The tenth annual Outstanding Women of Laurier (OWL) banquet, hosted on March 25, 2015 at the Waterloo Conference Inn Hotel, was a huge success, with the largest turnout since 2008.
The award for the Outstanding Women of Laurier is based on criteria of academic achievement, athletic success and commitment to community involvement. Three nominees were selected from the university including Lee Anna Osei; Women’s basketball, Emily Brown; Women’s soccer and Sam Jacobs; Women’s basketball. Osei was named Outstanding Woman of Laurier and gave an emotional speech touching on the loss of two of her mentors. She spoke about the sense of community she felt as soon as she joined Laurier and how supportive her team was in welcoming her. Osei began her career in basketball in the NCAA and joined Laurier in the 2012-2013 season where she quickly became one of the top point guards in the province.
Outstanding Women of Laurier began in 2005, when Laurier Alumni, Cheryl Pounder was inducted into the Laurier Hall of Fame. She wanted to have an event dedicated to the hard working female athletes at the university. The event was a great success raising approximately $25,000 this year and in total $250,000, over the last ten years, to put towards athletic scholarships and initiatives.
The event opened with a montage of previous OWL winners and where they are now. Many had gone on to become doctors and lawyers. The event continued with a silent and live auction for items such as lunch with a Dragon, from the popular CBC show, Dragon’s Den and a trip to Tuscani, Arizona with golfing and spa treatments. The event included an inspirational keynote speech from Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, the 2010 Olympic Gold Medalists and the 2014 Olympic Silver Medalists in Ice Dance. The pair spoke about their journey to the top and the obstacles that they had to overcome in the process, such as Virtue’s shin injury, which was not publicized but affected the two greatly. They spoke about the importance of communication and offered their mantra ‘adapt & conquer’ to the crowd of 330 people.
Their address concluded with a Q&A portion of the evening with questions from the audience. The event was hosted by Susan Cook-Sheerer, Host and Associate Producer of the Waterloo Region’s talk show, Daytime on Rogers TV.