The Honourable Nancy Dilts’s Questionnaire


Under the new judicial application process introduced by the Minister of Justice on October 20, 2016, any interested and qualified Canadian lawyer or judge may apply for federal judicial appointment by completing a questionnaire. The questionnaires are then used by the Judicial Advisory Committees across Canada to review candidates and submit a list of “highly recommended” and “recommended” candidates for consideration by the Minister of Justice. Candidates are advised that parts of their questionnaire may be made available to the public, with their consent, should they be appointed to the bench. The information is published as it was submitted by the candidates at the time they applied, subject to editing where necessary for privacy reasons.

Below are Parts 5, 6, 7, and 11 of the questionnaire completed by the Honourable Nancy Dilts.

Questionnaire for Judicial Appointment



Please note that in addition to the answers to the questions set out below, you may be assessed as to your level of language proficiency.

Without further training, are you able to read and understand court materials in:

  • English: Yes
  • French: No

Without further training, are you able to discuss legal matters with your colleagues in: 

  • English: Yes
  • French: No

Without further training, are you able to converse with counsel in court in: 

  • English: Yes
  • French: No

Without further training, are you able to understand oral submission in court in: 

  • English: Yes
  • French: No


Name of Institutions, Years Attended, Degree/Diploma and Year Obtained:

  • University of Saskatchewan, Bachelor of Arts (Honors) awarded with High Honours, 1981-1985
  • University of Saskatchewan, Bachelor of Laws, 1985-1988

Continuing Education:

  • Law Society of Alberta adjudicator training including administrative law principles, decision writing, common hearing issues (credibility, allegations of bias), decision making, the role of the adjudicator, 2015-present
  • Queen’s School of Business, Executive Development, 2004

Honours and Awards:

  • 2013: Lexpert Zenith Award as one of Canada’s Leading Women Lawyers
  • 2012: Appointed Queen’s Counsel, Alberta
  • 1988: CHJ Burrows Prize, University of Saskatchewan College of Law, awarded to third year student for leadership
  • 1985: Hannon Scholarship, University of Saskatchewan Faculty of Arts & Science, awarded for academic excellence in an Honours program in English literature
  • 1985: Hannon Scholarship, University of Saskatchewan Faculty of Arts & Science, awarded for academic excellence in an Honours program in English literature
  • 1981: Lieutenant Governor Scholarship, Government of Saskatchewan, awarded for academic standing                                                                   


Please include a chronology of work experience, starting with the most recent and showing employers’ names and dates of employment. For legal work, indicate areas of work or specialization with years and, if applicable, indicate if they have changed.

Legal Work Experience:

  • January 2015-present: Vice President Legal & General Counsel, Ferus Inc. Serve on the Senior Executive Leadership Team. Responsibilities include oversight of five-person legal team, People & Culture team, Corporate Development, Information Services, and Communications & Government Relations.
  • April 2011-December 2014: Vice President Legal & Corporate Secretary, Parallel Energy Trust.
  • March 2007-June 2014: Vice President Legal & Regulatory and Corporate Secretary, MGM Energy Corp.
  • July 2001-March 2007: Vice President Legal & Shared Services, ConocoPhillips Canada (formerly Conoco Canada).
  • May 1995-July 2001: Lawyer, Gulf Canada Resources Ltd. (acquired by Conoco in July 2001).
  • August 1989-May 1995: Litigation associate, Milner Fenerty.
  • July 1988-July 1989: Articling student, Department of Justice (Canada), Saskatoon, SK.

Non-Legal Work Experience:

  • Since 2001, I have held senior executive positions in four organizations. In three of those organizations, my responsibilities included non-legal ones, including executive oversight of the following departments: regulatory, government affairs, communications, corporate security, facilities and office administration, information systems, procurement, and human resources. My role included performance management, goal setting, budget preparation, and general oversight of the delivery of the various services. I have served on the integration teams regarding two significant corporate acquisitions.
  • In addition, as a senior executive, I participate in the development of corporate strategy and business targets, the build out of budgets and the authorization of projects. I contribute to issues regarding organizational design and resourcing, compensation strategies and people management.  

Other Professional Experience:

List all bar associations, legal or judicial-related committees of which you are or have been a member, and give the titles and dates of any offices which you have held in such groups.

2012-present: Elected as a Bencher of the Law Society of Alberta (“LSA”). Currently serving my second three-year term, which will conclude February 2018. As a Bencher with the LSA, I commit upwards of 600 hours per year towards the governance of the legal profession in the public interest. In addition to the adjudicative responsibilities of a Bencher, I have served on the following standing committees of the LSA in the positions noted:

  • Executive Committee (elected)
  • Credentials & Education Committee (appointed) – Chair, Vice Chair, member
  • Governance Committee (appointed) – Vice Chair, member
  • Conduct Committee (appointed) – Vice Chair, member
  • Third Party Funding Committee (appointed) – Chair
  • Budget & Financial Affairs Committee (appointed) – member
  • Audit Committee (appointed) – member
  • Finance (Assurance Fund) (appointed) – member
  • Appeals Committee (appointed) – Chair
  • Practice Review Committee (appointed) – member

In addition to serving on the various standing committees of the LSA, I have served on the following task forces:

  • Strategic Planning Task Force – member and co-presenter
  • Corporate Commercial Advisory Committee – Chair
  • Enhanced Independent Governance Task Force – Chair
  • Committee Structures Task Force – Chair
  • Alternative Business Structures Task Force – member
  • Bencher Candidate Recruitment Task Force – member

Additional positions:

  • 2014-present: Director of Alberta Lawyers Insurance Association / Alberta Lawyers Insurance Exchange (“ALIA/ALIEX”)
  • 2014-present: Member, Executive Committee of the Board of ALIA/ALIEX
  • 2016-present: University of Calgary Law Faculty Council, member (three-year term)

Pro Bono Activities:

  • 2012-present: Bencher, Law Society of Alberta
  • 2014-present: Director, ALIA/ALIEX

Teaching and Continuing Education:

List all legal or judicial educational organizations and activities you have been involved with (e.g. teaching course at a law faculty, bar association, National Judicial Institute, or the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice).

  • 2008 – Canadian Corporate Counsel, Conference Presenter on Arbitration
  • 2013 – Panel Member, Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce Conference on Northern Development
  • 2015 – Canadian Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting, Conference Presenter, Compassion Fatigue
  • 2016 – Legal Education Society of Alberta, Course Presenter, Giving Effective Feedback

Community and Civic Activities:

List all organizations of which you are a member and any offices held with dates.

  • 1991-1993 – Director, Calgary Humane Society
  • 1997 – Co-Chair, CIBC Run for the Cure
  • 2013-2014 – Elboya School Band Parents Association


The Government of Canada seeks to appoint judges with a deep understanding of the judicial role in Canada. In order to provide a more complete basis for evaluation, candidates are asked to offer their insight into broader issues concerning the judiciary and Canada’s legal system. For each of the following questions, please provide answers of between 750 and 1000 words.

1. What would you regard as your most significant contribution to the law and the pursuit of justice in Canada?

I have had the great privilege of serving as an elected bencher with the Law Society of Alberta (“LSA”) since 2012. My service as a bencher has been the most rewarding undertaking of my career and where I feel I have made my greatest contribution to the legal profession and the pursuit of justice. I have been personally tested to understand the role and responsibilities of an adjudicator. I have developed a sophisticated understanding of the issues facing the profession and the judicial system in Alberta. I have gained insight into the role of the regulator in an independently governed profession. Finally, I have been fortunate to participate in discussions with the Chief Justice and Associate Chief Justice of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and the Chief Justice of the Alberta Court of Appeal to hear first-hand the issues facing the judiciary and the justice system in Alberta.  

The workload of a bencher is a demanding combination of committee work, policy research, reporting, governance and adjudication. I have committed upwards of 600 hours per year in my role as a bencher to adjudication and to the governance of the organization and the regulation of the profession, while still working full time and being a mother, spouse, sister, friend and daughter. While hearings and meetings required me to commit professional time, the time required for hearing preparation, decision writing, and policy research was made up entirely of my personal time on evenings and weekends. The sheer volume of material required me to be highly organized, efficient and timely in my work.

As a governor of the profession, I have addressed issues regarding appropriate board composition and, because of my unique experience, have been able to advance the LSA towards a more modern governance framework. I have dedicated significant time to consideration of the LSA board and committee structure and composition. Many of the recommendations I have made have been implemented with strong results.

I have held key positions in developing and explaining the three year strategic plan of the organization. That strategic plan requires an understanding of the external environment, including issues regarding access to justice and the legislative framework in which the LSA is authorized to act.

In my role as adjudicator, I have been challenged to consider matters of fairness, impartiality, procedural efficiency, the importance of sound reasoning and the need to communicate purposefully. Most hearings put benchers in direct contact with the public. Many hearings involve unrepresented parties, including unrepresented members of the public seeking to access the Assurance Fund or who have appealed administrative decisions. All hearings require that we serve the public interest. I have learned the importance of explaining a process to someone unfamiliar with it. I have learned that the reputation of the organization and the profession depends on all parties feeling that they have been heard. I have learned to carefully craft reasons to keep the unnecessary out, and to accurately reflect the decision making process. The hearings themselves can demand extreme patience. They require the adjudicator to display a compassionate but firm hand, and to listen actively and openly. The responsibilities are weighty, particularly knowing that my decision can impact a member’s life and livelihood and will influence the public’s opinion of the profession. For members of the public who have brought complaints to the LSA, my actions and my decision will influence their experience with the legal system. It has been a humbling experience and a responsibility I have taken very seriously.

In participating in conversations at the bencher table, I have gained insight and understanding with which to influence the discussion on issues of access to justice, considering the demands on both the profession and the justice system as a whole. The regulator has and continues to consider its role in opening up pathways to practice to allow for access to affordable delivery of legal service by average Albertans. Through the LSA, I have had the opportunity to engage in discussion regarding the funding and delivery of legal aid in criminal and family matters. I have had the benefit, through conversation, of learning the perspective of the judiciary on the strains of the judicial system as a result of a growing population, increasing complexity in legal matters, and the increasing number of self-represented litigants in the court rooms. I have also had the benefit of hearing the government’s perspective on resource allocation in the justice system. 

In addition to the skills and insights I have gained through my involvement as a bencher with the LSA, I have been greatly enriched by the opportunity to deeply engage with the profession. I have had the privilege of working with colleagues across the province with whom I would not otherwise have worked, including members of the criminal bar, family law lawyers, rural/small center practitioners, all of whom have contributed greatly to my understanding of the demands and responsibilities of the profession. My association with the LSA and the many members of our profession who serve on its Board and committees has increased my pride in the profession and in the role we as lawyers play in protecting the rule of law and in serving the public interest.

2. How has your experience provided you with insight into the variety and diversity of Canadians and their unique perspectives?

A belief in the importance of diversity is founded on the principle that decision making, policy setting and outcomes are strengthened by organizations and communities that value a diversity of background, thought, experiences, interests and perspectives, derived from differences in gender, education, skills, geography, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural background, to name just a few. Diversity requires a number of things. It requires people to be open to different ways of thinking. It requires people to welcome, be comfortable with and to listen to people who have different backgrounds, appearance or experience. It requires the conscious creation of an environment that allows all contributors to speak, share or participate. And it requires deliberate action to ensure people of different backgrounds, thought, education, experience, or otherwise, are given the opportunity to step uniquely on each stone along the path to inclusion and opportunity.

Issues of diversity reside in the smallest and largest gatherings of people: in boards of directors, companies, professions and nations. My experience has allowed me to shape and influence perspectives and to participate in meaningful conversations on issues of inclusion, opportunity and understanding in each of these communities.

As a senior executive and bencher, I have been challenged to find ways to work effectively with diverse groups of people each with different objectives and agendas. My career has allowed me the opportunity to work with a very broad cross section of the population from the economic power of a multinational oil and gas company to remote impoverished aboriginal communities.

When I was a young lawyer, engaged in private practice, diversity was not a daily conversation for me. I assumed I would be evaluated based on merit and would receive whatever opportunities I earned and deserved. Now, in my 50s, having served as a senior executive in the energy industry and as a mother to three teenagers, diversity is a daily conversation. I spend a significant amount of my time during the work day mentoring young professionals, men and women, who are anxious to receive opportunities. And as the only woman on the senior executive team, I am engaged daily in conversations about inclusion and understanding based on age, gender, background and experience.

It is a current conversation in Canada that all decision makers, be it the judiciary or boards of directors, are better served by having a diverse collection of individuals contributing to the decision making process. That same conversation is present within companies as employees examine those who hold executive positions and who are advanced and promoted. I was promoted to Vice President at a large oil and gas company before I was 40. I was one of the youngest on that senior executive team and only one of two women promoted to that position in a company of nearly 1200 employees. None of the executive teams I have sat on since, ranging in size from five to eighteen, have had more than two women seated at the executive or board table.

Similarly, it is a current conversation at the LSA that the profession, and the governors of the profession, must reflect the diversity of the population they serve. In Alberta, students who earned their law degree outside of Canada make up the third largest group of people seeking entry into the profession through articling positions. As an organization, we at the LSA are engaged in a conversation about providing programs to facilitate access by this diverse group of people, to provide them support and information to help them realize opportunities to enter the profession. We are actively engaged in efforts to make volunteer opportunities with the LSA, including the role of bencher, more accessible by lawyers from across the province and from diverse practice environments. We have examined and tried to alleviate the work load of benchers to facilitate contributions from a broader sector of members.

I gained my greatest insight into the importance and value of diversity while working as Vice President Legal and Regulatory at MGM Energy Corp. (“MGM Energy”). MGM Energy’s sole focus was to explore for oil and gas in the Northwest Territories to be transported to market through the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline. My responsibilities included leading the team responsible for gaining the social license and regulatory authority to access the resource. I participated in consultations with the aboriginal communities on whose lands we proposed to operate. I participated in meetings to report on our operations, including the benefits our presence would bring to the local communities through employment and services. My responsibility was to listen and to develop an understanding of their community, their values, needs and challenges. Ultimately, we strove for cooperation and partnership. Our efforts required good relations with all of the communities in which we worked, fortified by integrity and mutual respect. I had the privilege of traveling to Inuvik and Yellowknife to engage in discussions with aboriginal governments, communities and the territorial government to find common interest and to build understanding. Each meeting allowed me to develop a greater understanding of the unique culture of each community and their expectations, living conditions and history. The Arctic region of Canada is a vast and isolated part of Canada, rich in resources and history, but brutally constrained by harsh weather and difficult access. The communities we visited had and continue to have little in the way of a sustainable economy.

I believe my own experience with issues of diversity and my opportunity through my career to engage with people who bring different histories, stories, values and skills, has made me a better leader, better lawyer and better person.

3. Describe the appropriate role of a judge in a constitutional democracy.

I will begin my response by commenting briefly on the fundamental principles underlying the rule of law. The rule of law requires that all people, including government, be subject to and accountable to laws and that those laws be fairly applied and enforced. The role of an independent judiciary is fundamental to the rule of law in a free and democratic society. An independent judiciary can resolve conflicts between individuals and conflicts between the state and individuals. While appointed by the government, a judge is to be non-partisan. The judiciary too must be independent from the legal profession to avoid the appearance of favor or bias.

The role of a judge in a constitutional democracy is to conduct proceedings in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness and natural justice and to act as an impartial decision maker. According to the principles of natural justice, everyone who comes before the court is entitled to a reasonable and adequate opportunity to present his/her case. All parties have the right to have their matter heard by a decision maker who is free from bias or the appearance of bias. The presence of an unbiased decision maker reinforces the public’s confidence in the judicial system.

With the number of litigants representing themselves in Alberta courtrooms continually growing, judges are required to spend greater time ensuring procedural fairness. The role of a judge is to fairly and reasonably receive and evaluate the evidence in legal proceedings and to reach a decision based on the law. Once a judge has reached a decision, he/she is to provide intelligible reasons for that decision that demonstrate transparency and clear justification for the decision reached. Judges must give thorough reasons for their decisions and are expected to provide written reasons in most instances.

Those, I believe, are the fundamental principles that govern the role of a judge in a constitutional democracy. If I look at the question more broadly, the role of a modern judge includes much more, including the responsibility to assist the parties in pre-trial proceedings and case management to refine issues, set reasonable milestones, and clear preliminary matters to drive the timely progress of litigation. The modern judiciary also plays a key role in the resolution of disputes outside the courtroom where possible through the Judicial Dispute Resolution program. The role of the modern judge, therefore, includes mediation skills.

From the perspective of the public, the litigants and their counsel, the role of a judge in our judicial system is wrapped into a consideration of judicial deportment. To maintain public confidence, a judge is to conduct him or herself in such a way that is beyond reproach and as such does not bring the administration of justice into question. A judge must demonstrate discretion and integrity in both his/her role as a member of the judiciary and in his/her personal life.

Looking more to the qualities wanted in a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, in my estimation, the person’s temperament must include patience, balanced with firm control over the tone and conduct of proceedings. A judge must be considerate, respectful and reasonable and should leave litigants feeling heard.  

A judge must maintain objectivity during the course of proceedings, balanced with compassion, empathy and human understanding. A judge is required to be aware of and to guard against his/her own biases or presumptions and to listen openly and fairly to the evidence. A judge is required to possess cultural competency, to be aware of and sensitive to religious, cultural, social and ethnic differences.

A judge must not come to hasty conclusions but must keep an open mind to be able to receive all of the evidence before reaching a conclusion. Moreover, a judge must be unbiased and must avoid the suggestion of bias through inappropriate questioning, or inappropriate conduct in the court room or conduct outside the court room.

A judge must possess sound judgment and must be decisive. A judge must be fair minded, open minded and clear thinking. A judge requires a sharp intellect and must possess the ability to distill a great deal of information into decisions that are clear and accessible to the broader public.

And given the demands on our judiciary, a judge must also be a workhorse. With increasingly complex litigation requiring lengthy court time and often including one or more unrepresented litigants, our judiciary faces a heavy workload. A judge must be highly organized and undoubtedly efficient.

No doubt, too, a judge must be a welcome colleague and mentor within the judiciary and must show flexibility to serve those needs that are most pressing.

4. Who is the audience for decisions rendered by the court(s) to which you are applying?

There is a large and diverse audience for the decisions rendered by a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench.  

If you accept my analogy that the decision of a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench represents the performance in a grand auditorium, seated in the front row are the litigants who are directly impacted by the decisions. They will look first to the outcome and then to the decision making process. They will look to the language of the decision to understand why it was made. They will look for fair treatment of their interests. They will want to see that their position was understood and is accurately reflected. Of course, they will want to have succeeded and will applaud loudly when they are the party that was successful. While the unsuccessful litigant will undoubtedly leave the auditorium disgruntled, a well-reasoned decision that is clear, accessible and thorough and that follows from proceedings that have been fair and unbiased will hopefully permit that litigant to leave with confidence in the judiciary and the justice system.

Seated beside the litigants are their counsel (assuming they have counsel), who bear the responsibility of explaining the findings and implications of the decisions. They will be looking for clarity so that the parties understand their respective positions. They will be looking to evaluate the integrity of the reasons so that they can provide clear advice to their clients regarding their options.

Behind the litigants in the orchestra seating are those interested in the development of jurisprudence, including the profession and the academy. They are seated in the audience watching for trends, wondering how that decision might impact other cases that are being developed or considered, and are considering how that decision can be reconciled with others made before. Members of the profession and the academy will be examining the decision in its finest detail to understand and identify distinctions and to point out flaws or extraordinary elements. They will seek to draw comparisons to other decisions and will reproduce portions of decisions to support their theses.

Seated amongst them are regulators, members of administrative tribunals and other decision makers who will examine the decision for guidance on how they should exercise their own decision making authority.

Filling up the orchestra seating are members of the broader public who look to the judiciary to maintain the rule of law. Those members of the public may be less concerned about the immediate impact of the decision and the details of the reasoning. They are, however, concerned with the broader implications of the decision and how the decision reinforces their view and understanding of the law, social order and the role of the courts. They will care deeply whether the decision feels fair, and whether people who came before the courts experienced fairness.

Seated in the first balcony are the members of the Court of Queen’s Bench and above them in the upper balconies, are the Courts of Appeal, who observe the decision from a different perspective and with a different set of responsibilities. The appellate audience will look to the decisions to ensure they are soundly reasoned and are written in such a way that the judge’s reasoning is evident and traceable. They are concerned that the decision fall within the reasonable bounds of the law. 

The decisions rendered by the court will most likely be written. With judges required to give thorough and intelligible reasons for their decisions, judges feel increasingly to reserve decisions to allow time for research and careful drafting. By experience, I know that reasons are difficult to write, particularly if time has passed between when the proceedings were heard and when reasons are composed. Moreover, as matters that come before the courts are increasingly complex with numerous witnesses and expert witnesses, decisions have become longer and require more detailed analysis.

Regardless of the audience, a judge’s decision must be well-reasoned. Because of the breadth of the audience, it must be accessible. It must present the findings in a clear, cogent manner that is understandable by its audiences. It should provide a clear roadmap for the decisions reached so that the judge’s analysis is clear and the conclusions follow. The Supreme Court of Canada in Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9 indicated that reasons are to demonstrate “justification, transparency and intelligibility.” While it is accepted that reasons do not have to be perfect, they will need to withstand the scrutiny of many and should be written in such a way that preserves the reputation of the judicial system.

5. Please describe the personal qualities, professional skills and abilities, and life experience that you believe will equip you for the role of a judge.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself. I am an articulate, persuasive and decisive person who has held senior executive positions in the energy industry for many years. I have sound judgment and have been a trusted advisor to senior executive teams and Boards of Directors. My background is likely unique to that of other applicants. However, I believe I have the necessary skills, aptitude, work ethic, temperament and capacity to succeed as a member of the judiciary.

I am personable, considerate and thoughtful. I always try to show patience and compassion for others. I am smart and am an avid reader, but am not bookish. I am practical but not at the expense of principles. I am fun and funny, well liked and well respected. I am diplomatic, empathetic, inclusive, clear and effective. I speak when I feel I have something of value to contribute and listen to the contributions of others. I have strong analytical skills to match my interpersonal skills. I am insightful and creative.

My family is my greatest accomplishment. I am mother to two children: my daughter, who is enrolled in studies at the University of Toronto; and my son, a high-school student in Calgary. I am step-mother to my step-daughter, who attends the University of Victoria. I have been married to my husband for now 10 years. When we first met, I was separated and a single parent to my children, who were then 4 and 6; my husband was widowed and was a single dad to his daughter, who was then 7. The road to raising a blended family was a challenging one, but we have raised three remarkable and accomplished teenagers.

I have experienced the personal devastation of divorce and the sad consequences of raising children in that environment. I have also experienced the reward of building a loving and supportive home. I am married to a kind, humble, generous and fun man who is the foil to my intensity.

While being a mom, I have managed a demanding career and have volunteered significant hours to the profession. It will come as no surprise that I am highly organized, extremely efficient and a hard worker.

My career has been defining. I have experienced remarkable professional successes in a number of circumstances. I have been an executive leader in a company of 1200 employees with over 100 people under my leadership; and I have been an executive leader in a company of 18 employees with three people reporting to me. Each of the roles I have held permitted me to expand my skill set and to consider how I can best contribute.

I entered into the profession expecting to spend my career as a litigation lawyer. As my career progressed, I gained greater exposure to the business of an energy company. In 2001, when Conoco acquired Gulf, I was elevated to Vice President Legal. Within the law department, I became the leader of highly capable lawyers who were more senior to me in practice and had longer service at the company. I was promoted because of my leadership abilities, my legal skill and my character. I believe my open nature and absence of ego allowed me to earn the position of leader and not just the title.

I had extraordinary professional opportunities while at ConocoCanada (which became ConocoPhillips Canada), including the integration of another company of like size into the organization. In 2007, I made the courageous decisions to leave my role to work for a publicly traded entity and to gain experience in public markets and board governance. In the years since, I have worked for both public and private entities all with sophisticated Boards of Directors and shareholders. I have held trusted roles and know that I am viewed as a strong leader and a person of integrity.

I was elected a bencher of the Law Society of Alberta in 2012 and again in 2015. The rewards of the role are equal to the work load. I believe I have succeeded as a respected adjudicator and Board member.

Thank you for considering my application for judicial appointment.

6. Given the goal of ensuring that Canadians are able to look at the justices appointed to the bench and see their faces and life experience reflected there, you may, if you choose, provide information about yourself that you feel would assist in this objective.

As mentioned elsewhere, I am a working mother to three children in a blended family. My husband and I brought our families together 10 years ago when we married and 12 years ago when we met. I was divorced; my husband was widowed. Our definition of family, and our children’s definition of family, had to be fluid, accepting and inclusive.

I am a professional woman who has held senior roles in a largely male-dominated industry. My abilities and character are the reasons for my success.

I have learned that life requires you to remain humble. 

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