SFU engineering science professor Lesley Shannon named diversity champion

Simon Fraser University engineering science professor Lesley Shannon has been honoured with a 2017 Wendy McDonald Award in the Diversity Champion category.

Presented by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade in memory of late Canadian business icon Wendy McDonald, these awards shine a spotlight on outstanding leaders from businesses and organizations across Metro Vancouver.

As the current Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for B.C. and Yukon, Shannon has spearheaded a variety of initiatives to support and encourage females in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

From reaching out to female high school students, to helping create inclusive professional development opportunities, Shannon’s overarching goal is to identify, and help eliminate, barriers for women to pursue STEM careers and leadership roles.

Throughout her career at SFU, Shannon has been recognized as a passionate proponent of gender diversity in STEM and an inspirational teacher with a talent for leading by example.

She previously served as faculty advisor for SFU’s Women in Engineering (WiE) group, and has acted as conference chair for Creating Connections since 2013.This two-day event brings together students, researchers and industry leaders of all genders and backgrounds to discuss the future of women in STEM.

In 2014, Shannon received The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC)’s Teaching Award of Excellence for her dedication to preparing the next generation of engineering talent.

"I love to learn new things and am motivated by the creation of 'highly qualified personnel' as opposed to products,” said Shannon in a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade Q & A interview.

“I'm a big believer in the idea that success belongs to the team and failure belongs to me. Helping people grow and achieve the best version of themselves is not only extremely rewarding but results in better outcomes from the team."

Shannon received the award, alongside five other recipients from different categories, at the third-annual Wendy McDonald Awards ceremony at TELUS Garden, Vancouver, on March 29, 2017.