The annual BMO Celebrating Women event held in Vancouver on Thursday, 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 their contributions in one of three categories: Innovation and Global Growth, Community and Charitable Giving, and Expansion and Growth in Small Business.

The following honourees were recognized:

  • Innovation and Global Growth: Shannon Rogers

Shannon Rogers is the President and General Counsel for Global Relay, a leading technology services company providing cloud-based compliance messaging and message management. In her role, Ms. Rogers oversees business development and heads up all legal, corporate and regulatory compliance issues for the company and its 23,000 financial customers around the globe. Ms. Rogers has received previous recognition for her work, including the Canadian General Counsel Award for Business Achievement; and ‘Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year’. Ms. Rogers was named ‘#1 Female Entrepreneur in Canada’ three times, and ‘Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women’ twice.

  • Community and Charitable Giving: Jacqui Cohen

Jacqui Cohen is the President and CEO of Army & Navy, Canada’s original discount department store and the founder of Face the World Foundation. The Vancouver-based charity, established in 1991, provides funding to a variety of charitable organizations, primarily those that help the marginalized. Since its inception, Face the World has raised more than $18 million to help organizations that support children, victims of domestic violence, the elderly, and the homeless. This past June, over 240 local business, community and social leaders attended the 28th Face the World Gala, raising more than $700,000.

  • Expansion & Growth in Small Business: Dionne Laslo-Baker

Dionne Laslo-Baker is the founder and owner of DeeBee’s Organics, a corporation that manufactures natural tea-based treats. As a medical scientist with a PhD in maternal fetal toxicology from the University of Toronto, Ms. Laslo-Baker garnered international attention for her doctoral thesis on the effects of exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy. She also studied the effects of chemicals and toxins on child development. Inspired by her children, DeeBee’s Organics product line includes frozen treats made with tea. ‘FruitPops’ is the first certified non-GMO, organic, vegan, tea-based treat that is also gluten-, dairy- and soy-free. DeeBee’s Organics can be found in more than 2,000 stores across North America.

  • Expansion & Growth in Small Business: Jing Wen

Jing Wen is the Owner of Columbia Academy Inc., a private high school in Vancouver. During her years spent working at various private independent schools, Ms. Wen cultivated her passion for helping students succeed. Despite facing a saturated market, in 2015 she ventured out to start her own private school. With a student-centric approach, the Columbia Academy has grown to welcome more than 150 students in three years. It has created a nurturing learning environment for students from around the world providing a successful base to prepare students to gain admission to top universities worldwide.

“It is with great pleasure that we recognize the work of these inspiring entrepreneurs who have demonstrated the importance of connecting our communities through their businesses,” said Michael Bonner, Senior Vice President, British Columbia & Yukon, BMO Financial Group. “We are delighted to honour these women through this important initiative. All of us at BMO are committed to developing programs that support and celebrate the advancement of women in communities nationwide.”