(TORONTO – November 30, 2010) – The founder and Chief Operating Officer of Banyan Work Health Solutions, Maria Vandenhurk, was selected as a finalist for the coveted RBC Momentum Award at the 2010 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards Gala held last night at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. The annual event recognizes women entrepreneurs from across Canada who make increasing contributions to the local, Canadian or global economy.
Vandenhurk was recognized for her accomplishment in changing the way companies look at disabilities. Rather than focusing on the person’s medical condition, symptoms and restrictions, the company’s approach to disability claims management emphasizes a person’s capabilities and addresses the underlying influencers that result in prolonged disability. Vandenhurk’s work with Banyan has left a critical footprint on the industry by demonstrating to insurers and business leaders the return on investment associated with spending on rehabilitation solutions.
“It is a tremendous honour to be selected as a finalist from among so many inspiring women. I started up the company with an uncommon philosophy; work is healthy and given suitable opportunities, people collecting disability benefits would rather work,” said Vandenhurk. “It is my hope that through our work, this philosophy will become mainstream thinking.”
Vandenhurk was one of three women shortlisted for the award. This year, organizers saw a record of more than 2,000 nominees. All of the nominees shared a strong entrepreneurial vision, a relentless passion in pursing their dreams and are positive role models for young women. Vandenhurk founded Banyan 15 years ago driven by her own passion for helping people; specifically employees facing health challenges and in need of assistance to return to the competitive workforce. Her vision challenged industry norms, showed unprecedented innovation and gained the results needed to influence change. This vision became a reality despite the lack of start-up capital and limited space in her home for her one employee to work.
Banyan’s current focus on direct service to employers is expected to further propel its success. Relying on the same early intervention, function-focused approach to manage work-related absences, the current marketing and sales strategy is concentrated on employers in Canada’s service sector. Banyan intends to nearly double its revenues to approximately $20 million in sales by 2015.
Established in 1995, Banyan Work Health Solutions Inc. is a leader in providing health management solutions for employers and insurers across Canada. Solutions are aligned to meet the overall strategy and specific needs of our clients. Their suite of services offers the right solution at the right time and includes disability claims management, program design and disability plan audits.