Class of 1974

One of the problems with being female and in law school in the early 70s was that there was always a lingering question as to whether you made it on ability or gender. I went into law school with moderate marks but high LSATs, a good essay and an F in the M/F box at a time they had quotas on female students.

The workplace was also changing: Despite a love of law, and relatively good marks, I (and other women in the class) had no articling position until then-Professor Frank Iacobucci strong-armed the downtown law firms on behalf of the women students. The formal dinners involved with the articling position required the use of side doors and accompaniment into the then 'men-only' clubs.

Joining Campeau Corporation as a functionally bilingual lawyer in Ottawa after the Bar Ads, I was known by Robert Campeau as "That Woman". my bosses quickly realized my attention to detail and the bigger picture, and my ability to organize information made me a valuable partner. I moved from the background into the meeting rooms, taking more responsibilities and directing outside counsel. However, it would be a total of 18 years before the VP title was issued to match the increased responsibility.The company continued to grow with purchases in Ottawa,Toronto and then the U.S. Notable local projects include Waterfront Place and Scotia Plaza.

The company went from assets of $500M through $11B with the Allied / Federated purchases, then fell back rapidly due to the overextension. I followed them up, then down, at the end directing multiple teams of lawyers in the divestment of millions of dollars of assets a week to keep the company afloat.

During the subsequent recovery, I added an EMBA to my nameplate, then switched to the health care sector,working as second in command to bring the fledgling Interhealth Canada from a house on Markham Street to a multi-million dollar enterprise managing hundreds of millions in projects internationally, including projects in China, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

Never accepting the argument that I could not have it all, I married the summer before her Bar Ads, raised two daughters and spent the time to ensure the success of these enterprises as well. Dipper hotdogs under the table was as important as the final edit of a large contract.

Always maintaining that the aim of the feminist movement should be to become an anachronism, I looked on the inclusion of gender in Canada's charter as a failure for the movement. Let's hope future generations wonder why some found it necessary.