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Manjit Minhas

Awardees 2018

Manjit Minhas

Co-Founder & CEO at Minhas Breweries and Distilleries and Dragon on Dragons Den

Manjit Minhas is 36 years old and was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. This Petroleum Engineering student turned beer baroness is a Dragon on the hit TV show Dragons’ Den on CBC in its 12th season.

Manjit is the co-founder and co-owner of the Minhas Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries. She started her companies at the ripe age of 19 in Alberta, when she launched her beer in Alberta with her business partner and brother, Ravinder Minhas. Together, they gave the big boys a run for their money, thereby becoming the first successful company to enter the Canadian beer industry in many decades. Currently, she has over 90 brands of beers, spirits, liqueurs and wines. Her products are sold in 5 provinces ( Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan , Manitoba and British Columbia), as well as 45 states throughout the USA and 16 other countries.

Over the last few years, wherever Manjit and Ravinder have entered the marketplace, and especially in Canada, they have single headedly caused a huge stir in the marketplace. To date, her companies have sold over 7 billion pints of beer! Many beer drinkers in Canada and USA have welcomed her style of beer as a tasty alternative to the higher priced mediocre beers that dominate the market place.

Manjit takes Social Responsibility very seriously. Manjit Minhas is the 1st brewer in Canada to voluntarily put a Management Warning on all her beer cans. The Management Warning on the cans reads ” MANAGEMENT WARNING: Please do not drink and drive – ever. Expectant mothers should avoid drinking alcoholic products. Enjoy this product responsibly – Respect yourself and others”. She recently put this on all her products because she believes as a responsible brewer and citizen of this country, it is important she does her part to educate Canadians.

Manjit has also created a special 48 can pack of beers for COSTCO which has the least amount of packaging materials compared to any other product in Canada or USA. It uses no plastic hi-cone rings and needs least amount of box material. This product alone will save millions of pounds of packaging materials ending up in the already over-filled landfills. Similarly, Manjit has sold millions of cases of other brands of her beers such as Boxer with minimum packaging materials using sound engineering principles in protecting the environment.

Manjit believes that effective use of science and engineering can do a lot of good in people’s lives. She has used her engineering background in producing beer using least amount of cleaning and water treatment chemicals, gas, electricity and water. Canadian and American consumers suffering from the Celiac disease have also been beneficiary of her innovative method of making best tasting Gluten Free beer from Sorghum and sold at half the price of the competition.

Manjit and her brother purchased the 2nd oldest brewery in the United States in 2006 and renamed it “Minhas Craft Brewery”. Being in their mid 20s, purchase of this Brewery officially made them the Youngest Brewery Owners in The World. Their brewery is now the 9th largest in North America. From this brewery, world quality beers are shipped across the USA, to Canada and overseas to 16 different countries such as Japan, UK, Brazil and Korea.

Manjit and Ravinder opened a new brewery in Calgary in June 2012 – the Minhas Micro Brewery. This facility makes unique and specialty beers such as the Lazy Mutt Alberta Wheat Beer and Boxer.

The Minhas Micro Distillery which distills and bottles premium spirits and liqueurs such as Platinum 10 times distilled Vodka, Blumers Moonshine, Maya Horchata and Chinook Rye Whisky.

In 2016 Manjit’s companies had revenues in excess of $187 million.

Samra Zafar

Awardees 2018

Samra Zafar

2018 Game Changer, Youngest alumni serving as a Governor for the University of Toronto

Samra Zafar is an International Speaker, two-time TEDx Presenter, Human Rights Activist, Scholar, Author and Social Entrepreneur. After arriving in Canada as a child bride in a forced marriage and escaping a decade of abuse, she pursued her education as a single mother, and graduated as the top student at the University of Toronto, receiving over a dozen awards and scholarships.

Samra now serves as the youngest alumni Governor for the University, while pursuing a rewarding career at RBC. Samra is the founder of Brave Beginnings, a non-profit organization she founded to support abuse survivors in their journey to build a life of respect and freedom. Samra’s story and work have been featured in prominent media, including Toronto Life, CTV, CBC, Global News, Yahoo, and many others, collectively impacting tens of millions of people worldwide.

Samra’s book is scheduled to appear in bookstores across Canada in early 2019

Jessie Brar

Awardees 2018

Jessie Brar

An active public speaker and mental health advocate.

Jessie Brar is an active public speaker and mental health advocate. After struggling in silence with her own mental illnesses for many years, Jessie decided to use her experience to help raise awareness about mental health and mental illness in the community around her.

This lead her to create The Mental Health Spotlight, an organization dedicated to erasing the stigma around mental health in South Asian communities through digital story-telling and sharing resources. Through The Mental Health Spotlight, Jessie has created a dialogue about South Asian Mental Health and is pushing the topic to the forefront.

Nova Bhattacharya

Awardees 2018

Nova Bhattacharya

Award winning dancer and choreographer, Founding Artistic Director of Nova Dance

Nova Bhattacharya is an award winning dancer and choreographer, committed mentor, passionate community activist and respected arts leader. Bhattacharya is winner of the 2016 SummerWorks Outstanding Direction Award for her duet Broken Lines, and of the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton award for outstanding achievement in dance. Despite being told that a career as a bharatnataym dancer was not a viable option by a guidance counselor, and an 8 year detour in the finance industry, she held onto her dreams long enough to get here.

As founding Artistic Director of Nova Dance, she has spent the last decade working to establish a company that makes a meaningful contribution to society by creating space for South Asian dance artists to practice their art in a supported environment, and encourages them to consider their art as a relevant and vital part of Canadian society. The company has presented several highly acclaimed works and initiated a wide range of projects built to support artists and audiences alike, including The DeepEnd Weekend, a professional development opportunity for Classical Indian dancers, and Date with Dance & Discover Dance, popular audience enrichment events, and a Studio Series to support the work of emerging bharatnatyam creators. Recently, Nova Dance became the first dance company to be invited into a Long Term Relationship with downtown Toronto’s contemporary arts hub The Theatre Centre. The partnership was kicked off in style with a Bengali community meal, and a Saraswati Puja to celebrate the Hindu goddess of the arts.

Currently volunteer President of the Board of Toronto Arts Council and Member of the Board of Toronto Arts Foundation, Nova is an outspoken advocate for equity in the arts, and for the arts in society.

Reetu Gupta

Awardees 2018

Reetu Gupta

COO of the Easton’s Group of Hotels and The Gupta Group, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Rogue Insight Capital Ltd.

Reetu Gupta is Chief Operating Officer of the Easton’s Group of Hotels and The Gupta Group and Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Rogue Insight Capital Ltd.

In June 2017, Reetu Gupta was honoured with the designation, Canada`s Top 40 Under 40®; a dynamic award program that identifies outstanding young achievers, visionaries, and innovators that are seen to be Canada’s future leaders.

The Easton’s Group of Hotels have a diversified business portfolio spanning 19 hotels across Canada and 6 under development. The Gupta Group has brought its extensive hospitality experience to the condominium market, with a series of 4 exciting residential projects and commercial developments across the GTA.

Reetu is also the Chief Strategy Officer of Rogue Insight Capital Ltd., a division of the Gupta Group that launched in Fall of 2017 that focuses on angel investing.

Reetu also sits on several boards and also chairs many committees (both corporate and not-for-profit). Some of her roles include Chair of the City of Toronto’s External Advisory Committee for Canada’s Sesquicentennial Anniversary, Founder and President of The Shakti Society, an Advisory Board Member for Ryerson University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, an Advisory Board Member for the Women in Tourism & Hospitality Conference and Advisory Board Member for the Community Foundation of Mississauga, Grants Committee.

Jake Dheer

Emcees 2018

Jake Dheer

Senior Manager, Rogers Media Inc.

Jake served as Chairman of Carassauga in 2001 and 2002, Mississauga Board Of Trade in 2008, Mayor Hazel McCallion’s Gala for the Arts, Culture and Heritage in 2010, Sheridan College’s Big Picture Gala in 2010 and 2012 and Heritage Mississauga’s annual awards in 2013 – 2016.

Pavleen Kahlon

Award Presenters 2018

Pavleen Kahlon

A hardworking, dedicated and driven young woman. She is a part of many student-led organizations promoting social awareness and leadership, she holds a part-time job in the evenings while maintaining an honors average in this, her last year of high school! She is the president of the school’s Debate Club where she represented her high school in the Provincial competition in Ottawa. She led a team of high school students in an Arts initiative called “ELEVATE” to help encourage The Arts within the Peel community, giving a multitude of high school students the opportunity to compete for prizes and dance scholarships. A Grade 12 student attending the International Business and Technology Program at North Park Secondary School in the Brampton.

Mariam Varghis

Award Presenters 2018

Mariam Varghis

She plays an active role in the Peel District School Board’s community involving herself in many school-wide and community-wide extracurricular activities and organizations. She currently holds the position of the “Director of Leadership Development” for The Peel Student’s Presidents Council with responsibilities to plan and execute a 3-day leadership conference for Peel high school students.

She is also the Event Coordinator on Brampton Centennial’s DECA Executive team and has been a part of the Student Activities Council as a Grade Representative, Secretary and Vice President. She has been acknowledged with The Bob Lagerquist Rookie of the Year Award for most outstanding contribution in her first year of high school as well as the DECA Regional Event Finalist in the category of Hospitality and Lodging Management. We welcome Mariam Varghis, a Grade 12 student attending Centennial Secondary School in Brampton

Noorvir Kaler

Award Presenters 2018

Noorvir Kaler

Noorvir Kaler is in Grade 9 attending David Suzuki Secondary School in Brampton. Outside of maintaining an honours average, she has involved herself with rep soccer with the Brams United Girls Soccer Club and represented her middle school on a plethora of sports teams including senior girls soccer, basketball, football and floor hockey. She was the president of her middle school’s anti-bullying awareness group called TTC [A Time to Change] where she would lead classroom presentations by working with students on spreading important messages and awareness on social justice issues and school-wide anti-bullying campaigns.

Sahijpreet Sidhu

Award Presenters 2018

Sahijpreet Sidhu

Sahijpreet Sidhu is in Grade 9 attending Mississauga Secondary School in Brampton. Outside of maintaining an honours average, she has represented her middle school on countless extracurricular activities such as working with teachers on the school’s Athletic Council, earning a spot on the Senior Girl’s Basketball Team and assisting as an office administrator. She also worked with the school’s Climate Committee, helping to break down the stigmas associated with mental health and building more awareness by leading social media campaigns related to mental health issues. She also worked with the school’s media department to develop a mental health awareness video which was eventually picked up by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Binalpreet Kalra

Award Presenters 2018

Binalpreet Kalra

Binalpreet Kalra is a 14 years old, Grade 9 student who attends Central Peel Secondary School and is enrolled in their Advanced Placement regional program. In addition to maintaining an honors average, Binalpreet has involved herself with an overabundant amount of school-wide extra curriculars such as representing her high school on the Junior Girls Basketball and Volleyball Teams, the Varsity Lacrosse Team and is trying out for Ultimate Frisbee and Softball teams. She also represents Central Peel high school on their FRC Robotics Team where she is focusing on marketing and mechanical/CAD development while building her knowledge in engineering within this fast growing field. Binalpreet has been the recipient of numerous awards such as the Ontario Principal’s and Leadership Award, Lions Club International Peace Poster Contest award, she has 2 poems published in poetry anthology through the Young Writers of Poetry Institute of Canada (2017 & 2018), and her self directed short film was selected for Peel’s Film Festival at Cineplex Canada. Most recently, Binalpreet had the honour of representing her Grade 8 cohort as Valedictorian, the list goes on and on and on.

Harleen Klair

Award Presenters 2018

Harleen Klair

Harleen Klair is a Grade 11 student enrolled in the IB [International Baccalaureate] program at Turner Fenton Secondary School in Brampton. Harleen works hard to maintain an honors average coupling her heavy academic workload with participation in a wide variety of extracurricular activities. She currently holds an Executive Artist position for IBMC combined with her involvement with a nationwide STEM Fellowship. She also has an interest in sports evidenced through her selections on her high school’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams, for which she was awarded MVP and nominated as Athlete of the Year! She has been the recipient of many awards including a 3rd place finish at ROPSSAA for Track and Field and a 1st place prize in a middle school public speaking contest. Her work on raising awareness on Social Justice issues is also equally as impressive. She helped develop her middle school’s anti-bullying initiative, TTC [A Time to Change]; many of our students who are present this evening have involved themselves with this very same initiative that Harleen was responsible to kick-start. She hopes to one day to create her own company that participates in the innovation of technologies in the fields of medicine and engineering.

We are grateful for each of our sponsor’s support and their contributions towards our mission to empower South Asian Women.

Together, we will build a more inclusive Canada.

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MAY 2021

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