2017 Zenith Award Winners
Dawn Jetten is a formidable advocate for women lawyers.
Dawn’s advocacy started in the early 1990s, when she
championed and successfully introduced flexible working
arrangements at Blakes. She challenged the status quo in the
legal profession, which was then defined by billable hours.
She is the co-chair of the financial services regulatory group,
where the recruitment and advancement of women has been
most prevalent, and her advocacy also extends to support
staff at Blakes by recognizing hard work and excellence.
Internally, she has pushed for business development and
leadership training, retention of women and the importance
of mentorship and sponsorship. Dawn is on the advisory
board of Stepping Up: Preparing to be a GC, a Blakes program
designed to provide women lawyers with the leadership skills
required for a general counsel role.
Celia Johnson joined Graymont in May 2011 as Associate
Counsel, becoming VP, General Counsel and Corporate
Secretary in January 2016. Celia is the first female member
of Graymont’s senior executive team in its 70-year history. In
less than four years, she has played a key role in Graymont’s
international expansion, assisting in the 2012 acquisition of
Western Lime Corp., adding three lime plants in Wisconsin
and Michigan and making Graymont the second-largest lime
and limestone supplier in North America. In 2015, Celia was
instrumental in Graymont’s acquisition of New Zealand-based
McDonald’s Lime Ltd. and Taylor’s Lime, securing a foothold
in Asia-Pacific. Celia covers legal issues related to corporate/
commercial, environmental, regulatory, financial, real estate,
construction, rail/shipping and Aboriginal matters — an
incredible scope that includes operating across five Canadian
provinces, nine US states and New Zealand.
Wendy King played a key role developing the diversity policy
at Capstone, supporting board and management diversity.
Wendy manages an all-female team and works tirelessly to
promote the advancement of women of all ages and ethnic
groups. She was instrumental in promoting her executive
assistant to the role and duties and title of assistant corporate
secretary. She is also extremely supportive of the personal
goals of women within the organization, providing alternative
and flexible work arrangements. She served as the Chair of the
Vancouver Club, as its first female President and has mentored
young female professionals, graduate students and highschool
students with the Minerva Foundation. Wendy is an
adjunct professor at the Allard School of Law at UBC and has
held an executive role with the Canadian Corporate Counsel
Association for many years.
Shalini Konanur pioneered a dispersed service model for
SALCO, with seven satellite clinics now serving South Asians
across Greater Toronto. Shalini also spearheaded SALCO’s test
case program, going beyond advising to actively advocating
for access issues affecting South Asians. Under her guidance,
SALCO has intervened at the Supreme Court of Canada,
Federal Court of Canada and the Ontario courts on issues
such as procedural fairness in sponsorship claims, honour
killings, religious freedom and racial profiling. She leads
the fight against forced marriage, where women’s efforts
to escape can lead to sexual assault, abduction, assault
and murder. She leads the initiative on forced marriages
and lobbied provincial and federal governments to enact
reforms to support victims. Her work also spurred formation
of the Network of Agencies Against Forced Marriage. Shalini
was the 2014 CBA Legal Aid Leader.
Elyse Korman is a passionate advocate for refugee claimants,
including women and children fleeing persecution abroad.
Elyse’s work includes acting for: women and children fleeing
China based on their opposition to the Family Planning Policy;
young Ethiopian female athletes persecuted because of their
gender and ethnicity; women fleeing forced female genital
mutilation in Africa; female journalists fleeing persecution in
Afghanistan; women fleeing domestic and gender violence in
countries with no access to state protection; women fleeing
religious persecution in China and Pakistan; and women
fleeing persecution based on their sexual orientation. She
has developed particular expertise as an appellate lawyer,
preparing over 100 applications to the Federal Court of
Canada seeking judicial review of failed refugee claims. She
has also provided close mentorship to other women lawyers
and legal clerks practising in refugee law.