Indira Samarasekera On Inspiring Women

The University of Alberta President on three women with Edmonton ties whom she regards as leaders and inspirations.

To mark the centenary of International Women’s Day on March 8, the university’s first woman president identified three women with Edmonton ties whom she regards as leaders, visionaries and, above all, inspirations.

Anne McLellan, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada

“During her time in Parliament, both as the only Liberal member representing Alberta and as the deputy prime minister, Anne was extraordinary in her capacity as a leader. It was her assertiveness, specifically in the oil and gas sector, that ensured that the interests of Albertans were well-represented. The National Institute of Nanotechnology is a direct result of her leadership. Anne was very supportive of the institute and worked to ensure that the Government of Canada placed the institute in Alberta.”

Shirley McClellan, Former Deputy Premier and Alberta Minister of Finance

“Shirley was Ralph Klein’s deputy premier when I first came to Edmonton. She was also minister of finance and an extraordinary visionary. At a time when Alberta had a significant surplus, she saw the importance of investing in infrastructure, post-secondary education and the health sector – industries that would prove to advance and benefit the province – in order to position Alberta for prosperity in the long term. I personally do not feel that Shirley has received the type of recognition she deserves for what she was able to do.”

Sheila Weatherill, Former CEO of Capital Health

“I had the opportunity to work very closely with Sheila, who at the time was CEO of the then-existing Capital Health Authority. What a dynamo! Sheila was single-handedly determined to position Alberta as the centre for excellence in health care and delivery, which is a goal she achieved in 2003 when Maclean’s rated Capital Health the number-one health region in Canada. She understood the enormous value that universities and discovery play in attracting and recruiting, and she worked to ensure that top specialists from around Canada came to Edmonton. Her efforts led to the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and the Edmonton Clinic, both of which are major legacies for our province.”

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