Blog Category: Awards of Excellence

Submit Your Outside Bids

Each year, the Awards of Excellence & Social Gala includes a large silent auction, and live auction. Many local businesses generously contribute to the auction, and even if you are unable to attend, we want to give you the opportunity to submit your bids on some amazing items!

To submit an outside bid, please email your maximum bid to no later than 4 PM on Thursday, October 10th. Please use ‘Auction Bid’ in the email subject line. A proxy bidder will be assigned to submit bids on your behalf up to your maximum bid.


Awards of Excellence & Social Gala Sponsors

The 20th Annual Awards of Excellence & Social Gala is taking place on Thursday, October 10th at Lakefield College School.

Thank you to these businesses for their generous support of this event!


2019 Awards of Excellence Finalists Announced!

We received over 100 nominations for our Awards of Excellence this year! Due to the high number of nominations and caliber of the nominees, there are more than three finalists in some categories.

Award recipients will be announced at our 20th Annual Awards of Excellence & Social Gala on Thursday, October 10th at Lakefield College School. The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails, light hors d’oeuvres and silent auction, followed by a live auction and award presentations. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased here.


2018 Young Professional, Emily Wilkins


Emily Wilkins. Photo by Erin Caitlin Photography.

Congratulations to Emily Wilkins!

Emily Wilkins, Adventure Outfitters was the recipient of our Young Professional award (sponsored by Community Futures Peterborough) at our 19th annual Awards of Excellence.

While not the original game plan, Emily is now part owner of a business that has been a local mainstay for over 30 years. Her duties include selecting and displaying stock, managing staff, and all marketing decisions. Essentially the day-to-day management of the business.

As an ideas person, Emily encouraged the redesign of the retail space, opening it up and making sales areas easier to navigate. E-commerce capability has expanded on the website. While others weren’t sure, Emily felt rental customers would pay for the convenience of delivery and she was right – bookings have doubled each year. With some product manufactured on site, she increased visibility of the ‘made here’ aspect and shares this story by offering factory tours. All have contributed to sales increasing about 20% over last year.

It was a challenge coming in to a well-established business and quickly moving to full responsibility; there was much trial and error learning. While staff management was a steep learning curve, Emily has implemented more effective training methods, adjusted scheduling to better support staff, and put more work into the hiring process to find remarkable people who make all the difference. Emily greatly appreciates the support that she has had from more experienced business people.

Learning how to keep everything afloat in the busy summer months has been very rewarding. Emily now prepares as much as possible in the slower season. Some maturity and documented protocols have also helped her to stay calm when the pace gets hectic.

Emily offers this advice for other young professionals, “It is very important to pay attention to your own mental health and stress levels as this can translate to business health. A lot of youth don’t think about this. They access lots of business-related resources to develop those hard skills but may not think about mental health resources and support.”

The judges were very impressed with how Emily has grown. Initially uncomfortable with the decision-making role, she now shows confidence in all areas and the business is better for her involvement.