This past week president Vianne Timmons was recognized for her commitment to community, vision and leadership by being named - for the second consecutive year - one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network (WXN).
It's an honour she credits her mentors for-in both her personal and professional life.
"Opportunities and mentors are critical to help women develop their careers, and that has been the case for me," says Timmons. "Throughout my life, my parents instilled in me the belief that my five siblings and I could do whatever we wanted."
Timmons' family greatly values education. She grew up in a small mining community in Labrador where her parents made a lot of sacrifices to ensure she and her siblings could go to university and pursue degrees. Her mother led by example, earning an accounting degree by correspondence.
Years later, with a family of her own, Timmons had new reasons to strive for excellence.
"I have four children and two grandchildren, and people have often asked me: "Isn't it difficult to be a university president while raising a family?" It certainly does pose some challenges, my youngest daughter is still a teenager, for example! But, raising a family while working is incredibly rewarding. I have a daily reminder of why I am so committed to my work as president of the University of Regina - so that children like mine have the opportunity to get the best education possible, regardless of their gender, background or financial situation."
As she developed her career Timmons also benefited from professional mentors. When she was hired in the Faculty of Education at the University of Prince Edward Island, President Betsy Epperly's passion for education and commitment to helping women succeed in both academic and administrative leadership roles was an inspiration.
"Her advice and her example have helped me get where I am today, and when faced with a difficult decision, I often think to myself: "What would Betsy do?" We all need someone like Betsy at every stage of our lives, regardless of our occupation, family situation, age, or even gender."
To continue in that spirit of supporting women the University will host a conference on March 11, 2010 that will not only bring together internationally renowned speakers but foster mentorship.
"Inspiring Leadership: Realize the Leader in You!" is a one-day leadership development conference, hosted as part of the week-long celebrations surrounding International Women's Day. It features guest speakers: Sharon Macleod, Dove brand building director for Unilever Canada; Betsy Myers, senior advisor for Barack Obama's presidential campaign; and Dr. Marla Shapiro, a well-known media personality and medical commentator.
"Mentorship by leaders has made a tremendous difference in my life and career," says Timmons. "I'm proud that the University of Regina's Inspiring Leadership forum will provide that same opportunity for self-development to so many other women."
The Top 100 Award is an initiative of the Women's Executive Network (WXN) and is co-presented by the Richard Ivey School of Business and Scotiabank. The annual listing of the Top 100 most powerful women in Canada honours the accomplishments of women in eight categories and all fields of endeavour. Winners are selected by an independent advisory board under the leadership of the WXN.
More information about WXN and the 2009 Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award can be found at http://www.wxnetwork.com/
For more information about President Timmons, go to http://www.uregina.ca/presoff/president/index.shtml