WATCH: Women who make a difference gather for annual Black Press gala

Women in leadership roles from across Greater Victoria gathered at the Parkside Hotel and Spa Thursday afternoon for Black Press Media’s annual Women in Business Gala. The event honours ‘women who make a difference’ in the region. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Women in leadership roles from across Greater Victoria gather at the Parkside Hotel and Spa Thursday afternoon for Black Press Media’s annual Women in Business Gala. The event honours ‘women making a difference’ in the region. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Black Press Greater Victoria group publisher Penny Sakamoto and Kaitlyn McConnell of the Women’s Enterprise Centre at the annual Women in Business Gala. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
From left to right: Kerri Moore head of business and community relations for the City of Victoria, Ecoasis Developments company officer Michele Stannard and Shannon Drew, Ecoasis vice president of community initiatives and corporate affairs, pose at the annual Women in Business Gala Thursday evening. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Internationally acclaimed classical singer Ken Lavigne and his four-piece ensemble serenaded the crowd at Black Press Media’s Women in Business Gala, singing classics from Paul McCartney, Elton John and Leonard Cohen with his own modern twist. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Venus Earle and Cecily Meausette from Hudson’s Bay downtown enjoy some wine at the annual Women in Business Gala Thursday. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Community Initiative Award winner Hazel Braithwaite addresses the crowd at the Black Press Media Women in Business Gala Thursday afternoon. Braithwaite is director and donor for United Way Greater Victoria as well as a councillor for the District of Oak Bay. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Women in leadership roles from across Greater Victoria gathered at the Parkside Hotel and Spa for Black Press Media’s annual Women in Business Gala. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Women in leadership roles from across Greater Victoria gather at the Parkside Hotel and Spa Thursday afternoon for Black Press Media’s annual Women in Business Gala. The event honours ‘women who make a difference’ in the region. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Lisha Miller, financial advisor with Raymond James Ltd. and Tracey Scott, owner of Tracey Scott Photography, chat at the annual Black Press Media Women in Business Gala Thursday afternoon. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Michelle Cabana, Black Press Media publisher for Victoria News and the Goldstream Gazette, and Penny Sakamoto, Black Press Greater Victoria group publisher, address the crowd at the Women in Business Gala Thursday afternoon. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Women in leadership roles from across Greater Victoria gather at the Parkside Hotel and Spa Thursday afternoon for Black Press Media’s annual Women in Business Gala. The event honours ‘women who make a difference’ in the region. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Women in leadership roles from across Greater Victoria gather at the Parkside Hotel and Spa Thursday afternoon for Black Press Media’s annual Women in Business Gala. The event honours ‘women who make a difference’ in the region. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Black Press owner David Black stands with Jennifer Howard from Moms Stop The Harm at the annual Black Press Women in Business gala held at the Parkside Hotel and Spa. (Don Denton/News Staff) Black Press Media owner David Black stands with Jennifer Howard from Moms Stop The Harm at the annual Black Press Women in Business gala held at the Parkside Hotel and Spa. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Shannon Drew, left, from Mairet Hotels is presented with award by Kerri Moore from the City of Victoria Business Hub at the annual Black Press Women in Business gala. (Don Denton/News Staff) Shannon Drew, left, from Ecoasis Developments, is presented with an award by Kerri Moore from the City of Victoria Business Hub at the annual Black Press Women in Business gala held at the Parkside Hotel and Spa. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Kirsten Kost, left, from Mairet Hotels is presented with the Rising Star award by Lorena Milkert from Island Savings at the annual Black Press Media Women in Business gala held at the Parkside Hotel and Spa. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Hazel Braithwaite (right), from United Way, is presented with the Community Initiative Award by Danella Parkes of the United Way at the annual Black Press Media Women in Business gala held at the Parkside Hotel and Spa. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)

Rain was falling and dark clouds consumed Victoria, but the inside of the Parkside Hotel was lit up influential and awe-inspiring women from across the region Thursday afternoon.

The Black Press Media annual Women in Business Gala brought local leaders together for an afternoon of networking, mingling and entertainment in the form of Ken Lavigne, who crooned the sweet melodies of Elton John and Leonard Cohen.

READ MORE: Women making a difference

In a room full of motivating women, three were highlighted for their business accomplishments.

Kirsten Kost, vice president of sales and marketing at Mairet Hotels received the Rising Star Award; Hazel Braithwaite, director and donor at United Way Greater Victoria received the Community Initiative Award and Shannon Drew, vice president of community initiatives and corporate affairs with Ecoasis Developments, won the Business Leader Award.

Gala attendees heard more about these women, learning about some of the hurdles they overcame on their path to success and the causes or goals that drive them forward.

READ MORE: Women making a difference in Greater Victoria

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