2017 Zenith Award Winners

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Kristin Taylor, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

Kristin Taylor is the firm’s deputy managing partner, and founder, past chair and current member of the inclusion and diversity committee. Kristin is a member of the women’s practice development committee and chairs the employment law group. As a member of the firm’s governance committee, she completely overhauled the governance structure in 2016, making it more inclusive and representative. Along with her daughter, she attended the Women’s March on Washington in January. She instituted “pub nights” for the firm’s women lawyers to informally discuss important topics such as sponsorship and gendered communication. She also instituted women’s mentor lunch groups, where senior women host female associates to discuss career advancement. She implemented unconscious-bias training for partners and firm leaders. Kristin has been ranked by The Best Lawyers in Canada for each of the past five years.

Charlene Theodore, Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association

As chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s equality committee, Charlene Theodore headed a leadership diversity initiative within the OBA, an organization led predominantly by white men since its formation in 1907. Charlene brought together public- and private-sector leaders to plan a leadership pipeline for women and people of colour, and the resulting strategy was adopted by the OBA for implementation in 2017 and 2018 to change the future face of the Bar Association. She is currently OBA Treasurer and an in-demand speaker on gender equality and the equal representation of women of colour. Charlene has also been extremely active as a member of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) and is currently Treasurer. Charlene served as counsel for the Ontario Nurses’ Association and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, organizations representing predominantly female workforces.

Heather Treacy, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP

Under Heather Treacy’s leadership, the Calgary office has maintained its complement of lawyers and a collegial culture through a tough economy pummelled by plunging oil prices. Heather has acted as counsel for several precedent-setting matters in Aboriginal law, a specialized area with significant economic and socio-cultural implications and has published and lectured widely in the US and Canada. She co-founded the Internationally Trained Lawyers Program, helping new Canadians who practised law overseas overcome accreditation barriers, and she founded the Calgary office Women’s Mentoring Network to assist female lawyers to build their practices. She champions workplace accommodations such as flex hours and diversity, to help lawyers achieve work/life balance. She chairs the firm’s Canadian pro bono committee, leading projects and fostering a culture of engagement. She received a Women in Law Leadership Award in 2016.