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What happens when you act on your passion?

What happens when you act on your passion?

These are the stories of people who saw new ways of doing things, who overcame, who are bold with their ideas and moved by their passion. Introducing the 2020 recipients of the University of Manitoba Distinguished Alumni Awards.

By Mary Jane MacLennan
New this year

For the first time in the more than 60-year history of the Distinguished Alumni Awards, we are celebrating multiple recipients in our professional achievement, community service and outstanding young alumni categories. With approval by the University of Manitoba Alumni Association board of directors, the DAA selection panel was able to expand its reach and chose nine individuals for our 2020 cohort, each one of them showing us what is possible when we dare to just do.

 

Dr. Judith Bartlett [MD/87, MSc/04]

Lifetime Achievement

UM was the place where Dr. Judith Bartlett discovered her own potential and so began a journey through medicine that enriched the lives of Indigenous communities with her holistic model to health. It speaks to the balance of the spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual that best promotes life. “My passion is this life promotion framework,” she says.

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CHRIS COUTURE [BComm(Hons)/83, CA/86]

Professional Achievement

UM was the place where Chris Couture discovered her affinity for business and turned it into a career in accounting and finance with global reach. She was a UM student when she interviewed for what is now PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the firm where she would eventually become a senior partner. “It’s been a great ride,” she says.

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Dr. Gigi Osler [BScMed/92, MD/92]

Professional Achievement

UM was the place where Dr. Gigi Osler first realized the importance of a diverse student population in medicine and grew as a person to lead, inspire and heal others. “We need to have these discussions,” she says. “We need to shine a light on the inequities that exist in society, in our structures, so that we can not only produce better doctors but be a better society ourselves.”

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Kimberly Prost [LLB/81]

Professional Achievement

UM was the place where Kimberly Prost launched into her first advocacy work, participating in legal clinics in the community, and where she was recognized for the legal acuity and drive that would ignite a career in international law. “The University of Manitoba Law School was tough. You had to work really hard,” she says. “I have great memories of the advocacy program that we did, which was really important.”

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Taylor Morriseau [BSc(Hons)/17]

Outstanding Young Alumni

UM was the place where Taylor Morriseau was inspired to explore her identity as a person, a scientist and a mentor, and then she bridged the three to address issues affecting Indigenous communities. It all began in the Faculty of Science, with her passion for genetics and microbiology. “It just blossomed from there,” she says.

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Josh Morry [BComm(Hons)/13, JD/16]

Outstanding Young Alumni

UM was the place where Josh Morry discovered how to use his voice to speak out and start a more constructive conversation between people engaged in an ancient conflict. “It was controversial,” he says.

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Doneta Brotchie [BComm(Hons)/73]

Community Service

UM was the place where a diminutive five-foot-three Doneta Brotchie carried the puck as a forward for what was then the commerce women’s hockey team. She even diarized the experience, reflecting on valuable lessons in teamwork and comradery. These same lessons would eventually echo in her mentorship of the next generation of leaders in community service.

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Barb Gamey [ExtEd/90]

Community Service

UM was the place where Barb Gamey took on a heavy course load as a single parent and learned how to harness that energy and determination to bolster her city. “I always talk about the fact that Winnipeg has a smaller economy—it’s a smaller city—but we’re large enough to get things done,” she says. “That makes me optimistic.”

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Kimberley Levasseur Puhach [ExtEd/11]

Community Service

UM was the place where Kimberley Levasseur Puhach acquired the human resources skills she would parlay into creating connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Manitobans. “It goes back to the idea of building bridges of respect and understanding and also knowing that we can coexist together while still being different from each other,” she says. “That idea of power balance and equity are also really foundational to anti-racism. We are all human beings; we all deserve to have a good life.”

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Sit in on the conversation between our 2020 award recipients and other notable alumni.

One comment on “What happens when you act on your passion?

  1. Bill Martin

    Your latest edition looks like a Women’s tabloid! I noticed this with the PEng Ontario magazine as well.Maybe I am getting more sensitive as I age(86).Surely the males must have done something noteworthy.
    Just an observation.

    Reply

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