2017 Zenith Award Winners


C. Dawn Jetten, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

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, Graymont Ltd.

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, Capstone Mining Corp.

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, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario

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, Otis & Korman LLP

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.