2016 Zenith Award Winners




Marc-André Blanchard is an esteemed lawyer from Québec who in April became Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In this role, Ambassador Blanchard works to advance Canada’s interests, promote international development, security and human rights, and to keep our government informed on multilateral issues. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Blanchard had been the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McCarthy Tétrault LLP, one of the country’s most prominent law firms. He also has a long history of political involvement, as the former president of the Québec Liberal Party and, more recently, as a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s transition team. Ambassador Blanchard holds several degrees including a Master's in Public Administration and a Master’s in International Affairs from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He is a Lexpert Rising Stars alumnus, and in 2013 was named one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer.

 

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Tiffany Paulsen, Robertson Stromberg LLP

Tiffany Paulsen works to ensure politics is inclusive and that her community gets maximum advantage from the skills and energy women offer. Within the legal profession, Tiffany is a strong advocate for balance between the practice of law and family priorities, making Robertson Stromberg a more inclusive and diverse employer. She was named one of the “100 most distinguished graduates” at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law Centennial Celebrations. As a City Councillor, she regularly provides support to women entering politics and she participates frequently in forums to discuss women’s participation in politics and the law. She is a mentor in the University of Saskatchewan Betty-Ann Heggie Womentorship Program and mentors female law students through the Canadian Bar Association (Saskatchewan) program. She also donates her time supporting immigrant women experiencing domestic violence.

Catherine Peters, Hicks Morley LLP

In 2014 Catherine Peters, along with partner Jeffrey Goodman, co-founded Hicks Morley’s diversity and inclusion committee. As the current committee Chair, Catherine has been instrumental in developing policies that promote inclusivity and a respectful workplace, fostering creativity, legal innovation and excellence. A few key examples include: membership in the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network and employer partnership in the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion; surveying and training her firm’s people to understand their diversities, promoting inclusiveness and conducting unconscious-bias training; identifying and articulating value gained through diversity; and participating in initiatives to increase diversity in her firm and the profession. Drawing upon her 20-plus years of human rights expertise, Catherine was key in developing Hicks Morley’s diversity, equity and human rights policies, as well as policies on accommodating disabilities and the needs of parents.

Michelle Pockey, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

For two decades, Michelle Pockey has helped hundreds of lawyers and businesswomen become established, connected and successful, making her a highly respected business leader. She mentors male and female lawyers in and outside her firm. In 1997, she co-founded and continues to chair the Professional Women’s Network (PWN), which expanded to Calgary in 2008 and, in 2015, she helped create an Aboriginal Women’s chapter of PWN. She’s a founding member of the Women’s Economic Business Advisory Council; an advisory board member for GroYourBiz.com; a founding member of the WEB Alliance; and a former director of the WBE Canada Business and Networking Association and the Women Lawyers Forum of the CBA. Michelle serves as Vice-chair for the Sarah McLachlan School of Music Society, providing at-risk youth with life and coping skills through free music education.

Diversity & Inclusion Pre-Law Internship Program, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Blakes’ Diversity & Inclusion Pre-Law Internship Program, for undergraduates of York University and the University of Toronto, offers a student interested in attending law school an opportunity for summer work at Blakes, with a particular focus on diversity initiatives within the firm. Founded in 2011, the program is a five-time winner of the Mediacorp Canada Award recognizing Canada’s Best Diversity employers. This four-week, paid internship gives selected students an opportunity to observe the day-to-day functioning of a law firm, receive mentorship from lawyers and work on specific tasks related to equity and diversity.

Douglas Rienzo, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Doug Rienzo is founding Chair of Osler’s Diversity Committee (DC), which has implemented several important initiatives: Doug led the creation of an enhanced pregnancy and parental leave policy for associates; he was the mover behind a policy enabling formation of legal professional resource groups such as the Asia-Pacific Affinity Network, Osler Women Lawyers Network and Osler Pride Network; the DC helped create a maternity/paternity leave buddy program matching leave-taking associates with partners who are parents, to provide guidance around associate leaves; he supported diversity and inclusion and unconscious-bias training and led a 2015 Pride event; he encouraged the firm to create a Quiet Room, where Osler people of any religion, or no religion, can engage in prayer, reflection or meditation. Doug hosts biannual Town Hall Meetings to highlight DC initiatives and, under his leadership, Osler has undertaken two firm-wide diversity surveys.