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The names appearing below are just a fraction of the Canadian
women of accomplishment. Check out The Famous Canadian Women 's
section ON THE JOB which contains mini profiles of 2000
Canadian Women of Achievement.
née Schnurr. Born Mildmay, Ontario January 29, 1899. Died Clifford,
Ontario November 22, 1976. .On October 14, 1925 Leila married Benjamin
Wightman of Wightman Communications in Clifford, Ontario. His Father,
Robert Wightman, had been a frustrated farmer whom Bell Telephone could
not serve. Robert set up his own company in 1908 so he and his
neighbors, could have a telephone. Leila acted as lead operator and
office administrator for the telephone company after her marriage to
Benjamin. At the same time the couple brought up a family of four
Benjamin died and Leila decided to keep the company going. This made her
the first woman telephone company owner. In 1953 she instituted
the superior 4-diget dial service while the much larger Bell Telephone
Company systems which were still cranking the old magneto telephones.
The new system was the most modern of its day and heralded the arrival
of 24 hour service telephone service. Leila had set the company on the
path to modernization that kept the company going. Leila was inducted as
member of the Telecommunications Hall of Fame in 2006. Sources:
Telecommunications Hall of Fame
http://telecomehall.ca (Accessed October 2011) ; also family
provided vital information.
Born June 13, 1956. This businesswoman held the Senior Vice President and
Chief Executive Officer of Nesbit Burns Inc. from
1992 to 1999. It was
during this time that she was the first
woman to be Governor of the Toronto Stock Exchange. In 1999 she
became President of the Toronto Stock Exchange! In 2000 she was on the top
10 list of Canadian businesswomen presented by the National Post.
Maureen Kempston Durkes.
31, 1948, Toronto. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of
Toronto and in 1978 earned her Bachelor of Law prior to being called to
the Bar in Ontario. In 1975 she joined the legal staff of General Motors
Canada. By 1992 she had risen through the ranks to become General
Council and Secretary of General Motors Canada.
In 1994 she became the 1st woman
President and General Manager of General Motors Canada. In
1997 she earned the Women’s Automotive International Professional
Achievement Award and in 1998 she was inducted into the Order of Ontario
and the Order of Canada. In 2003 Fortune Magazine listed her as the 6th
most powerful person in International Business. In 2006 she was
presented with the Governor’s General Award in Commemoration of the
Persons Case. In 2009 just as she retired from General Motors Canada she
was ranked as one of Latin America’s 100 most powerful business people.
During her career she has served on numerous Boards of Directors
including with Canadian National Railways, Irving Oil Co. Ltd, Balfour
Beatty and Enbridge. In 2011 the Automotive Hall of Fame and Women’s
Automotive Association International presented her with the Alice B.
Ramsey Award. In 2012 she was the recipient of Financial Post’s Top 100
Most Powerful Women IN Canada: Accenture Corporate Directors Award.
Canadian Who’s Who 2006 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007)
: “Top 100 Most Powerful Women In Canada: Accenture Corporate Directors
Award” , Financial Post December 4, 2012.