The search is on for excellent Whistlerites.
The third annual Whistler Excellence Awards opened for nominations last Wednesday and already the Whistler Chamber of Commerce has seen a flood of entries. “The moment we announced nominations were open we got a good little avalanche of nominations in the first day,” said Val Litwin, CEO at the chamber.
After two instalments, the black tie event has established itself as an important avenue for recognizing outstanding businesses and individuals in the community. “In any community wherever you go, you have people, pillars of the community, leaders, innovators, but when you don’t celebrate them, you don’t crystalize the culture of excellence,” Litwin said. “By coming together and having people stand up and be (recognized) — even to be nominated — you create a culture of excellence in business and community leadership.”
In addition to established categories like Business Person of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Innovative Business of the Year, the chamber added a new category to recognize talent from the under-40 pool. Dubbed the Whistler Chamber Rising Star of the Year Award, nominees must own, manage or show leadership in a Whistler business, as well as excel in their career and be active in the community. “We wanted to add that category because in many ways we are a young community,” Litwin said. “We have incredible young people doing phenomenal things. They might not have reached the level of success of some of the seasoned veterans in the field, but they have already accomplished amazing things and have an impact on the community.”
Other categories include the Service Excellence Awards for both small and large businesses, the Whistler Business and the Arts Award (chosen by the Whistler Arts Council) and Sustainability in Action Business Award. Nominations are open until May 9 with the ceremony to be held in June. Litwin said they hope the long lead time will encourage more Whistlerites to step up and nominate people. “We don’t want people just casually firing off a nomination,” he said. “We want to give people the time to consider who they want to nominate. We want people to be well considered.”
The nomination process has been streamlined this year to make it easier to nominate someone online. The nominees will be notified before the awards, but in true awards ceremony style, they won’t be revealed until the night of the event. “It’s such a unique event in our community,” Litwin said. “So often we think about the natural beauty of our town. We have so much intellectual, innovative creativity and beauty in Whistler. This is one of the times we can honour not just the brawn, but the brain.”
To nominate a candidate visit www.whistlerchamber.com/Events/Whistler-Excellence-Awards.html.