A city like Surrey, which is fast-growing, diverse and in a constant state of change, needs good leaders.
Last week’s recognition of some of these leaders, through the Surrey Now-Leader’s Community Leader Awards and the Surrey Board of Trade’s Business Excellence Awards, is an important step in helping Surrey residents to get a better sense of the work many are undertaking. The goal of all of these leaders, businesses and community, is to make Surrey a better place as it continues to grow, and one day takes its place as B.C.’s largest city.
At the top of the CLA list is longtime Surrey Board of Education trustee Laurae McNally, who has served for more than 30 years on the board. On Tuesday (Nov. 12), she was named Leader of the Year and also won the Above and Beyond award. She has, from her very start as a trustee, pushed hard for there to be enough space for Surrey’s ever-growing school population, insisted on the very best leadership of the school district and connected with thousands of students – including one who came up to her at the awards ceremony and thanked her for visiting her school. She will be stepping away from the board at the end of her latest term. That will mark 38 years as a trustee.
Also getting recognition twice was Anita Huberman, longtime CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. She was runner-up in the Leader of the Year category and winner in the Community Builder category. She is a relentless champion of not only Surrey’s business community, but of many other aspects of community life.
Charan Sethi, president of the Tien Sher Group of Companies, was named Surrey’s Business Person of the Year at the BEA event last Wednesday (Nov. 13). In addition to a wide range of activity in the development industry, he has been instrumental in ensuring that the history of Whalley is recognized through an historic district, and that arts and culture play an important role in Surrey’s growth.
One of the great things about both series of awards is the recognition given to young leaders. The BEA Award for young entrepreneur went to Hassib Sarwari of Afghan Kitchen in South Surrey. New business of the year went to Arcade Party Truck, owned by Hari Gill. His mobile video-arcade business, a fixture at many major events in Surrey, is committed to employing youth from all over Surrey.
At the CLA event, 23-year-old Shawna Narayan was named youth volunteer of the year. She began the charity Empower the Future to connect inner-city students with post-secondary students in 2016. Runner-up was Fraser Heights Secondary student Fawzan Hussain, who has volunteered in numerous capacities.
Rochelle Prasad, 20, was runner-up in the Community Builder category. She has started a non-profit called Camp We Foundation, which provides “life education” to Grades 3-12 students, providing information on such diverse topics as entrepreneurship, doing taxes and climate change.
All these leaders are making Surrey, and the broader world, a better place. Thanks to all of them, and all the other winners at both awards events, for their significant contributions.
Frank Bucholtz writes Wednesdays for Peace Arch News, as well as at frankbucholtz.blogspot.ca