The Hamilton Spectator

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce announces Citizen, CEO of the Year awards

Lawyer Rebecca Wissenz and marketing agency owner Tiffany Simkins will be honoured in April


An award-winning personal injury lawyer with a tireless commitment to community service has been named Citizen of the Year.

Rebecca Wissenz will receive the award at a gala hosted by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce on April 10 — the 40th rendition of the annual reception celebratin­g key contributi­ons to the city’s business community.

“Rebecca embodies the spirit of selfless dedication, tireless community service and a profound commitment to making a lasting impact on our great city,” chamber president and CEO Greg Dunnett said in a release Monday.

After two decades as a personal injury lawyer with a major Hamilton firm, Wissenz branched out and founded her own practice, Wissenz Law, in 2008.

She’s been named the city’s best lawyer 20 times by the Reader’s Choice Awards, while her practice has received repeat honours for best law firm, according to the chamber.

Despite her hectic schedule, the Stoney Creek native has managed to be a staunch advocate for a variety of organizati­ons and causes that “have strengthen­ed Hamilton,” the chamber said in its release.

That includes having served as treasurer, vice-president and president for Scleroderm­a Ontario, executive and chair of granting for the Trillium Foundation, chair of the Brain Injury Services board, director for the Kidney Foundation of

Canada and director for the Bright Futures Family Centre.

From a local standpoint, Wissenz spent six years on the chamber of commerce board — including a stint as its president — and served as chair for the Hamilton TigerCats executive advisory board. She was also the inaugural provincial appointee to Ontario’s Greenbelt advisory council, a post she held from 2006 to 2011.

“Her contributi­ons have woven an invaluable thread of compassion and positive change throughout our community, leaving an indelible mark on the city she calls home,” Dunnett said in the release.

Also announced Monday was the chamber’s CEO of the Year, a relatively new award first introduced last year.

The honour’s second-ever recipient is Tiffany Simkins, who, in just 15 years, turned a modest, independen­t, four-person design studio into a marketing agency with more than 30 employees and an impressive list of national and local clients.

“Tiffany’s self-made success story is inspiring on multiple levels,” Dunnett said of Simkins, who founded Creative Guild in 2007. “Scaling Creative Guild from a true startup to a thriving, mid-sized company is an impressive achievemen­t.”

Dunnett said Simkins’ indomitabl­e spirit and hands-on leadership have been key to the success of her business, which is now a prominent player in the marketing and advertisin­g industry. Beyond devising innovative concepts and delivering projects on time and on budget, Simkins is often a fixture at conference­s and networking events, where she has shared insights on her business journey and industry trends as a guest speaker. She’s also steadfast in her support of the local economy, maintainin­g office space in Hamilton, hiring homegrown talent and supporting nearby businesses through events and dinners.

“Her journey from a Hamiltonba­sed small business owner, to now leading a mid-sized company, showcases Tiffany as a female leadership success story,” the chamber said in its release, noting Creative Guild has grown revenue some 200 per cent since it was incepted.

The remaining nominees for the Outstandin­g Business Achievemen­t Awards will be announced next week.

 ?? HAMILTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ?? Lawyer Rebecca Wissenz and business owner Tiffany Simkins will receive their Citizen and CEO of the Year awards at a gala April 10.
HAMILTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Lawyer Rebecca Wissenz and business owner Tiffany Simkins will receive their Citizen and CEO of the Year awards at a gala April 10.

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