Developing the muscles for resiliency: Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson and HeForShe at U of G | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Developing the muscles for resiliency: Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson and HeForShe at U of G

Posted on Thursday, March 11th, 2021

adrienne clarkson photo

On Wednesday, March 10th the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics teamed up with Gryphon Football and the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences to host the fourth annual HeForShe at U of G.

The annual event is inspired by the UN’s HeForShe campaign and celebrates the various gender equality initiatives of U of G students and businesses within the community. The event had over 450 registrants from 14 different countries including China, Germany, Hong Kong, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

This year’s event featured Canada’s 26th Governor General and best-selling author The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson as the keynote speaker. During the keynote, the Madame Clarkson shared stories of her life experiences and career, bringing everything back to a theme of resilience and developing the mental, spiritual and emotional muscles to deal with life’s challenges.

“Resilience is all about having the ability to form and re-form your own particular sets of talents and abilities to meet new challenges,” said Madame Clarkson as she addressed the attendees live during the keynote. “Meeting new challenges throughout your life is what resilience is all about.”

U of G student and member of Gryphon Football Anthony Hall addressed the attendees and spoke about the importance of breaking down stereotypes and playing a role in the conversation around gender equality. Although virtual, he called on his teammates and the audience to stand together with all genders to act as agents of change for gender equality.

"Our goal as a football team is to show that women athletes and scholars are seen, supported and respected. That is why our coaches preach to us players that we have to support everyone," said Hall.

In addition to Madame Clarkson’s keynote, the event was also a chance to announce the recipients of several HeForShe-inspired scholarships and awards, including:

  • Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson Resilience Scholarships: two $5,000 scholarships awarded to a female business student and engineering student to recognize their leadership and resilience through adversity. The recipients of these scholarships are Bree Johnson (Bachelor of Commerce) and Chelsea Ohiolei Ehimiagh (Bachelor of Engineering).
  • HeForShe Ally Scholarship: a $2,500 scholarship awarded to a University of Guelph student who has demonstrated through their actions and support that they are an ally committed to gender equality. The recipient of the HeForShe Ally Scholarship is Amy Kavanagh (Bachelor of Applied Science).
  • HeForShe Impact Award: an award to recognize a local Guelph-Wellington organization that actively promotes and improves gender equality through initiatives they champion. The recipient of the HeForShe Impact Award is Skyline Group of Companies for its commitment to empowering its people through important initiatives and policies and to promote and celebrate the many accomplishments of its team. As part of their award, a $2,500 donation will be made to the Guelph Y Safe Sisters program on their behalf, thanks to the generous support of the Angel Gabriel Foundation.

“We are proud to award the HeForShe Impact Award to Skyline Group of Companies,” says dean Lysa Porth. “Skyline's commitment to gender equality and diversity is inspiring and a testament to their leadership team. They have made a significant and conscious effort to increase their company's gender diversity through various HR policies and initiatives.”

Prior to the event, Lang Commerce students hosted virtual workshops that aimed to improve inclusion and gender diversity and equality. The discussions brought U of G students, staff and faculty members to take part in the conversation. 

“The Lang School would like to thank Gryphon Football and the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences for their support with the event. A special thank you to Madame Clarkson for being part of our event,” says dean Porth.

In previous years, HeForShe at U of G offered keynote presentations from Jennifer Smith, SVP of Technology and Operations at Cineplex Digital Media, Lisa Lisson, president of FedEx Canada, and award-winning journalist Amanda Lang.


About the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson

The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson arrived in Canada from Hong Kong with her family in 1942 and made the astonishing journey from penniless child refugee to accomplished broadcaster, journalist, and distinguished public servant in a multi-faceted lifetime. Madame Clarkson was Canada’s 26th Governor General from 1999-2005. When she left Rideau Hall, she co-founded the Institute for Canadian Citizenship which helps new citizens to feel involved and included in Canadian life. The ICC hosts annual 6 Degrees events — a global forum on citizenship, immigration, inclusion, and diversity in the 21st century – across many cities including Toronto, Mexico City, Berlin, Montreal and Calgary.

Madame Clarkson is the bestselling author of the 2014 CBC Massey Lectures Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship; Room for All of Us: Surprising Stories of Loss and Transformation; Heart Matters: A Memoir; and Extraordinary Canadians: Norman Bethune a biography of Dr. Norman Bethune.

About the HeForShe Initiative

HeForShe is a solidarity campaign for the advancement of gender equality, initiated by the UN. Its goal is to achieve equality by encouraging all genders to partake as agents of change and take action against negative stereotypes and behaviours. Grounded in the idea that gender inequality is an issue that affects all people—socially, economically and politically—it seeks to actively involve men and boys in a movement that was originally conceived as "a struggle for women by women".

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