Rewarding the Future Leaders of Manitoba

Derek Gagnon

When the idea for the first Future Leaders of Manitoba (FLM) awards night arose, it was welcomed with open arms by members of the Business Council of Manitoba. Members including Hartley Richardson, one of the richest and most influential people in not only Winnipeg, but in Canada as well. It was essential that if the event were to succeed, prominent and influential leaders in the business community attend and support the cause.

The idea was a simple one: find a way to recognize and honour the business and personal contributions of young Manitobans to their community. The awards grew from there.

Kathy Kerr serves as President of FLM, and notes how things have changed from the early days as we approach the latest instalment.

“FLM came to be during a conversation of recent graduates from Manitoban post-secondary schools in 2007. Lesley Hamilton, Andrew Kirk and Jordan Farber have been labelled as the three founders of the organization. They were graduating from their programs in university, and were noticing a lot of grads moving out of the province for opportunities,” said Kathy. “They made the conscious career decision to stay in Manitoba, even if they did have external opportunities. They started to talk about how nice it would be if there were some sort of acknowledgment and recognition for grads who were choosing Manitoba as a place to build their career, contribute to the community through volunteerism and promoting Manitoba as a place to live.”

An annual event in the late days of winter, the awards have evolved as the categorization and requirements have changed.

Sponsorship and nominations are the driving force behind the event, and Kathy acknowledged that nothing would be possible without the generous contributions of the local business community.

At the 2015 awards, the event and reception saw around 500 people attended. The Honourable Philip Lee, Mayor Brian Bowman, the Honourable Kevin Chief and Business Council of Manitoba President and CEO Don Leitch spoke at the event.

Evolution of Reward

The 8th annual Future Leaders of Manitoba Awards are taking place on February 4th. Since the inception of the event, the categories for the awards have changed. The first few years saw an Arts category, as well as Community Service and Business Professional categories. Nominations were from people between the ages of 25 and 39.
In recent years, the age range for applicants has increased to 20 to 39, and instead of professional categories, it is now divided by age groups. There is a 20-25 age group, a 26-32 age group, as well as a 33-39 age group. Nominees must be successful in their professional field, and must be contributors to the community through volunteerism and promoting Manitoba as a place to live, work and thrive.

Kathy says that while winners are named, the goal is really to promote the nominees as a whole, and that naming winners is really about adding some fun and drama to the event.

“The event is focused on the three finalists in each category. It’s a celebration of what they’ve done and their accomplishments. It gives them an opportunity to be recognized for their amazing contributions to the Manitoba community.”

Behind the Scenes

FLM is run entirely by volunteers, with a group of about 12 people putting everything together each year during their spare time. Board members are responsible for the fundraising, recruitment of sponsors, and have recently delved into Alumni Relations to stay in touch with previous winners. They work closely with an event planner throughout the year to ensure that when the big day arrives, everything goes smoothly and it is an enjoyable evening for all.

Get your nominations in

Nominations opened October 15th, with the full criteria available on the Future Leaders of Manitoba website: http://futureleadersofmanitoba.ca/nominations/nominations-criteria/

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