Job title: CEO and Chief Appeals Commissioner, Appeals Commission for Alberta Workers’ Compensation
Why she’s a 2019 Top 40 Under 40: She helps people navigate an overwhelming legal process.
Dale Wispinski never planned on being a lawyer, not until her post-University of Calgary administrative job required her to attend public hearings, where she saw lawyers in action and learned there’s more to the practice than what’s portrayed on TV.
She applied to the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law, graduated in 2007, and in 2012 started as in-house counsel for the Appeals Commission for Alberta Workers’ Compensation, which hears employer and workers appeals from the decisions made by the WCB. Efficiency is key to an effective appeals commission, and Alberta’s has an excellent track record, but when Wispinski became CEO late in 2018 (the first female to do so, and the youngest), she wanted “to put the spotlight on our clients, who are looking for a fair, transparent and accessible appeals process.”
Accessible covers both the physical — like making the office wheelchair-friendly — and the procedural: “Is there someone who will talk you through the process as you prepare for your hearing? Are our letters and published materials written in plain language?” It’s all to ensure that the process, which can be intimidating, doesn’t overwhelm.
She also puts a spotlight on women like her with The Confidence Retreat, a four-day event she co-founded that celebrates and supports ambitious women, particularly those who are mid-career.
“The most phenomenal thing about the retreat is the way our alumni have come together as a powerful network to support each other as we work to advance our careers and other community initiatives.”