DANVERS — They thanked their families, spouses and children. Some thanked their teachers or mentors, or those who came out to support them.
All 10 newly minted North Shore Distinguished Leaders said they were honored to be among such company Wednesday night.
The North Shore Chamber of Commerce's 98th annual dinner at the Danversport Yacht Club was attended by 500 business leaders who singled out 10 local leaders for their volunteerism and commitment to the North Shore.
"This is an honor I never expected to see. It's really quite wonderful," said Dr. Martha Farmer, the president, CEO and founder of the nonprofit biotech and cleantech incubator North Shore InnoVentures at the Cummings Center in Beverly.
"They say that if you love what you do for work, it's not really work," said Farmer, who thanked her team for making her job so enjoyable.
In addition to Farmer, the other nine leaders honored were: attorney and former Beverly city solicitor Thomas Alexander of the Beverly law firm Alexander & Femino; Karen Andreas, regional publisher of the North of Boston Media Group, which publishes four daily newspapers in the region including The Salem News; Peabody City Councilor and CEO David Gravel, along with his wife Catherine, who is also the executive vice president of the family technology consulting firm GraVoc Associates of Peabody; Gloucester resident Gwen Cochran Hadden of the management consulting firm Cochran Hadden Royston Associates; Richard Holbrook, the retiring chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank; David LaFlamme, the retiring CEO of North Shore Bank; Pamela Scott, president and CEO of the business consulting firm LVCC, Inc. and a Salem State University trustee; and Salem attorney William Tinti, a senior partner at Tinti Quinn Grover and Frey LLC.
A selection committee looked at various criteria for the awards, including demonstration of leadership, commitment to social responsibility, strong community involvement and a proven economic or social impact on the region.
Alexander thanked an English teacher for recognizing his potential and helping him achieve his goals in life.
Andreas, in turn, thanked Alexander, who she said took her under his wing (while the city solicitor) when she was a "cub reporter" in Beverly City Hall.
"Congratulations to everyone," Andreas said, "we are so blessed to live in this region. We have the best education, the best businesses, the best communities, I'm thrilled to be here.