For Immediate Release

Nov. 8, 2022

VANCOUVER, B.C.— The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade will honour Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia C.M., O.B.C., LL.D. (Hon) and Sergio Cocchia O.B.C. LL.D. (Hon) with its prestigious Rix Award for Engaged Community Citizenship at the annual Governor’s Gala in the spring, in recognition of their decades of philanthropic commitments and community service.

The recipient of the Rix Award for Engaged Corporate Citizenship for 2023 is White Spot, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the local business community and support for local charities that provide services to children, seniors and those with diverse needs.

The 2023 awards will be presented at the 35th annual Governor’s Gala. The annual black-tie gala brings together business, government, and community leaders to recognize the contributions of community leaders and to induct the Board of Trade's immediate past chair into its Council of Governors. The 2023 inductee is Kirsten Sutton ICD.D, who currently serves as the Chief Technology & Information Officer with Vancity.

2023 RIX AWARD FOR ENGAGED COMMUNITY CITIZENSHIP – Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia C.M., O.B.C., LL.D. (Hon) and Sergio Cocchia O.B.C. LL.D. (Hon)

The Cocchia's have been called "a B.C. power couple" by the Vancouver Sun. The Vancouver-based entrepreneurs and philanthropists are fueled by their desire to make their community a better place to live, work and raise a family.

The couple are serial entrepreneurs, partners in everything they do, and specialize in the hospitality industry. Founding the Absolute Spa Group 20 years ago, The Cocchia's grew the company from one single spa location into Canada's largest, independent spa chain. Before selling the business in 2020, Absolute Spa Group received seventy-six awards for spa excellence, including CNN.com's "Top Airport Spas", London Daily Express' "Best of Vancouver Award" and Business of the Year. As owners of the Century Plaza Hotel, their family business, they have directed and overseen all facets of renovations and repositioning of this well-known downtown Vancouver property and its award- winning amenities for 33 years.

The Cocchia's give the majority of their time to the community locally, provincially and nationally, where they have shown an inexhaustible drive to broker positive relationships and advance economic and social good. The couple founded the Pacific Autism Family Network which has grown to include support for the communities of Prince George, Chilliwack and Kelowna. They have both been invested into the Order of British Columbia and Wendy was recently honoured as a Companion of the Order of Canada. Both Wendy and Sergio were honoured with two Doctorate of Laws (Honoris Causa) from the Justice Institute of B.C. and Vancouver Island University for their charitable work. They have also been awarded the B.C. Community Achievement Award, the C.H.I.L.D Foundation Humanitarian Award, the Luminary Award from Big Sisters of B.C., and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal. Through the Lisogar-Cocchia Family Foundation, the Cocchia's have contributed $3 million dollars to the PAFN and led the charge in raising over $50 million for Canada's autism and neurodiverse children, adults and their families.


White Spot was chosen as this year's Rix Award for Engaged Corporate Citizenship recipient in recognition of the company's depth and length of community relationships.

  • Always a huge supporter of Buy Local, White Spot’s most long-standing supplier relationship is almost as old as White Spot - dating back to a handshake between White Spot’s founder and the patriarch of Delta B.C.’s Guichon family, provider of White Spot’s signature Kennebec potatoes.
  • For over 55 years, White Spot has sponsored the White Spot Pipe Band and Highland Dancers, a band of 8- to 18-year-olds that focusses on musical development of youth and performs at numerous community and charity events.
  • For over 40 years, White Spot has also provided all the food and all the staff to look after the thousands of volunteers at the Variety, the Children’s Charity annual telethon.
  • For over 15 years, White Spot has supported the Zajac Foundation. Numerous other charities, hospitals and causes receive support from White Spot.
  • White Spot and Triple O’s have also contributed to various fire relief efforts, and throughout the pandemic, Triple O’s On the Go food trucks were deployed to feed healthcare workers and first responders.

Part of community spirit is looking after one’s own people. Recognized by Deloitte as a Platinum Member of Canada’s Best Managed Companies (currently its 12th consecutive year), White Spot continues to be the only restaurant in British Columbia to have COR WorkSafe certification - certifying that the organization goes above and beyond to assure the safety of its employees. White Spot also takes pride in its relationship with its franchise community and continues to be a perennial recipient of the Canadian Franchise Association’s Award of Excellence. Most recently, White Spot was also recognized as a Pinnacle Award winner in the Foodservice and Hospitality category by Kostuch Media, acknowledging the Company’s commitment to innovation and championing employees.

White Spot has managed to retain the essence of its legendary brand for more than 9 decades, while continually reinventing itself and staying relevant to changing times. The support of generations of dedicated employees and business partners, strong core values, openness to innovation and the courage to try new ventures have helped White Spot live up to its credo “Make a Difference”.


The Rix Awards are an initiative of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, presented in honour of the late Dr. Don Rix, who served as Chair of the organization in 2008-09. Award recipients are chosen each year by a special selection committee of the board of directors, based on a number of criteria.


The Rix Award for Engaged Community Citizenship is presented to an individual who applies his or her exceptional skills, talents, and drive to make a positive impact in society. Hallmark characteristics of community citizenship include trust, purpose, connectedness, leadership, social capital, passion, empathy, ethics, and responsibility.


Past recipients include: 

  • Chief Wayne Sparrow (2022)
  • Joe Segal (2020-21)
  • Robert and Lily Lee (2019)
  • Gordon and Leslie Diamond (2018)
  • Yoshiko Karasawa and Michael Audain (2017)
  • David Podmore (2016)
  • Carole Taylor (2015)
  • David McLean (2014)
  • Terence Hui (2013)
  • Peter M. Brown (2012)
  • Brandt C. Louie (2011)
  • Jimmy Pattison (2010)
  • Craig and Marc Kielburger (2009)


The Rix Award for Engaged Corporate Citizenship is presented to an enterprise that demonstrates, both in policy and practice, the highest standards of stewardship towards the long-term well-being of customers, employees, owners, partners, the environment, and the broader community.


Past recipients include:

  • London Drugs (2022)
  • CN (2020-21)
  • Ledcor (2019)
  • Beedie (2018)
  • Whistler Blackcomb (2017)
  • FortisBC (2016)
  • Global BC (2015)
  • Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (2014)
  • TELUS (2013)
  • Teck Resources (2012)
  • Vancity (2011)
  • RBC Royal Bank (2010)
  • Vancouver Airport Authority (2009)


Learn more about the awards at boardoftrade.com/rixawards.




About the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:

Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Western Canada’s leading business association, engaging members to positively impact public policy at all levels of government and to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.’s workforce, we are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. We leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through unique programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events businesses in the country, providing a platform for national and international business and thought leaders to further enlighten B.C.’s business leaders.


Media contact:

Victor Young
Communications Manager
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
604-640-5450 |


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