The third annual BMO Celebrating Women event in Saskatoon honoured four women for their remarkable contributions to business and the community.

The program honours female leaders in local communities as part of BMO’s commitment to drive the advancement of women and recognizes contributions in one of three categories: Trailblazers & Innovators; Community & Charitable Giving; and Expansion & Growth in Business.

The following honourees were recognized:

Trailblazers & Innovators: Devon Fiddler. Challenging several realities frequently faced by Indigenous women including racism, family violence and incarceration, Ms. Fiddler created a fashion lifestyle brand that inspires thousands of Indigenous women. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Saskatchewan, she landed her first professional experience as a business development coordinator with the Meadow Lake Tribal Council. While helping Indigenous entrepreneurs, she was inspired to start SheNative Goods Inc., in 2014. The brand offers authentic leather goods, apparel and accessories and serves as a platform for Indigenous women to share their stories, convey cultural teachings and inspire hope for positive change. She also created The Red Purse Collection, in reverence with The REDress Project, honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada (MMIWG). In addition to shedding light on the issue, 15 per cent of collection profits go toward charities providing support and services for Indigenous women escaping domestic violence and for other empowerment programs.

Community & Charitable Giving: Linda Shaw and Robin Sasko. Both mother and daughter are co-chairs of The Silver Spoon Dinner, founded in 1991. The dinner, co-hosted with sponsors Saskatoon Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW) and Congregation Agudas Israel, provides an elegant evening of luxury and entertainment in support of local charitable causes including the Saskatoon Interval House and Ronald McDonald House Saskatchewan. The event draws local volunteers and hundreds of prizes donated to the beneficiaries of the event. Under Ms. Shaw and Ms. Sasko’s leadership, the event has raised funds for organizations supporting the advancement of childcare, education, healthcare and women’s issues.

Expansion & Growth in Business: Danielle Robson. Initially planning to pursue a career in law, Ms. Robson’s course shifted after working at a Tim Hortons franchise owned by her friend’s father. Recognizing Ms. Robson’s potential, her friend’s father encouraged her to apply for her own franchise. With the support of her family, Ms. Robson owned her first Tim Horton’s franchise in Saskatoon in June 2003. Four years later, she opened her second store and from 2009 to 2011, she opened three additional franchise locations. Currently, Ms. Robson owns 10 Tim Hortons franchise locations, and employs over 300 people.

“Through their personal commitment and hard work, this influential group of leaders has inspired and encouraged their industry peers and communities to support the advancement of women across Saskatchewan,” said Marcia Lemon, Vice-President of Business Banking (Saskatoon), BMO Bank of Montreal. “Recognizing strength in diversity, BMO is honored to celebrate these community and business champions for their efforts in raising the profile of women in every industry. These dedicated initiatives are core to the Bank’s purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in Business and Life and our commitment to support women entrepreneurs.”