Blog > AWF's 18th Annual PEAK Awards News Release

AWF's 18th Annual PEAK Awards News Release

by Brooke Morris, June 19, 2015

Sold out PEAK Awards celebrate excellence in Vancouver's finance industry

Association of Women in Finance raises highest-ever scholarship funding for women entering the field of finance

VANCOUVER, May 20, 2015 /CNW/ - More than four hundred guests joined the Association of Women in Finance (AWF) on May 13 to honour the achievements of five outstanding individuals at the 18th Annual PEAK Awards.

Tickets to the event were sold out. "We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for this year's awards," said Julia Yan, AWF President. "It tells us that the passion the AWF has for recognizing the leadership and accomplishments of women in our field is shared by many in Vancouver's finance community."

The PEAK Awards celebrated two firsts in 2015: the inaugural presentation of an award in the newly-created Champion category, and the first male honouree in its history.

"Honouring John Montalbano of RBC as our first male honouree in the Champion category is particularly noteworthy for the AWF as it emphasizes the importance of everyone's contribution in bringing us closer to fulfilling our mission," said Yan.

CTV news anchor Norma Reid was emcee for the gala, which was held at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel. Reid presided over a celebration of honourees in five categories:

  • Lifetime Achievement: Joanne Gassman - Senior Vice President, Women's Market, BMO Bank of Montreal
  • Excellence in the Private Sector: Kathy Butler - Managing Director and Head, Wholesale Banking - British Columbia, CIBC
  • Excellence in the Public Sector: Cathy McLay - CFO, Translink
  • Rising Star: Lana Kirk – Partner, PwC
  • Champion: John Montalbano - Vice-Chairman, RBC Global Asset Management

This year's PEAK Awards Presenting Partner was once again HSBC Bank Canada. Joining HSBC were McMillan LLP, Vancity, CNW Group/Vintage Filings, CI Investments and EY as Honouring Partners.

"We were privileged to have such an incredible group of partners join us again this year," said Erica McGuinness, PEAK Chair. "They are vital to the success of PEAK, and we thank them, along with all of our other sponsors, for their generous support."

Following the awards presentation to this year's honourees was a keynote by Mark Bowden, world-renowned body language expert: Signals for Success: Winning at Boardroom Communication. Bowden guided the audience through simple, yet powerful communication techniques to help them gain an advantage—beyond words—when they communicate.

The PEAK Awards are an important opportunity for the AWF to fundraise for its scholarship fund, sponsored by RBC Dominion Securities. This year, more than $35,000 was raised through the generous donations of audience members, every dollar of which will go toward scholarships for deserving young women looking to complete their education as the first step toward a successful career in finance.

Planning is already underway for the 19th edition of PEAK, to be held in the spring of 2016. To be first to hear about details for this and other AWF events, including the Real Estate Forum on June 16, follow us via Twitter or connect with us on LinkedIn.

About the Association of women in Finance (AWF)
Formed in 1996, the AWF is a group of finance professionals dedicated to supporting the advancement of women in finance. We are executives, bankers, lawyers, accountants, investment professionals, actuaries, venture capitalists, insurers and entrepreneurs, in both private and public practice and across a wide range of industries.

The AWF's mission is three-fold:

  • To encourage the entry, advancement, development, involvement and impact of women in the finance industry;
  • To provide a forum for the discussion of issues relevant to women in finance and a place in which to exchange business knowledge, ideas and opinions; and
  • To promote networking and business development for all finance professionals.

We strive to achieve that mission by:

  • Recognizing women in finance who have achieved excellence through our Annual PEAK Awards;
  • Encouraging women to enter the finance field through our scholarship program; and
  • Involving, connecting and developing women in the business community through events like our Economic Update, Real Estate forum and Fireside Chats.