Bonnie DuPont blazes a trail, in Calgary and across Canada, and invites us to join her on the journey.
A pioneer as an executive in the energy and agriculture sectors, throughout her professional life she has consistently been the “first woman” to tackle traditionally male roles.
Bonnie was the first woman elected to the Board of the Calgary Petroleum Club, which had previously not allowed female guests or members, and she went on to serve as the first female president of that organization.
In 2012, she became the first woman to chair the Board of Governors at University of Calgary and was instrumental in hiring Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, the University’s first female president.
Bonnie has influenced a number of sectors, serving on the boards of The Bank of Canada, NAV CANADA, Bird Construction and Viterra.
While her success may have appeared inevitable from the outside, it wasn’t without difficulty, Bonnie says.
Her biggest challenge came with the struggle that many women face, balancing her career aspirations with a good family life. Guilt was a constant, worrying that she wasn’t doing enough for her family while at the same time compelled to do more at work.
“I have been driven by anxiety. We all have those little voices that come from our parents and my little voice says, ‘always make a contribution, always do your best, always add – never subtract,’” she says.
Her contributions extend well beyond the executive suite and Bonnie has shared her expertize and guidance with the wider community, volunteering as Committee Chair with the United Way of Calgary and as a member of the cabinet for the Banff Centre Capital Campaign.
She continues to focus on mentoring women, with a goal of opening doors for those who come after her.
“I had a model I used: I might be the first, but I better not be the last. My rule was to always try to lift other women,” she says. “I never left a situation where there weren’t a lot more women moving up.”