Gail Asper, O.C., O.M., LL.D., President and Trustee
Gail Asper was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and obtained her B.A. and LL.B. from the University of Manitoba in 1981 and 1984 respectively. After receiving her call to the Bar of Nova Scotia in 1985, Gail practiced corporate and commercial law with Goldberg & Thompson in Halifax, Nova Scotia, before joining CanWest Global Communications Corp. in 1989, as Corporate Secretary and Legal Counsel.
Ms. Asper was a member of the Board of Directors of Canwest Global Communications Corp. from 1991 to 2010 and from 1998 to 2008 was a member of the Board of Great-West Lifeco Inc., and its subsidiaries. She serves and has served on the Boards of numerous not-for-profit groups and co-Chaired the $11 million the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre Endowment Campaign, which followed a $6 million capital campaign also co-Chaired by Ms. Asper. She also served on the Board and as President of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. She is the past Campaign Chair for the Winnipeg 2002 United Way Campaign and is Past President of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Winnipeg.
Ms. Asper is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Arts Centre Foundation and is a Governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is also serving as Campaign Chair for Winnipeg’s Combined Jewish Appeal. In 2008, she was appointed to the inaugural Board of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and in 2011 was appointed to the Board of The Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. She is the National Campaign Chair for the Museum’s private sector campaign, which began in 2003.
Ms. Asper has received numerous awards for her community service, including the YMCA/YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Community Voluntarism and the 2005 Governor-General’s Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts. She has received the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year Award for 2006 from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and in 2007 received the Order of Manitoba. In July 2008 Ms. Asper was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. In October 2008 she received an Honourary Doctorate from the University of Manitoba, in June 2014, she received an Honourary Doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and in June 2016 she received an Honourary Doctorate from Carleton University (Ontario). Gail was honoured by the Business for the Arts with the receipt of the Bovey Award in October 2010. She was also awarded the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medal.
She is married to Dr. Michael Paterson and has two sons, Stephen and Jonathan.