Melissa a remarkable woman
Hair studio owner shocked to hear her name as winner of prestigious contest
BAYSIDE — In a room packed with ambition, talent and success, Melissa Payton VanNorman’s jaw almost hit the table when master of ceremonies Glenda Tracey called her name as the Quinte 2018 Remarkable Woman of the Year.
“There are so many talented women here and just to be included with them is more than humbling,” said the owner of Kor Hair Studio. “I look around the room and these women have accomplished so much. I can’t tell you how surprised and happy I am to receive such an honour.
Not everyone was so surprised. Joe Southwell, The Intelligencer’s director of media sales, said Payton VanNorman was deserving of the award.
“She’s an amazing member of the community and always seems to put everyone else ahead of herself,” he said. “I’m not at all surprised the panel selected her as the winner from such a strong list of candidates.
Payton VanNorman was recently nominated for Business Person of the Year for Quinte Business Achievement Awards and when the mother of two isn’t tending to business at Kor – which will soon celebrate its first anniversary — she is likely planning her next Street Stylez event.
Over the last four years, Payton VanNorman has helped provide free hair cuts, meals and school supplies to more than 700 people.
Held twice annually, she packed more than 100 book bags with school supplies for children returning to school at her last event prior to Labour Day.
“I’ve been there and I know what it’s like to have nothing when the other kids are going back to school with new outfits, new hair cuts and all the supplies they need,” she said. “No child should feel like that, so we want them to feel good about themselves when they go back to school.”
Guest speaker Kristin Crowe took the audience through her riveting journey, discovering in August 2017 cancer had returned and a diagnosis of Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer, meant she was no longer curable.
Crowe said the stress of her illness, an ending relationship, being the mother of teenaged boys, had her headed for a breakdown.
“So there you have it … quite the year! There’s so much more to share but you now have the bones … my life as I knew it came crashing down. I had to walk away from the business completely, at an exciting time, to put my entire focus on survival! My boys were both in dif- ferent yet difficult places, my living situation was not ideal, and my health was at risk.
Emotionally, I was headed for disaster ( and) something had to change … I had to change. I knew that no one was going to get me out of this place but me! I began opening up to people — not something that comes natural to me. I was out of my comfort zone, letting it all out, crying with people who were stopping in to visit me and that’s when the magic began to happen.”
Payton VanNorman said she could relate to Crowe’s health struggles.
“Losing my mother to cancer ( four years ago) was such a huge thing in my life and it gave me a real push,” she said. “I cried listening to Kristin and it’s because of people like her I get up in the morning. There is always someone who has it worse, someone who needs a helping hand and when you look at someone like Kristin – she is so strong and you would never know she has had to face those struggles. It resonates deeply with me because my mom was my everything and I nursed her and it was awful to watch her disappear. But through awful comes light and that’s my driving force to keep giving back.”
Now in its 18th year sponsored by The Intelligencer, they were once again joined by Shopper’s Drug Mart and Belleville Toyota. Quinte Broadcasting and Cogeco were media sponsors.
Kim Taylor of Taylor Signs was selected as first runner- up while Ruth Ferguson Aulthouse, a planning consultant was selected as second runner- up.
Other nominees included: Michelle Stroud, Sarah Searles, Michele Rees and Susan Walsh, Gloria- Anne Richards, Dr. Andrea Sorichetti and Bobbi Aruljothi, Rachel Revoy and Mandy Keller.
Kor Hair Studio owner Melissa Payton VanNorman reacts with surprise to hear her name called out as the 2018' s Remarkable Woman.
Pictured are the nominees from the 2018 Quinte Remarkable Woman of the Year awards held Thursday at Occasions by the Bay. Pictured ( back row from left) are Michelle Stroud, Sarah Searles, Michele Rees and Susan Walsh. In front ( row from left) Ruth Ferguson Aulthouse, Kim Taylor, Gloria- Anne Richards, Melissa Payton VanNorman, Dr. Andrea Sorichetti and Bobbi Aruljothi. Missing were Rachel Revoy and Mandy Keller.
Pictured are the three winners from The Quinte 2018 Remarkable Women awards at Occasions by the Bay on Thursday. ( From left) Ruth Ferguson Aulthouse ( second runner- up), Kim Taylor ( first runner- up) and 2018 Remarkable Woman of the Year Melissa Payton VanNorman.
2018 Remarkable Women nominee Michele Rees ( centre) gets support from her mother- in- law Lynda Rees and husband Jason Rees.
2017 Remarkable Women winner Catherine Langlois listens to guest speaker Kristin Crowe.
Michelle Stroud was one of the nominees at the Remarkable Women of the Year luncheon.
Dr. Andrea Sorichetti was one of the nominees for the 2018 Remarkable Women.
The Intelligencer’s Director of Media Sales Joe Southwell introduces 2018 Remarkable Women nominee Sarah Searles during Thursday’s luncheon at Occasions by the Bay.