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Mary Martin - 2019 WLAO Women General Counsel Chapter Award winner! 

On June 12, 2019 the Women’s Law Association of Ontario (WLAO) held their annual awards dinner.  Awards were handed out to many distinguished female lawyers. On behalf of the WGCC, Cheryl Foy, past president, presented Mary Martin with the Women General Counsel Chapter Award! The following is an adaptation of the remarks honouring Mary:

In 2018, Mary Martin retired from her role of 11 years as the General Counsel and Executive Management member of Metrolinx, a Government of Ontario agency with an important social and economic mandate. In addition to complex interfaces with all levels of Government in Canada, Metrolinx’s infrastructure and other work requires it to work closely with private sector entities both across Canada and in international markets. Mary helped set Metrolinx’s corporate direction by holding multiple leadership roles at Metrolinx. She was the Corporate Secretary to the Board of Directors, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Executive Champion, Chief Privacy Officer, and Chair of the Metrolinx Executive Safety Health and Environment Committee. 

There are many great things we can say about Mary; she’s a mentor, a diversity advocate, and a humble and kind person. In the role of GC, we are required to navigate effectively between law and business, which Mary does seamlessly. She is a forward-thinking lawyer, businessperson and community member.  She is collaborative and understands the value of teamwork and of understanding the broader context within which her legal team’s advice is applied.  She successfully works to account for and address the varied interests engaged in any issue.

Also key to our role as GCs is the ability to move quickly from one issue to another. Mary consistently demonstrates her flexibility and ability to juggle multiple priorities. At Metrolinx, Mary built the legal function from two lawyers when she joined in 2007, to 29 lawyers and legal professionals in 2018. These lawyers bring diverse experience and perspectives and have a wide range of expertise including accessibility, administrative, human rights, labour and employment, municipal, real estate, infrastructure, intellectual property, rail law, and corporate law. Under Mary’s leadership, Metrolinx’s legal team has played a key role in the construction and lease agreements for the development of Toronto’s new Downtown Bus Terminal, including an air space use agreement with the City of Toronto, setting out a detailed protocol for building a one acre park deck above one of the busiest rail corridors in Canada – a first for Metrolinx and the City of Toronto. Further, under her leadership Metrolinx rejuvenated Toronto’s iconic Union Station, and established Toronto’s direct rail link from downtown Toronto to Pearson International Airport. In all of her efforts, Mary has provided outstanding legal work in her tenure as GC.

Apart from her legal work, Mary is an ardent advocate for diversity and inclusion, and the advancement of women in the legal and infrastructure community. Mary was awarded the 2017 Canadian Lawyer InHouse Innovation Award for Diversity featured in its lead story (September 2017 edition), celebrating efforts advancing diversity and inclusion at Metrolinx. As the Executive Lead for Metrolinx’s Diversity and Inclusion Program, Mary directed a multi-disciplinary, diverse team in developing and obtained Board approval for Metrolinx’s first Diversity and Inclusion Policy.

Prior to joining Metrolinx, Mary was lead commercial counsel at a strategic asset management group housed within the Ministry of Finance leading a team in structuring and negotiating transactions involving the Province’s chief commercial assets such as the LCBO and OLG. Before that, Mary was a partner at a leading national law firm for 14 years where she led multi-disciplinary transaction teams on acquisition, financing, joint venture, and technology transfer deals.

By far the most enjoyable aspect of being a member of the Women General Counsel Canada group is working with, getting to know, and being inspired by colleagues like Mary Martin. 

Congratulations again, Mary, and thank you for all you have done!

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