Industry leaders celebrated at 42nd DMAA

On February 4, 2022, members of the Desautels community gathered virtually to celebrate the recipients of the 42nd Desautels Management Achievement Awards. The ceremony was held virtually, bringing our global community together to highlight the significant contributions of five outstanding businesspeople selected by Desautels students.

Founded in 1979 and organized by passionate BCom students, like this year’s co-executive directors Charles Wolfe and Devin Downham, in addition to celebrating the accomplishments of this year’s honourees, the DMAAs provide students with the opportunity to engage with the business community.

Meagan PrinsDean Yolande Chan opened the event with a few inspiring words, before handing it over to DMAA VP Logistics, Lucy Chen, who introduced the first award of the evening, the Desautels Young Inspiration Award, presented to Meagan Prins (BCom’17), Investment Associate at Quona Capital and the Co-Founder and Board Chair of PennyDrops, a student-run non-profit organization that champions financial literacy among Canadian youth.

The Young Inspiration Award rewards young leaders who have proven successful in their field despite their age.

“It is an absolute honour to be here alongside such awe-inspiring company,” the former DMAA executive director said. “The impact that my fellow award winners have had not just in Canada, but globally, is astounding. I’ve never been more excited to wake up every day and invest in and support entrepreneurs and portfolio companies who are fueling financial inclusion globally,” she added.

For a second year in a row, the DMAA gave out two Management Achievement Awards to recipients Maria Eitel (BA’84) and Monika Ille (EMBA’20).

Maria EitelMaria Eitel is the founder of the Nike Foundation, and the founder and Chair Emeritus of Girl Effect. Eitel’s continuous tenacity and persistent work ethic have undoubtedly contributed to helping her build her impressive career; from being a Commissioned Officer at the White House, to a Microsoft Executive, to becoming Nike’s first VP of Corporate Responsibility.

“I have so many great memories of being at McGill,” Eitel said. “It’s a rich and beautiful time and I’m jealous of you all for being in the middle of it. The first thing [I want to share with you] is believe you can have epic impact with your life and your work. Figure out what makes you amazing and write it down, and remind yourself because the journey is long, and the journey has lots of bumps.”

Monika Ille Monika Ille is a member of the Abenaki First Nation of Odanak and has been an instrumental part of the Canadian broadcasting industry from her start at the Société Radio-Canada and the National Film Board (NFB). She currently serves as CEO of Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network (APTN), which she first joined in 2003.

Ille began her acceptance speech with an anecdote about how a summer job as a guide at the Abenaki Museum made her realize the positive impact that she could have by telling Abenaki stories.

“Our stories are important. We have something to say, and we need to speak it out loud,” Ille said. “So, I guess it's no surprise that I became CEO of APTN, the first national Indigenous broadcaster in the world. This network is a true success and accomplishment, and I'm so proud to be leading this organization into the future. […] This [award] is a true recognition of not only my accomplishment, but the recognition of Indigenous peoples’ storytelling.”

To close out the awards portion of the luncheon, two individuals were presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award: Patrick Odier, Senior Managing Partner of the Lombard Odier Group, and Brian J. Porter, President and CEO of Scotiabank.

Patrick OdierPatrick Odier has devoted his time at the Lombard Odier Group to managing strategy and business relationship development with institutional and private companies alike and as a Senior Managing Partner he has shown a focus towards sustainability and future generations.

“I am extremely happy to see that some of the milestones, projects and opportunities that I've met in my life, opportunities that could be found everywhere in the world, are also a good lesson to tell you all those opportunities are always there to be seized, if you can see purpose in them,” Odier said.

Brian J. PorterThe last honouree called to speak was Brian J. Porter. Porter has been President and CEO of Scotiabank since 2013. Over his 41 years of experience with the bank, Porter has brought growth to the financial institution, notably through the creation of the ScotiaRISE initiative. Launched in 2021, ScotiaRISE has a 10-year goal of raising $500 million to foster economic resilience among disadvantaged groups and seeks to create a strong foundation for generations to come.

“This award is a real honor for me for a variety of reasons,” Porter said. “I think I have 90,000 co-recipients of this award in the 90,000 Scotia bankers around the globe who go to the end of the earth to look after our customers. [One piece of advice] I would give you as young commerce grads entering the workforce is to take risks in your career.”

To close out the event, there was a panel discussion on sustainable business practices and the notion of an ethical imperative for businesses to act in a way that is of the greatest benefit to society. For the students in attendance, there was a breakout room networking session following the panel, allowing them to interact with the guests of honour and other alumni present for the event.

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