Filter Publications: Project: Publication: By Date
Top 100 Canada's Most Powerful Women
December 07, 2010 | Pamela Jeffery | National Post
"The Women's Executive Network honours 100 women who are 2010's top achievers -- and leaders -- in Canada's private, public and not-for-profit sectors

Why We Care

Twenty-Two Years Ago, I walked into a boardroom and found myself surrounded by men. This was an eye-opening experience. Today, when I walk into a boardroom, there will be one or two other women. We can't assume women have achieved equal opportunity in the workplace. If this were the case, there would be more women represented on leadership teams, in the boardroom and in the CEO office. Women continue to struggle with workplace equality, pay equity, and finding like-minded peers. It was this realization that forced me to recognize the need for an organization dedicated to supporting and connecting executive-minded women in the workplace. And so, the Women's Executive Network (WXN) was born.

While Canadian women have made significant advancements in the workplace since then, gender discrimination is not yet a thing of the past. Women are outnumbering and outperforming men at college and university, yet they are still earning less than their male counterparts and are underrepresented in management positions. In 2007, women with post-secondary education made 63% of what similarly educated men made. A 2010 Canadian study shows that white men are 4.5% more likely to receive promotions at any level of an organization than white women, and 16.1% more likely than minority women with equivalent education and experience. Helping women push past these barriers is the motivation behind WXN's dedicated networking, mentoring and professional development programs.

WXN helps women and their organizations work toward equality. We also recognize those Canadian women who are at the top of their game -women who are outstanding leaders within their organizations and their communities. This is why WXN created Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards.

The Top 100 Awards honour and celebrate 100 exceptional Canadian women who are proven achievers in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. This year marks the eighth anniversary of the Awards, and to date, 521 women across Canada have received this distinction, including 73 women who have been inducted into Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Hall of Fame. The Awards demonstrate the different ways women have harnessed their talents and opportunities to reach new heights in their careers.

The impact Top 100 Winners have on the next generation of women leaders does not begin and end with the recognition of their accomplishments. These women are impacting the lives and careers of others, men and women alike, by sharing their knowledge and offering advice and counsel. To date, 234 Top 100 Winners have acted as mentors in the WXNWisdom II Mentoring Program, helping high-performing women to evaluate their strengths and limitations, enhance their personal brands, and better compete for executive positions. Thanks to their generosity and commitment, 383 women have graduated from this one-year structured program, learning directly from the most powerful women in Canada.

The women recognized by the Top 100 Awards are creating legacies, changing perspectives and altering the face of business. With women like them succeeding in male-dominated industries, heading large corporations and starting their own businesses, the barriers to equality don't seem insurmountable. With the acknowledgment that organizations thrive when they have women on their leadership teams, more men are joining in and supporting the growth and development of women leaders. Our hope at WXN is that by recognizing and celebrating Canada's female leaders, we will demonstrate to women in the Canadian workplace that women belong in boardrooms and executive offices across Canada and around the world.

Marianne McKenna, KPMB Architects Founding Partner, KPMG Professionals Award

Marianne McKenna was an associate of renowned American-Canadian architect Barton Myers when Myers moved his practice to California in 1987. His move left McKenna and three other associates to complete projects in Toronto. The four associates decided to make their partnership permanent and formed Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB). Today, KPMB is one of Canada's leading architecture firms.

McKenna, who comes from a medical family, decided to pursue architecture so she could combine her creativity with her passion for advancing causes. "I wanted to create great projects in the community," she says. She adds that her aim is to work with institutions to transform society and encourage people to get involved in the community. "The buildings are a kind of outreach. People walk by and say, 'Gosh, what's that?' They might think, 'Maybe I should take lessons, maybe I should be a part of that.'"

McKenna has directed a variety of projects for KPMB, ranging from offices and university buildings to government buildings and performing arts centers. Her past projects include a research centre at McGill University in Montreal, the Torys LLP office in Toronto and the Genome Quebec Innovation Centre. She received international acclaim for the Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery, which was a landmark in sustainable design and was selected to represent Canada at the 2002 Green Building Challenge in Norway. Her proudest achievement, she says, has been the transformation of the Royal Conservatory of Music -- a project she has worked on for 18 years."

Read more: