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2012 Leadership Award
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BSA To Honor Sharon Avent with 2012 Leadership Award

The Business Solutions Association (BSA) will present Sharon Hoffman Avent, President and CEO of Smead Manufacturing Company, with its 2012 Leadership Award, the association’s highest honor. This award recognizes those special individuals who are or have been great leaders, through their personal and business accomplishments, in the business products industry.

“This year’s winner of this prestigious award truly represents leadership in every sense of the word,” said BSA President Mike Wilbur. “We’re pleased to have this opportunity to recognize Sharon Avent. Smead is recognized as one of the largest privately-held and one of the largest women-owned companies in Minnesota. Smead has been 100% woman-owned since 1955 and is certified nationally as a Women Business Enterprise.”

Avent has been dedicated not only to the continuing success of her company, but also her community. She has served on the boards of Minnesota Historical Society, Regina Healthcare, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School where she was recently named Trustee Emeritus, and she is President of the Hastings Public Schools Foundation. She has been honored with many awards for her public service including the “Building Bridges, Building Futures Award” from the Hastings Public Schools and the “Spirit of Hastings Award” from the Hastings Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, Smead was the lead donor in the Capital Campaign Drive that succeeded in building a YMCA in Hastings.

Of her many awards, she is most proud of being presented the prestigious “Spirit of Life Award” by the National Office Products Industry for her work with and support of the City of Hope, a world-renowned cancer research and treatment facility in California. She was the first women to receive this honor in the office products industry.

“It is interesting to note that Sharon Avent is also the first individual woman to receive the Business Solutions Association Leadership Award,” said Wilbur. “She has served the industry well for many years.”

Avent was named one of the “Top Women Business Owners” by Pink Magazine and has been honored by The Business Journal as one of “Minnesota’s Top Businesswomen” and as a “Woman Changemaker.” She is the recipient of Office Depot’s “Corporate Visionary Award” and the National Association of Women Business Owners’ (NAWBO) “Business Owner of the Year.” She was presented with the “Applause Award” by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) for her efforts to expand opportunities for women business enterprises on a national level. She also was recognized by the Anti-Defamation League for her efforts in promoting diversity and received the “Torch of Liberty Award.” Most recently she received the “25th Anniversary Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year Award” from the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC).

This is the 16th consecutive year for this prestigious industry award. To be considered, nominated individuals must display dedication as well as longevity to the industry. They must also have business acumen, be forthright and have the highest integrity while having a cooperative spirit.

Avent will receive the award at a special Awards Dinner on October 3 during the 2012 BSA Forum, which takes place October 2 - 4 at the Grand Hyatt DFW in Dallas, Texas.

The Business Solutions Association (BSA) provides a forum for the development of strategic and synergistic solutions to enhance the sale and distribution of business related products and services. BSA serves wholesalers, representatives and manufacturers and represents their interests in the industry.

BSA has a charter to provide a forum for networking, education and innovative ideas. The organization will strive to develop high industry standards, best practices and technological advances to promote the growth and success of its members.



BSA is a trade association that represents manufacturers, wholesalers, manufacturer representatives in the business products and related industries. We strive to develop high industry standards, best practices and technological advances to promote the growth and success of our members through networking, education and innovative ideas.

Thank You to Our BSA Partners!

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