Karimah Es Sabar
President and CEO, The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)
Influence: Es Sabar is one of the leading forces in Canada’s life sciences sector, helming Life Sciences BC through a
President and CEO, VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation
Influence: At a time of tightening public finances and increasing public need, hospitals need top- notch fundraisers–and Grantham, a form
President, CEO and co-founder, Webnames.ca Inc.
Influence: As Canada’s original “.ca” registrar, spun off from UBC, Webnames.ca remains one of the country’s leading providers of web hos
Vice-president, director, portfolio manager and investment advisor, Odlum Brown; chair, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs
As vice-president, director and portfolio manager at Odlum Brown, and with spots on the
President and CEO, Odlum Brown Ltd.
Influence: Hewson leads a team of more than 200 employees at storied Vancouver investment firm Odlum Brown (with more than $9 billion in assets under administ
Managing partner (Vancouver and Western Canada) and chief inclusiveness officer, Ernst & Young LLP
Influence: The South African native has drawn upon her experience growing up in a country d
President and CEO, Vancity
Influence: Vrooman has shaped fiscal policy at both a private and public level–serving as B.C.’s deputy minister of finance from 2004 to 2007 and as leader of Ca
Founding investor and principal, Renewal Partners
Influence: Renewal Partners has been at the leading edge of B.C.’s booming social venture capital movement, and it never would have happened w
Vice-president, Connor, Clark & Lunn Private Capital Ltd.
Influence: The first (and only) female partner at Connor, Clark & Lunn–Canada’s largest investment counselling firm, with $51 b
CEO, First West Credit Union
Influence: Skinner–a former president of Starbucks U.S., where she oversaw 7,000 company-owned stores and 3,400 licensed stores–has led First West since 2010 an
Managing partner, Lawson Lundell LLP
Influence: As managing partner at Lawson Lundell–one of Western Canada’s top business law firms–Mann is B.C.’s go-to legal expert on a variety of top
Managing partner, CAI Capital Management
Influence: In addition to running the private equity group’s western operations, McVicar is a popular and influential board director, having served f
President and CEO, HSBC Bank Canada
Influence: Stuart started with HSBC in 1982, rising through the ranks to become CEO of the bank’s Canadian subsidiary this month. HSBC is the only major ba
Partner, chief diversity and engagement officer, McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Influence: Vogt has been a groundbreaking presence in Canada’s legal community–leading the national giant’s real estate
Chair and CEO, BC Securities Commission
Influence: Leong directs the agency responsible for overseeing the exchange of securities in this province, making her an important figure in ensuring tha
President and CEO, Linacare Cosmetherapy Inc.
When Carol Lee looks out the front window of her Vancouver Chinatown office, she isn’t thrilled by what she sees: empty storefronts, a hip longboard skateshop and a n
President and CEO, Army & Navy; president, Face the World Foundation
Influence: She was the driving force in reviving the iconic Army & Navy retail brand. But most Vancouverites know Cohen as th
Owner and CEO, R.C. Purdy Chocolates Ltd.
Influence: Purdys is one of B.C.’s most iconic brands, and Flavelle–who took the reins from her father, Charles, in 1997–has kept it relevant wh
Co-owner, Glowbal Restaurant Group
Influence: Along with husband Emad Yacoub, Bosa-Yacoub (of the famous Bosa real estate clan) has helped turn Glowbal into a casual dining powerhouse.
Co-owner and executive chef, Vij’s and Rangoli
Influence: Vikram Vij is the showman, the ex-Dragons’ Den dragon who made Vij’s one of the most celebrated Indian restaurants in North Amer
President and CEO, Macdonald Realty
Influence: Taiwanese immigrant Hsu has helped turn Macdonald into one of the largest full-service real estate firms in B.C–and the gateway for Mainland Chinese
President, British Columbia Institute of Technology
Kathy Kinloch, president of BCIT, exudes confidence about her school’s role in training British Columbians for the economy of tomorrow. As she puts it blunt
Former chief commissioner, B.C. Treaty Commission
Influence: As a longtime and respected native leader based in Cranbrook, Pierre has been a driving force in building bridges with the provincia
Premier, B.C.; MLA, Westside-Kelowna
Influence: She’s premier of Canada’s third-largest province and, alongside Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne, helping to drag Canada’s economy through a turb
Finance spokesperson, B.C. NDP; MLA, Victoria-Beacon Hill
Influence: After leading the NDP in 2005 to its highest vote count since the mid-’80s (albeit in a losing effort), James was ousted as
City manager, City of Vancouver
Influence: Dr. Ballem (she has an MD from UBC) has become the go-to administrator in B.C. for doling out tough medicine to public sector organizations, including
Leader, Green Party of Canada; MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands
Influence: May made history by winning the Green Party of Canada’s first elected seat in 2011; now, as one of Parliament’s best perfo
President and CEO, BC Hydro
Influence: McDonald–a former deputy minister and head of B.C.’s public service– leads the province’s biggest Crown corporation at a transformative time, w
President, BC Federation of Labour
Influence: Lanzinger, elected BC Fed president just last fall, is the first woman leader in the organization’s history–and the first from the public sec
Councillor and former chief, Musqueam First Nation
Influence: A former three-term chief of the Musqueam–and first woman elected regional chief to the Assembly of First Nations–Grant-John
Partner, Richards Buell Sutton LLP, president, BC Liberals
Influence: As a partner at RBS, White is an influential voice on matters real estate related–but it is in her role as president of th
President and CEO, Destination British Columbia
Influence: Walden, a longtime executive at the BC Lottery Corporation, was handed the task in 2013 of driving up B.C.’s tourism numbers when sh
CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust
Influence: The appropriately named North, a seasoned logging and trucking executive (who also sits on several boards, including BC Hydro’s), is the d
Owner and CEO, Pacific Western Brewing Ltd.
The owner of B.C.’s largest independently owned brewer doesn’t have much love for her craft-beer peers. “They study for a few months and call themselves a brew
CEO, Luvo Inc.
Influence: After having turned yogawear maker Lululemon into a global phenomenon, Day hopes to work similar wonders with frozen gourmet foods.
The panel says:
Co-founder and co-CEO, Nature’s Path Foods Inc.
Influence: Along with husband Arran, Stephens has turned Nature’s Path into North America’s largest certified organic breakfast foods com
Executive vice president and general counsel, Goldcorp Inc.
Influence: Ripley is one of the few women to hold a senior leadership role in the mining industry, guiding Goldcorp through the leg
Founder and creative director, Kit and Ace
Influence: As lead designer at Lululemon, Wilson made yogawear cool, stylish and functional. Now, along with stepson J.J. Wilson, she has launched an
Director of external affairs, LNG Canada
Influence: As the voice for one of the largest entrants into the LNG field (a consortium headed by Royal Dutch Shell PLC), Pierce is helping to set th
Chancellor, Simon Fraser University
Influence: In addition to her new position at SFU, Giardini remains a force within the forestry sector, where she was president of Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd.
CEO, YWCA Metro Vancouver; Chair, Vancouver Board of Trade, British Columbia Institute of Technology
As CEO of the YWCA Metro Vancouver, Janet Austin is quick to emphasize the common ground—and skip the philos
General manager, Edelman Canada West
Influence: Peacock holds a big microphone as GM of Western Canada’s largest PR firm. The ex-magazine publisher and Hootsuite global marketer counts global g
Director, Vancouver Art Gallery
Influence: As the director of the largest public art museum in Western Canada, Bartels has clout–and if her new gallery ever gets built, she’ll be a globa
Former finance minister, B.C.; former chancellor, SFU; board director, BCE
Influence: Taylor, for the first time in decades, is flying largely below the radar–serving on a couple of boards (m
CEO, Atira Property Management and Resource Society
Influence: Atira operates one of the largest social housing agencies in Vancouver’s troubled Downtown Eastside–which makes Abbott, the or
Executive vice-president, corporate affairs, chief legal officer and corporate secretary, Telus
A lawyer educated at the Université de Montréal faculty of law and Oxford University, where she received an MA
CEO, LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services
Influence: As head of the country’s largest community-based laboratory services company, Paish leads an organization on the leading edge of private medic
President and CEO, Vancouver Coastal Health
Influence: VCH is the largest academic and tertiary health authority in B.C., serving a population of one million with a budget of $3 billion. Acke
President and CEO, Norsat International Inc.
Influence: Chan is a rare female voice in B.C.’s tech sector–and a turnaround artist extraordinaire who took Norsat from near bankruptcy to becom
From politicians to bankers, charity mavens to retail entrepreneurs, these are the leaders who are having a big impact behind the scenes and at centre stage in British Columbia
If you’re a reader of the business press—or any story featuring the power brokers in our midst—you’ll be struck by one thing above all else: the paucity of women. While some may argue that “them’s the numbers”—and yes, women are poorly represented in the boardrooms and backrooms of B.C.—the fact is that we in the media bear some responsibility. The evidence of powerful and dynamic women leaders abounds. It’s just not being reported as frequently.
THE PANEL OF EXPERTS• Jennifer Berdahl is the Montalbano Professor of Leadership Studies: Gender and Diversity at UBC’s Sauder School of Business
• Brittney Kerr is account director at Earnscliffe Strategy Group
• Meriko Kubota is director of strategic partnerships and community investment at Telus
• Sarah McCullough is director of external affairs and communications for Spectra Energy
• Matt O’Grady is editor-in-chief of BCBusiness
• Jennifer Podmore Russell is director of Deloitte Real Estate
That, in part, is why BCBusiness decided to do this survey of B.C.’s Most Influential Women: to put a distinctly female face on power and influence in B.C. And how exactly did we do it? First, our editorial team consulted with a variety of authorities and created a long list of names. Then we took those names to an esteemed panel of experts. The panel both contributed new names for consideration and also helped us evaluate and explain the influence of the women on our list. From there we came up with the final 50 names, in six categories, you see in the pages that follow.
This is not a ranking—nor is it an exhaustive list of those women wielding influence in the province. Indeed, our panellists were adamant that we consider the complexity of what it means to wield influence—and among the panel itself, the complexity of opinion was evident. Jennifer Berdahl of UBC argued against a “superwoman” model, saying that we don’t hold men to the same standard (asking whether they are a good father, or a charitable citizen, when discussing their power or influence). Meriko Kubota of Telus, meanwhile, said that evidence a woman has a family life—and has managed that tough work-life balance—is critical: “That’s something that I’d want to read about.” One thing everybody agreed on, however, was that women define success differently than men.
“If you listen to every single speech given by women—whether it’s Anne Giardini or Christine Day or Carole Taylor—I think they don’t talk about success the same way,” says Deloitte’s Jennifer Podmore Russell. “Influence—when you think about what it means to success as a woman—it’s influence over your community, influence over your corporate life, influence over your career, influence over your family. Equal doesn’t mean the same as men.”
Spotlight profiles (click to read)
>> Monique Mercier, Executive vice-president, corporate affairs, chief legal officer and corporate secretary, Telus.
>> Christina Anthony, Vice-president, director, portfolio manager and investment advisor, Odlum Brown; chair, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs
>> Carol Lee, President and CEO, Linacare Cosmetherapy Inc.
>> Kathy Kinloch, President, British Columbia Institute of Technology
>> Kazuko Komatsu, Owner and CEO, Pacific Western Brewing Ltd.
>> Janet Austin, CEO, YWCA Metro Vancouver; Chair, Vancouver Board of Trade, British Columbia Institute of Technology