2017 Zenith Award Winners

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Charlene Ripley, Goldcorp Inc.

As executive and General Counsel, Charlene Ripley’s contributions to community, company and legal profession are profound. Charlene is responsible for Goldcorp’s human resources function and a member of its diversity committee. She is a key contributor in setting policy and process and enhancing diversity awareness across the company. She has mandated that high-potential employee selection and hiring process all require gender diversity in candidate selection; all language used in job postings be gender-neutral; and that a diverse candidate pool be presented for final selection. She has mandated diversity within succession planning and helped Goldcorp craft an ethics and compliance function. She restructured the legal function, including a “make versus buy” project to determine what legal work should be managed internally versus externally. Charlene is Chair of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon.

Suzanne Rix, Cox & Palmer

Suzanne Rix is a partner and chair of the firm’s immigration practice group. She specializes in relocation and retention of foreign workers for regional, national and international companies and assisting clients in applying for permanent residence, retaining permanent-resident status and applying for Canadian citizenship. Since joining the firm, Suzanne has created one of the largest immigration practices in Atlantic Canada, also mentoring and training the firm’s lawyers across Atlantic Canada in immigration law. She has served three terms on the firm’s Halifax management team, which demonstrates the confidence, trust and respect of her partners. She has also served as the Professional Personnel Partner, a demanding role overseeing associates. Suzanne has been named one of Canada’s Leading Lawyers Under 40 and selected as a Best Lawyer in Canada in Immigration Law from 2013 to present.

Tracy Ross, Royal Bank of Canada

Tracy Ross is a Vice President in the RBC Law Group, heading global legal teams supporting capital markets and I&TS platforms and the Law Group operations team. Tracy is a proven thought leader on regulatory change around the world, such as OTC derivatives regulatory reform; and on evaluating the impact of world events, such as Brexit, on RBC’s ongoing businesses. She’s a highly regarded member of various capital markets industry associations. She has led integration of I&TS and capital markets legal support teams to improve efficiencies, ensure consistency of advice and leverage their expertise. She leads the operations team in developing a learning council to meet all continuous professional development requirements; and launching pilot projects to improve RBC’s matter-management metrics reporting. Tracy is also involved with the United Way Law Cabinet.

Franziska Ruf, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Franziska Ruf is one of a handful of senior female partners in Montréal’s top-tier corporate legal market. Franziska devotes her time, energy and resources to supporting the next generation of women lawyers and she’s known for mentoring female associates, several of whom have become partners. She supports opportunities for women and serves on the board of Le Chaînon Foundation, a women’s shelter. What distinguishes her initiatives is that they are tangible, with immediate and long-lasting benefits. She’s currently working with McGill’s Faculty of Law, selecting female law students to attend the ABA’s Business Law Section meeting. She’s a member of the ABA’s Women in M&A task force and the first female co-chair of the ABA’s International M&A Subcommittee. Franziska is listed in Chambers Global for Corporate/M&A and in a long list of other rankings.

Maria Scarfo, Blaney McMurtry LLP

Maria Scarfo has spent her entire career at Blaney McMurtry, becoming the first female managing partner in 2013 and being unanimously reappointed in 2016. Maria’s style is focused on mentorship and she develops talent by encouraging others to succeed. A senior law professor called her one of the two best students with whom he had ever worked. Her great sense of humour, honed by improv classes in university and performances at the after-hours pub, along with her infectious laugh, contribute to her effective management style. As managing partner, she demonstrates daily how important empathy and listening are. She has the ability to put people at ease and to make tough decisions and build consensus without antagonizing people. Maria has also been an outstanding litigator, successfully handling hundreds of claims.