Founder of Thunder Bay's PARO Centre recognized as International Woman of the Decade

Local leader and founding executive director of the PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise, Rosalind Lockyer, is heading off to New Delhi, India at the end of April to receive an esteemed global award that recognizes female trailblazers around the world.

Rosalind Lockyer to receive award from Women Economic Forum in India

Rosalind Lockyer will be named an International Woman of the Decade for Community Leadership at the Women Economic Forum 2018 in New Delhi, India. (Photo submitted: Rosalind Lockyer)

A local leader in Thunder Bay, Ont., and founding executive director of the PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise is set to travel to New Delhi, India at the end of April to receive an esteemed global award that recognizes female trailblazers around the world.

Rosalind Lockyer founded PARO in 1995. It's a not-for-profit organization in northwestern Ontario that aims to empower women by helping them start, grow and promote their businesses.

"It was pretty surprising when I opened my email and saw this letter of invitation to speak and receive the award in India," Lockyer said. "Originally I thought it was a joke and something I should just delete and then ... I searched and called the person involved."

Known as the Women of the Decade in Community Leadership, the award will be given to Lockyer on Saturday, April 28 by the Women Economic Forum.

In addition to the award, Lockyer said she will also be sharing to a crowd of over 2,000 audience members from 150 countries, her story of how PARO came to be.

In 2017, Lockyer received the Women of Distinction Award. PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise is also a two-time winner of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Not for Profit award. (PARO Centre / Facebook)

"It's put on by the largest global women's chamber in the world and it's a growing network," Lockyer continued. "So it's a pretty humbling experience ... to be recognized for what's been a life long passion for me."

She said with the honour of having witnessed many women realizing their dreams, this award is not just for her but for all the powerful women who have helped her throughout her journey.

"I don't see this award as just for me but really for every woman who embodies the courage, the confidence and enterprise to overcome the kinds of challenges and insecurities and adversities that they would face everyday," Lockyer said.

She added that without, who she calls, proud PARO women, the local peer lending network would not have had the success it has had for the past nearly-quarter-century.

With the right networking and mentoring, women around the world have the power to recognize their goals and make them a reality, Lockyer said.

"I'm hoping that this award will also be an encouragement for young women," Lockyer said. "I'm hoping that they realize that, in this day of social media, what you do can be recognized."