WRC Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient 2011
Rita has a BComm (Hons.) and none academic awards including the University of Calgary's Board of Governors Silver Medallion for Academic Achievement. She is a member of the exclusive Business Honours Society, Beta Gamma Sigma, a Prairie Regional Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, a Global TV/YWCA Woman of Vision and the recipient of the Calgary Stampede Western Legacy Award (Innovation). She is an expert in non-profit board governance, and a volunteer certified facilitator for the Alberta Government. She been a CEO, executive director and board chair in four organizations. For the past seven years, Rita has held progressively senior roles at the Haskayne School of Business, starting as a coordinator and advancing to director of community outreach and alumni relations, reporting directly to the Dean.
Rita has survived two separate primary breast cancer diagnoses, five major surgeries and chemotherapy treatment which have resulted in ongoing physical challenges. A common thread in Rita's story is defying odd'. She has a long history of initiating and completing major, community projects including introducing a new industry sector to the province of Alberta, co-founding the Chickwagon! breaking onto the traditional male turf of chuckwagon racing; co-founding Complementary Cancer Choices when the traditional medical establishment couldn't offer all the support she needed as someone living with cancer; co-founding Wellspring Calgary, the first and only community cancer support centre in Southern Alberta. She is one of a selected group of women who participated in several Prime Ministerial trade delegations to Korea, Los Angeles and Washington DC, as well as being one of 65 international speakers invited to participate in the first delegation sent to Beijing, China to speak on the application of Daoist principles in Western society.
Engaging, welcoming and empathetic; Rita is genuinely interested in people. She is a woman who balances the roles of leader, mentor, capacity builder, family supporter, wife and stepmother. Throughout her career, she has maintained her values and stayed committed to community. She is a woman of vision who shares her wisdom freely with students, colleagues, friends and acquaintances, on topics ranging from relationship-management to project implementation. Rita is not afraid to try new things or take on new challenges. She brings creativity, professionalism and excellence to her work, volunteering countless hours for the good of the whole community. Her legacy includes playing a founding role in establishing strongly grounded organizations which focus on women's health, women in business and the mentorship of young women.