While the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce organizes the annual Business Excellence Awards banquet coming up March 14, the chamber members themselves do not actually judge this event.
This task is performed by a panel of five judges, who independently assess the nominations, and whose identity is only known to the Business Excellence Committee chair who appointed them.
“The nomination process is the single most important component of the awards,” says chamber executive director Claudia Blair.
“The process has been tweaked a little over the years making changes that the judges deemed needed attention or would improve the process.”
Every year the chamber strikes a Business Excellence Committee to oversee all aspects of the event including the awards nomination and judging process.
The actual judging of nominations is done by an independent panel of five adjudicators, Blair says.
The chair of the particular year’s Business Excellence Committee is charged with finding five people to judge the nominations. The chair is a chamber board member this year, but she says the chair doesn’t necessarily have to be a chamber member.
And she emphasizes that chamber board members are never involved in judging.
She says the Business Excellence Committee chair normally chooses the judges from the city proper area, for simplicity in location and in recognition of volunteer time required.
In order to maintain a completely unbiased process the names of the judges are only known to the committee chair who selects them, Blair says
The judges’ names are not known to each other, or to any of the other Business Excellence Committee members, chamber members or staff.
In order to try and prevent any conflicts in selecting the judges, the committee chair reads all of the nomination papers before selecting the judges.
That way he or she can try to select judges that are not nominated themselves for an award, did not nominate anyone for an award and are not in conflict in other ways such as being an employee of a company nominated.
“It isn’t a perfect system by any means, especially when we work in a small community where most everyone knows everyone,” Blair says. “We have changed it up a little over the years and tried to get better at what we do to be as fair as possible.
“We ask the judges who are selected to be fair, open minded, and positive thinking, and to disqualify themselves if they feel they should disqualify themselves.”
Each judge selected is given a package with all of the nominations in it, along with the judging criteria and a point system with which to evaluate each nomination.
Each judge reviews and evaluates the nominations independently of the other judges and tabulates their marks on the judging sheets provided. Judges may also add comments or concerns they feel are appropriate.
The committee chair re-checks the judge’s tabulations before giving them to Blair and her staff to check once again.
“We always check the numbers to make sure they are accurate,” Blair says.
The highest score wins the particular category and like the Oscars the results are kept confidential until the “academy style” gala evening presented on the Business Excellence Awards night which is coming up at the Elks Hall on March 14.
“We congratulate all of the nominees,” Blair says. “It is an honour just to be nominated.”
Businesses nominated for the Business Excellence Awards do not have to be chamber members. Anyone can also nominate a business for an award.
“Sometimes the biggest challenge in the nomination process is getting people to nominate others,” Blair says.
“We have always encouraged people to nominate a business, group or individual that has done well in the past year in some way,” Blair says. “We believe in giving those who deserve recognition a chance to shine.”
She notes the business excellence awards and banquet are primarily put on by volunteers and supported by businesses in the community.
“We appreciate all of their support and hope we can count on such assistance for future years,” Blair says.
Over the years Blair says many people have served as business excellence committee chairs including Gary Crosina, Glen Holling, Karen Roberts, Walt Cobb and many more.
If anyone has any questions about the awards she asks people to give the chamber a call at 250-392-5025.