Women of the Year

Telus executive Jill Schnarr and Quark Venture CEO Karimah Es Sabar share their takes on corporate leadership

To honour the contenders in our second annual Women of the Year competition, we’ve created video interviews with finalists in eight categories. 

For the first video in the series we talked to Corporate leader Jill Schnarr and runner-up Karimah Es Sabar

Schnarr has worked with Telus since it was BC Tel and she was a student at Ontario's Western University. Now she's the telecom's chief social innovation and communications officer. Programs launched by Schnarr have seen Telus give the equivalent of $1.3 billion to charities and community organizations since 2000. 

“We’re taking what was a telecommunications company and really building it into a brand of being a global technology powerhouse that’s leading in social capitalism and really trying to address all the major social issues today,” she says. “We’re leveraging technology to try and make the world better.”

Es Sabar fell in love with science at an early age growing up in Kenya and by the age of 26 had founded her first startup. She moved to Vancouver in 2006 and soon found herself recruited to lead advocacy group BC Biotech, transforming it into business development organization LifeSciences BC. In 2016, she co-founded life-sciences fund manager Quark Venture. The Vancouver-based VC firm runs a US$500-million fund focused on disruptive and innovative health-care technologies worldwide.

"To unleash creativity and the magic of humanity—I think that's in a nutshell what leadership is," Es Sabar says. "But what it means in terms of actively being involved as a leader, you have to inspire, you have to motivate. Today's leaders need to be nurturing, enabling and kind. People have to be able to trust you." 

For profiles of all the 2021 Women of the Year winners and finalists, click here. Congratulations to everyone.

Thank you to the judges—Laurel Douglas, Paris Gaudet, Trish Mandewo and Tina Strehlke—for their time and effort. We’re also grateful for the support of our generous sponsor, the Women’s Enterprise Centre.