Cold Lake celebrated community leaders in half a dozen categories at the Cold Lake Women of Influence Awards Friday night.

There were 62 nominees overall. The recipients were Susie O’Connor for Arts and Culture; Kristy Isert for Business and Professional; Candice Sutterfield for Community and Volunteerism; Alisha Bramwell for Health and Wellness; Whitney Desjarlais for Science and Technology; and Isabel Myshaniuk for Older Woman of Influence.

Kelly Eagles received the award for Overall Woman of Influence.

The presentations program opened with a Jingle Dance performance by Juliahna Larocque, and all through the evening artist Rachel Browatzke created a rose painting. The canvas was sold at auction to Barry Kalinski for $850. 

The keynote address was given by Olympic gold medal cross-country skier Beckie Scott. 

Scott said she was never a talented or gifted athlete—if there was a single quality that led her to success, it was her perseverance.

She finished third in her race at Salt Lake City in 2002, behind two Russian skiers. This was Canada’s first-ever Olympic medal in the European-dominated sport.

But both of the Russians tested positive for doping. One was stripped of her medal, giving Scott the silver medal; then the other Russian skier was stripped of hers, leaving Scott as the gold medallist.

“I’m the only person in Olympic history to have won bronze, silver, and gold in the same race,” she said.

She has since been active in the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency. She is the founder and CEO of Spirit North, an organization “working to improve the lives of Indigenous children and youth through the transformative power of sport and play.”

Women of Influence Cold Lake is an organization of  local women “who have come together to celebrate International Women’s Day and to honour the various ways that women enhance and invigorate the Cold Lake community,” according to their website.

“We recognize the multitude of ways in which women contribute to make Cold Lake the successful, flourishing community it is.”

2023 Older Woman of Influence Isabel Myshaniuk (left) accepts her award from 2020 recipient Mary Anne Penner. JEFF GAYE
Pauline De Leon of Lakeland Credit Union presents the Overall Woman of Influence award to Kelly Eagles. JEFF GAYE
Beckie Scott brought some laughs and a lot of inspiration as keynote speaker. JEFF GAYE
Kristy Isert, business and professional.  JEFF GAYE
Candice Sutterfield, community and volunteerism.  JEFF GAYE
Alisha Bramwell, health and wellness.  JEFF GAYE
Susie O’Connor, arts and culture, receiving her award from Bonnie Folkard.  JEFF GAYE