From 244 Northland businesses and individuals across five business categories and eight specialist categories, Whangārei artist and business owner Jessie Rose won the overall award, and several others, at the Westpac Northland Business Champions awards.
The Westpac Northland Business Champions 2020 awards were held at Forum North on Friday night.In a year impacted by drought, Covid-19 and flooding, this one-off special event gave Northlanders a chance to shine a light on those businesses and business people in their communities who displayed champion qualities such as leadership, community-mindedness, innovation and resilience.
Over 2500 nominations were received for 244 Northland businesses and individuals across five business and eight specialist categories. Finalists were selected on the number of nominations, and then an independent panel of judges chose the category winners and the ultimate Westpac Northland Business Champion – Supreme Leadership winner.
NorthChamber CEO Steve Smith said: “It has been heart-warming and inspiring to read about the business champions in our region. Feedback from the nominations indicates we are a business community of pro-active, resilient, creative, adaptable, and kind folk. Our future success lies in more of the same.”
The judges said about Rose: “Jessie Rose and her business stood out because of the complexity and success of the response to Covid-19 and other 2020 disasters. Forced into the world of online teaching for the delivery of painting classes, she changed her ways of doing business and expanded on those learnings to build new product offerings and outlets for her creativity while at the same time providing those stuck at home with an outlet for their feelings around Covid restrictions and a way to continue something ‘normal’.
”A significant decline in the death rate and changes to the way funerals were conducted led to changes and new opportunities in her casket decorating business. Rather than being overwhelmed by a personal tragedy, she directed her response into the establishment of a space in her premises where others with similar experiences could come without judgment or expectation. She took time to reflect on the business, where the strengths are and where she could diversify and improve – and took action on what she found. Every dark experience was turned into a positive and the business thrived as a result, with all of her activities based on sound ecological principles.”
In Rose’s words: “The positive from Covid is that it has validated that what we are doing is working and impacts people’s lives. We have made a difference.”