Whistler Grocery Store owner Sue Adams had just received the most prestigious award of her life but still managed to keep her businesswoman sensibilities about her this week.
Shortly after being singled out as one of five of B.C.’s most influential women at the Empress Waterfront Hotel on Wednesday, Adams turned the conversation around to the people that keep her business running, her staff.
“The biggest pleasure I get now is seeing the people that work for me grow and develop,” Adams said. “And many people that have worked for us over the years now have their own businesses which are thriving and it’s just wonderful to watch people develop and reach their own successes.”
Surrounded by colleagues, family and friends Adams received her award at a luncheon that honoured senior executive women who have made a significant contribution to their company and industry and “have the clout and success to…be influential within our thriving business community,” said Cheryl Carter, sales director for Business in Vancouver, in the trade industry paper that has sponsored the event for eight years.
In addition to Adams and four other notables, former deputy premier Grace McCarthy was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the luncheon before an audience of 70. Other winners included: Shushma Datt, founder, president and CEO of i.t. Productions Ltd., N.J. (Dee) Miller, a JJM Group vice-president, Ernst and Young partner, Elise Rees, and lawyer Elizabeth Watson, owner of Governance Advisory Services.
Although trained as an occupational therapist Adams turned to business in 1970, starting a Ukrainian restaurant in New Westminster. From there she opened the Amorous Oyster in Vancouver in 1980, followed by another in 1981 and a catering company five years later. A few years later she and her husband and partner Bob Adams bought The Grocery store in Whistler and 10 years later built and opened Pemberton Valley Supermarket.
Adams said she still gets excited about getting up every day to go to work.
“If you have in mind something to do there’s really nothing holding you back to do that.”
The award was an opportunity for her to thank all the people who had helped her attain her success, she said. In addition the luncheon “shone the spotlight on women’s achievement and successes in business which we still need to do.”