2023 Vital Unama’ki – Cape Breton Excellence Award Winners CelebratedFebruary 1, 2024

Cape Breton Island, NS – NextGen Unama’ki – Cape Breton and the Cape Breton Partnership were thrilled to celebrate the 2023 Vital Unama’ki – Cape Breton Excellence Awards recipients on January 26 at the Port of Sydney’s Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club Room.

The Vital Awards annually recognize youth and young professionals across Unama’ki – Cape Breton who have made significant contributions to their community, school or workplace, and the employers who support them. This year marked the tenth anniversary of the Vital Awards, and winners from the past ten years were celebrated at the after party featuring music from Rankin MacInnis and the Broken Reeds.

Genevieve Andrea, Chair, NextGen Unamaki Cape Breton

“The Vital Awards was an inspiring night celebrating outstanding youth and young professionals,” shares Genevieve Andrea, Chair of NextGen Unama’ki – Cape Breton. “Recognizing excellence in six categories, we amplified the voices shaping our vibrant community. As we approached this year’s awards, we reminisced on the remarkable successes of winners from the past decade. Now, I’m genuinely excited to witness the promising journeys that lie ahead for this year’s winners!”

Tyler Mattheis, CEO and President, Cape Breton Partnership

“Each year, we come together to celebrate the energy and potential of our youth, the dedication of employers, and the leadership in our community,” shares Tyler Mattheis, President and CEO of the Cape Breton Partnership. “It’s crucial to acknowledge the incredible value these individuals bring to Unama’ki – Cape Breton, and the employers that give youth opportunities to grow and succeed locally. We take great pride in our ongoing partnership with NextGen Unama’ki – Cape Breton for this event, as we contribute to conveying the message that the youth of our Island are vital.”

2023 Vital Award Winners

The 2023 Vital Award Winners are:

Vital Excellence Award – Recognizes individuals who have played a vital role in their community through volunteerism, culture, leadership, innovation, etc:

  • Peter MacInnis
  • Saralyn Gillan
  • Ethan Merlin
  • Chloe MacDonald
  • Paige Cox

Vital Employee Excellence Award – Recognizes employees who have played a vital role in their workplace in Unama’ki – Cape Breton:

  • Shane MacSween, New Dawn Enterprises
  • Nicole MacDonald, YMCA Cape Breton
  • Melissa Vickers, Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce

Vital Employer Excellence Award – Recognizes employers who have played a vital role in creating rewarding employment opportunities for youth in Unama’ki – Cape Breton:

  • Anchored Ideas
  • Boys and Girls Club of Cape Breton
  • AB Mechanical

Vital Newcomer Excellence Award– Recognizes newcomers who have made significant contributions to a community or communities in Unama’ki – Cape Breton through leadership, mentorship, entrepreneurship, etc:

  • Ankit Wadhwa
  • Tam Campbell and Julia MacMillan
  • Gunny and Guntas Brar

Vital Entrepreneur Excellence Award – Recognizes visionary entrepreneurs whose significant contributions have played a pivotal role in propelling economic growth, all while exemplifying the qualities of effective leadership:

  • Basil Doucet
  • Meghan Finney
  • Hazel Sparling

Vital Lnu’k Excellence Award – Recognizes Lnu’k who are outstanding ambassadors of culture, community, and collaboration on Unama’ki – Cape Breton:

  • Kalolin Sylvester
  • Armand Paul

To learn more about each winner and their contributions to communities across the Island, visit http://www.cbnextgen.com/winners.


Media Contact
Jeremy Martell, Director of Communications
Cape Breton Partnership

About NextGen
NextGen Unama’ki – Cape Breton envisions a network of young, community-minded professionals that contribute to socio-economic prosperity, fair equality of opportunity and community development through leadership and innovation. To realize this vision, we engage young professionals in dialogue and inspire them to become more active in all aspects of the future of their communities. With our partners, we identify and promote advancement opportunities for young people.

About the Cape Breton Partnership
The Cape Breton Partnership is Unama’ki – Cape Breton’s private sector-led economic development organization that supports companies and entrepreneurs by promoting our Island as a great place to live, work, and invest; growing a culture that values and celebrates creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship; and connecting entrepreneurs and companies to the resources they need to succeed.