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Vanessa Oliver 1997

When asked to describe Vanessa, one of her former classmates says, “She is quite a busy girl!” It is a good description. She graduated from Havergal in 1997, having served as a Clubs prefect and member of the rowing team – two activities that take some effort to juggle.

Vanessa subsequently studied at Queen’s University, followed by a diploma in commerce at the Sorbonne University. Most recently, she has founded her own commercial real estate brokerage company, Regent Street Commercial; it focuses on retail and restaurant solutions. Her clients include Amaya, Colborne Lane, Delica, Joe Fresh and Swatch. Vanessa’s mission is to build long-term value and relationships by dedicating personal time and attention to every client.

This dedication flows into her personal life, too. At the age of six, Vanessa was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and she and her family have fought hard to find a cure by supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It was only natural for her to chair the Real Estate Challenge for the Ride for Juvenile Diabetes Research. In 2010, the group broke the $1 million mark!

Inspired by her courage, a group of Vanessa’s friends decided to create a fundraising event: the Frocktail Party. The event combines cocktails and shopping. In its inaugural year, the organizers raised $23,000. The event continues today with both Vanessa and her younger sister Jessica (Class of 1999) as part of the planning team.

Vanessa has made a difference and is a role model for all current students and alumnae as she lives a life of philanthropy and capability. She faces her own challenges with courage, grace and commitment.

Her friends and classmates wish to congratulate her on winning the 2011 Dr. Susan Ditchburn Young Alumna Award. We know that she will inspire others to follow a path of risk-taking and reward.

Written by Dale McIntosh 1992