JANET STEWART, WE LOVE LEARNING
WeLoveLearning Canada designs eLearning solutions for their customers. They take other people’s content, apply their special talents, and design and implement on-line learning strategies across all types of devices.
Having already been in business for almost three decades, and successfully working with Canadian companies from coast to coast, in February 2019, Janet Stewart took her company to the international stage by speaking on The Future of Learning at the LearnFest Caribbean Conference in Jamaica. Since then, WeLoveLearning Canada has secured new clients in Jamaica, the US and Mexico and is working on both UN sponsored projects as well as those being led by the Commonwealth Technology Organization, the Commonwealth Business Women’s Network and the Kenya Diaspora Alliance.
Despite the economic turbulence of 2020, Janet has taken her company’s international sales revenues from $0 to $195,000 in just a 12-month period. WeLoveLearning Canada is WBE Certified, with Janet taking an active role in their international events and conferences. Pre-pandemic (and at her home) Janet organized a series of multi-day retreats for female business owners, sharing her experience about exporting and mentoring new exporters. WeLoveLearning is 100% powered by women and their entire supply-chain and network of contract workers is also 100% female.
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Past Award Winners
2019: Myra Sable, Sable & Rosenfeld
2018: Peng Sang Cau, Transformix Engineering
2017: Shamira Jaffer, Signifi Solutions Inc.2016: Kelli Saunders, Morai Logistics
2015: Kathy Cheng, Redwood Classics
2014: Diana Pitsolis, Spongezz
2012: Sheela Agrawal, Jewels4Ever
2011: Jacqueline Dinsmore, Flapjackkids
2010: Chandra Clarke
2009: Jacqueline Sava
2008: Sabine Schleese and Samantha Kane