A school principal, academic and advertising manager were among the women honoured as pioneers at the Businesswoman’s Association’s (BWA) Investec Regional Business Achiever Awards gala on Thursday night.
Held at the Boardwalk Hotel, the event brought recognition to the 18 finalists over six categories, including professional, corporate, government, social entrepreneurs, emerging entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs.
The winners of the evening were BE Conference Centre owner Melissa Palmer (emerging entrepreneur), SPAR advertising manager Roseann Shadrach (corporate), Missionvale Care Centre’s Linda van Oudheusden (social entrepreneur), Nelson Mandela University’s Dr Buyiswa Hlangothi (government), Port Elizabeth Montessori principal Sam Streak (professional) and Noleen Acton of Kowie Toyota (entrepreneur).
Palmer, who worked as a receptionist at BE before taking over the company in 2014, said the award was “validating”.
“It shows all the hard work I’ve put in to grow the business is being recognised at a prestigious event,” said Palmer. “Over the last four years I’ve learned you can’t do everything by yourself, but with the right person helping you, anything can happen.”
Streak has been the owner and principal of the Montessori school in Walmer for 24 years.
“This award is an acknowledgement of the level of professionalism we aim to uphold every day,” said Streak.
Shadrach, who has been advertising manager for SPAR across the Eastern Cape since October and a SPAR employee for 11 years, dedicated the award to her late husband.
“It’s both an honour and a privilege to receive this auspicious award,” said Shadrach. “I’m truly humbled as my fellow nominees within the corporate category were as deserving.”
BWA Port Elizabeth chairwoman Heather Dutton congratulated the winners in the six categories.
“We are exceptionally proud of all the finalists,” said Dutton. “It has been an honour walking this road with you. You can be incredibly proud of what you have achieved – shine and enjoy this time!”
Social entrepreneur Wendy Luhabe, who was the event’s guest speaker, encouraged the women in attendance to be bold. “We can’t pursue our light if we’re preoccupied with what the world thinks of us,” said Luhabe. “Fear is a crippling disease that dislocates us from our purpose in the world.
“We are here to honour women who have let their light shine. We need role models, pathfinders and pioneers to show us the way.”