2017 Zenith Award Winners
As General Counsel, Marcia Brennan supports global
management of the McCain Foods brand, the world’s largest
privately owned manufacturer of frozen food products. Marcia
has been instrumental in several M&A projects, product
launches, and numerous regulatory and compliance matters.
With her team, she is responsible for a diverse geographical
territory, building strong relationships with external counsel
in many strategic jurisdictions. She’s a strong team builder
who mentors junior lawyers, law students and peers, helping
create many key policy and training initiatives for McCain.
Marcia has served on numerous boards and several Nova
Scotia Barristers’ Society committees. She’s a member of a
small team working on an inaugural Atlantic Canadian event
for Women General Counsel in Canada. She’s a director with
Pathway to Progress, a Canadian charity funding children’s
education in Nicaragua.
Natasha Brown is the Legal Director and Executive Director
of the Legal Help Centre, a non-profit organization in
Winnipeg whose small staff, volunteers and 50 law students
are all women. The beneficiaries of Natasha’s advocacy and
leadership are also women. Natasha and her group ensure
the law works for everyone. She’s an effective leader, mentor
and advocate, devoted to advancement of equity, education
and access to justice. Her mission, and LHC’s, is to work in
partnership with the community to increase access to legal
and social-service systems for disadvantaged community
members. Natasha has been a sessional lecturer at the Faculty
of Law, University of Manitoba, and has acted as supervising
lawyer of Robson Hall’s third-year LHC internship program.
She’s also a member of the Canadian Bar Association’s
Standing Committee on Access to Justice.
After completing her law program and being called to the Bar in India, Shivani Chopra moved to Canada in 2003. Upon completion of her Master of Laws at Dalhousie University, Shivani obtained her equivalency of Canadian law degree, articled and was called to the New Brunswick Bar in 2008. She became a partner in 2016. Her practice focuses on insurance defence litigation and employment law. She’s a diversity champion in the legal profession of Atlantic Canada, speaking about diversity in different forums and offering guidance and support to struggling candidates whenever possible. Shivani is one of the very few visible-minority, immigrant women partners at a large law firm in Atlantic Canada and her community service work has made her the recipient of a volunteer recognition award at McInnes Cooper.
Sheila MacPherson and Tamela Coates are partners in
the Lawson Lundell’s Yellowknife and Calgary offices,
respectively, who have led, implemented and fostered
the advancement of women in law. Their work includes:
facilitating the use of practice-management coaches in
the areas of leadership for women, efficiency, organization
and timekeeping; supporting the adoption of flexible work
arrangements and parental leaves for both male and female
lawyers; participating in the Justicia Project to promote the
retention and advancement of women in private practice;
and a teamwork approach to files, particularly as initiated by
Sheila in Yellowknife, allowing lawyers to enjoy more time
off. With Sheila’s and Tamela’s leadership, the firm anticipates
female partnership will reach 50 per cent by the end of
2017, and they have been recognized by nearly two dozen
national, provincial and local awards.
Jacqueline De Gagné has become a role model to women,
entering patent law and science when this was still
uncommon for women. Jacqueline combined her expertise
and leadership skills to become responsible for Bayer’s law
and patents, compliance, privacy, risk management and
corporate governance functions. Her role involves leading
teams of specialists across Canada on complex litigation,
commercial legal matters, and governance issues. Among her
many responsibilities, she advocates for market access to lifesaving
drugs for disadvantaged patients. She spends much
of her time mentoring colleagues and students at Bayer, as
well as speaking at universities, on panels, and in meetings
in her local community on the topics of women in IP and life
sciences. She advocates for diversity of opinion, experience
and background within her team. Jacqueline was recognized
as a Corporate IP Star for Canada in 2016.