Informed Opinions is honoured to count among our Honorary Patrons a number of distinguished Canadian leaders who have used their own public profile and informed opinions to give voice to critical concerns affecting us all. These inspirational women have demonstrated the benefits that flow when experts share their knowledge with the broader community; we are grateful for the contribution they continue to make as “fully clothed female role models” and appreciate their endorsement of our aims.
Sally Armstrong is an Amnesty International award winner, a member of the Order of Canada, journalist, teacher, author and human rights activist. She was appointed to the International Women’s Commission at the UN in 2010.
While working as the editor-in-chief of Homemaker’s Magazine from 1988-1999 and then as editor-at-large for Chatelaine from 1999-2004 she has covered stories about women and girls in zones of conflict all over the world. Ms. Armstrong holds an impressive list of honours and awards for her humanitarian and women’s rights achievements, and has been awarded six honorary degrees. Most recently, Armstrong became the fourth recipient of the 2010 Calgary Peace Prize. Her published literary works include: Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan, 2002; The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor, 2007; and Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots: the Uncertain Fate of Afghanistan’s Women, 2008.
The Right Honourable Kim Campbell P.C.; C.C.; O.B.C; Q.C. was the nineteenth and first female Prime Minister of Canada. As a Member of Parliament, she held the positions of Minister of State for Indian Affairs, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and Minister of National Defence and Veterans’ Affairs. She has served as Canadian Consul General in Los Angeles, taught at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Chaired the Council of Women World Leaders as well as served as President of the International Women’s Forum and Secretary General of the Club of Madrid.
Today, Ms. Campbell serves as the founding principal of the new Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta, and chairs the steering committee for the World Movement for Democracy. She also serves on the boards and advisory committees of several international organizations and corporations as well as consulting in the field of leadership and governance. Learn more about Kim Campbell at KimCampbell.com and follow her on Twitter @AKimCampbell.
Denise Donlon has been a leader in the Canadian cultural landscape for over 30 years as GM of CBC English Radio, President of Sony Music Canada, and various executive and on air positions at ChumTelevision, The NewMusic and MuchMusic. A Member of the Order of Canada, Denise devotes her volunteer efforts to positively affect environmental and social justice issues through organizations such as Waterkeeper, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, Soulpepper Theatre, MusiCounts and WarChild Canada. Her book: Fearless As Possible (under the circumstances) debuted in November 2016 to extraordinary reviews, and was shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writers’ Prize.
Shirley Greenberg has been a trail-blazer in the Canadian women’s movement for most of her adult life. She helped found the Ottawa Women’s Centre, from which subsequently developed the Rape Crisis Centre, the Women’s Career Counseling Centre and Interval House, a refuge for battered women. She entered the University of Ottawa’s law school in the 1970s, while still busy raising three children. After obtaining her law degree, Greenberg went on to create the first all-female law practice in Ottawa. Many of the most successful women lawyers in Ontario today began their careers in the law office of Shirley Greenberg. Throughout her career, she fought systemic discrimination against women in laws and legal documents. Greenberg has since retired from the practice of the law, but her commitment to improving the lives of women continues.
The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D. served as the 27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada from 2005 to 2010, in which capacity she made inclusive dialogue a key element of her mandate and lead forty missions and State visits abroad. From 2010-2014, she acted as UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti as well as served as Chancellor of the University of Ottawa until 2015. Currently, she is the Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie while overseeing the Michaëlle Jean Foundation with her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, empowering underserved Canadian youth to use the arts for change.
Fluent in five languages, Ms. Jean has graduate degrees from universities in Canada and Italy, and has been recognized with honorary doctorates from 11 post-secondary institutions. Her career highlights include contributing to the establishment of a network of emergency shelters for battered women throughout Quebec and elsewhere in Canada, and receiving prestigious investigative reporting awards while a journalist and anchor at Radio-Canada and CBC Newsworld. Named to the Ordre des Chevaliers de La Pléiade, by the Assemblée internationale des parlementaires de langue française, her accomplishments in communications and on behalf of women and other vulnerable populations have also earned her recognition from the City of Montréal, the Province of Quebec, UNIFEM, and the National Quality Institute.
Retired Senator Nancy Ruth was born in Toronto, and holds a B.A. in Political Science, and an M.A. in Applied Behavioral Sciences, as well as a diploma in Theology. Throughout her life, she has been active in various religious, professional, political, educational and non-profit organizations in Canada, Britain and the United States of America. She is an advocate of social change for women and girls in Canada and has co-founded many organizations to this end (including the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Toronto’s The Linden School, section15.ca, the Women’s Future Fund and the Charter of Rights Coalition). Senator Nancy Ruth’s passion lies within a myriad of issues concerning women’s rights, poverty, politics and economics.
Bonnie Sherr-Klein directed award-winning documentary films in the National Film Board’s innovative Challenge for Change Programme and the historic feminist Studio D, including the provocative and galvanizing Not a Love Story: A Film about Pornography. After surviving a brainstem stroke, she wrote Slow Dance – A Story of Stroke, Love and Disability, and co-founded KickstART Festivals of Disability Arts and Culture. Her most recent film, Shameless: The ART of Disability features funny and intimate portraits of five surprising artist/activists with diverse abilities.
Constance L. Sugiyama, is the Vice Chair of Canada Health Infoway and was the first woman Chair of the world renowned Hospital for Sick Children. Recognized over her 35 year career on Bay Street as a trailblazer and a leading Canadian corporate and mergers and acquisitions lawyer, Ms Sugiyama has held leadership positions in several major law firms, most recently as Deputy Chair and partner of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP. She has also been recognized for professional excellence and leadership by Women in Capital Markets, the International Alliance for Women and the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. Ms Sugiyama is an experienced board counselor and director, having served on many public and private sector boards and advisory committees, including, among others: the Hospital for Sick Children, Canada Health Infoway, The Toronto International Film Festival Group, SickKids Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, The Nikko Securities Co. Canada, Ltd., the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation and Women in Capital Markets, of which she was a founding director and currently serves on its Advisory Council. Ms Sugiyama has recently joined Ryerson University as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Ryerson Law Research Centre.
Carole Taylor, O.C. is the incoming Chancellor of Victoria University in Toronto, and a special advisor to the BC Premier. From 2011 to 2014, she served as Chancellor of Simon Fraser University, and prior to that, as the Chair of the Federal Finance Minister’s Economic Advisory Council for four years. Elected in 2005 as the provincial MLA for the riding of Vancouver-Langara, she served as the BC Minister of Finance. In that capacity, she introduced BC’s successful, revenue-neutral carbon tax and secured labour peace for the province leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. During her extensive career, she has also been a journalist for both CTV and CBC, an alderman for Vancouver City Council, Chair of the Vancouver Port Authority and the Vancouver Board of Trade, and Chair of CBC/Radio-Canada. Ms. Taylor was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2001. She also served as Chair of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and has been Director of TD, HSBC, BC’s Children’s Hospital, CP Rail, Bell Canada Inc. and BCE Inc. Ms. Taylor has a BA in English from the University of Toronto and honorary degrees from Simon Fraser University, British Columbia Open University, and BCIT.