2017 ACE Awards Gala

2017 ACE Awards Gala "Celebrating Our Own"

The Gala represents a new tradition ACE started last year; that of celebrating success and achievements in the Albanian-Canadian community. This year, 250 guests, including many honorary dignitaries from the Albanian and Canadian governments, gathered in celebrating more than 30 winners and nominees.

Here are the Winners for 2017 ACE Awards Gala:

Agako Nouch

Agako Nouch

Professional Achievement Award Winner

Agako Nouch

Professional Achievement Award Winner

Dr. Alban Merepeza

Dr. Alban Merepeza

Entrepreneur Achievement Award Winner

Dr. Alban Merepeza

Entrepreneur Achievement Award Winner

Albanian-Canadian Community Association/ Shoqata e Bashkesise Shqiptaro-Kanadeze,

Albanian-Canadian Community Association/ Shoqata e Bashkesise Shqiptaro-Kanadeze,

Contribution to Community Award Winner

Albanian-Canadian Community Association/ Shoqata e Bashkesise Shqiptaro-Kanadeze,

Contribution to Community Award Winner

Augustin Simoni

Augustin Simoni

Artist Achievement Award Winner

Augustin Simoni

Artist Achievement Award Winner

Benoit Dorais

Benoit Dorais

Contribution to Albanian Community Award Winner

Benoit Dorais

Contribution to Albanian Community Award Winner

Dritan Topuzi

Dritan Topuzi

Academic Achievement Award Winner

Dritan Topuzi

Academic Achievement Award Winner

Denise Mertiri

Denise Mertiri

Young Professional Achievement Award Winner

Denise Mertiri

Young Professional Achievement Award Winner

Genti Bejko

Genti Bejko

Young Artist Achievement Award Winner

Genti Bejko

Young Artist Achievement Award Winner

Gerti Dervishi

Gerti Dervishi

Young Entrepreneur Achievement Award Winner

Gerti Dervishi

Young Entrepreneur Achievement Award Winner

Honorable Laura Albanese

Honorable Laura Albanese

Exceptional Contribution to Albanian Community Award Winner

Honorable Laura Albanese

Exceptional Contribution to Albanian Community Award Winner

Ilda Fida

Ilda Fida

Contribution to Community Award Winner

Ilda Fida

Contribution to Community Award Winner

The night was a smashing success, as can be seen in the countless, dancing crowd photos shown just below. It was a satisfying and fun way to celebrate the hard work from the ACE team, as well as the achievements of all those nominated. To our eleven winners, we wish continued success and look forward to hearing more about their future accomplishments.

 

Take a moment and enjoy those moments shared below. Below you will also find a list of this year’s interviews with honorary guests and winners, the Albanian Foreign Minister’s video message to ACE, as well as the Ontario Premier’s warm message to ACE and the Albanian community. 

 

Don’t forget to tag us in your social media!

Gala Memories

Ditmir Bushati's Greeting Message to ACE

Interviews with 2017 ACE Awards Gala honorary guests and winners

A Personal Message from Kathleen Wynne, the Premier of Ontario

Ilir Azizi
Chair of ACE
“Two years into our journey and I continue to be amazed by how easily people connect with ACE, once they have a chance to experience it. The gala event adds to ACE’s story as the connector and promoter of excellence and what is good in our growing, Albanian community. There is a lot of work that goes in delivering the gala experience and a great deal of gratitude goes to ACE's volunteers who selflessly dedicate their time and effort to this noble cause. Their deep sense of connection and purpose came across once again through the quality and the spirit of the event. “
Denisa Balla
Vice-Chair of ACE
“Two years ago, we had a dream. Now, two years later, we have a vibrant team of volunteers who rolled up their sleeves, took time away from family and friends - sometimes, their jobs also -, and brought creative thinking as well as rigorous commitment to identifying and celebrating Albanian-Canadian success stories. I am happy to announce that we have found great partners and supporters of ACE, without whom the Awards program would have not been the same. And all of this, just because of the dream for pushing the boundaries of success and excellence in our community. I have immensely enjoyed working with all our volunteer teams and I am bursting with hope and excitement for what the future awaits…”
Ardita Karaj
2017 Awards Program Lead
"This year we worked in teams and I really enjoyed Ilva and Miri being on the Program team. We spend many evenings working and re-working the program flow, to ensure there was natural integration between awards, guest speakers, performances, the dinner and networking. We also wanted to make sure that the personalities of Ilva and Miri would come out naturally, inviting everyone to enjoy different components of the Program. We aimed for the experience to be inspirational, interactive and professional. We really hope we were able to deliver that."
Diana Pushi
Performance and Production Lead
"I really enjoyed taking on the challenge, for the second year in a row, to lead the performance and production component of ACE’s Gala evening. ACE uses music and environment as another way of creating a space for inspiration and connectivity for the whole community. This is one way to collaborate with talented individuals, who also get to experience and enjoy the ACE style of working. I am so happy we were able to electrify the stage - and dance floor - with amazing performances and celebration."
Noada Lugaj
Digital Lead/ Communications
"I had a wonderful time interviewing the many honorary guests during our annual 2017 ACE Gala. It was an amazing opportunity to meet some incredible individuals, and also be able to receive first hand some strong, powerful and encouraging messages for the Albanian Canadian Community. Tons of hard work and dedication went also in keeping the ACE website www.acesociety.ca updated - with all that was happening with respect to Gala and Dinner with Nominees - in order to help in promoting all our nominees in the digital space. Through this amazing experience, I had the opportunity of being part of a dream team of volunteers who would support ACE Society unconditionally. Thank you for your constant support.”
Editte Malile
Email Communications and Registrations
“For the past two years, I have had the pleasure of ensuring that all of ACE’s registrations, requests and other communications needs were well captured, and that people were well informed of all the activities leading to the Gala across all of ACE’s channels, be it email, social media or the website. We really wanted to provide a professional and yet warm experience for all our honorary guests, ACE members and Gala attendees; and I feel proud in knowing that we accomplished our mission. It was a pleasure working alongside other dedicated individuals in enriching the Albanian community here in Canada.”
Ilda Fida
Sponsorship Lead
"We took on another year, and another challenge, in self-funding the ACE Awards program and we were so pleased to be overwhelmed by the generous support of the sponsors and contributors in helping out with monetary and in-kind donations supporting the Awards and Mentorship Program. Over 20 people left with great prizes from the Gala evening, won through the raffles and auctions. This was a great and rewarding experience, and I look forward to doing it again next year!"
Miranda Kondi
Membership Administrator
“For the second time, ACE’s members showed the power and energy that they can deliver to the Albanian community through another successful, and memorable, ACE GALA night. I can proudly announce that our membership numbers have been grown since the first Gala by at least 21%, which indicates that the gala results in a spike in interest levels."
Elda Bylykbashi
Finance Team
“I am proud that we were able to deliver a great event for a second year in a row, with amazing guests, great performers, delicious food, and meaningful connections; I am looking forward to the next year’s event. I feel grateful to be part of such an amazing and committed team, where I can help using my financial background and skills to maintain a high standard of integrity, as well as deliver great programs and events to bring our community together. All this, while being cost conscious and highly transparent. The best is yet to come!!!”
Ledia Kurti
Decor and Seating Arrangements
“I worked alongside a wonderful team to plan and execute a very successful event, if I may say so. A lot of effort was put in the sitting arrangements, allowing guests to catch up with old friends. It also made for great networking and meaningful conversations amongst them. The work put on the decor of the room and the centrepieces are two other tasks that I thoroughly enjoyed for the second time in a row.”
Ilva Murati
Master of Ceremony
"I had the pleasure of being the emcee at this year's gala. Working alongside an incredibly supportive group of individuals, gave me the encouragement and confidence on-and-off stage. My job as an emcee was to keep the show on schedule, while keeping the audience engaged. Working closely with Ardita Karaj, the Program Lead, - and Miri Hysi, Guest Master of Ceremony - on the script, program flow and proper instructions, made the night a great success.”
Esti Azizi
Events Team, Host
“There are always a million things needed to make a Gala night runs smoothly, but making sure that guests are accounted for and enjoying themselves is definitely at the top of the list. Everyone at ACE is warm, welcoming and eager to socialize and it's really amazing to be a part of that. “

2017 Awards Evaluation Committee

ACE Society would like to thank all the AEC members for their thorough research and objective evaluation of all the nominee applications.

Chair: Gerjon Kalaci
Members: Elda Bylykbashi, Everest Damsi, Teuta Dodbiba, Aida Tahiri, Tomor Nushaj

See winners of the previous ACE Awards: