Faculty of Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

Five alumnae among Lexpert’s celebrated women in law

(July 13, 2017)

Lexpert 2017 Award Winners
Lexpert Zenith Award winners Neena Gupta, Law’87, Dawn Jetten, Law’80, Jaimie Lickers, Law’07, Brenda MacDonald, Law’92, and Tina Woodside, Law’88. 

Lexpert magazine presented this year’s Zenith Awards to those championing the advancement of women in the legal profession. Among the winners are Neena Gupta, Law’87, Jaimie Lickers, Law’07, Tina Woodside, Law’88, all partners with Gowling WLG; Dawn Jetten, Law’80, a partner with Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP; and Brenda MacDonald, Law’92, Vice-President, Law & General Counsel with Ontario Power Generation Inc. They accepted their awards at a gala dinner in Toronto on June 22.  

Lexpert has published the following citations for the Queen’s Law alumnae:

Neena Gupta, Gowling WLG

Neena Gupta became one of the first female South Asian lawyers in Saskatchewan in 1998. Today Neena is an expert in employment law, a popular speaker on human rights, and an active member of the firm’s student recruitment and mentorship programs. In 2014, Neena helped implement the firm’s national diversity and inclusion council and is currently its co-chair. Neena’s accomplishments at the council, despite its infancy, are extensive and include obtaining firm management ratification of recommendations on recruitment and retention policies, unconscious bias training for every individual in the firm and culture-shifting events such as the firm’s celebration of International Women’s Day. Neena helped found the Visible Minority Women’s Subcommittee at the Ontario Bar Association and served as Chair of the Equity Committee of the Canadian Bar Association.

Dawn Jetten, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Dawn Jetten is a formidable advocate for women lawyers. Dawn’s advocacy started in the early 1990s, when she championed and successfully introduced flexible working arrangements at Blakes. She challenged the status quo in the legal profession, which was then defined by billable hours. She is the co-chair of the financial services regulatory group, where the recruitment and advancement of women has been most prevalent, and her advocacy also extends to support staff at Blakes by recognizing hard work and excellence. Internally, she has pushed for business development and leadership training, retention of women and the importance of mentorship and sponsorship. Dawn is on the advisory board of Stepping Up: Preparing to be a GC, a Blakes program designed to provide women lawyers with the leadership skills required for a general counsel role.

Jaimie Lickers, Gowling WLG

This year, Jaimie Lickers became the first Indigenous female partner in the firm. In 2015, Jaimie appeared at the Supreme Court of Canada on a landmark Aboriginal law case, Daniels v. Canada, and also secured major victories in Federal Court regarding the establishment of the Qalipu First Nation, garnering national media attention in Howse v. Canada and Foster v. Canada. In 2016, Jaimie represented the Chiefs of Ontario at the Supreme Court of Canada on a landmark Aboriginal law case dealing with the obligations of administrative boards in consulting with Aboriginal groups. She also represented a female Aboriginal client on the issue of Indigenous cultures with single-naming traditions. As a result of Jaimie’s advocacy, the Vital Statistics Act was amended, allowing for the birth registration of a child with a single name.

Brenda MacDonald, Ontario Power Generation

Brenda MacDonald has 22 years of demonstrated leadership as strategic legal and business counsel. Brenda is recognized for building and leading high-performing legal teams, with proven leadership experience in a broad scope of matters. She ensures her team has the necessary tools to advance their careers, including facilitating mentor-mentee relationships, leadership courses and executive coaching. She’s a conscientious mentor to her team, assisting them in reaching senior positions. Brenda is an executive member of OPG’s women’s caucus and has continuously challenged the status quo at OPG, positively influencing policies on the advancement of women. She is board secretary of the Association of Corporate Counsel (Ontario chapter), promoting diversity, women’s programming and networking opportunities. Brenda is a recipient of the Bell Canada President’s Award for 2001, 2006 and 2007.

Tina Woodside, Gowling WLG 

Over her 25-plus years at Gowling WLG, Tina Woodside has served in a great number of senior leadership positions. In her current role as the firm’s first female overall managing partner for internal business, Tina is primarily responsible for the firm’s operations, including service delivery, performance and corporate culture. As a member of the executive committee, she is the highest-ranking female in the firm. She has long been an advocate for women’s professional advancement in a traditionally male-dominated profession. More than 15 years ago, she founded the Women’s Initiative Group (WIG), which is committed to helping women lawyers at the firm develop professionally. Today, WIG’s mission continues through Gowling WLG Realizing Opportunities for Women (GROW). Tina is an elected Fellow of the American Bar Association.

Queen’s Law congratulates these graduates on their remarkable accomplishments.