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The Canadian Women Entrepreneur Industry Gala Recap | "Ascend"

Thank you to everyone who joined us in Toronto on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, which marked the second Annual Canadian Women Entrepreneur (CWE) Industry Gala.

Together, we celebrated Canada's leading companies by spotlighting their influential programs and initiatives during the awards show, enjoyed live entertainment, witnessed an inspiring founders pitch #totalmompitch and connected hundreds of women entrepreneurs with powerful introductions to grow and scale their businesses.

For the second year, we united even more industry leaders and mission-driven brands with creators and media to further amplify the collective vision of a more inclusive future.

Our mission was to merge technology, music, art, and community experiences to drive a narrative about creating better representation and opportunities for women.

This year’s theme was Ascend: Elevating the Industry To New Heights; Taking Culture into the Future. The theme was incorporated throughout the decor, the visuals and the language on stage. Further, Ascend was a behind-the-scenes way of being so that everyone who was a part of the gala, from staff to volunteers, were embodying this idea of elevating others. Their ripple effect is the #CWEmagic we want to provide each year. 

The theme encapsulates the essence of empowerment, symbolizing rising together, reaching new heights, and embracing the futuristic notion of elevating culture during these confusing times.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion events should not have to feel so rigid. They can be a celebration and calling for togetherness, something we feel we accomplished with this event. Everyone is a unique piece of the puzzle, and that's why my vision was not only to celebrate the companies that are taking action but also to create opportunities for the founders. Many events celebrate women entrepreneurs, but what these women need is to be seen, heard, invested in and paid. This program levels the playing field by bringing everyone together, and we happily share our attendee list because we don’t agree with gatekeeping. The program is about supporting the collective industry in accomplishing their goals, so we take pride in being a super-connector.”-Anna Sinclair, founder of the CWE industry network and gala.

The incredible visuals and video interludes co-produced by Anna Sinclair and Theta Realms signified merging the realms of space connectivity and beyond—all centred around a more inclusive and empowered future!

The two-day experience featured a series of micro-events, which created space for our partners, sponsors, and attendees to access business development opportunities through connections, showcase campaign launches and company celebrations, run branded activations, sample products, and participate in educational programming rich in inclusion. 

The Spring Fling Media & Influencer Preview was this year’s exciting addition to the Canadian Women Entrepreneur (CWE) Industry Gala! It brought together 120 media professionals and influencers for a perfectly sunny afternoon filled with fashion, beauty, lifestyle products, and springtime magic. The room buzzed throughout the day with entrepreneurs, brands, media, and Canadian influencers merging their love of self-care, lifestyle, fashion, and beauty. #ootd #skincaretrends #beautymusthaves

Shout out to our official Red Carpet correspondent Lisa Kisber, for interviewing award winners, vendors and notable influencers.

The funds raised went to inviting key community representatives and leaders, diverse women entrepreneurs, and underrepresented founders at no cost, in keeping with our mission of #sittingmorewomenathetable.

Additionally, sponsorships supported 150 women in CPG and tech who were invited to a Self-Made CEO Women in CPG and Tech breakfast the following morning to meet their dream brands, access panel discussions, and network ( See more here).

As we continue to build an ecosystem where every womxn has a seat at the table, let us support one another by opening up our arms to others with opportunity…a gift that changes lives. In a world where womxn are truly underfunded…representation matters, introductions matter, connections matter. Together, we can elevate and inspire the next generation of leaders!

Red Carpet Experience

The red carpet reception was filled with Canada's top executives, influential businesswomen, creators, and media in one place, united by a common mission! Lisa Kisber was the magnificent host of this year’s red carpet (aka purple carpet)! A special thank you to Lisa for making our guests feel confident and welcome! 

Business & Bottles Networking Reception sponsored by Total Mom Inc

This year’s Business & Bottles was transformed into a magical experience. There were activations from incredible brands, special photo moments, and even a surprise 8 ft tall robot with lasers and CO2 cannons 😲

Featured activations & Gifting included:

A Night of Unforgettable Moments

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our amazing host and MC, Nkechi Nwafor-Robinson, for creating an inspiring and impactful atmosphere for the 2nd year in a row. Nkechi's energy, authenticity, and passion set the perfect tone for the impact we are driving! Anna Sinclair, Founder & CEO of Total Mom Inc, the presenting sponsor of the gala, followed with opening remarks that shared her journey from humble beginnings & hardships as a child to the remarkable successes she has achieved today as an award-winning entrepreneur, angel investor, and advocate for DEI. 

Our amazing event planning and decor team of Summer Filippopoulos, founder of EVENTive Planning, Tania Pollack Event Design, transformed the Rebel Toronto space into something no one could have imagined! 

Oliver & Bonacini Catering was incredible to work with to ensure our staff had delicious meals throughout the day at the CWE Cafe and provided a first-class dining experience for Gala guests! Special thank you to Chloe Carruthers from O&B, who was incredible to work with for the entire experience 🙂

Nothing transforms a space quite like florals! Anastasiia and her team from Hand & Heart added the final touches to the event with their incredible floral arrangements on the tables and throughout the venue! Stay tuned for an incredible interview.

Champagne Walls GTA  for helping us celebrate in style, and  Chair-man Mills for sponsoring a table and helping us make the best of our furniture order!

And now for our incredible partners who took the photo moments and digital experiences to elevated heights! 

Foot Traffic - with our digital displays and the amazing 6ft 3D Cube! 

Magnetic Staffing + Photobooth - as our continued staffing and photo booth partner! 

Marquee Marc - take a look at the incredible Total Mom neon letters and the pop art that was displayed during the Breakfast & Bottles networking reception! 

Track Avenue - with lighting and the epic moon swing

The Beauty Lounge: Elevating Glamour at the Gala

This year, we introduced the Beauty Lounge to elevate the experience for our gala award winners and special guests. The Beauty Lounge provided a luxurious pampering session with professional hair and makeup services.

Thanks to the Glamic beauty app, guests could conveniently book time slots for their hair and makeup sessions. We were thrilled to collaborate with talented makeup artists from Canadian Beauty College, who worked their magic to beautify our guests, along with exceptional hair services from Glamic vendors.

Once guests were fully styled and dressed in elegant attire, Portraits On White offered special headshots, capturing their stunning looks. Adding to the elegance, Morange, our official fashion partner, showcased a beautiful display of dresses and gowns and provided a breathtaking gown for the on-stage award handler.

The Beauty Lounge was a fabulous addition, ensuring everyone felt like a star on this memorable night.

Special Performance: A Night to Remember with Dragonette

We were honoured to have the iconic Dragonette perform live onstage as our surprise performer! Her electrifying performance took the evening to the next level, featuring confetti blasts and CO2 cannons that added an extra layer of excitement and spectacle. Look at these photos to see the energy and magic she brought to the night!

Photographer credits: @maitilson

Celebrating CWE Winners

The CWE Gala was a platform to honour the outstanding achievements of individuals and organizations dedicated to empowering women. The winners, twelve remarkable companies selected by the Google committee, were recognized for their unwavering commitment to gender equality and exceptional societal contributions.

Their passion, innovation, and resilience have shattered barriers and will continue to inspire others to take action. Let us celebrate their triumphs and draw inspiration from their extraordinary journeys.

Community Women's Health & Wellbeing

click here for acceptance speeches and red-carpet interviews

  • Benefit Cosmetics Canada

  • GreenShield

  • Canadian Women's Foundation

  • United Way BC

Empowering Women in Business

click here  for acceptance speeches and red-carpet interviews

  • Achev

  • DMZ

  • FACE Coalition

  • Visa Canada

Gender Equality in the Workplace

click here  for acceptance speeches and red-carpet interviews

  • Canadian Tire Corporation

  • Walmart Canada

  • Sanofi Canada

  • Empowered EDI

click here  for acceptance speeches and red-carpet interviews

  • Sephora Canada

  • Ontario Power Generation Inc

  • CBC/Radio-Canada

Creating Young Changemakers

click here  for acceptance speeches and red-carpet interviews

  • Canada Post

  • MLSE

  • Actua

Canada's Total Mom Pitch Presented by Intuit QuickBooks: Empowering Mom Entrepreneurs

One of the highlights of the evening was Canada's Total Mom Pitch, presented by Intuit QuickBooks and powered by Bell. Four founders pitched their businesses to esteemed judges!

Sonia Magnat was the fabulous host of Canada’s Total Mom Pitch segment, where the Top 4 Pitch finalists took to the stage, showcasing their innovative business ideas and captivating the audience with passion and determination. After much anticipation, a winner emerged, Miki Telebi from oomé!!

Her victory is a testament to mom entrepreneurs' extraordinary talent and resilience!

Congratulations to the other Pitch Finalists who rocked the stage! 

You can find all the details on the Pitch Blog.