On April 13th, the Calgary Influential Women in Business (CIWB) Awards will be presented to six outstanding professionals recognized for supporting diverse leadership across the city. While their roles are all vastly different, each demonstrates a passion for elevating those around them by broadening representation at the table.
Professional Services Award presented by Nutrien – Sippy Chhina, Partner, Director and Vice Chair Deloitte Canada LLP
With over 23 years of leadership experience, including nine years in various management and operational roles, Sippy is currently partner, director and vice chair at Deloitte Canada LLP. Sippy also serves as a vice chair of the Board of Deloitte, overseeing matters related to the company’s enterprise risk framework, strategy, related risks, and measurement KPIs.
“Winning the CIWB award is an incredible honour. It’s a recognition of my hard work and dedication to my profession. I feel seen and appreciated, and this award is the cherry on top of my rewarding career. To other women in business, I would say pause and reflect regularly on your journey. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo as you are strong, smart and worthy. Always remember that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”
In the next phase of her career, Sippy wants to give back to her community by helping Calgary-based entrepreneurs achieve their goals. “I want to be their ‘wing person’ and support them in actualizing their ideas.”
Large Enterprise Award presented by RBC – Kelly Schmitt, Chief Executive Officer, Benevity Inc.
Kelly Schmitt is the CEO of Benevity, which provides corporate purpose software for community investment and engagement solutions.
With over 20 years of experience in growth company finance and operations, she was recently named an AACSB Influential Leader for her impact in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI&B).
“It’s humbling to be honoured alongside such a great group of leaders. But this award isn’t just for me, it’s for Benevity – a company where over 50 per cent of our team is women, including at the executive level. This is an example of what we can achieve when we really walk the talk on DEI&B.”
DEI&B in the workplace is important to Kelly. “If companies are serious about DEI&B, they need to hire CFOs who are six months pregnant (as happened to me), promote women who are on parental leave and pay bonuses to men who share the parental leave with their partners. There is much more than just setting targets and focusing on recruiting – it’s about modeling the behaviours that are needed to drive real societal change.”
Social Enterprise Award presented by PwC Canada – Andrea Robertson, President and Chief Executive Officer, STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service)
Andrea Robertson is president and chief executive officer of STARS, a role she has held for the past 12 years. She and her team have a singular focus – to deliver critical care to the most vulnerable and sick people, wherever and whenever needed.
In 2014, Andrea was named a Top 100 winner of the Women’s Executive Network Canada’s Most Powerful Women. In 2022, she was honoured with the Distinguished Business Leader Award.
“Being recognized as an influential business leader is a tremendous honour, but the recognition really belongs to the incredible team at STARS. I have been fortunate to be a part of the life saving care they provide every day across this province and Western Canada.”
The power of building connections is also important to Andrea. “Calgary is filled with awe-inspiring leaders. So, knock on doors, and stay connected. In a community and province with such a wealth of highly skilled and experienced business leaders, we are all well-served when we support each other. The greatest leaders I know are the most curious – there is so much to learn from one another!”
Male Champion Award presented by CIBC – Mark Brown, General Manager, Fluor Canada
Mark Brown began his career with Fluor in 1999 as a construction engineer. Since that time, he has held various leadership roles in project management, business development and corporate portfolios in North America, Europe and Asia. In 2017, he was appointed General Manager of Fluor Canada.
On being recognized in the Male Champion category, Mark says, “We have such incredible talent and accomplished individuals in this city who are helping to shape our industry and drive much needed growth. I believe it’s important to recognize and acknowledge the individuals behind that. I’m humbled to be recognized as a male champion, however, I believe the real value behind the Calgary Influential Women in Business Awards is the demonstration of diversity in leadership across this city and shining a spotlight on the professional excellence of women in Calgary.”
“As a male champion, I’m honoured to share the stage and learn from such intelligent, accomplished and community-minded female leaders who are making significant contributions to the success of the industry and our great city.”
Small/Medium Enterprise Award presented by TC Energy – Manjit Minhas, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Minhas Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries
A born and raised Calgarian, Manjit Minhas is a petroleum engineering student turned beer baroness and Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. At age 19, Manjit co-founded Minhas Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries, making it the first successful company to enter the Canadian beer industry in decades. Her products are sold in five provinces, 47 states throughout the US and 16 other countries.
Manjit says being a Calgary Influential Women in Business awards recipient is impactful. “As an influential Calgary businesswoman, being recognized for this award is meaningful because it empowers other women to feel that they too can accomplish great things. Passion, dedication and drive are all factors that have contributed to my personal success. I hope to inspire others, especially women, to succeed.”
Her advice to other women is to dream big, work hard and never give up. “When there are setbacks in life, look at them as opportunities and learning moments, and just keep moving forward. Look to others to help support your goals – there is power in mentorship and following past leaders.”
Lifetime Achievement Award presented by TD Bank Group – Sue Riddell Rose, President and Chief Executive Officer of Perpetual Energy and Rubellite Energy
A leader in Alberta’s energy industry, Sue Riddell Rose is President and CEO of Perpetual Energy Inc. and Rubellite Energy Inc., Director of both Secure Energy Services and AltaLink L.P., Governor of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), and Member of the Business Council of Alberta.
She highlights the important work that Axis Connects does: inspiring women to dig in and stay the course in their careers. “We go through some pretty busy times in our lives, and sometimes it’s tempting to say ‘I’ll put this on hold and come back to this later.’ But when you see other women who have dug in and come through to the other side, a lot can be accomplished by that.”
Flexibility, she believes, is key. “A challenge in every profession is when women have families and elevate to a whole new level of busy,” she says. “I call it the eye of the storm, and it lasts for about 15 years. So it’s really important to figure out a way to provide flexibility for women, yes, but for everyone, to continue to grow in their careers while managing the many things that are important in their lives.”