Local businesswoman Cathy Bennett has been named one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence.
Bennett, CEO and owner of the Bennett Group of Companies, is the only Atlantic Canadian on this year’s list, published annually by Women of Influence magazine. She said it was a big surprise to her to be selected.
“When I looked at the list of women that had been recognized before, I was very humbled by the group that had been honoured last year,” she said. “Some of these individuals are Canadian legends, and certainly women that have had very significant impact in their own fields when it comes to leadership, and certainly the group that I aspired to be. I wasn’t necessarily picturing myself as being in that group.”
Bennett was named in the Business category. Through Bennett Restaurants, she holds franchises for eight St. John’s-area McDonald’s outlets. She also owns construction and commercial property companies and is a partner in the New Brunswick-based Sunny Corner Enterprises, which operates Northern Industrial in Labrador City.
She also sits on several boards of directors, including for Bell Aliant and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and is a governor of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.
A chairwoman of Nalcor Energy Bennett is also a director of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and the Bull Arm Corp., and was president of the St. John’s Board of Trade in 2007.
Bennett also devotes her time to the non-profit sector; she’s vice-chairwoman of Ronald McDonald House NL, and is the chairwoman of the capital campaign to get the house built.
Asked why she thinks she was selected, Bennett said she hopes one of the reasons is that she does what she says she’ll do.
“I’ve had a long history in the community of being not only very engaged in our businesses, but also very engaged in the community,” she said.
“I think you really have a responsibility, when you have an opportunity to influence, for whatever reason, that you take that opportunity. You have to be an example for other women, but not just women — for other people who work in my company or other companies, to take a leadership role.
“Democracy, business, community, all of those things need strong leaders who can help add voice and volume to those individuals who may need an extra voice or an extra bit of volume.”
The winter issue of Women of Influence magazine will feature a profile of Bennett, but the cover of that edition will be determined by votes — until Sept, 24 — on Women of Influence’s website, womenofinfluence.ca.