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Advice from the Telus Trailblazer Award Finalists: 2016 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards

The Telus Trailblazer Award honours an entrepreneur that is a true trendsetter. She has recognized a new market, product, service, technological advancement, or opportunity and has bravely led the way. She has demonstrated outstanding leadership within her company and market, and has set standards for originality, quality and successful management. These entrepreneurs are mentors, visionaries, leaders, and successful businesswomen of their industry.

We asked this year’s winner and finalists what advice they would give to another entrepreneur facing uncertainty about their own trailblazing idea:


Eva Sun, The Rice People

Food processors aren’t generally associated with being leading edge trailblazers – but Eva Sun’s company is different. With a motto of Respect, Integrity, Care and Share, The Rice People’s commitment to their customers, partners, and global community.  Rice is a common staple that most people take so easily for granted, but rice is actually a much varied resource with much room for quality enrichment, especially in Canada. From farm to fork, it is Sun’s passion to make rice with accountable and consistent quality. They carefully source globally for the most reliable quality, eco-friendly raw material from eight countries. 





Nancy Simonot, NKS Health

NKS Health is a specialty pharmacy that focuses on a few chronic diseases and creates patient programs to improve the patient’s health quickly and maximize their outcomes. Expert pharmacists start with triaging the patient with a home visit where the patient can be referred to Simonot’s allied health care team including nurses, dieticians, occupational therapists and social worker for consultation. NKS Health continuously meets with leading researchers in teaching hospitals to update our programs and ensure patients benefit from the latest findings, and host monthly events where patients can participate through webinars including exercise and relaxation techniques to treat chronic diseases whose symptoms can be exacerbated by stress. NKS Health’s ultimate goal is to improve patient outcomes, and are unique in Canada as no other pharmacy offers this kind of care.

Q: What advice would you give to another business-woman facing uncertainty about her own trailblazing idea?

A: You will know if you are in the right place when you land your first few contracts and the high that you feel at that moment. These are the best moments. They will help you get through the challenging times.




Beth Hatt, Aquila Tours

Since opening their doors in 1982, Aquila has been on an incredible journey to being recognized as an innovative leader in the tourism industry. Today, Aquila’s area of excellence is concentrated on cruise, delivering shore excursions to cruise lines when they anchor in the Bay of Fundy. Each year, Aquila creates engaging experiences for almost 60,000 travellers cruising our shores, and tour guides, operators in our programs. At the encouragement of top executives at major cruise lines, Aquila established Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence in 2007, offering workshops and customized training programs to Tour Operators, Ports and Destinations around the world. In 2010, Aquila developed Tour Guide Excellence, the first online International Certification program designed specifically for tour guides in the cruise industry. As the official training partner of the FCCA (Florida Caribbean Cruise Association), Aquila’s training programs have been endorsed by all the major cruise lines for their certifications to Tour Guides and Tour Operators. Today, Aquila is seen as the standard for Shore Excursions and Tour Operations worldwide.





The collective impact of our country’s female entrepreneurs cannot be overstated. The RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards is the premier national awards program celebrating the achievements of the most successful in this inspiring group. Now in its 24th year, over 120 women have been recognized for demonstrating excellence—from economic growth to social change, from local to global reach, across multiple sectors. We’re honoured to shine a spotlight on them.