Page 11 - CCCA 243725 Magazine_Winter 2015
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{ PRoFiLe }

Shield, she earned her BA degree at Bran- it’s important to face the challenges and fnd nity work and, in 2011, earned a Women
don University. Then, “taking time off,” opportunities in them. “I love my job and I in Law Leadership Award.
she became an insurance agent in north- work with amazing people,” says Odegaard, Being involved pays back in many ways,
ern Saskatchewan. After two years—“It who jokes that she’s probably unemploy- she explains. Early in your career, it’s a great
wasn’t for me”—the law called. able as a lawyer because her roles are spread way to meet others and develop networks.
Odegaard studied law at the University across so many areas, not all strictly legal. And it’s good for the soul to not only be
of Saskatchewan, and completed her de- Her team’s responsibilities are wide- focused on career and family, but also look
gree at the University of Calgary when her ranging, from compliance to training, outward toward the larger community.
husband, Rick, was transferred for work. securities and corporate fnance, dispute She hears from many lawyers, espe-
Her practical legal education began resolution, mergers and acquisitions, cially women, about the struggle fnding
at Atkinson McMahon, now Field Law, commercial transactions, procurement, work-life balance. Her experience has
focusing on corporate and securities law derivatives, and intellectual property. Her taught her that there are times you have
for 10 years. She engaged with “so many priorities include setting the strategic di- to put “gargantuan efforts in to the job,
bright people” and has incorporated the rection and priorities for her team, and times when you need to focus on family
frm’s positive, supportive culture into her supporting staff by removing unnecessary and times to be kind to yourself.”
own leadership style, one she describes as obstacles in their way. She works with the A travel junkie, Odegaard fnds down-
authentic and open. Board of Directors and is accountable to time during vacations—and on weekends
At Suncor, Odegaard stepped into a the CEO on legal matters. in the kitchen. “For me, there’s nothing
dynamic environment. During most of As the only woman on the nine- better on a Saturday afternoon than tak-
her time, she reported to General Counsel member executive leadership team that ing out the recipe books, and fnding
Terry Hopwood, “a terrifc mentor, teach- sets company direction, she owns another something new and different to make for
er and supporter,” and took over leader- responsibility: “It’s incumbent on me to dinner for Rick and our friends.
ship of the legal team in 2010. be a role model for the women in our or- “It’s a ton of fun,” she says, like the ride
Today, amid a prolonged downturn in ganization, to demonstrate that you can she’s always enjoyed at Suncor Energy. ❚
commodity prices that has led to tens of get to the leadership table. This is a com-
thousands of industry layoffs, Odegaard pany that is diverse and inclusive, one that
relies on her 30 years’ legal experience to provides opportunities for everyone.” Michael Dempster is a writer based in Calgary.
lead an in-house team overseeing about 70 To that end, Odegaard serves as a men-
professionals, including some 40 lawyers. tor to female lawyers and other profes-
She’s been through major slumps before. sionals. She has volunteered throughout
They’re never fun, she says, but stresses that the legal profession, is active in commu-

“ It’s incumbent on me to be a

role model for the women in our
organization, to demonstrate that

you can get to the leadership table.
Janice Odegaard, SVP & GC, Suncor Energy

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