The Women’s Executive Network honours 100 women who are 2011′s top achiever’s – and leaders – in Canada’s private, public and not-for-profit sectors
Scotiabank Corporate Executives Award
Elyse Allan: CEO and president, GE Canada
Elyse Allan started at GE Canada in 1984, moved to Ontario Hydro as a senior executive and then became CEO and president of the Toronto Board of Trade. She returned to GE Canada in 2004 to take her current position and she is also a vice-president of parent company GE. Allan is a strong advocate for advancing Canada’s science and technology base and competitive fiscal policy, and sits on various boards, including the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, C.D. Howe Institute, Royal Ontario Museum and Canadian Chamber of Commerce, where she is past chair.
JoËlle Berdugo-Adler: CEO and president, Diesel Canada Inc.
Aside from leading the Canadian operations of one of the world’s leading casual apparel manufacturers, Joëlle Berdugo-Adler has also established the ONEXONE charitable foundation, which helps disadvantaged children in various countries. A native of Morocco, Berdugo-Adler lived in France and Switzerland before moving to Montreal, where she worked for marketing and promotional companies by day and studied commerce at Concordia University by night. She started in the fashion business in 1984 with Sergio Valente and two years later she and future husband Lou Adler secured the Canadian distribution rights for the Diesel brand. After Berdugo-Adler’s husband passed away, she honoured his memory with the creation of the ONEXONE Foundation. She has also served as an elected city councillor of Estérel for over a decade.
Marie-Claude Boisvert: Chief operating officer, Desjardins Venture Capital; vice-president, development capital and business ownership transfers, Desjardins Group
Marie-Claude Boisvert has held both her current positions since 2009 and oversees several funds, including the Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins fund, a public fund with an authorized capitalization of $1.25 billion. Boisvert started at Desjardins Venture Capital in 1994 and now has more than a quarter century of experience in business financing. She has a business administration degree from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), and is a member of Québec’s CA order, the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec. Boisvert sits on the boards of the Collège des administrateurs de sociétés, UQAM, TV5 and Banque de Vizille and is the president of the UQAM and TV5 audit committees and a member of the TV5 Strategic Planning Committee.
Bonnie Brooks: CEO and president, Hudson’s Bay Co.
Bonnie Brooks heads up the country’s oldest department store chain, which operates 94 stores across Canada. She’s spent over a quarter century building retail formats around the world, such as Holt Renfrew, Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols and leading designer brand stand-alone stores in Asia. Before joining the Bay, Brooks was the president of the Lane Crawford Joyce Group based in Hong Kong, where she oversaw all aspects of a company that represents many of the world’s leading brands in more than 500 locations in nine Asian countries. She also spent time as executive vice-president/general merchandise manager and senior vice-president of marketing at Holt Renfrew. Brooks, who served as editor-in-chief of Flare, earned her MBA from the University of Western Ontario.
Lisa Colnett: Senior vice-president, human resources and corporate services, Kinross Gold Corp.
Lisa Colnett joined Kinross Gold, the third-largest gold producer in North America by reserves, in 2008 after many years at Celestica Inc., where she was most recently senior vice-president of HR. She was one of the founding executives of the electronics manufacturing services provider when it was spun off from IBM Canada in 1996 and also held the position of senior vice-president and chief information officer. Prior to that she was president of IBM’s Memory Division. In 2012 Colnett has a big challenge in front of her: Kinross is planning to hire more than 2,000 people worldwide. She currently sits on the advisory board of the Richard Ivey School of Business, from which she has earned two degrees in business and business administration.
Sarah Davis: Chief Financial officer, Loblaw Cos. Ltd.
Sarah Davis has held her current position since 2010, but started at Loblaw Cos. in 2007 as the senior vice-president of financial operations. Davis has more than two decades of financial management experience, having held senior financial positions at Bell Canada and Rogers Communications. The holder of a bachelor of commerce degree from Queen’s University and a chartered accountant, she played a key role in helping Loblaw implement SAP Finance software system and in converting the company’s public reporting to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Davis also chairs the Women@Loblaw network, a career development and networking program for the company’s female leaders, and is active in the President’s Choice Children’s Charity as an executive sponsor of the annual colleague campaign, golf tournament and Bowlerama events.
Betty DeVita: President, MasterCard Canada
Betty DeVita oversees all aspects of the credit-card company’s operations, including regional strategy, business development, acceptance expansion, operations, regulatory, marketing and product introductions. Prior to joining MasterCard last year, she was chair and CEO of Citibank Canada for three years, responsible for 5,000 employees and accountable across all lines of business. DeVita began her career with Citibank in the Global Consumer Group, holding positions in Latin America, Asia and the United States. She sits on the MasterCard Advisory Board, is a member of the MasterCard Worldwide Operating Committee and is a board director for ProAction Cops & Kids. In 2009, she was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network. DeVita served on the Executive Council of the Canadian Bankers Association and was also the chair of the Foreign Bank Committee from 2007 to 2010.
Debra Hewson: CEO and president, Odlum Brown Ltd.
Debra Hewson has spent almost 30 years in the investment industry, first arriving at investment firm Odlum Brown in 1991 and then working her way up to the top spot in 2007. A director of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund, Hewson also served as a director of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association and is a former chair and director of the Pacific District Council of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada (now known as the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada). She’s a two-time honouree as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women (2009 and 2010) and was named one of B.C.’s 100 Women of Influence by The Vancouver Sun.
Zabeen Hirji: Chief human resources officer, Royal Bank of Canada
Zabeen Hirji has been in her role at RBC since 2007 and she is one of nine executives responsible for setting the bank’s overall strategic direction. She originally joined RBC in 1977, moving up the ranks in retail banking, operations and credit cards before moving to HR in 1997. Hirji is quite active in her community, serving as co-chair of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, vice-chair of the Capital Campaign for the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, director of the Mosaic Institute and is a member of the DiverseCity Steering Committee. Her leadership in diversity was recognized when she was named a Fellow of Centennial College in 2005 and her business acumen was acknowledged when she won Corporate Executive of the Year as awarded by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce in 2010.
Janet Holder: Executive vice-president, Western Access, Enbridge Inc.
Janet Holder was president of Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. and the first woman to hold that position in the utility’s more than 160-year history, before being appointed to her current position in September. She is now responsible for the overall leadership of the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project as it winds its way through the public and government review process. Holder joined Enbridge in 1992, holding progressively more strategic roles in areas such as gas supply, energy services, corporate and liquids pipelines. She currently serves on the boards of Hydro One Inc., Saint Elizabeth Health Care and Saint Elizabeth Health Care Foundation, and is also the 2011 United Way Toronto Campaign Chair. She has an MBA from McMaster University and an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of New Brunswick where she now serves on the board of governors.
Lynn Jeanniot: Senior vice-president, human resources and corporate affairs, National Bank Financial Group
Lynn Jeanniot has held her current position at National Bank since 2008 as well as being a member of the Office of the President. She originally started with the bank in 2002 as vice-president of marketing and public affairs and has steadily climbed the corporate ladder since then. Before moving to National Bank, Jeanniot was already a veteran of more than 25 years in the financial industry, having served in a variety of management positions at banking institutions and organizations. She has served as executive director of the Institute of Canadian Bankers and as vice-president of the Canadian Bankers Association. Named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women in 2010, Jeanniot sits on the board of Fondation de l’UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal) and is a governor of the Fondation Marie-Vincent.
Debra Kelly-Ennis: CEO and president, Diageo Canada
Debra Kelly-Ennis leads the Canadian operations of one of the world’s biggest spirits, wine and beer companies. Among the brands she oversees are Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Guinness and Baileys. Under Kelly-Ennis, Diageo Canada has been named one of the top employers in the country three years running by the Great Places to Work Institute and in fiscal 2011 she led the company to its best financial performance in four years. The 2010 Leading Chief Executive Officer, according to the Toronto Human Resources Professionals Association, Kelly-Ennis was previously president and chief operating officer of GM subsidiary Saab USA and was a brand manager for Chevrolet’s small truck division. She also held various marketing, sales and general management positions with RJR Nabisco and Grand Metropolitan.
Cheryl Longo: Executive vice-president, Card Products and National Collections, CIBC
Cheryl Longo originally joined CIBC Card Products in 1990 and has held various leadership positions in its card payment, product development, marketing and retail segments during her tenure. Currently she is in charge of the overall marketing and servicing operations of the cards business as well as the collections business for all CIBC credit products. In her various project leadership roles, Longo has driven the development of the CIBC debit card, co-branded loyalty cards with the Visa and MasterCard networks, chip and contactless capability cards, and more than 17 credit-card product launches in Canada and the United States, including the recent acquisition of the Citi MasterCard portfolio. Prior to joining CIBC, Longo held various senior product management positions in the packaged goods industry.
Christine Magee: Co-founder and president, Sleep Country Canada
Christine Magee has helped Sleep Country Canada become one of the top mattress retailers in the country, growing from four stores in British Columbia in 1994 to more than 225 corporate-owned stores in 16 regional markets today. Last year, the company announced plans to partner with Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, to create exclusive Sleep Health web pages and Sleep Medicine Labs. Magee has also been active in mentoring students through her involvement with the Richard Ivey School of Business and 20 Under 20, and young professionals through the Women’s Executive Network. She’s an honourary chairperson of Hamilton YWCA and sits on the board of directors of the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation. Magee is also an active member of the Women President’s Organization.
Micheline Martin: President, Quebec Headquarters, Royal Bank of Canada
Micheline Martin is in charge of RBC’s strategic expansion and operations management, including personal financial services and commercial financial services in Quebec. She originally joined RBC in 1973 and has worked in a variety of positions in commercial financial services, human resources and marketing. Martin, who earned her MBA from the School of Management Science at the University of Quebec at Montreal, was named Financial Personality of the Year in 2007 by Finance et Investissement. She is also a governor of the Conseil du patronat du Québec and the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Montreal. Martin’s community involvement includes serving on the fundraising committees of various foundations, including the Armand-Frappier Institute, the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal, the Montreal Heart Institute and the Santa Cabrini Hospital.
Ellen Moore: Chairman, CEO and president, Chubb Insurance Co.
Ellen Moore has held a wide range of senior positions at Chubb Insurance, including managing director and senior vice-president of regional operations in the mid-Atlantic states of Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia; vice-president, Hartford, Connecticut Branch Operations; vice-president, Personal Insurance, Canadian and Eastern U.S. territories; and assistant vice-president, National Automobile Product Manager. Moore is on the board of governors at Junior Achievement in Toronto, a board member of the Insurance Bureau of Canada and sits on the advisory boards of Catalyst Inc., SickKids Hospital Foundation and the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Business Insurance magazine named Moore as one of the insurance industry’s top 100 women executives.
Stacey Mowbray: CEO and president, The Second Cup Ltd.
Stacey Mowbray joined Second Cup as president in 2008, earning the CEO title in 2009. She began her career in sales and marketing more than 20 years ago with Weston Group, and has also had stints with Pepsi Canada, Cara Operations and Molson Canada. The holder of an MBA degree from York University and a bachelor of business administration from Wilfrid Laurier University, Mowbray has been on the board of Second Cup since 2007 and also sits on the Coffee Association of Canada Board and Best New Products Advisory Board. She’s a mentor in the AMA Mentor program and an active supporter of Plan Canada’s Because I Am A Girl campaign and Free The Children. Mowbray’s accolades include being named by Women’s Post as one of the Top 20 Women in Canada and by Wilfrid Laurier as one of their Top 100 Alumni of Achievement.
Leslie O’Donoghue: Executive vice-president, operations, Agrium Inc.
Leslie O’Donoghue has been with Agrium, a retail supplier of agricultural products and services, since 1999 and has held a variety of senior positions. A member of Agrium’s Senior Leadership Team, O’Donoghue established the Agrium Women’s Leadership Group, an organization that provides mentoring, networking and developmental opportunities for women within the company. Before joining Agrium, she was a partner in national law firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. She currently sits on the board of directors for Pembina Pipeline Corp. and is a member of the Queen’s Law Dean’s Council at Queen’s University. O’Donoghue’s contributions have been recognized by the Canadian General Counsel Awards (Top Deal Maker of the Year, 2009) and as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women (2009).
Janice Odegaard: Senior vice-president and general counsel, Suncor Energy Inc.
Janice Odegaard joined Suncor Energy Inc. in 1995 and has held a variety of senior positions with the company, including vice-president, corporate legal affairs, and was appointed to her current position in late 2010. Before her Suncor days, Odegaard was a partner with Calgary-based law firm Atkinson McMahon (now Field LLP), focusing on corporate law, mergers and acquisitions and securities law. She is a member of the Canadian Bar Association, the Law Society of Alberta and the Calgary Bar Association, and has lectured on various aspects of law for the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Bar Association, among other groups. Odegaard earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Brandon University and a law degree from the University of Calgary.
Sue Paish: CEO, Pharmasave Drugs (National) Ltd.
Prior to joining Pharmasave Drugs, a national retailer with more than 400 pharmacies across Canada, Sue Paish had a successful law career, earning the coveted Queen’s Counsel designation in 2000 and acting as a managing partner for one of the nation’s leading law firms from 2000 to 2006. Paish currently sits on many public and private boards, including as a director of Corix Water Systems, Lifelabs and Ivey Council of Health Innovation, and is a founding chair of the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Women’s Leadership Circle. She has also received the distinguished alumni award from the University of British Columbia.
Nathalie Pilon: President, Thomas & Betts Canada
Nathalie Pilon has held her current position at Thomas & Betts, a designer and manufacturer of electrical components used in industrial, commercial, communications and utility markets, since 2008 and oversees more than 1,700 employees across Canada. Pilon joined the company in 1996 as a vice-president, finance and information technology, and previously was a senior manager in KPMG’s professional practice. In 1999, she received the Young Achievers Award from the University of Montréal Haute Études Commerciales (HEC) network. Pilon was educated at HEC, earning a degree in business administration. She is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, Les Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec’s board of directors and Cercle des Présidents, Chefs mailleurs du Québec.
Susan Riddell Rose: CEO, president, director, Perpetual Energy Inc.
Susan Riddell Rose’s career started at Shell Canada Ltd. where she was a geological engineer. She joined Paramount in 1990 and was part of the formation of Perpetual Energy (formerly Paramount Energy Trust) when it was spun off from the company in 2002. She’s been a director of Paramount Resources since 2000 and joined Newalta Corp. as a director in 2009. A 1986 graduate of Queen’s University with a degree in geological engineering, Riddell Rose is a member of several prominent industry organizations, including the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta, Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists and American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and she is currently a Governor of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
Mandy Shapansky: CEO and president, Xerox Canada Ltd.
Mandy Shapansky has since last year overseen all of Xerox’s Canadian business operations, including human resources, customer service, marketing and sales. She started at Xerox in 1985, and has steadily moved up the ladder, holding various field and head office roles in marketing and finance. Under Shapansky’s watch, Xerox Canada was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2012 by Mediacorp, and last year was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Waterloo and is also a chartered accountant. Shapansky serves on the board of Altruvest and is a member of Financial Executives International Canada.
Launi Skinner: CEO, First West Credit Union
Launi Skinner leads British Columbia’s third-largest credit union, which has $6.2 billion in assets under administration, approximately 167,000 members and more than 1,300 employees. She has two-plus decades of experience building businesses in both Canada and the United States, spending time as president of Starbucks U.S. with operational responsibility for 130,000 employees, and 1-800-GOT-JUNK? In 2007, Skinner was listed as one of “Four Women to Watch” in Fortune magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women feature, and last year she was named as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women. She’s past-chair of the Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. Skinner’s educational background is in business administration and she’s also completed the certified general accountant program.
Connie Stefankiewicz: CEO and president, BMO InvestorLine
Connie Stefankiewicz has been in charge of BMO InvestorLine, the online brokerage division of BMO Financial Group, since 2005. She sits on the board of BMO InvestorLine and BMO Nesbitt Burns and is a member of BMO’s management committee. She is also is a member McMaster University’s board of governors and a cabinet member of Leaders for the Cure, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Stefankiewicz has a bachelor of economics degree from McMaster University and an MBA from York University, and started her investment industry career as an advisor with a major Canadian investment dealer before holding various management positions at BMO Nesbitt Burns.
Kathleen Taylor: CEO and president, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Kathleen Taylor in 1989 joined Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which includes 85 hotels and resorts in 35 countries with more than 50 projects currently in planning or development, and held various roles before ascending to the top spot in 2010. Taylor has earned her share of recognition over the years, winning the Schulich Award for Outstanding Executive Leadership (2001), a Chairman’s Award from the Industry Real Estate Financing Advisory Council (IREFAC) of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (2003) and the Award for Business Achievement from the Canadian General Counsel (2006). She was also inducted into the Marketing Hall of Legends in 2009. Last year, she was honoured with the Hennick Centre for Business and Law Medal for Career Achievement. When Taylor isn’t winning awards, she can be found enjoying outdoor sports such as skiing and cycling.
Nancy Tower: Executive vice-president, business development, Emera Inc.; CEO, Emera Newfoundland and Labrador
Nancy Tower was appointed to her current positions at Emera in May 2011. A Fellow Chartered Accountant, Tower has been with the company (previously known as Nova Scotia Power) since 1997, holding various senior positions in corporate finance and operations. Before that, Tower spent time with Grant Thornton, A.I. Tower and Ernst & Young, where she cut her teeth in both the retail and financial services industries. In terms of community involvement, she currently serves as a director of Nova Scotia Business Inc. and the Advisory Council of the Dalhousie University Corporate Residency MBA Program, and is a past member of QEII Foundation’s board of trustees and CAA Atlantic’s board of directors. A graduate of Dalhousie University, Tower currently lives in Halifax.
Janet Wood: Executive vice-president, Maintenance Go-to-Market, SAP
Janet Wood is in charge of the operation and growth of the enterprise software vendor SAP’s maintenance business. She was brought into SAP in 2008 after the acquisition of Business Objects, where she had been since 2003. Wood was senior vice-president of Business Objects Customer Assurance organization, and previously was senior vice-president of Global Partners and Sales Enablement, senior vice-president of Global Partners and Integration and group vice-president of OEM and Alliances. Before her career at Business Objects, she was vice-president of business development at Crystal Decisions and had previously spent time in various management positions with IBM. Wood has a bachelor degree in business administration from the University of Alberta and is a member of BC Social Venture Partners board and the Premier’s Technology Council.
ARTS & COMMUNICATIONS
Sun Life Financial Arts & Communications Award
Margaret Atwood: Author
Margaret Atwood is one of the nation’s most revered authors, having penned more than 50 books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her newest novel, The Year of the Flood (2009) is the follow-up to 2003’s Oryx and Crake, which was a Giller Prize finalist. Among Atwood’s other recent works are: Moral Disorder, a collection of interconnected short stories, The Door, a volume of poetry (both 2007) and Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (2008). She won the 2000 Booker Prize for The Blind Assassin and the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy for Alias Grace. Atwood, who lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson, has also been championing Toronto’s libraries, which are facing cutbacks under the current city administration.
Nancy Chapelle: Managing director, content and programming, TVO
Nancy Chapelle has been in her current position at public broadcaster TVO for nearly a decade. Since her arrival, TVO has grown from a single channel into a public educational media organization with five channels of programming across multiple platforms. She supervises all of TVO’s in-house production as well as hundreds of hours of commissioned and acquired programming. An award-winning producer, Chapelle has more than 20 years experience in children’s, family and live event programming, which includes her work with the global brand Thomas the Tank Engine. Prior to joining TVO, Chapelle was president of Catalyst Entertainment, a company she co-founded in 1989 that merged with Cambium to form CCI in 2002.
Christina Jennings: Chairman and CEO, Shaftesbury Films
Christina Jennings founded Shaftesbury Films in 1987 and has built it into a national and global leader in terms of the creation and distribution of original content. Shaftesbury’s programming is broadcast in more than 120 countries and has been featured on such networks as CTV, CBC, CityTV, Shaw Media/Global, TMN, HBO Canada, BBC, Fox International Channels, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Turner, ITV and UKTV. A graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s film program, Jennings sits on the CFC board of directors. She has also received numerous awards, including the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television’s Academy Achievement Award in 2011.
MichÈle Maheux: Executive director and chief operating officer, Toronto International Film Festival
Michèle Maheux is one of the most knowledgeable people in the Canadian film and television sectors. She has been with Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) for more than 20 years, and she has almost 30 years experience in the cultural sector working for both private and governmental organizations. Maheux also created MMM Marketing, her own corporate communications and marketing consulting firm. She also spent time as assistant to the director of the Canadian Film Institute library. While with TIFF, Maheux has served on a number of provincial, municipal and arts organizations’ committees for tourism and public relations professionals. She’s spent the past two years as a jury member for the Women in Film & Television – Toronto Kodak New Vision Mentorship Award.
Deepa Mehta: Director, producer, screenwriter
Born and educated in India, Deepa Mehta has become one of the nation’s pre-eminent film directors since coming to Canada in 1973. In 1991, the philosophy degree holder from the University of New Delhi produced and directed her debut feature Sam & Me, which garnered her an Honorable Mention in the Camera D’Or category at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. Some of Mehta’s film and television credits include The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (director, two episodes); Fire, Earth and Water (a trilogy that she wrote, directed and produced); and Bollywood/Hollywood. Critical acclaim for her work has bagged Mehta a variety of awards, including a Youth Jury Award at the Schermi d’Amore Film Festival in Verona, Italy, and the Audience Award at the River to River Florence Indian Film Festival for Heaven on Earth. Mehta’s film Water was acquired by U.S. distributor Fox Searchlight, marking the first time it had bought a Canadian film.
Mia Pearson: Co-founder, North Strategic
Mia Pearson in April left her position as regional president for Fleishman-Hillard Canada, and co-founder and CEO of High Road Communications, to start North Strategic with the goal of setting a new standard in social public relations. With nearly 20 years of integrated communications experience, Pearson has led some of the industry’s best-known launches and worked with clients such as Microsoft, LG, Telus, Pepsico and Canadian Tire. Pearson is a regular speaker at industry events on the importance of personal branding and she is passionate about advancing the careers of women in business. She also sits on Marketing Magazine’s advisory board, Trans Canada Trail’s board and CATA’s board of directors. When she’s not working, the mother of two is an avid snowboarder and loves spending time at her cottage on Georgian Bay.
Heather Shaw: Executive chair, Corus Entertainment Inc.
Heather Shaw helped establish Corus Entertainment as a spin-off from Shaw Communications in 1999 and has served as chair since then. Under her leadership, Corus has been recognized as one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures, Canada’s Best Diversity Employer and Greater Toronto Top Employer, among other honours. Prior to launching Corus, Shaw was president of DMX Music Canada, a digital subscription music service, and Digital Adventure, a digital advertising service. Shaw holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Alberta and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, where she is currently a member of the Ivey Advisory Board. She has also been a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization since 1995, and is a director on several corporate and not-for-profit boards including ShawCor Ltd.
WXN Foundation Champions Award
Iris Almeida-Côté: CEO and president, Canada World Youth
Iris Almeida-Côté has nearly three decades of senior management experience in governmental and non-governmental organizations in the fields of strengthening democratic institutions, promotion of the rule of law, education and good governance. Prior to taking her current position at Canada World Youth in 2009, she was CEO of Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute, director of policies and programs at the Parliamentary Centre for Rights and Democracy and head of programs at Partnership Africa Canada. Almeida-Côté, who holds master’s degrees in international law from the Université du Québec à Montréal and sociology from the University of Bombay, is a member of a number of boards including Lawyers Without Borders, where she’s treasurer, Canadian Society of Association Executives and Conseil interculturel of the City of Montreal. She is also heavily involved in mentoring, working with the Loran Awards of the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation and in 2009 and 2010 with the WXNWisdom II Mentoring Program.
Kay Blair: Executive Director, Community MicroSkills Development Centre
Since 1988, Kay Blair has been the executive director of Community MicroSkills Development Centre, a community agency serving immigrants, low-income women and youth. Often asked to speak about diversity issues, Blair was a member of the delegation accompanying Michaëlle Jean, then Governor General of Canada, on her state visit to Europe in 2008. Blair’s contributions have received plenty of accolades. Aside from being twice-named to Canada’s Most Powerful Women list, she has also won the YWCA Woman of Distinction – Award for Community Leadership (2006), Premier’s Award – Community and Social Services (2007) and Outstanding Achievement Award (2011) from the Jamaican Canadian Association. Earlier this year, she was elected chair of William Osler Health System’s board of directors, and she also sits on Centennial College’s board of governors.
Fiona Macfarlane: Managing partner, Vancouver and Western Canada, and chief inclusiveness officer, Ernst & Young
Fiona Macfarlane originally joined Ernst & Young’s South African firm in 1983 and later was the tax managing partner for the Canadian Tax practice, becoming the first woman among the Big Four consulting firms to have held such a position. Previously, Macfarlane trained as a lawyer and was admitted to the bar in Cape Town. She served on the cabinet of Pathways to Education, an organization that assists youth in disadvantaged areas to complete high school. Macfarlane, who is also a member of Ernst & Young’s executive and operating committees, is on the Canadian board of the International Women’s Forum and is chair of the Toronto Chapter. She won the 2008 TRIEC CBC Business Leadership Award and York University’s makeMORE Ontario Connections Award for Immigrants in 2010.
Cybele Negris: Co-founder and president, Webnames.ca
Cybele Negris helped start Webnames.ca, Canada’s original .ca registrar, offering services such as domain extensions, domain portfolio management, domain privacy, web hosting, Web Builder, e-mail, SSL certificates and a range of other online solutions. After its 2009 acquisition of Ripe B2B Inc., Webnames.ca started to provide software and systems development services and has also launched a Search Engine Optimization Consultation service and a WordPress Web Development Program integrated with social media called Essentials. Negris is the vice-chair of Small Business BC’s board and also serves on the boards of the Small Business Roundtable of British Columbia and the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs.
Accenture Corporate Directors Award
Gail Cook-Bennett: Chair, Manulife Financial Corp.; Chair, the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company Ltd.
Gail Cook-Bennett spent a decade as the founding chair of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) before taking on her current roles in 2008. All told, Cook-Bennett has nearly 35 years of experience as a director at a number of major corporations, including sitting on the Emera board. Previously, she has been a director at TD Bank, Mackenzie Financial, Enbridge Consumers Gas, Petro Canada, Cadillac Fairview and Transcontinental, among others, and has served on various Crown, professional and not-for-profit boards, including Bank of Canada. A member of the Order of Canada, she has earned doctorate degrees from Carleton University, York University and the University of Michigan, and is a fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Carol Hansell: Senior partner, Capital markets, Corporate Governance and Mergers & Acquisitions, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg
A recognized M&A expert, Carol Hansell’s client list includes many of the nation’s largest public companies and she has served as the special advisor to the Task Force on the Independence of the Bar established by The Law Society of Upper Canada. Hansell was also a member of the Toronto Stock Exchange’s Committee on Corporate Governance in Canada (which produced the Dey Report) and provided advice to the Joint Committee on Corporate Governance (which produced the Saucier Report). She currently sits on the TSX Listing Advisory Committee and is the past chair of the Securities Advisory Committee.
Catherine McLeod-Seltzer: Chair, Bear Creek Mining Corp.
Catherine McLeod-Seltzer is a recognized leader in the minerals industry and has helped build a number of successful mineral companies in the past 20 years, including Arequipa Resources, Francisco Gold, Miramar Mining, Bear Creek Mining, Stornoway Diamonds and Peru Copper Inc. The first company she helped start was Arequipa Resources, which she co-founded in 1993 with renowned mine finder J. David Lowell. She has raised close to $600 million in working capital for mining exploration in the past 25 years, and has been directly involved in more than $4 billion in corporate transactions in the industry. Before becoming a noted entrepreneur, she spent the early years of her career working in mining corporate finance, both in North America and internationally, particularly Latin America. McLeod-Seltzer is also a director at several mining companies, including Pacific Rim Mining, Kinross Gold, Troon Resources and Major Drilling.
Mary Mogford: Corporate director, potash Corp. of Saskatchewan
Mary Mogford is a director of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan and Nordion Inc. and has previously served on many other boards including MDS Inc., Falconbridge Ltd., Sears Canada, Empire Company Ltd. and Credit Suisse Canada. Previously, she was the first woman to become Ontario Deputy Minister of Finance (Treasury and Economics) and Deputy Minister of Natural Resources. Mogford served on the board of directors of SickKids Foundation and is a former director of the Institute of Corporate Directors. In 2002, she was made a fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors in recognition of her contribution to corporate governance in Canada.
Guylaine Saucier: Director, BMO Financial Group
Guylaine Saucier is the former CEO and president of forest products company Le Groupe Gérard Saucier Ltée. A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, she became an institute-certified director by the Institute of Corporate Directors in 2007. Saucier sits on the boards of various major corporations, including Bank of Montreal, Danone, Areva and Wendel. Previously, she sat on the boards of Axa Assurance, Petro-Canada, CHC Helicopter Corp., Altran Technologies, Nortel Networks and Tembec Inc., and was Chair of the Joint Corporate Governance Committee sponsored by the Toronto Stock Exchange. She also chaired the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Canadian Venture Exchange. Saucier’s civic and business contributions earned her recognition as a Member of the Order of Canada in 1989. In 2010, she added to her trophy case by winning the 25th McGill Management Achievement Award.
Carol Stephenson: Dean, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario
Carol Stephenson is the Lawrence G. Tapp Chair in Leadership at the Richard Ivey School of Business and has been with the school since 2003. In 2005, she helped usher in a major change at the school by launching Cross-Enterprise Leadership, an action-based approach to preparing Ivey graduates to become next-generation business leaders and a move towards an intensive 12-month MBA Program. Stephenson started her career in the telecom industry with Bell Canada in 1973 and now has more than 30 years experience in marketing, operations, strategic planning, technology development and financial management. She’s on the board of directors for both Intact Financial Services Corp. (formerly ING Canada) and Manitoba Telecom Services. Stephenson is a two-time honouree as one of Canada’s Most Powerful 100 Women and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2009.
CIBC Entrepreneurs Award
Zahra Al-Harazi: Co-founder/owner, creative director, Foundry Communications
Zahra Al-Harazi grew up in Yemen and taught ESL at the Yemen American Language Institute until immigrating to Canada with her family in 1996. Al-Harazi in 2006 helped launched Creative Foundry, growing it from a staff of three to 15 and serving clients such as Cenovus, Travel Alberta, Avi Urban, Celtic and Encana. The company, which Al-Harazi owns two-thirds of, recently won Ad Rodeo and Oilweek’s 2011 Best of Show. Al-Harazi was named one of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2009, Business in Calgary’s Leader of Tomorrow in 2010 and was a finalist for Canadian Woman of the Year by Chatelaine (2011). She’s also the Learning and Events chair on The Entrepreneurs Organization board of directors.
Clara Angotti: President, Next Pathway Inc.
Clara Angotti has spent most of her career as an entrepreneur, but got her start in 1993 as vice-president of sales and marketing for Sage Information Consultants. In 2002, she launched her first company, M Systems Group, to take advantage of the trend towards outsourcing highly-skilled technology services. Using her own money to finance the company, Angotti grew M Systems into a firm with over 200 professional consultants before it was acquired by Bell Canada in 2006. After that, the three-time Ontario finalist of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award launched her next venture, technology consultant Next Pathway Inc., which seeks investment opportunities in value-based companies. The Toronto native earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto in 1988 and is a major patron of the arts.
Monica Channa: Executive director, operations, Akran Marketing
A self-described “soccer-hockey-sports fanatic mom,” Monica Channa helped transform Akran Marketing from a small business into a multi-million-dollar company with offices in Canada and the United States that provide branding, premium incentive and licensing distribution services to public and private organizations. Channa is also the founder and director of the Akran Foundation, which contributes substantial amounts of the company’s profits and other tangible assets to various charities across Canada. The holder of a B.A. in Commerce from York University, she was once the youngest owner of a Treats franchise and three Second Cup franchises in the Toronto area, all of which ranked in the top 10 in sales across Canada. “No matter how successful in business, my role in helping my children become caring, happy adults will always be foremost,” Channa says.
Eveline Charles: CEO and founder, EvelineCharles Salons
Eveline Charles enrolled in beauty school immediately after high school in 1973 and began cutting hair professionally in 1974. Ten years later, she opened her first salon, Bianco Nero, in Edmonton. After opening a second salon and focusing her efforts on the business side, she rebranded her company as EvelineCharles in 1999 and it now has nine locations. In 2005, Charles opened a beauty institute in Edmonton, EC Academy, that offers cosmetology, esthetics and makeup artistry courses. A second academy opened in Vancouver in 2010 and a third in Calgary earlier this year. Charles is the first woman to be inducted into the Alberta Business Hall of Fame.
Lynne Fafard: CEO and president, Riverbend Group of Companies
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Lynne Fafard attended the University of Alberta to earn a degree in commerce and business administration before returning to join the family’s building materials business, started by her father and uncle in 1947, in a marketing role. She left the company for 16 years to raise her family and rejoined the company in 1996. Fafard and her husband, Ken, purchased the company in 2004 from her father and siblings, eventually forming the Riverbend Group of Companies, consisting of three separate entities — Madero Distribution, Penner Door & Hardware and two lumberyards — and eight locations. Since 2006, the company has grown nearly 250% and now has vendors around the world. Fafard’s two sons now work for the company as well. “We try hard to keep the sense of family and we are not afraid of doing whatever it takes to help things move forward,” she says.
Sammie Kennedy: Founder and CEO, Booty Camp Fitness Inc.
Starting with one location, Sammie Kennedy has expanded Booty Camp Fitness into the nation’s largest women-only boot camp program in just four years. The chain now has almost 100 centres across the country and has served more than 45,000 women. A popular fitness chain has ranked the former fitness model as one of the top five trainers in both Canada and the United States. Kennedy was also named one of the Top 20 Women in Canada by Women’s Post. Booty Camp Fitness ranked first in 2010 and third in 2011 in a ranking of best small/medium employers in Canada by Hewitt Associates and Queen’s University School of Business. Kennedy has written two books, including A Girl’s Guide to a Healthy & Sexy Booty.
Margot Micallef: Founder and president, Oliver Capital Partners Inc.
Margot Micallef in 2003 started Oliver Capital Partners, a private equity and advisory firm that has made investments in broadcasting, publishing, fast food, real estate and food manufacturing. Before that she was a senior vice-president of Shaw Communications Inc., a partner with Russell and DuMoulin (now Fasken Martineau DuMoulin) and a co-instructor at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Law. Micallef in 2002 was appointed a Queen’s Counsel and in 2009 she received an Excellence in Leadership Award from the Canadian Women in Communications. She currently serves as a director of Vista Broadcast Group Inc., Subway Developments (2000) Inc., Solium Capital Inc. and Cambrian House Inc. Micallef has also served as an adjunct professor in governance and ethics for the MBA Program at the University of Alberta and is on the faculty of the Directors College, a joint venture between McMaster University and the Conference Board of Canada.
Gloria Rajkumar: CEO and president, Simac Canada Inc.
The seventh of eight children born in Guyana, Gloria Rajkumar immigrated to Canada after high school and did some factory and telemarketing work before landing an entry-level position in the insurance industry. She spent the better part of two decades working her way up, but an accident in 2001 that sent her for an independent medical examination opened her eyes to this end of the industry, and she then started work in a marketing role at the insurer. Soon after, Rajkumar decided to launch her own independent medical examination company, which provides independent medical assessments and reports to the insurance industry, employers and legal representatives. Simac Canada now has more than 20 employees and Rajkumar’s entrepreneurial spirit is being recognized by others. She’s a finalist in this year’s RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards as well as Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of Year (Ontario) Awards.
Telus Future Leaders Award
Shelby Austin: Founder, ATD Legal Services Professional Corp.
Shelby Austin in January 2010 started ATD Legal Services Professional Corp., a Toronto law firm that works with clients to lower their legal bills. By taking a unique approach to staffing and managing large documentary review and due diligence projects for clients, ATD is able to provide quality legal services at reasonable prices. She currently serves as a member of the Sedona Canada Working Group, and the Ontario Bar Association Section Executive for Law Practice Management. When she’s not being bossed around by her two-year-old niece, Austin collects awards such as the Brad Hodgson Civil Litigation Award and the Newton Rowell Scholarship for her commitment to public service. Before launching ATD, she was a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, focusing her practice on complex corporate and commercial litigation matters.
Ashley Hilkewich: Consultant, Free the Children
Ashley Hilkewich is passionate about responsible enterprise and social change and has brought together corporate, nonprofit and social enterprises to create high-value partnerships between business and social sectors. She has worked with companies such as Virgin Atlantic Airways, Research In Motion and Disney’s Online Studios to create innovative corporate social responsibility initiatives in China, India, UK, Kenya, Canada, Haiti and Ecuador. These initiatives targeted social outcomes like women’s empowerment, access to education and economic development as well as strategic business objectives such as community outreach, employee engagement and brand equity. Hilkewich is currently a 2012 MBA candidate, specializing in business sustainability, strategy & marketing at the Schulich School of Business and the director of corporate relations for Schulich’s Net Impact Association.
Lesley Scorgie: Owner, Rich By Inc.
Lesley Scorgie owns and operates Rich By Inc., a financial consulting company that provides education, resources and tools for a variety of demographics. She’s also the best-selling author of Rich by Thirty: A Young Adult’s Guide To Financial Success, a book published in 2007 and printed in English, French and Korean. Scorgie’s most recent effort, Rich by Forty, was published last year. She’s been sought out as a television guest for a number of shows, making appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Montel Williams, Marilyn Dennis and MTV Live. Scorgie earned her professional speaking designation through the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta and is currently earning an MBA at Queen’s University. She’s also active in the community, currently serving as treasurer for the National YWCA of Canada and as a member on the University of Alberta President’s Think Tank Committee.
Rumeet Toor: President, Jobs in Education
Rumeet Toor in 2004 bought Jobs in Education, an employment job board bringing together employers and job seekers within the K-12 education sector, as a 21-year-old undergrad student. She’s currently working towards her PhD in higher education at the University of Toronto alongside a collaborative doctoral program with The Munk School of Global Affairs in The Dynamics of Global Change. Toor also teaches two sections of a leadership course at Humber College in Toronto. At the age of 25, she was first named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the future leaders category. For several years Toor has also been involved with school-building initiatives in Africa and South America, and last year created The Toor Centre for Teacher Education in the rural community of Nzeveni, Kenya. She was selected to represent Canada at the 6th Annual UNESCO International Leadership Programme: A Global Intergenerational Forum.
KPMG Professionals Award
Nora Aufreiter: Director, McKinsey & Co.
Nora Aufreiter has been with consultant McKinsey & Co. for more than two decades, working in both Canada and the United States primarily in consumer-facing industries such as retail, consumer and financial services, energy and the public sector. In addition to managing the Toronto office, Aufreiter co-leads the company’s Consumer Digital Excellence initiative. Aufreiter was the sixth female director at McKinsey, and the first female principal and director in Canada. She also co-led the firm’s global women directors group and sits on the steering committee of McKinsey’s North American Women’s Initiative. Aufreiter has a degree in business administration from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from Harvard University, and sits on the boards of the Canadian Opera Company, the Dean’s Advisory Committee at the Richard Ivey School of Business and The Harvard Business School Club of Toronto.
Cindy Forbes: Executive vice-president, chief actuary, Manulife Financial
Cindy Forbes has been with the company for 30 years, holding senior finance roles in the reinsurance, investment and United States divisions, as well as in the company’s Asian operations. In addition to her roles listed above, she is a member of the company’s executive and management committees. Her first executive role at Manulife began in 1991 when she was appointed vice-president and chief financial officer of the company’s U.S. Group and Pensions business. The holder of a math degree from the University of Waterloo and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, she also held executive positions in asset liability management and risk management before becoming the CFO of Manulife’s Investment Division in 1998.
Anne-Marie Hubert: Managing partner, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young
Anne-Marie Hubert has spent more than 20 years attracting, developing and helping the best people achieve their full potential. In her current position, she provides board members and senior management teams with strategic advice on governance, performance and risk management. Hubert was a member of the Ernst & Young Global Advisory Council from 2007 to 2009 and has been part of Ernst & Young Canada’s executive committee since 2009. Named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women in both 2009 and 2010, she serves on the boards of the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ), Public Policy Forum and Public Affairs Committee of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec.
Valerie Mann: Partner, Lawson Lundell LLP
Valerie Mann is chair of law firm Lawson Lundell’s Technology Law and Competition Law groups and carries on a transactional (mergers and acquisitions/corporate finance) and advisory practice. Valerie Mann earned a commerce degree from Queen’s University and then worked in marketing management at a large consumer packaged goods company before obtaining her law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. She has been named to the Practical Law Company’s Which Lawyer list in recognition of her work in corporate law and mergers and acquisitions; and to the Best Lawyers in Canada list for her work in technology law. Mann is a director with the Association for Corporate Growth and is in charge of Sponsorships and Partnerships for the BC Chapter of CanWIT. Previously, she served as a director and co-chair of the Private Equity Sub-Committee for the Canadian IT Law Association.
Rosemary McCarney: CEO and president, Plan International Canada Inc.
Rosemary McCarney leads Plan Canada, an international humanitarian, child-centred development organization that was founded in 1937 as Foster Parents Plan. She’s had an extensive career, working in more than 100 countries in the law, business and not-for-profit sectors. Frequently asked to address public policy concerns on radio and television, McCarney was previously executive director of Street Kids International before joining Plan Canada. She earned a law degree from the University of Western Ontario and her MBA from Case Western Reserve University and has taught both international and constitutional law. McCarney’s international economic development experience includes working with the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, United States Agency for International Development and Canadian International Development Agency, as well as other government and UN bodies focused on institution building, gender issues and micro finance.
Dale Ponder: Managing partner, chief executive, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
The focus of Dale Ponder’s practice at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt has been mergers and acquisitions, securities regulation and corporate governance. She also serves on the firm’s executive committee and is a senior member of its Mergers and Acquisitions practice. Ponder has represented leading Canadian companies in various industries, including financial services, mining, consumer and pension plans. Her work as a corporate and M&A lawyer has been recognized by several industry publications including Best Lawyers in Canada, the Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada and Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business. This is her second time winning a Canada’s Most Powerful Women award.
Margaret Ross: Partner, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
Margaret Ross has practised in all areas of civil litigation, notably as general counsel for the Canadian Medical Protective Association, where she focuses on medical litigation, professional discipline matters and professional negligence matters. Ross has served in various executive positions at many associations, including the Advocates’ Society (president, 1996-1997), Ontario Law Reform Commission (commissioner, 1986-1992), County of Carleton Law Association (president, 1987), and Medical-Legal Society of Ottawa-Carleton (president, 1988). Her work over the years has garnered several awards, including the Law Society Medal (1992), University of Ottawa Meritas-Tabaret Award (1997), Women’s Law Association Award (1999) and CCLA Carleton Medal (2007). A member of the University of Ottawa Honour Society, Ross was also honoured with the 2011 Canadian General Counsel Award for Litigation Management.
Godyne Sibay: Partner, McCarthy Tétrault
Godyne Sibay has been with law firm McCarthy Tétrault for 26 years. During that time she has been involved with many landmark infrastructure and development projects, including the Air Canada Centre, the National Ballet School, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto-Dominion Centre and the Toronto 2015 PanAmerican Games Athletes’ Village. Sibay, who appeared in the 2010 Guide to the World’s Leading Real Estate Lawyers and 2010 Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law, also sits on the networking committee of Women Gaining Ground, which operates under the umbrella of the United Way.
Beth Wilson: Managing partner, Toronto, Canadian managing partner, KPMG
A Fellow Chartered Accountant since 2003, Beth Wilson started with KPMG’s audit practice in 1991, spending her time engaged in recruiting, technical research and accounting, training and education for the company. Wilson, who enjoys an active outdoor life including cottaging, skiing, running and biking, led the firm’s HR team and its Employer of Choice strategy as the chief human resources officer from 2005 to 2007 and was a founding member of the firm’s Diversity Council. She’s also active within the community, currently acting as a vice-chair on the board of the National Ballet of Canada, where she also chairs the audit, finance and HR committees. Wilson was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women in 2008.
Ava Yaskiel: Partner, Norton Rose OR LLP
Ava Yaskiel practices corporate and securities law from the Toronto office of global law firm Norton Rose. She’s a member of the Global Supervisory Board of the Norton Rose Group. Previously, Yaskiel was co-managing partner of Ogilvy Renault’s Toronto office and a member of Ogilvy Renault’s National Executive Committee, and she has held a variety of legal and leadership positions at the Ontario Securities Commission. She has written numerous articles related to securities law and she is a frequent speaker at conferences as well as a regular media commentator on securities-related issues. Earlier this year, Yaskiel won the International Law Office Client Choice Award in recognition of her outstanding client service. She’s on the board of directors of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (Ontario Region) and sits on the corporate advisory committee of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
PUBLIC SECTOR LEADERS
Norton Rose OR LLP Public Sector Leaders Award
Jennifer Bennett: Rear-Admiral, Chief, Reserves and cadets
Jennifer Bennett first enrolled in the Naval Reserve in 1975 on the HMCS Star as a naval communicator. A 1981 graduate of McMaster University (bachelor’s degree in Physical Education), she also earned a degree in education from Queen’s University in 1982 and a master of arts in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University in 2005. Since joining the navy Bennett has consistently served in the Primary Reserve, including stints on the HMCS Star, HMCS Cataraqui and HMCS Malahat. She’s also a graduate of the Canadian Forces Staff School (1985), Canadian Forces Staff College (1989) and the NATO Defence Staff College (1999). Bennett became a rear-admiral in April and was named chief of Reserves and Cadets in May. Serving in the navy runs in the Bennett family: her father served for 30 years and both her brother and sister currently serve.
Karen Branscombe: Superintendent, School District 2, New Brunswick
Karen Branscombe is superintendent of a $121-million operation that includes 2,500 employees, 38 Anglophone schools and 16,000 students. An active volunteer, she sits on the board of the Canadian Education Association and the cabinet of the Peter Gzowski Invitational golf tournament, which raises money for literacy. Educated at the University of New Brunswick (bachelor of education) and the Université de Moncton (master’s degree in Education), Branscombe has been teaching for 29 years and has held her current position for nearly a decade. She also completed second language studies at Alliance Française in Paris. Branscombe, who was a winner in the same category last year, is also a national education speaker and workshop leader.
Janice Charette: Associate secretary to the cabinet and deputy minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Government of Canada
Janice Charette was deputy minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and chairperson of the Canada Employment Insurance Commission prior to her appointment to her current position last year. From 2000 to 2002, Charette was with the Privy Council Office as assistant secretary to Cabinet for Priorities and Planning, and was named deputy secretary to the Cabinet for Plans and Consultations in 2002. She has also had stints as senior assistant deputy minister for Policy at the Department of Justice, deputy minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and associate deputy minister of Health. During her time in the private sector, Charette worked at Ernst & Young, and has also worked at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, PCO, Department of Finance, Office of Privatization and Regulatory Affairs, Federal-Provincial Relations Office and Prime Minister’s Office.
Moya Greene: CEO and director, Royal Mail Group
Moya Greene ran Canada Post for five years before taking over the United Kingdom’s Royal Mail Group in 2010, the first female to be appointed to that role. Prior to Canada Post, Greene held senior positions at various companies including Bombardier, CIBC and TD Securities Inc. She spent the first 17 years of her public-service career in the federal government, working in progressively senior roles at seven different ministries, notably as assistant deputy minister of policy in the Department of Transportation where she helped privatize CN, deregulate the Canadian airline industry and commercialize the country’s port system. In addition to being a director of Royal Mail, the graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and Memorial University of Newfoundland serves on Tim Hortons’ board.
Dana Hayden: Deputy minister, Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, British Columbia
Dana Hayden in March was appointed to her current position and she’s responsible for economic development, training and immigration, international trade, tourism, small business, research and innovation in British Columbia. She began her provincial government career in 1986 and has held a number of key roles, including deputy minister positions in the portfolios of Forests, Mines, Range, Public Safety, Strategic Policy and the Office of the Premier, and has served as CEO of the Crown Agencies Secretariat and the British Columbia Lottery Corp. She has a bachelor’s degree in forest science and a master’s degree in agricultural economics, and also completed the Canadian Securities Course. Hayden has been named one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women three times since 2007.
Marjory LeBreton: Senator, Leader of the Government in the Senate
Marjory LeBreton was appointed to the senate in 1993 after serving for 31 years in various organizational and administrative roles in the Conservative Party under three prime ministers, including John Diefenbaker, Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. Since joining the senate, LeBreton has served on a number of committees as well as chief opposition whip and, since 2006, as Leader of the Government in the Senate. For four years until January 2010, she was also responsible for the cabinet portfolio relating to Canada’s seniors, working on a host of issues including combatting elder abuse and assisting low-income seniors. She has been actively engaged in health-care issues and is a past national chairperson of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Lesley Lovett-Doust: President and vice-chancellor, Nipissing University
Lesley Lovett-Doust has more than 30 years experience as a biology professor and has been in her current position since 2009. Lovett-Doust sits on the executive committee of the Council of Ontario Universities and was named to the Northern Advisory Committee for the Northern Ontario Growth Plan. Her vision of teacher education is that all students, whether they plan to be primary teachers or secondary specialists, gain an understanding and knowledge of science and math. “Teachers must be able to inspire children to be the researchers and innovators that are key to our economic success,” Lovett-Doust says. In her case, she has a PhD in Plant Ecology and Evolution from the University of Wales and a bachelor of science degree in ecology and resource management from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Forestry and Natural Resources.
Marilyn McLaren: CEO and president, Manitoba Public Insurance Corp.
Marilyn McLaren has led the province’s public auto insurance company since 2004. Under her leadership, Manitoba Public Insurance has waged war against auto theft, successfully saving Autopac rate payers approximately $20 million a year and decreasing theft rates in Winnipeg by over 80%. The result is that Manitobans enjoy one of the most stable insurance systems and some of the lowest auto insurance rates in the country. Early last year, a new safe driver discount program (the Driver Safety Rating system) was instituted, as was an improved Autopac renewal system which will save time and money for those insured under the program. McLaren holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in public administration from the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg, respectively, and she’s also been a certified director of The Institute of Corporate Directors since 2006.
Twyla Meredith: CEO and president, Saskatchewan Gaming Corp.
Twyla Meredith oversees the operation of Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw, which bring in $137 million in annual revenues and employ more than 1,100 people. She has been with the crown corporation for more than 14 years, notably as senior vice-president of finance and business development and being involved in the expansion of Casino Regina and the launch of Casino Moose Jaw, prior to her current appointment in 2008. In 2005, she received the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal, recognizing her community involvement. Meredith belongs to a variety of clubs and organizations, including the University of Regina Alumni Association, Wascana Country Club and Certified Management Accountants of Saskatchewan. She won the Leon Goldman Scholarship in 1982 as the most distinguished graduate of the University of Regina, where she earned a bachelor of administration degree, and is also a certified management accountant.
Heather Munroe-Blum: Principal and vice-chancellor, McGill University
Heather Munroe-Blum in 2003 was appointed as the 16th principal at McGill University. She’s an accomplished epidemiology and public-policy scholar and is a member of McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and a professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health. Munroe-Blum has also spent time at the University of Toronto, York University and McMaster University and authored Growing Ontario’s Innovation System: The Strategic Role of University Research, a report that led to the creation of a new framework of science policies and programs in Ontario. She serves on the board and the Internationalization Committee of the Association of American Universities, and chairs the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada’s Standing Advisory Committee on University Research. In 2003, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her achievements in science, innovation and higher education policy.
Gail Stephens: City manager, City of Victoria
Gail Stephens has since 2009 been responsible for Victoria operations, including fire, engineering, parks, planning, corporate services and sustainability. Her previous experience includes stints as vice-president of finance and services at the University of Calgary and chief executive officer of BC Pension Corp., where she earned the Premier’s Award for Excellence. Stephens was the first chief administrative officer for the City of Winnipeg from 1998 to 2003, replacing a Board of Commissioners, and she’s also been a chief financial officer in both the private and public sectors. Stephens, who graduated on the Dean’s Honour List from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Education, earned her chartered general accountant designation in 1990 after being named a CGA Manitoba Gold Medalist and is now a Fellow of the CGA Association of Canada.
Jennifer Stoddart: Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Office of the Privacy Commisioner of Canada
Jennifer Stoddart, who has been in her position since 2003, notably became the first data protection authority in the world to conduct an investigation of the privacy policies and practices of Facebook in 2009. Stoddart also found in 2010 that Google Inc. contravened Canadian privacy law when it collected personal information from unsecured wireless networks for its Street View mapping service. Last year, she led a collaboration involving 10 data protection authorities who issued a joint letter reminding online companies of their responsibility to respect privacy laws in countries where they launch their products or services. For her efforts, Stoddart was selected as the 2010 recipient of the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ Privacy Vanguard Award. Before taking her current role Stoddart was president of the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec.
Marian Zerr: Deputy minister, Ministry of Social Services, Government of Saskatchewan
Marian Zerr is a career public servant, having spent 30 years in the federal government working in a range of positions, primarily with Health Canada, First Nation and Inuit Health Branch, before moving over to the Government of Saskatchewan in 2007 as associate deputy minister, executive council, cabinet planning. In 2009, she was appointed to her current position and she sits on the board of Saskatchewan Housing Corp. as well as chairing the Saskatchewan Deputy Ministers Committee on Children and Youth and the Deputy Ministers Committee on Public Service Renewal – Enterprise Approaches. Zerr, who has a nursing degree from the University of Saskatchewan and a master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University, also operates with her husband a grain and cattle farm in Qu’Appelle.
TRAILBLAZERS & TRENDSETTERS
Xstrata Nickel Trailblazers & Trendsetters Award
Catherine Aczel Boivie: CEO, Inventure Solutions, and senior vice-president, information technology, Vancouver City Savings Credit Union
Prior to her current positions, Catherine Aczel Boivie had stints as the senior vice-president of information technology at Pacific Blue Cross, and as vice-president of information services and chief information officer for the British Columbia Automobile Association. The founding president of the Chief Information Officers Association of Canada, Boivie played an integral role in establishing and growing a network of I.T. leaders, as well as establishing the Dr. Catherine Aczel Boivie Scholarship in collaboration with Ryerson University. Boivie won the 2008 Chief Information Officers Leadership Award from the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the North American I.T. Executive of the Year Award for Midsize Enterprises from the Gartner Group.
Jennie Carignan: Colonel, Chief of staff, land forces Central Area, Canadian Forces
Jennie Carignan originally enrolled in the Canadian Army in 1986, earning a degree in Fuels and Materials Engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada before being commissioned as an officer in the Engineer Branch in 1990. She earned her MBA from Laval University in 2001 and was promoted to her current rank of colonel in 2005. In November 2009, Carignan became the first woman in Canadian Forces history to command a combat arms unit when she was deployed to Afghanistan to head the Task Force Kandahar Engineer Regiment, a post she occupied until September 2010. She’s also a veteran of deployments in the Golan Heights and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Carignan, who received the Major-General Hans Schlup Award for excellence in international relations, is currently chief of staff of Land Forces Central Area/Joint Task Force Central.
Eva Carissimi: Sudbury Smelter Director, Xstrata Nickel
A trained metallurgical engineer who graduated from McGill University in 1988, Eva Carissimi began her career at Noranda’s Horne Copper Smelter in Rouyn, Que., moving up the ranks to chief metallurgist, technology superintendent and then operations manager. In 2005, Carissimi became the operations manager at the Sudbury Smelter and then briefly spent time as manager of Craig Mine. In her current position, she’s accountable for all aspects of the smelter business, including health and wellness, safety, environmental performance, operations, projects and the development of a complex and complementary international metals recycling business.
She’s also active in the local community, leading a partnership between College Boreal and Xstrata Nickel whereby the company provides a living laboratory to students to conduct experiments and applied research projects in forestry and rehabilitation.
Fiona Costello: Clinical associate professor, neurology, University of Calgary
Fiona Costello has published numerous articles and book chapters and speaks internationally on neuro-ophthalmology and multiple sclerosis, so it should be no surprise that she’s also co-director of the NeuroProtection and Repair Evaluation Unit of the Multiple Sclerosis Program at the University of Calgary as well as an associate professor. Costello and her collaborators have received plenty of research funding from a variety of sources, including the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Neuroscience Canada, the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada, Stem Cell Network and $6 million from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. The innovative work she has performed in the area of vision research was noted when Costello was named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40.
Susan Doniz: Senior vice-president, Global Chief information officer, Aimia
Before joining Aimia, which is the new corporate name and brand of loyal management company Groupe Aeroplan, Susan Doniz served in a variety of leadership roles at Proctor & Gamble, including heading its strategy to digitize its operations from concept creation to shopper purchase. She was educated in Canada (undergraduate) and in the Netherlands (graduate) and went through Harvard’s executive learning program. A frequent speaker at various leadership and industry events, Doniz is fluent in Spanish and English and also has good French and Dutch language skills. Doniz launched an industry initiative to match CIOs with skilled women in the technology field, an endeavour designed to increase the retention and performance of women in the high-tech field. When she’s not swimming with whale sharks in the Philippines or eating whale blubber in Arctic snowstorms, she sits on a variety of boards, including the CIO Association of Canada.
Leslie Gales: President and chief investment officer, Midland Group of Companies
Winnipeg born and raised, Leslie Gales holds a BA from the University of Manitoba and an MBA from McMaster University. Gales has been involved in the investment banking, finance and marketing research areas for more than 30 years and is very active in the community. She sits on the AGO Foundation’s board of trustees as well as its Investment Committee and Business Enterprise Committee, serves on Mount Sinai Hospital’s board of directors and board of governors and is the past chair and a member of the UJA – Federation of Toronto Executive Committee. Gales also sits on the Board of Trustees of the United Way Toronto.
Anne-Claude Gingras: Senior investigator, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital
After earning her PhD in 2001 from McGill University for her studies on the regulation of protein synthesis, and noted for her expertise in proteomics and cellular signalling, Anne-Claude Gingras was recruited to the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute in 2005. A year later, Gingras was cross-appointed at the University of Toronto, where she teaches graduate students in the Molecular Genetics Department. Considered an international leader in proteomics, she serves on the advisory board of the National Bio-Organic, Biomedical Mass Spectrometry Resource Center. Gingras has produced 70 primary research articles and 15 review articles, publications that have been referenced by other researchers almost 10,000 times. She’s on the editorial board of proteomics journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.
Frieda Granot: Senior associate dean, strategic development and external relations, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia
Frieda Granot has been with the University of British Columbia her entire career, spending more than a decade in the Faculty of Commerce as the only female tenure-track member in a faculty of over 100. In 1996, Granot was appointed the first female dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, a position she remained at for a decade before moving to her current role. She’s the co-chair of the annual Women in Leadership Forum and the Women’s Leadership Council and serves on the advisory board of the Young Women in Business network. Granot, who has a PhD in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Business Administration, is a champion of the under-represented, helping to raise millions of dollars to support students with disabilities, Aboriginal students and women in science. In 2007, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.
Roberta Jamieson: CEO and president, National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation
Roberta Jamieson, a Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River territory in Ontario, has led the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation since 2004. The foundation is dedicated to realizing the potential of First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth through scholarship assistance and other support. It has distributed approximately $43 million in support to more than 11,000 students, with over half of that support coming since her appointment. The executive producer of the nationally televised National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, Jamieson was the first First Nations woman to earn a law degree; the first non-parliamentarian to be appointed an ex-officio member of a House of Commons committee; the first woman to be appointed Ombudsman of Ontario; and in December 2001 she was the first woman to be elected Chief of the Six Nations of the Grand River territory. She’s also a Member of the Order of Canada.
Connie Linder: Founder and president, Insight Creative Communications
Connie Linder is an entrepreneur, business strategist and creative communications professional who has focused on innovative start-ups and sustainability issues for much of her career. She established consulting firm Insight Creative Communications in 1999 and recently began creating her own start-up businesses. For example, Linder co-founded Vancouver-based Polymer Research Technologies Ltd., a company specializing in the chemical recycling of polyurethanes that recently won the top prize at the BCIC-New Ventures Competition for 2011. She’s also launching a web-based search engine/directory designed to make sustainable products, services and information more widely accessible. A noted speaker, Linder recently delivered the keynote address at the University of British Columbia’s Ignite Conference. She’s also active in the community, having served as chair of the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, and she also developed an African Education Initiative associated with Rotary International. In 2008, Linder was recognized as a leader in sustainability by UBC.
Patricia O’Malley: Senior advisor, Accounting Standards Board
Patricia O’Malley, who twice was the chair of the Canadian Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) and continues to act as senior advisor, now chairs the International Forum of Accounting Standard Setters, an informal association of bodies responsible for setting or reviewing accounting standards in various jurisdictions. O’Malley first chaired the AcSB from 1999 to 2001, but left to become a founding member of the International Accounting Standards Board in London. She returned as chair of the AcSB for a second time between July 2009 and October 2010. In January 2012 her term as a member of the Canadian Actuarial Standards Oversight Council will begin, and she is currently on the board and audit committee of the Independent Electricity System Operator, which is responsible for the day-to-day operation of Ontario’s electrical system.
Arlene Ponting: CEO, Science Alberta Foundation
Arlene Ponting joined the Science Alberta Foundation (SAF) a dozen years ago, re-engineering the organization and its programs, and transforming it into a high-performance, not-for-profit with a strong mission, solid balance sheet and prestigious and capable board of directors. As a result, the SAF has an excellent reputation in the education and corporate sectors. The holder of a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a PhD in Educational Administration from the University of Alberta, Ponting serves on the National Science and Engineering Research Council, Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations and Advocacy Committee of the Science and Technology Awareness Network of Canada. In 2005, she received the Alberta Centennial Medal in recognition of outstanding service.
Vivian Prokop: CEO, Canadian Youth Business Foundation
Vivian Prokop leads a non-profit organization dedicated to the support of young entrepreneurs, and is the founding chair of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance. She joined Canadian Youth Business Foundation in 2004 and since then the program has grown tenfold to the point where it now supports almost 700 new start-ups per year and has emerged as a top program within the Prince’s Youth Business International network. Prokop has become a globally recognized expert on youth entrepreneurship, participating in a roundtable discussion at the United Nations with former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. Earlier this year, she partnered with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in successfully lobbying the Government of Canada to declare 2011 The Year of the Entrepreneur. She’s been among WXN’s top 100 winners for the past two years.
Poonam Puri: Associate Professor, coordinator, Hennick Centre for Business and Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Poonam Puri is one of the nation’s leading scholars and commentators on corporate governance, corporate law and securities law and her expertise has been sought by both Canadian and international governments and regulators. She serves as co-director of the Hennick Centre for Business and Law, and as head of research and policy at the Capital Markets Institute at the Rotman School of Business. Puri also sits on the boards of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and Mount Sinai Hospital, and is a member of the National Advisory Council for Statistics Canada. An LLB holder from the University of Toronto and LLM holder from Harvard Law School, Puri in 2005 was named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40.
Jacqueline Shan: Co-founder and chief scientific officer, Afexa Life Sciences Inc.
Jacqueline Shan heads Cold-FX maker Afexa Life Sciences, a company spun off in 1992 from the University of Alberta, where she earned a PhD in physiology the same year. She also has a degree in pharmacology from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences/Peking Union Medical College (1993). Previously CEO and president of Afexa, Shan has won more than 25 national and international awards in both business and science, including the Alberta Centennial Medal, which the premier hands out in recognition of outstanding service to the people and the province of Alberta. She’s also a member of the Canadian Pharmaceutical Industry Hall of Fame and has graced the cover of more than 10 Canadian science and business magazines. At press time, Afexa was being wooed by Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which bought Biovail in 2010.
Victoria Sopik: Co-Founder, CEO and president, Kids & Company
As a mother of eight, Victoria Sopik certainly understands better than most the tug of war between having a career and raising children, so she created a company with the goal of helping working parents and concerned employers. Sopik, who is also active with several charitable organizations, has more than 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and operator of a highly successful chain of childcare centres across Canada that serve more than 5,000 children on an annual basis. Sopik oversees the company’s strategic direction, provides leadership to the management team, and has developed successful long-term partnerships with both private and public organizations.
Constance (Connie) Sugiyama: Deputy chair and partner, Fraser Milner Casgrain
Constance Sugiyama is the deputy chair and a partner at law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain’s Corporate Finance and Mergers and Acquisitions practice. She has over 30 years experience advising a diverse range of domestic and international businesses on issues ranging from corporate finance and corporate governance to complex cross-border mergers and acquisitions and infrastructure related transactions. Sugiyama was the first woman to serve as the chair of the Hospital for Sick Children and she also acted as a trustee of the hospital and as a director of the SickKids Foundation. She earned a 2010 World of Difference 100 Award from The International Alliance for Women, an honour that recognizes women whose efforts have advanced the economic empowerment of women locally, regionally or worldwide. Sugiyama was also named as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2009.
Ilse Treurnicht: CEO, MaRS Discovery District
Ilse Treurnicht heads up the Toronto-based innovation centre, which features an array of entrepreneurship and innovation programs. She joined the organization in 2005 after being CEO and president of Primaxis Technology Ventures, a venture-capital fund that focuses on start-ups in the advanced technologies sector. Previously, Treurnicht held senior management positions with a number of emerging technologies firms. She’s an active member of the innovation industry in Canada, having served on the boards of private companies, industry associations and research organizations. Treurnicht has also participated on several government advisory panels. She attended Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar, earning a doctorate in chemistry and in 2009 was inducted into WXN’s Hall of Fame.
Chris Whitecross: Major-General, Canadian Forces
Chris Whitecross started with the Canadian Forces in 1982 when she joined the Canadian Military Engineers. She’s been posted to almost every province in Canada and also spent time in Germany. Promoted to her current rank earlier this year, Whitecross has served in a wide variety of capacities, including as an A4 Airfield Engineering Operations at 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg, executive assistant to the chief of the Air Staff at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, director of Infrastructure and Environment Corporate Services for the assistant deputy minister (Infrastructure and Environment) and as joint engineer for Canada Command. Assignments have taken her to the former Republic of Yugoslavia and Kabul, Afghanistan, where she served as Deputy DCOS Comms. Earlier this year, she was appointed chief of staff for assistant deputy minister (Infrastructure and Environment) and chief military engineer of the Canadian Forces at National Defence Headquarters.
Wanda Wuttunee: Professor, Director, Aboriginal Business Education Partners, I.H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba
Wanda Wuttunee is a professor in the Department of Native Studies and director of the Aboriginal Business Education Program in the University of Manitoba’s business school. She’s a noted expert in the field of Aboriginal economic development, having devoted almost a quarter century researching how Aboriginal values interact with capitalist values. Wuttunee has published two books on the topic, Living Rhythms: Lessons in Aboriginal Economic Resilience and Vision and In Business for Ourselves: Northern Entrepreneurs. In her role as program director, she has increased access for Aboriginals to the Bachelor of Commerce Program to more than 55 at
the I. H. Asper School of Business. She is also a board member of the Institute on Research and Public Policy and First Nations Statistical Institute.
Source: Financial Post Magazine website (December 2011)