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Three UBC Sauder Bachelor of Commerce alumni have been nominated for the YWCA’s 2017 Women of Distinction Awards, which honour women whose “outstanding activities and achievements contribute to the well-being and future of our community.”


BCom grads Emily Thorner, Maili Wong and Alyssa Leung were announced as nominees on March 8, a date chosen in honour of International Women’s Day.

The award winners, which will be announced at the Vancouver Convention Centre on May 29, are chosen by an independent judging panel. Individual awards are split into 11 categories and highlight women across a range of sectors and demographics who have made “significant and sustained difference in Metro Vancouver.” The awards also include a category to recognize an outstanding business or organization which has implemented a unique workplace culture.

Emily Thorner was nominated in the non-profit category. She graduated in 2002 from the BCom accounting option and is now finance director at the Vancouver Foundation, Canada’s largest community foundation. Its goal is to create healthy, vibrant, livable communities, and over the course of Thorner’s tenure, the foundation has granted more than $300-million to innovative projects in support of this goal.

Wong, a finance graduate of 2011, was nominated in the Business & Professions category. As VP and Portfolio Manager, Wong ranks among the top one per cent within CIBC Wood Gundy. She’s also a bestselling author, provincial appointee to the B.C. Real Estate Council, and co-chair of the CIBC Women and Wealth Initiative. Her nomination profile describes Wong as a prominent advocate for women in finance.

Leung was nominated in the Young Women of Distinction category. An accounting graduate with Honours, Leung is currently a third-year law student at UBC. In addition to being a law student ambassador, Leung also volunteers her time as a peer tutor, academic director, member of the Asia Pacific Law Club and Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers B.C.

Since 1984, the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards have honoured more than 250 award recipients and 1,450 nominees.