Following a day of learning and networking at Making Waves on Thursday, Nov. 7th, the fun moved to The Vue in Toronto, where Thursday night brought on the celebration of our industry award recipients and marked one of the most exciting events to date with around 130 industry members in attendance at A Night at the COPA (formerly, COPA Stars Gala)! Though the winter weather brought on an unusual chill, the enjoyment remained palpable throughout the evening as guests arrived.

With a signature blue drink and delicious hors d’oeuvres greeting guests upon arrival, the mingling and networking continued until 6:45 p.m. when Sam Moncada, COPA’s president, took to the stage to welcome everyone and encourage support for the Association’s charity, Canadian National Autism Foundation. Following Sam’s welcome, Abeer Rahman of SYNNEX Canada, and a member of the event planning committee, started the awards presentations for the event’s special guests.

Fifteen Longstanding Service Recognitions were given to staff members from Staples Business Advantage (presented by Michelle Micuda) and Beatties Office Products (presented by Paul Cole). This year’s recipients combined a total of 476 years in the OP industry. Congratulations go out to:

Beatties Office Products
Brian Burke
Mary Holmes
Deborah Beauregard
Rick Gronman
Teresa Harvey

Staples Business Advantage
Angela Corrente
Manon Charbonneau
Diane Morin
Diane Bergen
Christine Dunn

Staples Business Advantage
Jane Herlick
Wayne Zack
Deandra Suderman
Claudette Barton
Anne Delisle

Thank you all for you commitment and service to the OP industry.

After honouring our Longstanding recipients, attention turned to the guests of honour, the Excellence in Leadership recipients.

First up, Rahman called on Paul Humphries of ACCO Brands to make a presentation to Joanne Quesnel of Novexco. His speech touting her excellent record was followed by some brief words from Denis Matthieu, president of Novexco, and a video tribute put together by the Novexco team. Quesnel could be seen wiping tears from her eyes as she watched her co-workers, industry colleagues, and family speak of her superior negotiation skills, her love for her family and her inspirational leadership style. In her acceptance speech, she thanked the industry and noted how utterly shocked she was by her daughter’s surprise attendance at the event!

Following Quesnel’s emotional presentation, Stan Dabic, president and general manager of Grand & Toy, was called up to present Doug Cowie of Grand & Toy with his Excellence in Leadership award. Dabic thanked Cowie for his many years of service to G&T and quickly queued to the special video tribute. At moments fall-off-your-chair funny and others reflective and emotional, the video highlighted Cowie’s 40+ years at Grand & Toy. His laid-back disposition, insightfulness, integrity and honesty are what stood out most to his co-workers and industry colleagues. In a brief and humble acceptance speech, Cowie expressed his gratitude to the industry, his team at G&T, and COPA for the recognition.

Following the awards presentations, food stations opened up to serve mouth-watering dishes as the DJ transformed the atmosphere with a selection of upbeat contemporary hits. The photo booth captured some of the fun and a magician was onsite, working the crowd to keep guests entertained. The fundraising continued with the $500 in Gift Cards raffle and winter accessories for sale.

Congratulations to Caroline Iseman of Grand & Toy who won the Gift Card raffle. The event raised over $950 for the Canadian National Autism Foundation. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible. We’ll see you again next year for another productive and fun night!

Visit the Making Waves photo gallery to see all our photos.