Advisory Committee Members
Debbie Dankoff, Director of Development for the Faculty of Arts at McGill University
Debbie Dankoff is the Director of Development for the Faculty of Arts at McGill University. Debbie has over 20 years of experience working in philanthropy. A graduate of Concordia University she holds a designation as a Certified Fundraising Executive and recently became licensed as a Personal and Professional Life Coach. She has been actively involved in the Montreal Literary Community, leading a number of book clubs and often volunteers her time consulting with local and nation NFP organizations on outreach and philanthropic development.
Vice-President, Gift Planning - The Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation
A graduate of McGill Law (B.C.L and LL.B) and Political Science, Elizabeth is the Vice-President, Gift Planning of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director of the McCord Museum Foundation, Director of Development of McGill’s Faculty of Arts and also practiced civil and commercial litigation. She sits on the Board of the Girls Action Foundation and has been involved on the Boards of the Women’s Y Foundation and the Ville-Marie Oncology Foundation. She is a member of the Scarlet Key Honour Society and is often asked to speak on philanthropy and business development.
Christopher Manfredi, Committee chair and Dean, Faculty of Arts, McGill University
Christopher Manfredi is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at McGill University. He is the author or co-author of four books and more than 30 refereed articles and book chapters. His book Feminist Activism in the Supreme Court received the Canadian Law and Society Association’s Annual book Prize and was shortlisted for the Donner Book Prize. He is a member of the governing council of SSHRC, and in 2010 served on the special committee to advise the Prime Minister on the appointment of a Governor General.
The Honourable Michael A. Meighen, Counsel to the law firm Norton Rose
A graduate of McGill University and Université Laval, he was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1990. In his private career, Senator Meighen practiced litigation and commercial law in Montreal and Toronto. He is Counsel to the law firm Ogilvy Renault (now Norton Rose), and was Legal Counsel to the Deschênes Commission on War Criminals. He is Chairman of Cundill Funds (Vancouver) and sits on the McGill Board of Governors.
William Straw, Director, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and Professor, Department of Art History and Communication Studies
Will Straw is the Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and professor of Communications in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. He is currently director of a research project, funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec -Société et culture, on ‘Media and Urban Life in Montreal.’ Dr. Straw has a longstanding interest in crime and is the author of Cyanide and Sin: Visualizing Crime in 50s America, and co-editor of the volume Aprehendiendo al delincuente: Crimen y medios en América del norte. Dr. Straw has been a music correspondent for Prime Time (CBC Radio), popular culture correspondent for the Women's Television Network, and a cultural commentator for Newswatch (CBC Television, Montreal). He comments regularly on media and cultural issues for a variety of media.
Christopher Sweeney, CEO and Co-Founder, ZSA Legal Recruitment
Christopher established ZSA (Zarak, Sweeney & Associates) Legal Recruitment, Canada’s largest national legal recruitment firm, in 1997. ZSA also controls ZSA-X, a boutique financial services recruitment firm; LexLocom, a contract legal services firm; and ZSA Accounting. In addition to being CEO of ZSA, Christopher also exclusively recruits Partners and General Counsel. Born in Montreal, Christopher attained a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from McGill University and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 1990. Christopher moved to London, England where he secured a Graduate Business Degree from the London School of Economics (LSE) and a Masters in British Imperial History from London University. Christopher practised law in London before becoming a legal recruiter with QD (Quarry Dougall), then the pre-eminent global legal recruitment firm based in London. Christopher founded both the Canadian (CGCA) and Quebec General Counsel Awards (QGCA) to bring deserved attention to the senior in-house legal community. Christopher has written and spoken widely on the topic of legal recruitment, firm development and career strategy. In 2010, Christopher was awarded the Minister of Veteran’s Affairs Commendation for his efforts in raising awareness for the accomplishments of Canada’s Veterans and in 2012 Christopher was presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Christopher is also a Board Member of the Shakespeare Globe Company of Canada, on the Advisory Committee of the Cundill Prize for History at McGill University, and is an active member of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) and the Albany Club.
Ryerson Symons, Partner, New York law firm Simpson Thacher
Ryerson Symons is a Partner in the Firm's New York Office. His practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions and other business combination transactions as well as corporate finance transactions. Mr. Symons has frequently represented many of the world's leading private equity firms, including Apax Partners, The Blackstone Group, KKR, Permira and Providence Equity Partners. Mr. Symons joined Simpson Thacher in 1992 and was based in the Firm's London office from 1994-1996. In 1997, he spent a year on secondment with Gide Loyrette Nouel in Paris before returning to the Firm's New York office where he became partner in 2001. Mr. Symons received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from McGill University in 1988, a Bachelor of Arts in Jurisprudence from Oxford University in 1990 and a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University in 1992.
Mr. Kenneth Whyte, President, Rogers Publishing
Ken Whyte is President of Rogers Publishing Limited. He is former Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Maclean's, as well as Executive Publisher of Chatelaine, Canadian Business, and other magazines. Mr. Whyte has more than 20 years's experience as a journalist. His previous positions include Editor-in-Chief of Saturday Night magazine and Founding Editor of the National Post.