The Alberta Order of Excellence Council considers the nominations of candidates to the Alberta Order of Excellence.

Current members of council

The Council is made up of prominent volunteer representatives appointed by Order-in-Council from across Alberta. Below are brief biographies of the council members.

Her Honour, The Honourable Lois Mitchell, CM, AOE

Lieutenant Governor of Alberta

The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta serves as the Chancellor of the Alberta Order of Excellence. Her Honour, The Honourable Lois Mitchell has been sworn in as Alberta’s eighteenth Lieutenant Governor.

Lois Mitchell is an accomplished businesswoman and a proud, longstanding member of Alberta’s dedicated corps of community volunteers.

Lois Mitchell (née Boulding) was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. A passion for sport in general, and for team sports in particular, led her to studies in Physical Education at the University of British Columbia and a position teaching Grade 6 Phys Ed and English in Vancouver.

In 1960, Lois met Calgarian Doug Mitchell who was studying law at UBC and playing with the B.C. Lions Football Club. The couple were married in 1961. A year later, the Mitchells moved to Calgary where Doug began articling with a local firm. It was a natural move for Lois whose Alberta connections reach back to her grandfather, Tom Mackie, a Calgary Chief of Police in the early days of the province. The Mitchells settled in the city to build their careers and raise their four children.

In 1970, an opportunity emerged for Lois to use her natural skills as an entrepreneur. After observing a lack of team apparel available to fellow football fans, she began a business that grew over the decade to become a successful merchandising and sports marketing firm. Lois then created Amherst Consultants, a corporate training firm which allowed her to merge her teaching background with her business and communications strengths. She continued the business in Toronto for five years while Doug took on duties as the Commissioner of the Canadian Football League before returning to Alberta in 1990. In 2007, Lois became a founding partner of Rainmaker Global Business Development, a Calgary-firm dedicated to connecting companies with business opportunities around the world.

Lois Mitchell has maintained a firm commitment to community service and volunteerism throughout her life. Her belief in the value of amateur sport, to both individuals and the community as a whole, prompted volunteer service as a Director of the Hockey Canada Foundation, Ambassador and Governor of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, Co-Chair of the Gold-Medal Plates dinner in support of aspiring Olympians and a board member for the inaugural World Women’s Under-18 Hockey Championships. She has long been a proud patron of the Special Olympics Canada Foundation. The Mitchells have extended generous patronage over the years to a variety of programs and scholarships to support Canada’s athletes and to foster opportunities for women in amateur sport.

Lois Mitchell has shared her business acumen on the boards of USB Bank (Canada) and Mitacs, an organization that promotes scientific and business innovation among emerging leaders. She is past Chair of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and Vice-Chair of the Global Business Forum. Her commitment to regional and national endeavours includes a12-year tenure as Honourary Consul of Colombia for Alberta and Saskatchewan, contributions as a Governor of the Canadian Unity Council and duties as Co-Chair of the 2014 True Patriot Love dinner to support Canada’s men and women in uniform. Her interest in education led to volunteer service on the board of Canada World Youth and as Chair of the Advisory Board of the Latin American Research Centre at the University of Calgary. Her great love of music and the arts can be seen in past volunteer duties as Chair of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, board member of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the National Youth Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra League Council and Co-Chair of Calgary 2012 as a Cultural Capital.

Lois Mitchell became a Member of the Order of Canada 2012 and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal the same year. She was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 and was named Calgary Citizen of the Year for 2008. In 1998 she received the Calgary Women of Distinction Award in the category of Arts and Culture.

Lois and Doug Mitchell maintain a home in Calgary where Doug serves as National Co-Chair with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. Their family includes four children and spouses: Shelley (Mike Boehm), Steven (Barb), Scott (Annette) and Sue Ann, and seven grandchildren: Spencer, Shelby, Sasha, Shannon, Jake, Rhyan and Bo.

Barry Finkelman

Barry is a specialist in cultural heritage, media and education.  His professional career has included service to the Medicine Hat Public School District, Olds College and Medicine Hat Regional Hospital. He has also been a private sector business co-owner in the entertainment and tourism industry. Since 2005, Barry has been the Executive Director and General Manager of the Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District and has led the re-development of the Medalta Potteries and the Medicine Hat Brick & Tile factories as a major museum, arts and tourism complex for Southern Alberta.

Barry currently serves as Past-President of the Alberta Museums Association and as a member of the Premier’s Council on Culture. His long resume of community service also includes duties as a public member with the Alberta College of Medical Laboratory Technologists and as a member of the City of Medicine Hat Arts & Heritage Advisory Board, the City of Medicine Hat Economic Development Advisory Board, the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the Calgary Exhibition & Stampede, and the Alberta Healthcare Educators Association. Barry was both a board member and regular contributor to the award winning Expression magazine and wrote a weekly independent column for the Medicine Hat News from 2001 to 2008. He is a past president of the Medicine Hat Kiwanis Club and is a Mel Osborne Fellow, awarded by the Kiwanis Foundation of Canada.

Bridget Hennigar, B.Comm., FCA

Bridget Hennigar of Grande Prairie is the Regional Managing Partner of the Peace Region with MNP LLP. Ms. Hennigar began her studies at Grande Prairie Regional College and completed her Bachelor of Commerce degree through the University of Alberta and then completed her Chartered Accountant designation. She was a Council Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta (ICAA) and has also served as Chair of the Merit Review Committee for ICAA. She has received a Distinguished Service Award from ICAA, and in 2010 was recognized by the Institute with the highest designation that the profession bestows: Fellow of Chartered Accountants.

Bridget has served as President of the Grande Prairie Regional Agricultural and Exhibition Society, President of the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce and the Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) Foundation Board, Treasurer of Centre 2000 and the Northern Extreme Freestyle Skiing Association. In 2014 Bridget received the Distinguished Alumni Award of the GPRC Alumni/Foundation, which recognizes alumni for outstanding accomplishments in their professions, and/or in service to their community, society or the college.

Recently, Bridget has completed the Directors Education Program and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Patricia McLeod, QC, MBA, ICD.D

Patricia McLeod, Q.C., is a lawyer and corporate director with over 20 years of experience in regulated and deregulated corporations and private practice law firms. Patricia is proficient in the areas of corporate/commercial and securities law, corporate responsibility, privacy, ethics and corporate governance.

Patricia is currently the General Counsel for the Carevest Group of Companies and has previously held the roles of Vice President, Corporate Responsibility as well as Associate General Counsel and Compliance Officer for regulated utility companies in Alberta. Patricia has an MBA from Queen’s University, is a Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional, and a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors accredited directors program. She was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in January 2014.

Patricia is the Chair of the board of directors of the YWCA of Calgary and of the board of cSpace. She is the Vice Chair of the board of directors of Calgary Economic Development. She also sits as a director on the boards of Vibrant Communities Calgary and the Calgary Film Center.

Patricia, her husband Dan and their two daughters enjoy life in Calgary and keep busy with many family and community activities.

Eric Rajah, AOE, BA and LLD (hon)

Eric Rajah is co-founder and director of A Better World, Canada. He has offered over twenty-five years of service and leadership to the volunteer-based international development organization which has established community development projects in 14 countries around the world and inspired some 2500 volunteers to get involved in its humanitarian work.  More than 25 years ago, Eric founded Advanced Systems, a central Alberta company that offers IT sales and service and also supports A Better World programs. Eric further serves the community through his duties as a board member of the Adventist Relief and Development Agency and as a member of the Alumni and Development Committee for Canadian University College.

Eric was invested as a Member of the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2011. He lives with his wife Candi in Lacombe, but travels the world extensively overseeing A Better World’s volunteer-run projects in places such as Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Haiti, India, Bolivia, Belize and Sri Lanka.

Former Chancellors

The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta serves as Chancellor of the Alberta Order of Excellence. Chancellors automatically become members of the Order. In addition to the current lieutenant governor, the following seven former lieutenant governors have held the position of Chancellor since the Order’s inception in 1979:

The Honourable Donald Ethell
Chancellor 2010-2015

The Honourable Norman L. Kwong
Chancellor 2005-2010

The Honourable Lois E. Hole
Chancellor 2000-2005

The Honourable H.A. “Bud” Olson
Chancellor 1996-2000

The Honourable Gordon Towers
Chancellor 1991-1996

The Honourable Helen Hunley
Chancellor 1985-1991

The Honourable Frank Lynch-Staunton
Chancellor 1980-1985

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