Thank you for your nominations. Join us on November 19th as we award our winners at the 6th Annual Black and White Gala. You can get your tickets to participate in The Unstoppable Ball—either virtually or in person—here.
These awards were created to honour individuals and companies that have played a special role in driving economic growth in the LGBT+ community.
This year’s nominees can be found under each category below.
Nominees for 2021 Business Leader of the Year
The Business Leader of the Year award celebrates an individual in business who has made a significant contribution to the LGBT+ community in Canada. The contribution may be through business or volunteer activities with a corporation, educational institution, association, or non-profit agency.
Shawn is the Associate Vice President of External Communications at BDC. He is a passionate advocate for the LGBT+ community, both at work and in his personal life. His continuous efforts have led to BDC becoming a more inclusive and accessible place for employees and entrepreneurs.
As Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Community Affairs at TELUS, Patrick Barron’s dedication to supporting LGBT+ policies and initiatives has inspired and engaged over 100,000 employees. He leads by example, elevating the level of equality, acceptance, and diversity, and advocating for BIPOC and LGBT+ communities, and those with disabilities.
As the founder and President of PrideSITN, as well as several other progressive organizations, Jamie advocates for LGBT+ safe spaces and education. She aims to create a discrimination-free Canada by providing the necessary supports and resources, and by supporting and uplifting Canadian businesses that share this vision.
As Director, Inclusion and Diversity for Teck Resources, Jackie demonstrates outstanding leadership for the LGBT+ community, leading the first-ever global Inclusion and Engagement Survey in Teck Resources’ 100+ year history, and acting as the driving force behind Teck’s Pride campaign, and Pride Employee Resource group.
Nominees for 2021 Corporation of the Year
The Corporation of the Year award acknowledges a Corporation that is a recognized leader in Canada that enhances LGBT+ Business and supports the LGBT+ community through commitment, activities and visibility.
TELUS believes that honouring the diversity of their team, customers, and communities leads us to new perspectives, strengthening our ability to connect, and creating remarkable outcomes for Canadians. With six TELUS Resource Groups achieving over 7,000 memberships, plus a Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board, TELUS is creating a workplace where their team feels a strong sense of belonging. Their goal is to have their team members reflect the community where they live, work, and serve.
TD Bank Group
At BDC, diversity, equity, and inclusion are an integral part of their business strategy and company values. Continually launching activities and events—both internally and externally—with the goal of sparking dialogue, storytelling, and awareness of LGBT+ issues, BDC has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers a total of 10 times.
Nominees for 2021 LGBT+ Business of the Year
The LGBT+ Business of the Year award celebrates a business that is owned, operated, and controlled by an LGBT+ individual(s) that has made a significant contribution to the LGBT+ community in Canada.
Nuts for Cheese
Nuts for Cheese—founded by CEO Margaret Coons—is Canada’s market leader in artisan plant-based dairy manufacturing. Beginning as a farmer’s market pop-up, their five delicious varieties of nut-based cheeses were picked up by major retail banners across Canada and the US, including Whole Foods, Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro, Farm Boy, and thousands of independent retailers.
In 2010, CEO Sylvie Ouellette and Rana Khartabil founded Versatil—an IT solutions and services company which helps clients turn data into meaningful insights to inform impactful, evidence-based business decisions. Versatil has achieved significant growth by providing innovative solutions in cyber security, AI, and cloud space.
At just 26 years old, CEO Michael DeLorenzi led the merger of Inspiratica Inc. with Atmos Marketing Group Inc. in 2015. This formed Northern Commerce, Canada’s only full-service digital agency, further expanding in 2020 with the acquisition of Digital Echidna. This groundbreaking partnership solidified London Ontario as a technology leader in sophisticated digital solutions.
Nominees for 2021 LGBT+ Business Advocate of the Year
The LGBT+ Business Advocate of the Year award recognizes an individual who has been a significant advocate and champion for LGBT+ businesses and entrepreneurs. The award is given to an individual who has used their leadership, platform, influence or position to advance the overall mission of improving LGBT+ inclusion in Canada’s economy.
From podcasts to articles and programming, Lauren has always advocated for the LGBT+ community, ensuring representation wherever possible, in her work and at Startup Canada. Through her work and contributions, she not only brought tremendous growth to the Startup Canada Podcast Network, but she has also introduced more diverse representation and perspectives into the content. With an average of 700–900 listens per episode, Lauren is successfully amplifying the voices of the LGBT+ community.
At work, Jefferson’s holistic approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion incorporates intersectionality and consciousness of homophobia, racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia, and more. In leading Breakfast Culture, Jefferson has done phenomenal work advocating for LGBT+ organizations and the HIV/AIDS sector.
As the founder of Four Peaks Business Development Ltd., and a proud gay Metis man, Gregory decided that the communities his company would serve would be both Indigenous and LGBT+. His first of many contributions to the Canadian LGBT+ community was the launch of Unity in Uniform—a grassroots event whose purpose was to create unity and opportunity between the LGBT+ community and the Calgary Police Service.
Destination Northern Ontario
Destination Northern Ontario (DNO), under the leadership of Executive Director David MacLachlan and with the help of his staff and LGBT+ Product Development Team of industry experts, set a goal to enhance Northern Ontario’s status as an LGBT+-inclusive destination. DNO uses its platform, leadership, and product development efforts to advance the overall mission of improving LGBT+ inclusion in the region, creating a powerful tourism economy.
Brian supports innovative LGBT+-owned firms to develop and deliver programs for the Ontario Public Sector, providing diverse-owned businesses the opportunities to show their work and have visibility among other OPS HR leaders. He continues to support the growth and development of LGBT+ individuals inside his team by providing remote training on emotional skills and mental health at work, well-being, diversity, and inclusion.
Nominees for 2021 Young LGBT+ Entrepreneur of the Year
The Young LGBT+ Entrepreneur of the Year award recognizes outstanding achievement by an LGBT+ young entrepreneur. The award is given to an individual that best exemplifies the qualities of effective leadership and innovative thinking, demonstrates potential for growth, shows a high level of social, cultural, and environmental awareness, and has demonstrated commitment to both the LGBT+ community and the broader community.
While working as Vice President of Client Experience at MindSea, Taylor recognized an opportunity to offer a subscription-based turnkey automated configure/price/quote (CPQ) system that could easily integrate with customers’ existing e-commerce platforms. From this idea, Taylor and MindSea’s CEO Bill Wilson co-founded SalesRight in 2018, delivering an online CPQ experience that’s on-par or better than those of larger firms.
As the founder and chief sommelier of In Wines We Trust—Ontario’s only female and queer-led wine concierge business—Stephanie recognized an opportunity to grow a customer base and create engagement through online events during the global pandemic. Her commitment to giving back, protecting the environment, and supporting marginalized wine producers makes her stand out among an industry dominated by cisgendered men.
Patrick is a Two-Spirit Ojibway artist, designer, entrepreneur, and CEO, hosting creative workshops and speaking engagements, and creating paintings, digital illustrations, murals, and more. Patrick has worked with some of Canada’s largest organizations, and has seen global sales increase exponentially. Throughout, he is committed to making a positive future for his people.
Before opening his first location in Parkdale, Craig used Facebook to start selling his chocolate chip cookies—a treasured family recipe—and delivered them on his bike. His tenacity paid off, striking a deal with William Sonoma to begin an in-store pop up. Since 2018, he has opened three store locations in the Greater Toronto Area.