This award acknowledges someone who has established a clear and direct mentoring or sponsoring relationship with one or more mentees, and through these relationships, guided their mentees to significant career growth over their time together. Nominees of all gender are accepted for this award.

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2018 Winner

Joan Sheehan

Joan Sheehan

Senior VP, Sales
STEMCELL Technologies

As senior Vice-President, Sales, at STEMCELL Technologies, Joan Sheehan has helped grow what was a small startup with one product line and three employees in 1993 into a powerhouse biotechnology company today, with a sales staff of 200 people selling 2,000 products globally. Her sales staff consistently average revenue growth of 20 per cent every year. Joan has hired, trained and mentored her sales team so that 85 per cent of her senior managers have been with the company for more than a decade. She is credited with mentoring them from junior roles into top global performers. She is a role model for women in both business and the sciences. Today, three-quarters of her leadership team are women and her sales team as a whole boasts full gender equity. Joan's colleagues credit her with building a company culture of quality, innovation and drive, calling her "a true leader who inspires those around her through her incredible energy, determination and willingness to take chances."

The best advice I was ever given was not to worry about what anyone else should do or have done; it is about what you can do.

2017 Winner

Dr. Rabab K. Ward

Dr. Rabab K. Ward

Professor Emeritus

Dr. Rabab  Kreidieh Ward's career is a series of firsts for women, paving the way across three continents. She was the first woman to join the professional engineering society in her country of birth, Lebanon (1967), the first woman to be appointed as lecturer in the university of Zimbabwe (1975), and the first woman to be appointed a professor in engineering in British Columbia (1981). In 1972, she became the second woman ever to earn a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Berkeley.

Dr. Ward is presently the President of the IEEE Signal Processing Society  (with 18,000 members). A Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UBC, she was the Director of UBC's Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems from 1996 to 2007. In a national competition, Dr. Ward secured a $22.2 million grant which led the creation of a new building that was the only centre in the world housing all existing equipment related to human-centered technologies.

She has supervised and graduated 40 doctoral students and 49 Master students. Her research interests are mainly in signal and image processing and their applications to multimedia, medical imaging, face recognition, infant cry signals and brain computer interfaces. She has published over 500 refereed journal and conference papers and holds six patents. She has also been a goodwill ambassador in popularizing the power of engineering, and a pioneer and role model for women in engineering. Dr. Ward has volunteered countless hours to speak to high school and undergrad students about the field of engineering and to reach out to prospective women engineers.

Dr. Ward received several awards including the world's highest honor for signal processing engineerss, the IEEE SPS Society Award for technical achievements and leadership in the profession. In 2007 she won the RA Machlachlan Award, the top professional engineering award of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists in B.C. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, IEEE, Canadian Academy of Engineers, and the Engineering Institute of Canada.

Hard work and perseverance are the basis of success. Creativity is also important but that can come from hard work. Dealing with people, networking, aligning with the right people and communication skills are also equally important for every leadership job.

2016 Winner

Judy Brooks

Judy Brooks

Entrepreneur and Board Member

Judy is the consummate mentor. Through her experience as an entrepreneur who started and sold three companies and a Board Member for various organizations she has mentored countless women. Judy is a relentless boundary challenger and truth-speaker. She sheds new light on everything she does, whether it's launching a business in a nascent industry, opening up unexplored conversations among high potential men through her social venture 'Brew', or constructively addressing 'elephants in the room'. She impacts women in two key ways: she willingly gives others her knowledge and she teaches skills to "thrive" in life and to succeed.

When you face a challenge, if you consider "will this matter in a year?", then nothing really holds as much weight as we might feel it does in the moment. What we imagine in our heads is almost always worse than what happens in reality. Any perceived challenges have always served my learning.

2015 Winner

Karen MacMillan

Karen MacMillan

Partner and Chief Inclusiveness Officer
Lawson Lundell LLP

According to one of her mentees: "Karen provides honest and candid advice geared at helping me make the best career choices. Even with her busy practice and many mentees, Karen takes the time to provide regular formal mentorship lunches and as well as providing ongoing advice throughout the year. She has helped me navigate the most difficult issue of practice – balancing work and family by providing a positive and realistic example of how this balance can be obtained." Karen doesn't restrict her mentoring to the many monthly lunches she hosts with her formal and informal mentees; she also mentors the associates with whom she works as a matter of course by providing opportunities for them to take on interesting pieces of a file and coaching them through strategy development and client

Being a mentor has provided me with the rewarding opportunity to build relationships with many younger lawyers at my firm. I have found this ongoing interaction with associates to be a personally enriching experience which has informed the way I think about a whole variety of things – both professionally and personally.