By: Kirk Jessome
Tuesday night marked the eighth instalment of the TD Bank Group Women in Leadership Spotlight Dinner. Hosted by the women’s basketball and volleyball teams, guests enjoyed hearing from many of the student-athletes, and guest speaker, former women’s basketball player Dr. Jillian Macdonald.
Emcee’s Deidre Alexander (basketball) and Emma Ciprick (volleyball) opened the evening with words of welcome and introduced Tim Maloney, Executive Director, Athletics and Recreation. Maloney highlighted the success and accolades of both teams and commented on how being involved in sport, particularly at the varsity level has played an important role in the lives of women in senior leadership positions.
“When you look at women in the ‘C’ suite position, meaning CEO, CFO, etc., 90% played sports, and 50% of them played at a college level,” Maloney commented.
Vice-Provost, Student Affairs, Dr. Arig al Shaibah, brought words of welcome on behalf of Dalhousie and touched on the source of leadership saying “leadership doesn't come from the position that you are in. It stems from inspiration, empathy, and humility; all of which are implemented in every contest of sport.”
Sally Rollings, Relationship Manager, Affinity Market Group, TD Insurance, spoke on behalf of presenting sponsor TD Bank Group. She highlighted how well-aligned TD’s commitment to developing leaders within the community and the Women in Leadership dinner are, concluding “We are very proud to be a part of such a wonderful event.”
After dinner, guests enjoyed a musical performance by basketballer Sarah Preston-Thomas and Catherine Callaghan, from the women’s volleyball team before the evening’s guest of honour took to the stage.
Dr. Jillian Macdonald, a four-year member of the women’s basketball team from 1997 to 2001, earned both her undergraduate and medical degrees at Dalhousie before moving to Ottawa to become the Co-Director of the Ottawa Clinic, and lead a residency program for the University of Ottawa.
Dr. Macdonald spoke to how her experience as a Tigers student-athlete helped prepare her to be a leader of her five-person clinic team, emphasizing the importance of teamwork. “Working as a team was a familiar environment for me, so I use those skills every day,” she said. “Being at Dalhousie shaped the person that I am today outside of my family. I still consider Dalhousie my University at heart.”
To the Tigers teams facing challenges this season, Macdonald offered encouraging words. “It’s on the days where you face challenges that you find the value that your team really has.”
In her closing remarks, Macdonald provided some advice for Tigers in the future.
“You can’t be good at everything, and that is exactly why teams exist; so that each role and job is filled. Whatever you choose to do, go after it. Know your role, and stay true to who you are.”
After addressing the crowd, Macdonald sat down with basketball and volleyball players Robertha Charles and Victoria Haworth for an informal Q&A session. Both players posed questions to Macdonald before she asked them a few of her own.
“I am continuously amazed by the level of maturity and leadership of our current and former Tigers at this event,” said women’s basketball head coach Anna Stammberger. “I am so grateful to TD Bank Group for their support and for all of our guests who continue to make this such an amazing event.”