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2024 Joy MacPhail Women’s Leadership Showcase highlights importance of leading during challenging times

University News | 02.14.24

Adler University is hosting its second annual Joy MacPhail Women’s Leadership Showcase on March 6 to support and promote the next generation of women leaders.

Aptly themed “Leading in Challenging Times,” the annual gathering of inspiring leaders, students of the Joy MacPhail Master of Public Policy program, and the Vancouver community seeks to connect and celebrate the shared purpose of advancing social justice, challenging public policy, and enhancing the well-being of communities.

Hosted by the Adler University Vancouver Foundation, the event will be held from 9-11 a.m. PST at the Terminal City Club. The event will include a keynote address by Sen. Marilou McPhedran, a panel discussion of influential leaders, and remarks from Joy MacPhail, who served as the first Vancouver-based chair of the Adler University Board of Trustees from 2018-22. Registration is open through March 1.

“In the face of adversity, women and female-identified leaders are beacons of resilience and innovation, transforming challenging times into periods of growth and opportunity,” Sandra Song, Ph.D., department chair of the Public Policy and Administration Programs at Adler University.

“This year’s theme underscores the pivotal role of women and female-identified at the helm, steering through complexities with grace and determination, proving that leadership is not just about power, but empowering others,” Dr. Song added.

Group photo from the Women's Leadership Showcase

Attendees pose for a group photo during the inaugural Joy MacPhail Women’s Leadership Showcase in 2023.

Sen. McPhedran, who was appointed to the Canadian Senate in 2016, is a lifelong advocate for equality and diversity, and has had a profound impact on Canadian law and advocacy. In recognition of her co-leadership in the successful campaign for stronger gender equality protections in the Canadian constitution, she was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1985. She also co-founded influential Canadian organizations, including the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, and the Gerstein Crisis Centre, which assists with discharged psychiatric patients who are homeless.

A panel discussion will follow Sen. McPhedran’s keynote address. Panelists include Queenie Choo, CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S., one of the largest nonprofit social service organizations in Canada; Ninu Kang, executive director of Ending Violence Association, which has facilitated training in anti-violence and anti-racism across North America and the globe; Vancouver City Councilor Sarah Kirby-Yung; Jennie Thomas, who serves as manager of social development for the Cowichan Tribes; and Varaido Martha Chokuwenga, MPPA student.

In addition, one outstanding female-identifying student in the Joy MacPhail Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) will be awarded the MPPA Leadership Scholarship will be awarded the $5,000 MPPA Leadership Scholarship. The award’s goal is to help students build their leadership skills through service work.

The showcase and scholarship are first-of-its-kind initiatives following the creation of the Joy MacPhail Fund in 2023, which is designed to support students of the MPPA. The master’s program was renamed in 2022 in honor of MacPhail for her years of dedication to the University as a board member and her contributions to community health and wellness as a longtime member of the British Columbia New Democratic Party.

“Showcase attendees should leave inspired by the unwavering courage and creativity women and female-identified leaders exhibit, carrying with them the conviction that every obstacle is a steppingstone to building a stronger, more inclusive future,” Dr. Song said.

RSVPs are required by March 1 to attend the event whether virtually or in person at the Terminal City Club.

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