Newfoundland business leaders receive awards

Published on May 9, 2014

Nora Duke and John and Peggy Fisher took home prestigious awards from Memorial University’s business faculty Thursday night.

Duke, president and chief executive officer of Fortis Properties Corp. in St. John’s, received the 2014 Alumni Honour Award from the Faculty of Business Administration at its annual Partners Celebration at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland.

The Fishers, owners of Fishers’ Loft in Port Rexton, Trinity Bay, won the Gardiner Centre 2014 Newfoundland and Labrador Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

"This recognition is quite special to me," Duke said in a news release. “The Faculty of Business Administration at Memorial University has consistently delivered a strong, relevant business program and it is from this foundation that I embarked on a very fulfilling and enjoyable career and professional journey."

Duke has worked with the Fortis Group of Companies for 28 years in a variety of senior leadership and executive positions, and currently is responsible for the company’s two operating divisions: commercial real estate and hotels. She is an active volunteer and was appointed to the board of directors for the Canadian Tourism Commission in 2014. She also serves on the boards of the Hotel Association of Canada, Newfoundland Power, the Health Care Foundation and the Genesis Group at Memorial University. She's also a member of the National Advisory Council for the Building Owners and Managers Association.

The Fishers opened Fishers’ Loft as a four-room bed and breakfast in 1997. It has since grown into a 33-room inn, restaurant, executive conference centre and art gallery with a 4.5-star Canada Select rating. Strong supporters of the arts and literary communities, the Fishers have received numerous awards including Patron of the Arts Award from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (2013).

Fishers’ Loft was named one of the Top 10 best affordable island hotels by Travel and Leisure magazine, one of the best places to stay in National Geographic’s Traveler Magazine, and has received the highest rating in the Where to Eat in Canada Guide.

John Fisher is also the author of a best-selling management guide, "Money Isn’t Everything," and a founder and board member of Business and Arts Newfoundland and Labrador.

“We view business as primarily a social enterprise,” he said, in reaction to the award. Economics is important to enable access to markets and give generous compensation to staff, he said, but the business also aims to provide the very best experience to  its guests and invest in the community.

"This approach has driven Fishers' Loft growth in every one of its 18 years," John Fisher said.

Wilfred Zerbe, dean of MUN's business faculty, said "this year’s winners have clearly made an impact in their communities and, in addition to being visionary business leaders, are truly deserving of this recognition. Their success is an inspiration to us all.”