April 14, 2023

Stepping up when leadership is needed – Dawn Farrell named 2023 Inspiring Business Leader

Award from Haskayne School of Business and Calgary Chamber of Commerce celebrates Farrell’s commitment to inspiring the future
Dawn Farrell

She holds the title of one of the longest-serving female CEOs in Alberta’s energy sector. She is the first woman to lead a pipeline company in Canada. She is a leader who oversees complex projects to completion while balancing regulatory processes and relationship-building with stakeholders. Dawn Farrell, BComm’83, MA’85, president and CEO of Trans Mountain Corporation, embodies the resilience and stamina required of great leaders and it is an honour to recognize her as the 2023 Inspiring Business Leader.

The Inspiring Business Leader Award began its journey as the Distinguished Business Leader Award in 1993 and has recognized 30 outstanding leaders in the Calgary community. The new name represents a fresh evolution for Haskayne and the Calgary Chamber as we seek to recognize ethical leadership in Calgary, honour the leaders who are making a profound change in society, and recognize the inspiring leaders we need more than ever.

“We are honoured to present this award to Dawn — a proud Haskayne alumna — as she represents the best of us,” says Haskayne Dean Jim Dewald. “What really impressed the selection committee was that when she could have enjoyed a well-deserved retirement, instead she agreed to take on what might be the most challenging job in the country because of her belief in the sector and because the country needed her leadership. That is inspiring!”

Farrell will be recognized on June 22 at a gala co-presented by the Haskayne School of Business and the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, with support from gala partner Calgary Foundation. This is the first time the event will be hosted in the architecturally impressive atrium of Mathison Hall, the newest home for business at UCalgary.

Sharing her passion for the future

Leaders are there through the good, the bad and the ugly. They are not just there for the accolades and good times, says Farrell. She admits she is reluctant to have the spotlight on herself, as she most admires the everyday leadership she sees on the frontline where people tirelessly complete detailed work better than they did yesterday.

She accepted the Inspiring Business Leader Award as an opportunity to share her passion for the future. Farrell sees business as a force for good — creating, investing and growing the innovations and infrastructure for the next generation.

“I spent my whole life in energy — electricity — and now I’m building an oil pipeline which is quite amazing for me to participate in,” says Farrell, who spent nine years at the helm of TransAlta, stepping down in March 2021. She was appointed president and CEO at Trans Mountain Corporation in August 2022, where she is driving forward the expansion of Canada’s only pipeline system transporting oil products to the West Coast. With over 35 years in the energy industry, she is focusing on Canada’s sustainable energy future.

Leaders for tomorrow

Farrell is passionate about education. A proud alumna of UCalgary, she received the Management Alumni Excellence Award in 2019. She was appointed the first chancellor of Mount Royal University in 2020.

“It is important for Canadians to really start to understand how excellent our education system is and how it creates very skilled, very strong leaders,” says Farrell.

Each table sold to the Inspiring Business Leader Awards gala raises money for scholarships benefiting future business leaders.

Buy a table to celebrate on June 22

At the Inspiring Business Leader Award gala, Farrell will share her personal insights on the immense talent we have in Canada and how business can be used to mobilize change.

“As a leader, Dawn has been a force for change from both the corporate and societal perspectives. Throughout her career, Dawn has championed gender diversity, created resilient organizations and set an example for bold leadership,” says Deborah Yedlin, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

“She has also been committed to the Calgary community — and has had a tremendous impact on those who have had the opportunity to work with her. The best part, is that she isn’t done — and I look forward to the future Dawn will inspire in all of us.”

Tables are now available to celebrate outstanding leadership in the community but spots are limited in this intimate venue so be sure to secure your table soon.

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