Here are 5 tips to making the Judges notice you!

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Here are 5 tips to making the Judges notice you!

The Top 20 under 40 Business and Community Achievement Awards is one of the top awards you can win on Vancouver Island.  Every year 100’s submit nominations and only 20 are awarded, so if you have applied before or are planning on applying this year – here is some great tips to help your nomination submission really stand out.


  1. Have a well-organized and well-designed submission.

Include in your nomination package a current resume, awards you have received, and anything you have that makes you stand out!  Do not be shy and put some energy into your submission, make it look clean, professional, and well planned out.   Contact a graphic designer to help like Katrina at Elite Image (past winner) to make it pop.  Also submit early – do not wait to the last minute to send in your nomination package.


  1. 50% business 50% Community

The award is based on your both your professional and community achievements so remember to balance your submission with both areas covered.  If you do not have a lot of community work – please go do some!  Every winner that we interview has said emphatically that the more you give the more you get back and it is the underlining principal of the Top 20 under 40 awards.  So get active in your community, donate some energy to causes that you believe in, and above all make a difference.


  1. Have a good head shot and bio!

guyI know this may seem simple but it is often the most overlooked part of a nomination submission but it sure adds to the overall professional look of your nomination package.  Not like this guy!

Have a 100 word bio about you – here is a great example:

(insert name here) has a passion for world travelling, non-profits, and building an amazing business.  When not in the community donating time to local charity needs such as (insert causes here), (he/she) is in the office (insert profession here) and enabling others to grow too.  (He/She) is a professional and caring leader with dedicated family values, and lives by the motto “work hard, play hard”.  When (he/she) needs to relax you can find him/her doing (insert pastime activity here)



  1. Recommendation letters

Have at least 3 letters of recommendation from community leaders and business leaders!  Keep them current and relatable to the award.  A great recommendation letter is one from a respected leader in your community so do not be shy to go ask for them.  Good examples are Mayors, notable Business Leaders, Past Winners, etc.



  1. Attend 20 under 40 events in your area

This is a great way to meet the Past Winners, our Sponsors, and Judges, get some tips and have some fun networking.  Also another great place to find some recommendation letter writers!

Nominations Are Now Open

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Nominations by peers and colleagues will be accepted until February 15th, 2016. The regional judges will review the personal success of nominees and their education, community service, and participation in industry and business associations as well as other accolades and awards. Entries are open to Vancouver Island residents involved in the private, public and non-profit sectors who meet other eligibility requirements (see Rules & Regulations). Entries must be submitted by midnight, February 15th, 2016.

Click Here to Download Form

1. Nomination: Provide us a quick overview of the candidate and let us know who is nominating them. Don’t forget to include the names of supporters of this nomination and their contact information.

2. Summary of Achievements: Summarize the candidate’s achievements and explain why you are nominating them. In some cases, the nominee’s resume may provide sufficient explanation.

3. Letters of Reference may be attached to the nomination to substantiate the broad community support for the nominee.

c/o 3603 Ross Road
Nanaimo, BC V9T 2S3


BC Local News: Top 20 under age 40 names sought

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If you know someone you think is outstanding in business or community work, then the Top 20 Under 40 wants to hear from you.

Officials from the Top 20 Under 40 are canvassing across Vancouver Island for nominations for the initiative. Roger McKinnon made a presentation on behalf of the organization to Port Alberni city council at their Tuesday meeting.

The Top 20 Under 40 is aimed at recognizing the achievements and work of young professionals under the age of 40.

We also want to showcase young talent to the business community and to show that these young professionals are going to be our future, McKinnon said.

The accomplishments of individuals over age 50 are most often lauded, but people under age 40 put in work of their own leading up to then, McKinnon said.

Nominations for the Top 20 Under 40 Awards aren’t just based on demonstrated excellence in business Judgment, leadership and contributions to communities on a local and regional level are considered.

Nominations can be made at the organization’s website: and are being accepted until Dec. 15.

Regional judges, one of whom is Port Alberni’s Ken McRae, will whittle the list of nominees down to 100. Finalist judges will chose the top 20. The names will be announced in either February or March.

The initiative is an inaugural one. There was a Top 40 under 40 in 2006 but a majority of the winners came from Victoria. McKinnon’s late son, who was from Nanaimo, was among them.

McKinnon, 57, originally hails from Port Alberni. He now makes his home there, where he is successful in real estate.

Find this article at:

Top 20 Winners

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Congratulations to the Top 20 Under 40 – 2014 winners! Well done everyone.
Abel O’Brennan[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Anna Jones[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Chad Conrad[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Chantal Stefan[/one_fifth] [one_fifth_last]
Cody Dreger[/one_fifth_last] [one_fifth]
Cori McCaw[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Daniel Martinez[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Dr. Rebecca Morley[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Edwin Betinol[/one_fifth] [one_fifth_last]
Gord Groves[/one_fifth_last] [one_fifth]
Jameel Sayani[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Jennifer Millbank[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Jessica Cruise[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Julie Broad[/one_fifth] [one_fifth_last]
Kashi Tanaka[/one_fifth_last] [one_fifth]
Mark deFrias[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Professor Jeremy Wulff[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Raphael van Lierop[/one_fifth] [one_fifth]
Rasool Rayani[/one_fifth] [one_fifth_last]
Shawn Steele[/one_fifth_last]

Conrad, McCaw win Top 20 Under 40 honours

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Mr. Mikes-Duncan owner Chad Conrad of DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts is among the Island’s Top 20 Under 40.
Cori McCaw of DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts is among the Island’s Top 20 Under 40.

Two of Vancouver Island brightest business stars call the Cowichan Valley home.

Mr. Mikes-Duncan owner Chad Conrad and Cori McCaw of DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts were honoured last week at the Top 20 Under 40 Business & Community Achievement Awards.

“I’m really blown away with this one,” Conrad said. “Frankly I would not have even been considered for this award if it weren’t for my co-workers past and present. Since all of them are under 40 they too won this award with me and I am honored to share this with all of them.”

It was the second year in a row McCaw was a finalist.

“It is a big deal. It’s certainly a nice feather in my cap for sure,” she said. “Last year I didn’t win so I was hopeful to win this year but wasn’t expecting to.”

The second annual gala, recognizing the movers and shakers of the Islands’ business community under the age of 40, was held Feb. 15 at the Florence Filberg Centre in Courtenay.

“Chad runs the No. 1 Mr. Mikes in the province. He’s got a really impressive resume,” said Roger McKinnon, chair and part of the selection committee. “Cori does a lot for charity, and these are business and community awards. It’s about what they’ve done for the community lately.”

A sold-out event, 315 people jammed into the banquet room to hear keynote speaker, provincial education minister, Don McRae.

“We had lots of mayors and dignitaries there. It was a huge black tie event,” McKinnon said, adding that more than 125 nominations were made and regional judges set to work paring down the list to 100. From there executive judges selected the winners. “It’s pretty impressive to be able to win,” McKinnon said.

Conrad felt the same. “It’s very humbling to be recognized in a class like this,” he said. “It’s an amazing group of individuals that accomplish so much in terms of business and community achievement so I was certainly in very good company,” McCaw added.

© Cowichan Valley Citizen

Business achievement awards honour locals

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Anna Jones is proud of the newest trophy on her desk.

The senior associate with Nanaimo’s Church Pickard Chartered Accountants is one of the six winners from Nanaimo at Vancouver Island’s second annual Top 20 Under 40 Business & Community Achievement Awards that was held last week.

The annual black-tie gala dinner and awards presentation recognizes the Island’s best and brightest business and community leaders under the age of 40. The first annual Top 20 Under 40 event last year was developed as a result of all the positive contributions being made in business across Vancouver Island’s communities.

Jones, 34, is also the youngest member of the Daybreak Rotary Club. She said she was nominated for an award at last year’s inaugural ceremony, but failed to take one of the 20 top prizes.

“I was both shocked and surprised when they called my name out, and I felt it was a great honour,” Jones said Tuesday.

“I consider it a great achievement and I’m looking forward to networking with the alumni of the BCAA.”

There were more than 125 nominations for this year’s awards which were whittled down to 100 by the event’s regional judges and the executive judges decided on the top 20.

There are no established categories for the awards. The other winners from Nanaimo include Jennifer Millbank, a partner with the Ramsay Lampman Rhodes law firm, real estate investor, entrepreneur and author Julie Broad, wealth manager Daniel Martinez, Simon Holt Restaurant co-owner and realtor Cody Dreger and Jameel Sayani, senior manager of aboriginal services at MNP.

Event spokeswoman Tannis Wengel said this year saw a record number of nominations and tickets for the award ceremony were sold out.

“We’re hoping for an even more successful event next year,” she said. 250-729-4234

© Nanaimo Daily News

Three young locals up for Island’s Top 20 Under 40 career achievement awards

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Alberni Valley locals Mike Lange, Gord Groves and Maggie Hodge-Kwan are all nominated for Vancouver Island’s Top 20 Under 40 Business and Community Achievement Awards.
Three Alberni Valley residents are among the most recent list of Vancouver Island’s most successful individuals under 40 years of age.

Nominees for the next Top 20 Under 40 Business and Community Achievement Awards were announced late last week, recognizing those who have shown professional success and responsibility at a relatively young age.

Included in the 100 nominees from the 2013 submissions are Quality Foods manager Gord Groves, Mike Lange, co-owner of McGill Engineering, and Maggie Hodge Kwan from Port Alberni’s public library. The local nominees were in the West Island division of the awards, which also includes Jennifer Steven, owner of the Eagle Aerie Gallery in Tofino.

Ken McRae is one of the West Island division’s three judges. He said nominees were selected based on the personal drive they demonstrated in their chosen professions.

“One of the main things is how ambitious they are, how they got there and how much effort they put into getting there on their own,” he said.

Putting effort into Quality Foods stores has taken up most of Groves’ life. His 19 years with the company began as a high school student, when he worked filling grocery bags and store shelves at a branch in Qualicum Beach. The 36-year-old recalled learning about the grocery business from his first boss.

“It was a great job, I got to work with great people. I enjoyed the social aspect of it, and I had a great boss,” Groves said. “[He] was one of the owners of Quality Foods, and he just really mentored me right off the bat. He’s pretty much made me what I am today.”

Over time, this progressed to a management position at a Quality Foods in Nanaimo before taking charge of Port Alberni’s larger store two and half years ago.

Lange grew up in Port Alberni and took over McGill Engineering with Brad West last spring after a 10-year history with the company. Projects the 32-year-old engineer has worked on include a subdivision in the Tseshaht First Nation, a new church currently being built near the West Coast General Hospital, a car wash on Gertrude Street and the replacement of water mains for the Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District. Lange and West bought the company from Alan McGill, who operated in the Alberni Valley since 1987.

“We do have competition still in Parksville and Nanaimo…but we are local, and I think

that a lot of people respect that,” Lange said. “The longer you’re here, the more you’ve done work and more you know about everything that happens in Port Alberni.” Hodge Kwan came to Port Alberni twoand-a-half years ago to oversee customer services and youth programs at the local branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library. The 25-year-old has worked in libraries since she was a teenager growing up in Lethbridge, Alta., and frequented them as a child.

“I feel like I’ve benefited so much from using libraries in my life, and I want other people to experience those benefits as well,” she said. “They’re moving from a space to just pick up books and pick movies to a space where people can gather, can talk about different issues, literary or not, and can spend time with their families.”

The West Island division’s judges interviewed each of the local candidates, assigning them grades and comments. These will be assessed by another panel of judges in Nanaimo who select 20 winners for a gala event on Feb. 15 in the Comox Valley. McRae said the evening can provide positive exposure for the young award winners and nominees.

“There’s lots of big business people there,” he said. “They’re looking at what future leaders we have on Vancouver Island, so it’s good exposure for those people.” 250-918-9800

© Alberni Valley Times