Thanksgiving in Canada centres around the harvest and is in many ways a celebration of abundance. We’re fortunate to have abundance in food, which many of us enjoyed with friends and family this weekend. In the Mediate BC family, we’re blessed with abundance in those working to advance mediation in new ways and to best serve the needs of the public.
This past month we had the honour of presenting Kari D. Boyle with the 2016 Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation at Mediate BC’s Vancouver Reception on September 16th. Many of you will know Kari from her writing on this blog or on Slaw, as the Coordinator of the BC Family Justice Innovation Lab, committee member for Access to Justice BC, or her many leadership roles with Mediate BC (former Executive Director, former Director of Strategic Initiatives, Unbundled Family Legal Service Project Manager, etc.). Kari has been an indefatigable supporter of mediation and access to justice in BC.
Long-time Mediate BC board member Jane Morley, QC was unable to attend the reception, and provided the following message to Kari to be shared with all in attendance:
Kari, I wish I could be there to celebrate you as you receive the Susanna Jani award. I cannot think of anyone who more deserves this recognition. Your contribution to mediation in BC has been long-term and amazing, and I know (because I have the privilege and delight of continuing to work closely with you), it is continuing.
I first knew you by reputation – as a highly competent, intelligent and committed Executive Director of the Dispute Resolution Practicum Society. During the short time I was on that Board, I observed for myself that this reputation was well-founded. However, it was when you and I worked together on the merging of the Practicum Society and the Roster Society that I really began to understand the depth of your strength and capacity. It was then that our friendship developed, and we became partners in various interesting endeavours that, whether successful or not, have always been learning experiences for both of us. It has been onwards and upwards ever since.
Whether it was developing a transformative scenario planning exercise for the Mediate BC Board or declaring the start of the Family Justice Social (now Innovation) Lab or watching you adapt user-design approaches to BC, again and again I have seen you demonstrate your competence, intelligence and commitment to mediation and serving the public. I have developed a growing admiration of your capacity to stick to your deeply rooted principles, while demonstrating an inquiring and open mind. To be able to be both dogged and flexible simultaneously is the mark of a very special person. And you are a very special person!
This award appropriately marks the end of one chapter of your story – being the founding Executive Director of Mediate BC and its predecessor the Practicum/Innovation Society. You are leaving an organization that is respected widely by those who consider it “their” organization and by leaders of stakeholder organizations across the justice system. The strength of Mediate BC is, in no small measure, a reflection of your strength.
Being a recipient of the Susanna Jani award is an affirmation of the high regard in which the mediation community holds you. For my part, I feel privileged to have worked with you in this chapter that is closing. I am delighted at the prospect of working with you even more intensely in your next chapter as leader of the BC justice system’s first innovation lab. I know that in this new chapter, you will continue to champion mediation, and work to expand its use, and the application of its underlying principle of self-determination, to the entire family justice system in BC.
In absentia, I ask everyone present to raise their glasses and give a toast – to Kari!
About the Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation
The Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation, established in 2009, is an annual award acknowledging a person who has made a significant contribution to the field of mediation in BC. Previous recipients include Ron Tucker, Gordon Sloan, Sharon Sutherland, Peggy English, Lee Turnbull, Carole McKnight, Sally Campbell, M. Jerry McHale, QC, and Joyce W. Bradley, QC.