WeirFoulds’ annual celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) took place virtually this year on March 9, 2021 and we had the honour of welcoming Dr. Eileen de Villa as our guest speaker. The virtual event was organized by the WeirFoulds Women Committee.
Dr. de Villa spoke to us about her career and journey to her current role as Medical Officer of Health, City of Toronto. She discussed the challenges of holding very public positions as a woman and how her experiences have shaped her, both personally and professionally.
When asked what advice she would give to the next generation of women leaders, Dr. de Villa responded, “Know who you are, what it is that you want, and set yourself on a path to get that. For those of us that have been able to fulfil our dreams and find our path, we have a responsibility to assist those that need some help in finding their way. If we all continue to do that as women, as mentors to women and not exclusive to that, to all people…it is incredibility rewarding to give back and help other people flourish in what they are doing.”
Weeks leading up to the virtual celebration, the WeirFoulds Women Committee invited all firm members to submit nominations to recognize the contributions of women at the firm. We were thrilled by the robust and plentiful nominations of the fantastic people and their contributions to our firm including partners, associates, students, law clerks, legal assistants and business services staff.
The committee reviewed the submissions and selected three women who exemplify the #ChoosetoChallenge theme of this year’s IWD celebrations and announced them to the firm leading up to IWD. This award process celebrates the talented women who work tirelessly to deliver excellent client service and who “choose to challenge” and create a welcoming, supportive and inclusive work environment.
This year’s recipients were:
Amita Bhika – Human Resources Manager
Amita is described by her nominator(s) as “a champion of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion” in her day-to-day interactions with members of the firm. She is kind, empathetic, and inspiring.
Ravneet Mann – Marketing Communications Specialist
Ravneet’s nominator(s) say: They are always amazed by her “challenge accepted attitude and the creativity, dedication, and effortless elegance that she brings into every process.”
Kayla Theeuwen – Associate in the Commercial Litigation and Caribbean Practice Groups
Kayla is described by her nominator(s) as “someone who truly cares about issues surrounding equality and respect in the workplace.” Kayla is an active member of EDI and WFW and is passionate about these issues both within and outside of the firm.