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Nine alumnae among Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women

Queen’s graduates honoured for being exceptional leaders and making a difference in fields such as finance, insurance, military, and manufacturing


A total of nine Queen's alumnae are among Canada's 100 Most Powerful Women, compiled by Women's Executive Network. On the list for 2019 are, top, from left: Deborah Shannon Trudeau; Frances Allen; Frances Donald; and Monika Federau. Bottom, from left: Jessica Lui; Lisette McDonald; Patricia McLeod; Patrice Walch-Watson; and Annesley Wallace.

One of Canada’s youngest chief economists and an executive who helps thousands of women around the world develop into leaders are among nine Queen’s alumnae on this year’s list of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

The list, compiled by Women’s Executive Network, features Frances Allen (Artsci’87), Frances Donald (Artsci’08), Monika Federau (MBA’98), Jessica Lui (Com’14), Lisette McDonald, (NSc’78), Patricia McLeod (MBA’11), Deborah Shannon Trudeau (Artsci’76), Patrice Walch-Watson (Law’91), and Annesley Wallace (Sc’03, MSc’05).

Deborah Shannon Trudeau has made a difference in the advancement of women in the workplace by inspiring female executives. Trudeau is the global president of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), an organization that brings together more than 7,000 members across dozens of countries to advance women’s leadership and equality. She is also an experienced innovator and entrepreneur. In addition to her IWF duties, she is a senior vice president at Trudeau Corporation, an international kitchen and houseware company with customers in more than 70 countries.

At 33 years old, Frances Donald is one of Canada’s youngest chief economists. At Manulife, she is praised for approaching economic and financial market forecasts from a social science perspective by considering the reasons behind people’s financial decisions. This perspective has guided her on many successful trading decisions. She is also an advocate for affordable childcare to ensure women have equal opportunities to participate in the workforce.

The other Queen’s alumnae to make the top 100 list are senior executives and proven leaders both in the corporate world and the community:

  • Maj.-Gen. Frances Allen is a communications and cyber operations expert with 35 years of experience in the Canadian Armed Forces. The responsibilities of the Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in the Department of National Defence include commanding and leading the development of CAF’s cyber capabilities at all levels.
  • Monika Federau is the chief strategy officer for Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer, Intact Financial Corporation, and leads the development of the company’s corporate strategy. She also gives back to her community by serving on several boards, including UNICEF Canada.
  • Jessica Lui is a champion for entrepreneurship and youth education. She is the founder of the Global Professionals Practicum, which helps develop young adults pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers in underserved communities. She served as a United Nations youth ambassador and contributed to the development of the 2030 Sustainability Development Goals.
  • Lisette McDonald is a successful entrepreneur who launched Southmedic Incorporated, which manufactures and distributes medical devices. McDonald grew the company through innovation and building a supportive corporate culture for workers. Today, Southmedic has sales in more than 80 countries.    
  • Patricia McLeod is a lawyer with extensive legal and governance experience in many areas, including corporate/commercial, compliance, and securities law. She is chair of the board of directors of the Calgary Co-op, one of North America’s largest co-operatives.
  • Patrice Walch-Watson is the senior managing director at the CPPIB (Canada Pension Plan Investment Board) who leads the company’s global legal, compliance, and corporate secretarial functions. She is also a champion of cultivating a psychologically healthy and safe workplace within CPPIB.
  • Annesley Wallace is a senior vice president at OMERS, Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans, with a highly successful track record. She leads a team responsible for communicating with 500,000 pension plan members.

Many Queen’s alumnae have appeared on Canada’s 100 Most Power Women’s lists in previous years. Former recipients include CBC TV Dragons’ Den star Michele Romanow (Sc’07, MBA’08), National Football League Chief Operating Officer Mary Ann Turcke, (Sc’88, MBA’97), and Leslie O’Donoghue (Law’88), who recently received the Johnson Award from the Calgary Branch of the Queen’s University Alumni Association.

This article was first published on the Queen's Alumni website.