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Wendy Thompson 1967

Wendy Thompson 1967I first met Wendy in 1997 when I was appointed Havergal’s ninth principal. Wendy was Chair of the Havergal Board, serving for four years. Wendy’s commitment to Havergal and focused leadership was immediately evident. Not only was she a skilled and dedicated Chair with unfailing energy and enthusiasm, she found time from her busy law practice to support my transition. She was thoughtful, generous, wise and sensitive.

Wendy and her family represent three generations of Old Girls. Dawn, her mother, was an Old Girl as is Sarah, her daughter. Wendy’s time at Havergal attests to her leadership and athletic excellence. She and her family are generous donors, leading by example.

Wendy’s focus on the future is evident. She has forged a successful path for women in the law and on boards, both areas of under-representation. Her experience and networks allowed her to be a successful small business entrepreneur as she crafted a new life following the death of her husband Sam.

She has a passion for the arts and in particular, opera, a passion shared with Sam. Together, they sought adventure in travels, sport and in particular, sailing. They left the world of work for extended sailing adventures.

Despite demands on her time as a family member and in her career, Wendy found time and energy to serve the community, values instilled in her by her family and by Havergal. She served on the Bridgepoint Foundation and on the RCYC board. She has also served on corporate boards in the mining and health fields. She has been engaged in the reimagining and regeneration of the Regent Park community through the 40 Oaks Project, its vision to be a “welcoming place where people work together effectively to meet their basic needs, achieve personal growth and help create an inclusive and cohesive community.” She believes that communities grow in strength and self-sufficiency when partnership builds confidence and courage.

Wendy is herself always committed, professional, skilled and direct; always seeking to expand her knowledge and competence. She models excellence tempered by compassion. I know her as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, leader, and friend. In all of these roles, she gives generously of herself with humility, drive, passion and integrity. Two personal memories of Wendy speak of her as a wife and mother, enduring roles of women as we seek and embrace other roles. I remember a Friday evening when she picked up her young daughter from her first school dance. I was moved by the closeness of a small gesture – Wendy with her arm around Sarah on the way to the car, so obviously happy to be together. And I remember with deep sadness learning of Sam’s illness and watching Wendy as she walked those difficult steps with Sam and Sarah, her anguish and deep love so evident in all she did.

I feel so fortunate to call Wendy a friend, one who models excellence, perseverance and courage – always with concern for others – and one who deserves our accolades.