Friday, December 14, 2012

Inaugural Notable Awards honors Quebec’s best of the best young entrepreneurs and professionals

After attending the inaugural Quebec Notable Awards ceremony at the Montreal Science Center on December 6, I am proud to say that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Quebec

Julian Brass, the founder and publisher of (the event’s chief sponsor), agrees.

“It’s not just the entrepreneurial spirit that’s alive and well in Quebec, but also the intra-preneurial spirit. It’s becoming a major trait, in which a lot of young people start their own businesses or ventures while maintaining their jobs and professions within a major corporation,” he told the Grapevine in a brief interview before the awards ceremony began., which Brass founded four years ago, is a website that helps connect young professionals across Canada in order to have them conduct a balanced life professionally, socially and charitably. It currently attracts about a million readers every month. “ is THE online publication for young professionals, in which many hard working young professionals can be motivated to be their best and go further every single day,” he said. “After years of working in Silicon Valley, it was my dream to give back to entrepreneurs and help them stay motivated, which is why I decided to establish the Notable Awards, so it can give them the recognition and the moment in the spotlight that they deserve.”
Over 500 nominees were culled in 19 different categories ranging from entertainment to social media to fashion to education to healthcare. The long list was then narrowed down to just over 100 finalists, and the public voted for their preferred nominees, which helped the selection committee determine the winners in each category. At the ceremony, emcee Genevieve Borne announced the 19 winners in five separate related category “clusters”; after each winner in their respective cluster went onstage to accept their awards, they sat down with Brass and Borne for a brief, five-minute panel discussion (pictured at right).

The Grapevine would like to congratulate the following Quebec Notable Award winners: Benoit Beauchemin (Advertising & Marketing), Zebulon Perron (Architecture & Real Estate), Daniel Seligman (Arts & Culture), Brahm Mauer (Best Bar Professional), Jojo Flores (Best DJ), Patricia Gajo (Best Personal Brand/Blogger, who writes a series of concise, engaging lifestyle and fashion blogs for such websites as, and, Dr. Anita Nowak (Education) Anne-Marie Wittenshaw (Entertainment), Isabelle Randez (Event Planning & PR), Efran Elfassy (Fashion), Olivier Akian (Finance), Dr. Mirko S. Gilardino (Healthcare), Claudia Emde (Hotel Management), Ethan Song (Best Online Business), Tierry Rassam (Law), Roberto Porres (Best Restauranteur), Jeff Baikowitz (Social Good), Martin-Luc Archambault (Social Media) and Micaela Whitworth (Sports & Fitness).

A special Grapevine honorable mention goes to Paul Telner, a finalist in the Entertainment category (pictured at right with me during the Finalist's Cocktail Party). A native of Ottawa, I first met Paul eight years ago at the Just For Laughs festival, when he and business partner Byron Pascoe were hoping to find backers for their independent TV comedy production “Campus Cram”. Through his boundless, manic energy and his fondness for orange clothing and hats that extolled the virtues of Orange Crush and Coca-Cola, Paul managed to attract the attention of several major producers in the U.S. and the U.K. and developed several TV projects (including a reality gags-type show which he starred in called “Apauled”); he even did a stint as Just For Laughs’ English language blogger in 2011. These days, he is channeling his creative energies as a development executive for Galafilm, an international TV production company based in Old Montreal.
With the help of its major partner the Ford Motor Company of Canada, staged a first class event to celebrate its inaugural awards ceremony. All the attendees (finalists, guests and media) were given the red carpet treatment (complete with your own red carpet photo to take home); they were treated to a wide assortment of delicious hors d’oeuvres from Montreal caterer extraordinaire Nicolina Servello, as well as from such Montreal restaurants as m:brgr (especially their delicious burgers on a stick), the Old Port Fishing Company, Bevo and Brasero Hardi. And thanks to the Ford Motor Company of Canada, the guests got the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of the 2013 Ford Fusion and check out the latest technological innovations of their brand new plug-in hybrid model of automobile (that's me on the right, admiring the Fusion's features); and although we couldn’t drive home with a Fusion of our own, everyone received a scale model of the 2013 Fusion as a special gift (pictured below).

A truly notable night.