“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” When I read this quotation, I thought… that’s Bianca.
When I think of Bianca, and all the things that she is and does, I am, in a word, awestruck. Bianca is a high-performing and highly respected lawyer, super mom to 2 active boys, kind-hearted mentor, fearless and confident leader, thoughtful planner, and straight-shooting friend. Bianca tackles everything that she does with boundless honesty, energy, and unswerving commitment.
Bianca brought her diverse and unique background to the role of CBA Alberta President. She was born and raised in Quebec City and attended the Université Laval (Bachelor of Civil Law BCL) and the University of Manitoba (Bachelor of Common Law LL.B.). She moved to Calgary and built her legal practice, specializing in commercial real estate, banking, corporate and commercial law. Bianca is a partner at Parlee McLaws LLP and is the Practice Group Leader for the commercial real estate and business services department. Bianca’s legal acumen is undisputed. Her legal expertise is well-known. She is a trusted and respected lawyer.
Bianca’s involvement with the CBA has spanned her entire practicing career. She has chaired the Membership Committee, been vice-chair, chair, and past chair of various CBA sections as well as the South Section Coordinator, and has served the Association des Juristes d’Expression Française de l’Alberta (AJEFA) for 13 years as a board member and president. Bianca is also a proliferate and sought-after commentator on legal issues, appearing as a guest advisor on current legal affairs for Radio-Canada and as a presenter for the ICSC Law Conference in Toronto. Bianca also presented at LESA seminars and acted as a Learning Group Facilitator and Evaluator for the Alberta Bar Admission Courses. In her “spare time”, Bianca completed her Masters’ Degree in Financial Law at Osgoode Hall Law School.
As a member of the CBA Alberta Executive Committee, Bianca brought intelligent, thoughtful, and balanced leadership to the CBA Executive. Bianca epitomized the Girl Guide motto “Be Prepared”. Throughout her tenure, Bianca has been the person to whom we all turn when the cards are down and the job must get done. Bianca’s unlimited energy, inherent sense of organization, and unwavering commitment to being prepared, has allowed the CBA Executive Committee to achieve an incredible level of success, reach, and influence.
Bianca spearheaded many important initiatives for CBA Alberta and AJEFA. One of her most important initiatives was her persistent pursuit of increased government funding for Legal Aid. Her personal commitment to this cause was apparent in the fervour with which she advocated on behalf of the public, particularly self-represented litigants, for additional investment and financial commitment to Legal Aid. Bianca presented the report - “Justice Matters - CBA Alberta’s Agenda for Justice” – to two Ministers of Justice and numerous Deputy Ministers in our government, highlighting the intersectionality between access to justice, the health system, social services, and the welfare of children. Bianca’s passion for improving access to justice for all Albertans was recognized and appreciated wherever she presented.
The CBA initiative that speaks volumes about Bianca’s heart, is her personal commitment to furthering reconciliation initiatives within the Alberta branch. Bianca is a member of the Huron-Wendat First Nation and during her term as President, she supported the formation of the Indigenous Lawyers’ Forum (an organization seeking to provide a space for Indigenous lawyers to share) and the development of CBA Alberta’s official Land Acknowledgement to improve our own understanding of the reconciliation journey that we must take as an organization and individuals. Bianca also participated in the Court’s Indigenous Justice Project sharing her own Indigenous culture with her friends and colleagues.
As Queen Elizabeth II stated: “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years, I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.” Bianca, who is frequently referred as “Queen B” by her peers, has been a source of encouragement for all of us at the Canadian Bar Association this year as she inspired us to become better leaders and to live what we believe.
Bianca is a true leader. She is an inspiration. She is, in the same moment, kind and generous while being insistent on excellence. Bianca demonstrates commitment, integrity, and selflessness in everything that she does.
It has been my pleasure and honour to work with Bianca and learn from her for the last two years. I am sure that I speak on behalf of all of the CBA Executive, Board, and staff in looking forward to Bianca’s wisdom and continued guidance in her Past President’ year, and beyond.
Indra Maharaj is the 2022-23 CBA Alberta Vice-President.