What is BC Achievement?

Photo: BC Achievement Award Medallion designed by Robert Davidson, OC, OBC

BC Achievement Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to honour excellence and inspire achievement throughout British Columbia. Established in 2003, the foundation currently runs five annual award programs that recognize the accomplishments of individuals, groups and organizations in the areas of community leadership, applied art + design, First Nations art, Indigenous entrepreneurship and reconciliation.   

There’s no shortage of excellence in British Columbia. For 20 years, the BC Achievement Foundation has celebrated the province’s finest. The only organization of its kind in Canada to honour entrepreneurs, artists, leaders, visionaries and volunteers, BC Achievement shares the singular stories of these exceptional individuals. 

But it’s always been about more than the individual. It’s about understanding and investing in the communities that carry them, the people and places that make up our province. Every one of the recipients is a conduit for change; the effects of their work rippling outward, building momentum while impacting countless lives. BC Achievement programming ignites a movement that captures the best of BC and carves a path forward for others to follow. 

The Community Award recognizes those who provide exceptional service to their communities, making a huge impact while inspiring change. Nominations from around the province are indicative of the unique contributions these individuals make at a local level. 

Celebrating British Columbians whose work directly contributes to the cultural and economic fabric of the province, the Award in Applied Art + Design program shines a light on functional art. The awardees of this program enhance day-to-day life while enriching our collective experiences. 

The inspiring work of BC’s Indigenous artists is captured through the Award in First Nations Art program that celebrates the place where art, culture and commerce unite. In recognizing artistic excellence, this program honours the First Nations traditions that permeate the work, while creating a platform for engagement, mentorship and storytelling.   

The Indigenous Business Award program recognizes and inspires business achievement. The program signifies hope as Indigenous ways are leading the way. The Indigenous enterprises being recognized with an Indigenous Business Award provide new opportunities, are key drivers in the province’s economy, and help make all of our communities more resilient, inclusive and prosperous. 

BC Achievement’s newest award program is a partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. The BC Reconciliation Award recognizes individuals, groups and organizations who demonstrate exceptional leadership, integrity, respect and commitment to furthering reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province of British Columbia or inspire others to continue reconciliation efforts. 

Many of these awardee’s stories, their journeys, motivation and their successes are documented in a growing collection of films found on BC Achievement’s website and YouTube channel.  

With every story shared, there is the potential for inspiration to spark elsewhere. It’s this potential and these small sparks that allow hope to rise-up within our province. And it is through honouring excellence, that we aim to inspire achievement and steward the best of BC. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

International Day for the Elimination of Racism – with Suresh Kurl 

Photo: 2022 Community Award recipient, Suresh Kurl (third from left)

The United Nations proclaimed March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. By acknowledging anti-racism efforts, we can create a more equitable society where everyone thrives regardless of their race, ethnicity or cultural background. 

Embodying the very essence of this initiative, BC Achievement alumnus Suresh Kurl advocates for the celebration of all cultures while comfortably sharing his own faith and beliefs.  

Suresh is a 2022 recipient of the BC Achievement Community Award for his work raising awareness on how we can all contribute toward the elimination of racism.  

“The only solution is for people to understand what racism is and how they can deal with it; [To ask themselves] do they have any racist views in their heart? It’s not an easy journey because you are overhauling your personality and thinking better.” 

An accomplished writer, Suresh has connected with his fellow British Columbians for over four decades through articles on multiculturalism, equality, justice and faith.  

“I’m a writer and a speaker and that’s how I started going out and talking to people and telling them what I think about racial prejudices and discrimination and how we can deal with those issues.” 

Until recently Suresh served as a member of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and he remains a regular contributor to and participant in the annual Raise Your Hands Against Racism event. Serving on the National Parole Board for five years provided a unique lens which Suresh continues to use today as he sits on the community policing committee as an active member.  

A leader whose words turn into actions, Suresh challenges us all to look deeper and be better citizens.  For Suresh, it is through his faith: “If we believe God lives in us, then His attributes—kindness, and compassion, must live in us as well, and therefore, every living being should realize that discriminating against any human being is discriminating against God Himself.” 

Whether through his efforts to showcase the Hindu festivals of lights – Diwali, or the season of spring – Holi, Suresh shares his experiences to demonstrate commonality between us and how we are better together. His energy and drive have contributed to improved understanding and dialogue, in the areas of citizenship, multiculturalism, race relations, and interfaith harmony. 

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a time to assess how well we are supporting all members of our community and reflect on how we can help to eliminate race-based hate and prejudice. You can also learn more by participating in events in your community.

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.    

Open for Nominations: BC Reconciliation Award program #nominatenowbc 

Photo: 2022 BC Reconciliation Award recipient, T̓łaḵwagila – Chief Bill Cranmer

“Reconciliation builds relationships and bridges the gap between two worlds through the efforts of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. By recognizing the truths of past wrongs and showcasing examples of how to make things right, others will be inspired to follow.” BC Achievement Foundation board member Cloy-e-iis, Dr. Judith Sayers 

There’s been much talk of reconciliation and there are many individuals and organizations who are taking action by implementing ideas and programs to move this effort forward. BC Achievement works in partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia to deliver the program and we are collectively honoured to highlight the program recipients and inspired by their achievements. 

Now in its third year, the British Columbia Reconciliation Award recognizes excellence in the area of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province of BC. It aims to showcase leadership in reconciliation so others will follow on the journey forward. Last year six extraordinary individuals and organizations were recognized as recipients of this award for their exceptional leadership, integrity, respect and commitment to furthering reconciliation.  

Who will be recognized as the recipients of the 2023 installment of the award?

It is time to start considering who is doing this work and tell the stories of reconciliation in action throughout the province and #nominatenowbc! Submissions will be accepted starting November 22, 2022, until January 20, 2023. We encourage you to look around in your community and make note of who is doing great work and deserves to be recognized so their story can be shared. Nominations will be accepted online at bcachievement.com and they will be reviewed by a selection committee including representation from Indigenous Elders and leadership. 

November 22 marks the day that the two reconciliation paddles, designed by First Nations artists and former recipients of the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art will be installed at Government House in Victoria. These two paddles, one created for each year of the award, symbolize the inspiration behind the award. The inspiration is the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the award, and his hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature building. It was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. 

Watch for the photos from the paddle installment and congratulations to paddle artists Cole Speck and Crystal Dehn on their artistry and their commitment to reconciliation. 

Don’t forget nominations for the BC Reconciliation Award will be accepted November 22, 2023 – January 20, 2023! #nominatenowbc 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Congratulations to the 2022 Fulmer Award in First Nations Art recipients! 

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Fulmer Award in First Nations Art!  

Congratulations to the 2022 Awardees: 

The Fulmer Award in First Nations Art program creates a platform for community engagement, mentorship and storytelling while celebrating the intersection of art and culture and honouring First Nations artistic traditions. This year’s celebration of the 2022 Fulmer Award in First Nations Art recipients includes a series of short films showcasing each awardee’s artistic accomplishments which will be premiered at an award ceremony next month. Each recipient will receive a certificate and medallion in honour of their achievements. 

The awardees demonstrate artistic innovation and creativity, while building on deep traditions. Jamie, Latham, Dylan and Reg have each demonstrated a commitment to their practice, accumulated a body of work, and are recognized in their communities for their craft. 

BC Achievement is honoured to feature the 2022 recipients in a joint exhibition celebrating the recipients of the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art and the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design at The Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in Vancouver from November 14 to November 18, 2022. 

The Fulmer Award in First Nations Art is made possible through the generous support of the Vancouver-based Fulmer Foundation. The BC Achievement Foundation is also grateful to community partners BC Ferries, Crafted Vancouver, Denbigh Fine Art Services, TELUS and The Roundhouse  and media partners CFNR, First Nations Drum, The Frog Radio, Global BC and Stir, each of which play a key role in elevating change in their support of the Fulmer Award program.  

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Through the lens of emerging artists Cole Speck and Crystal Behn: paddles for the reconciliation journey 

Photo: Cole Speck, Reconciliation Paddle 2021

The British Columbia Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point [Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl], 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the award program. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. 

In keeping with His Honour’s inspiration and to commemorate the inaugural offering of the award in 2020, BC Achievement commissioned the recipient of the 2020 Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist for the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art, Cole Speck, to create a paddle design representative of his understanding of the reconciliation journey. Cole, a Kwakwaka’wakw artist, designed a paddle emblematic of his vision: 

“The paddle design represents the sea monster, one of the earliest stories of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. The sea monster has been carrying people through pre-reconciliation as it travels through the ocean. Now it is climbing out of the waves helping to bridge the gap toward reconciliation. No one has seen the sea monster for centuries but now that we are working towards reconciliation, there is hope that we will see the sea monster once again.” 

For each subsequent year of the BC Reconciliation Award program, BC Achievement is honoured to commission the Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist for the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art to create a paddle design showcasing their understanding of the reconciliation journey.  

Photo: Crystal Behn, Reconciliation Paddle 2022

Crystal Behn, the 2021 recipient of the Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist designation created a reconciliation paddle using yellow cedar, acrylic, beads, moosehide, fish scales, and caribou hair.  As a Dene and Carrier artist, all of these materials are active components of her practice and the following exposé shares and defines her intimate experience: 

When I worked on this paddle, I experienced many different emotions. What started out as excitement and happiness to be given the opportunity to create and contribute to reconciliation, turned into negative emotions for me.  Reconciliation; 1. the restoration of friendly relations. 2. the action of making one view or belief compatible with another.   

What does reconciliation mean to me? It is a made up hope, an attempt at what colonizers would like to say that is being accomplished. This paddle represents everything reconciliation should be, the freedom to express the culture and tradition that many First Nations were denied. The responsibility of reconciliation is passed onto the children of the future if the lies embedded in Canadian history are not authenticated or brought to light. Why should an entire nation have to keep fighting for equality, the land and their treaty rights while having to face racism head on?  

The traditional hand smoked moosehide has a story. The moose was hunted, its meat fed many families. Tradition and knowledge were passed on from the hunt right to the art that was created from endless hours of preparing the hide. The beaded flower colours represent every nation. The stitching that runs along the edge represents the mothers and grandmothers that stitched together their children’s moccasins, many of those children did not return home from residential school. The red flower at the tip represents all the murdered and missing Indigenous women, all our stolen sisters, the life givers. Women are the strength in our families and communities, why are they being discarded at such an alarming rate? This paddle is bound together in the middle, my hope is that one day all nations will meet in the middle with understanding and compassion for one another. That all Indigenous nations will be accepted and shown mutual respect.” 

Soon, the two paddles will be installed in honour of the achievements of the 2021 and 2022 BC Reconciliation recipients at Government House in Victoria. Recipients will be presented with a limited-edition print at a ceremony planned for January 2023. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Join us at an art exhibition celebrating the artwork of the Carter Wosk and Fulmer Awardees  

A public art exhibition visually shares knowledge, celebrates artists and provides space for gathering and shared dialogue. Starting November 14, BC Achievement will be hosting an exhibition to highlight the artwork of the 2022 recipients of its two art award programs. 

Since 2006, the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art (FNA) program has celebrated the intersection of art and culture, while honouring First Nations artistic traditions. The program recognizes artistic excellence in traditional or contemporary visual arts by First Nations artists and aims to create an authentic space for community engagement, mentorship and storytelling. In this space traditions are passed onto younger generations and shared with a BC-wide audience. So far, the program has shone a light on 88 outstanding artists. 

Likewise, the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design (AAD) program has highlighted functional art which enhances day-to-day life for individuals while enriching our collective experiences. It celebrates British Columbians whose work directly contributes to the cultural and economic fabric of the province and drives innovation in functional art. To date, this award program has celebrated over 75 artists and designers! 

Highlighting the artistic skills of artists helps to advance the collective conversation around art in this province and serves as a unifying platform to share cultural history and artistic innovation with fellow citizens.  

BC Achievement will be shining a light on the 2022 FNA and AAD Awardees in part through a joint public art exhibition housed at The Roundhouse in Vancouver from Monday, November 14 until Friday, November 18. It will be open 9am to 10pm each day aside from Tuesday and Thursday when the exhibit will be closed at 2pm. 

Watch for the announcement of awardees of both programs later this month on BC Achievement’s website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn channels! And come and visit the FNA and AAD Art Exhibition and celebrate excellence with us! 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change. 

The 2022 Indigenous Business Awardees have just been announced! 

Let’s raise our hands for the eight recipients who represent excellence in Indigenous business from around the province. 

The Indigenous Business Award (IBA) program honours excellence and focuses on the successes of Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs. The program offers awardees and their supporters an authentic space to showcase their achievements and build bridges between BC’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous economies. 

The awardees announced today are: 

Dark Arc Welding Inc., Dawson Creek, recipient in the Young Entrepreneur category 

dk Architecture, North Vancouver, recipient in the 1-2 Person Enterprise category 

Culture Shock Life, Alert Bay, 3-10 Person Enterprise category 

Warrior Plumbing, North Vancouver, 11+ Person Enterprise category 

M’i nuw’ilum Marina Inc., Sooke, Community-Owned 1 Entity category 

Sasuchan Development Corporation, Takla Lake, Community-Owned 2+ Entities category 

Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd., Williams Lake, Business Partnership of the Year category 

Chief David Jimmie, Chilliwack, Award of Distinction 

These awardees are representative of excellence in Indigenous business, not just for the practical day-to-day work they do and the communities they serve, but because their efforts are preparing the path for our youth and future generations through Thuyshaynum: preparing the path, directing the feet. 

“When we come together to celebrate Indigenous business achievement, we are also blazing a path for today’s youth and for the generations that will follow. The Indigenous Business Award program recognizes business achievement, honouring innovative ideas and new ways of making our economy more robust and more inclusive,” said foundation Chair, Anne Giardini. “Every year, the enterprises recognized with an Indigenous Business Award highlight ways we all benefit from an ongoing reconciliation of the practices of the past with the economies of the future.”  

Congratulations to each of the awardees on their successes and serving as inspirations to others.  

The awardees will be celebrated at the IBA Gala on November 29 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Ticket details are available at bcachievement.com.

Join us to honour the awardees! #IBAGala 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Dr. Yosef Wosk on how the Carter Wosk Award unites both art and design 

Photo: 2020 Carter Wosk Awardee & Ceramist, Janaki Larsen, Shelter

Dr. Yosef Wosk delivered a thoughtful and empowering speech to the awardees, their colleagues, friends and families the last time the event was held in person for the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design presentation ceremony. 

He spoke of the age-old debate between art versus design, what distinguishes art from design, and how this award unites them both. 

“The artist, the fine artist, the free artist, the pure artist operates more perhaps as a shaman, as a revolutionary, as a transformer and as a lover. Whereas the applied artist’s work is more often thought of as domesticated, as tamed, as practical, as ritualized.

Perhaps the greatest champion and master of applied art and design was Willam Morris, the author, the designer, the printer and the seller of this book from the Kelmscott Press 130 years ago. One of his most famous statements, ‘if you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it, have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’. 

There are two different things he’s brought together as we have brought together tonight art and design. ‘Know’ means to understand; it’s a rational idea, it’s logic, it’s most often related to practical design. And ‘believe’ is more transcendent, intuitive, the pure art.  

Those who we celebrate this evening are among the few, the rare, the best who are both artists and designers, mystics and manufacturers. You are the hybrid few who bridge both worlds and allow the rest of us to cross between otherwise unreachable dimensions.” 

Wise words from a patron of the arts, and one of the individuals for whom this is award is named.  

We are looking forward to once again gathering to celebrate the artists and designers who make daily-use products more aesthetically charged. Your chance to see the works of these applied artists is from November 14 – 18 at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver. Pop in for a visit of the exhibition featuring pieces from the 2022 Carter Wosk Awardees and the artwork of the 2022 Fulmer Award in First Nations Art recipients. 

More details will be announced in the coming month! 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Indigenous Business Excellence: the legacy of the Award of Distinction designation 

Photo: 2017 Recipients of the Indigenous Business Award

Celebrating excellence since 2009, the Indigenous Business Award (IBA) program boasts over 200 remarkable businesses within its alumni. Presented in partnership with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and generously supported by our sponsorship family the program elevates the stories of IBA awardees, invests in their achievements while shining a light on business excellence and innovation so others may follow their example. 

Within its alumni are a select group of achievers who serve as entrepreneurial change makers within the Indigenous economy. These individuals have received the annual Award of Distinction designation: each is remarkable in their own right and has a story which needs to be held up and shared so their efforts continue to inspire. 

The Award of Distinction is presented to a person who, over his or her career, has made a significant difference in the Indigenous business community through his or her entrepreneurial endeavours and, in doing so, serves as a leader, role model, mentor and inspiration. The individual may be a pioneer in his or her business activities, a successful entrepreneur, or an individual who has been instrumental in supporting or creating Indigenous business activities in the province. 

We salute the past Award of Distinction recipients and their legacy:

2009 Dorothy Grant & Angelique Merasty Levac  
2010 Dolly (Watts) McRae & John Harper  
2011 Chief Clarence Louie  
2012 Chief Councillor Garry Reece 
2013 Chief Commissioner Sophie Pierre & Ruth Williams 
2014 Councillor Garry Feschuk 
2015 James Walkus 
2016 Robert Louie 
2017 Chief Gibby Jacob
2018 Chief Gordon Planes 
2019 Paulette Flamond 
2020 Carol Anne Hilton 
2021 Ken Cameron 

Indigenous Business Award of Distinction recipients serve as examples of resilience and innovation and while delivering a message of hope and optimism for the future. Their legacy, tenacity and hard work, ensures the rightful place of Indigenous businesses in British Columbia.  

Achievement is defined as strength, courage and skill –  and is embodied by the Award of Distinction recipients in their respective lives. The 2022 Award of Distinction designation will be announced next month in concert with the release of the 14th annual Indigenous Business Award recipients. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Announcing the 2022 Indigenous Business Award (IBA) Gala Directors of Ceremonies:
Carol Anne Hilton and Geena Jackson 

In all they do, Carol Anne and Geena elevate, share and inspire everything that is Indigenous Business. The IBA program is honoured to welcome this dynamic duo to the stage to lead the proceedings and celebrate the 2022 award recipients at the presentation ceremony this coming November. 

After what will be a three-year hiatus, the highly anticipated IBA Gala Dinner is back with Carol Anne and Geena leading the way on November 29 at the Hotel Vancouver. These strong Indigenous womanpreneurs have been change makers in the Indigenous economy for the past 20 years. 

No stranger to the IBA stage, award alumna Carol Anne of Nuu chah nulth descent from the Hesquiaht Nation on Vancouver Island, is committed to increasing the visibility and inclusion of Indigenous business and economic growth globally. First recognized with an IBA in 2013, Carol received the program’s Award of Distinction designation in 2020 – saluting her remarkable leadership through the Indigenomics Institute and its accompanying #indigenomics movement. Carol Anne is also the author of the award winning ‘Indigenomics: Taking A Seat at the Economic Table’.   

Geena, a member of the Frog Clan of the shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation on BC’s Sunshine Coast, has contributed to the growth of over 530 Indigenous entrepreneurs, organizations and First Nations communities. She currently is the inspirational innovator and founder of Bear’s Lair – the soon to be aired reality tv show on ATPN TV this fall (Season 1 launches on September 11)! Geena understands the challenges facing entrepreneurs and she is motivated by the sense of accomplishment and pride people feel when they succeed in turning their dreams into reality. A longtime supporter and consistent (and successful) nominator of the IBA program, Geena is a force who passionately empowers others while leading by example. 

Join these two powerful Indigenous women and celebrate the 2022 IBA recipients on November 29 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver – tickets on sale beginning September 21! 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.