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Join us and host, 2018 Strive Female of the Year recipient, Karen Lefave, for a night of celebration as we recognize the Top 20 young professionals under 40 in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma.

Event Schedule

6 00 pm
Guest Check-in & Cocktail Lounge
6 45 pm
Opening Remarks
7 00 pm
Dinner & Awards Ceremony
9 30 pm
AVA After-Party feat. Masi Entertainment
10 pm
Pizza Buffet
11 pm
Door Prize Draw

Dinner provided by Grand Gardens North will include:

Chicken Pastina Soup

Cheese Ravioli

House Salad

Asparagus Stuffed Chicken

Roast Porketta

Roasted Potatoes

Grilled Mixed Vegetables

Crepes with Berries and Chocolate Sauce

Complimentary Wine with Dinner 

…and don’t miss the late night pizza buffet!

To ensure the safety of our guests, shuttles will be available throughout the night. 

2019 Algoma Visionary Award Finalists

Congratulations to all of the 2019 Finalists!

Alysia Mitchell
Amanda Lambert
Angela Caputo
Ashley Daybutch-Bell
Ashlyn McMillan-Cordoso
Ashlyn Wardlaw
Brent Friyia
Chandal Sutherland
Connie Carello
Derek Jackson
Diana Petainen
Gary Trembinski
Jamie Franklin
Jane McGoldrick
Jason Naccarato
Jillian Sauerzopf
Josh Ingram
Josh Ingribelli
Julia Piskiewicz
Katie Blunt

Katie Elliot
Katrina Francella
Kevin Koprash
Kevin Rusnell
Kourtney Greco
Kristina Koprash
Kurtis McDermid
Lindsey Ackland
Matt Lance
Megan Scott
Miranda Bouchard
Natasha DeActis
Ryan Creagh
Sandra Holmberg
Sara McCleary
Sarah Hollingsworth
Tyler Onofrio
William Hollingshead

Tickets for the 2019 Algoma Visionary Awards Gala are now available!  Please use the form below!


Interested in supporting Strive? Check out our sponsorship information here!

Congratulations to each of our award recipients.
To learn more about each of the 2018 AVA recipients, follow the links to their bios.

Top 10 Industry Leaders

Arts & Culture
Julia Piskiewicz, Sault Ste. Marie Museum

Business Administration
Luke Stilin, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation

Michael Pratt, BioForest Technologies Inc.

Hospitality & Leisure 
Erinn Esklisson, Starbucks

Science & Technology
Jeff Greco, Cavera Inc.

Micaela Mansfield, Huron Superior Catholic District School Board

Health & Wellness
Jillian Ingribelli, Algoma Public Health

Public Service
Tessa Vecchio, Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie

Sales & Retail
Allison Kantovaara, Superior Nissan

Tyler Rains, S&T Group/Good Sense Group

Awards of Distinction

Community Champion
Katie Blunt, NORDIK Institute

Matthew Shoemaker, Wishart Law Firm LLP

Business/Professional Development Achievement
Angela Caputo, The Breakfast Pig

Civic Pride
Jasmyn Rowley, Village Media

Excellence in Entrepreneurship
Katrina Thibodeau, Discover the Canvas

Striving Star
Brianne Veale, United Way

Strive Game Changer
Robin Sutherland, Thinking Rock Community Arts

Strive Member of the Year
Nelson Grant, Freedom 55

Strive Male Young Professional of the Year
Paul Caputo, PAC Construction

Strive Female Young Professional of the Year
Karen Lefave, Superior Nissan

What is the AVA Gala?

The Algoma Visionary Awards go to young professionals recognized for their incredible efforts to achieve greatness in leadership, community engagement, professional achievement, volunteerism, and mentoring in our community.

The 2nd Annual AVA Gala celebrates the top 20 young professionals (YPs) under 40 in the Algoma region.  Since Strive Young Professional Group’s inception, we have witnessed inspiring people doing incredible things and we want to recognize that!  Any young professional under 40 is eligible for the awards (with the exception of our 4 Strive specific awards).

The 2019 AVA Gala will recognize 20 individuals who have excelled as YPs in Algoma according to the following distinctions:

Community Champion
Awarded to the most dedicated volunteer, activist, and altruist, this young professional donates their time and resources to charitable causes and non-profit initiatives. They lead, guide, and inspire others and are the driving force behind positive change through activism.

Awarded to a well-rounded young professional who most strongly exemplifies characteristics of a great leader, is engaged in their communities, and who mentors others.

Business/Professional Development Achievement
Awarded to the most significant mover and shaker in his/her field, this young professional excels in business and/or their career. This individual’s work is impactful – creating jobs, improving quality of life, drives innovation, and propels advancement.

Civic Pride
Awarded to the young professional who shows the most ‘heart’ for their community through their efforts in community improvement and instilling civic pride in others.

Excellence in Entrepreneurship
Awarded to an entrepreneur who has demonstrated determination, resilience and growth throughout their entrepreneurial journey.

Striving Star
Awarded to a dynamic up-and-comer under the age of 30. Someone who demonstrates huge potential; this is one to watch!

Strive Game Changer (Member Exclusive)
Awarded to a STRIVER who is a real game changer; disrupter; someone who is unafraid to challenge the norm. This young professional is making waves by doing things differently.

Strive Member of the Year (Member Exclusive)
This Striver has not only been a dedicated member attending many events throughout the year, they are also a true representation of the vision and mission of Strive as an organization.

Strive Male Young Professional of the Year (Member Exclusive)
The Strive Male Young Professional of the Year Award recognizes an exceptional young man who successfully demonstrates excellence in their field in addition to maintaining a positive contribution and commitment to the community.

Strive Female Young Professional of the Year (Member Exclusive)
The Strive Male Young Professional of the Year Award recognizes an exceptional young woman who successfully demonstrates excellence in their field in addition to maintaining a positive contribution and commitment to the community.

The Top 10
10 AVA Awards will also be presented to young professionals (YP) who have excelled in their field.  Candidates demonstrate excellence in all aspects of their jobs, including but not limited to leadership, initiative, innovation, growth, mentoring, dedication, and volunteerism.  The Top 10 industries include:

Arts & Culture Awarded to a YP who displays creativity, imagination, and passion as they excel in the delivery of their artistic expression or cultural influence.

(i.e., Festival planners, entertainers, artists, singers, dancers, performers, etc.)

Business Administration

Awarded to a YP who leveraged new insights to help increase efficiency, improve processes and enhance operations, resulting in tangible business improvements for their organization.

(i.e., Accountant, Lawyer, Analyst, Banker, Operations Specialist, Marketing Specialist, Strategy Consultant, Office Managers, Assistants etc.)

Consumer & Retail

Awarded to the best in their field in Consumer and Retail sales.  The winner will be at the top of their game in their field, consistently achieving high results and always looking to improve their skills in sales, negotiations, and customer satisfaction.

(i.e., Real Estate agents, Big Box retail, Car Sales, Insurance Policy Sales etc)

Environmental & Natural Resources

Awarded to a YP who excels in physical and natural environmental awareness and advocacy who demonstrates excellence in their approach to managing, improving and educating others on resource management and environmental due diligence.

(i.e., Field Technicians, Environmental or Natural Resource Engineers, Consultants, Entrepreneurs, Project Managers, Researchers, Geologists, etc.)

Health Sciences

Awarded to a Striver who excels in a medical discipline demonstrating acquired knowledge in their practical or applied science field to diagnose, treat and prevent mental, physical and social disease, disorder and injury.

(i.e., Doctors, Medical Technicians, Veterinarians and Technicians, Support Workers, Dentists, Naturopathic Experts, Lab Technicians, Research Analysts, Crisis Counselors, Substance Abuse Counselors, Estheticians, etc.)

Hospitality & Tourism

Awarded to a YP  who displays excellence in customer service, going above and beyond to ensure guest satisfaction and has mastered the art of helping people enjoy themselves when they’re out and about in Sault Ste. Marie. 

(i.e., Restaurant staff, hotel staff, entertainers, tour guides, ambassadors, event planners, festival organizers etc.)

Information Technology

Awarded to a YP who demonstrates leadership in their field, has advanced their career, or created industry change through their contributions and influence using modern technology.  

(i.e., Field Service Technicians, data analysts, system administrators, network engineers, customer support specialists)

Lifestyle & Wellness

Awarded to a Striver who creates awareness and strives to provide attainable results to others and the community through education and support for a healthy and fulfilling life. This person uses dynamic approaches to provide growth opportunities in well-being including spirituality, psychology, and physical wellness, while supporting the individual needs of someone seeking personal improvement.

(i.e., Life Coaches, Fitness Coaches, Lifestyle Instructors or Masters of yoga, reiki, etc.,  Wellness Counsellors, Healthy Living Advocates, Ministers, Spiritual Leaders, etc.)

Public & Social Services

Awarded to a YP who has excelled in their Public sector career, committed to This top 10 award winner is the best of the best when it comes to looking out for the best interests of the city and the people in it.

(i.e., Teachers, Politicians, Police, Fire, Social Workers etc.)

Trades & Labour

Awarded to a Striver who has demonstrated a commitment to safety while applying themselves technically in skilled trades and/or apprenticeships to acquire or support certification and accreditation in their field, and contributes to the development and promotion of skilled trades in the local community.  

(i.e., Technicians and Technologists, Union members in good standing, Red-Seal Tradespeople, Project Managers, Hairstylists etc.)

The Selection Committee will review all entries and select the winners, following our Conflict of Interest Policy.  The Selection Committee will be comprised of representatives from our corporate sponsors. Interested in becoming a sponsor?  Click here!

All selected individuals will be publicly acknowledged at the 2019 Algoma Visionary Awards Gala on January 11, 2018 at The Grand Gardens North.

View the AVA Selection Conflict of Interest Policy