Annette Verschuren, O.C., LL.D., B.B.A.
Annette Verschuren was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, November 9, “in recognition of her outstanding contributions to entrepreneurship and sustainability in Canada and globally.”
A native of North Sydney, N.S., Annette Verschuren is Chair and CEO of NRStor Inc., a new venture accelerating the commercialization of energy storage technologies.
Ms. Verschuren was formerly president of The Home Depot Canada and Asia, overseeing the growth of the company’s Canadian operations from 19 to 180 stores between 1996 and 2011 and leading the company’s entry into China. She began her career as a development officer with the Cape Breton Development Corporation and held various executive positions with Canada Development Investment Corporation and Imasco Ltd. Ms. Verschuren was president and co-owner of Michaels of Canada, the country’s largest chain of arts and crafts stores.
In 2010, she was inducted into both Canada’s Marketing Hall of Legends and the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame. In 2006, Wilfrid Laurier University named her Outstanding Business Leader of the Year and, in 2005, the Retail Council of Canada named her distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year. She sits on a number of boards, including Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Air Canada, Saputo, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation (CAMH) and the Conference Board of Canada.
Verschuren was appointed chancellor of Cape Breton University in 2004.
In 2011, Ms. Verschuren was honoured as an Officer of The Order of Canada for her contribution to the retail industry and Corporate Social Responsibility.
She holds honorary doctorate degrees from Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University and St. Francis Xavier University. Ms. Verschuren and her husband, Stan Shibinsky, live in Toronto.
Zita Cobb, B.Comm.
Zita Cobb was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, at the 2:30 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, November 9, “in recognition of her exceptional career as an entrepreneur and for her outstanding commitment to philanthropy.”
Zita Cobb grew up in Joe Batt’s Arm, a community of 700 people located on Fogo Island, off the northeast coast of Newfoundland. She went on to a financial career initially in the oil and gas industry. She later moved into high-technology and was the chief financial officer of JDS Fitel, and senior vice president of strategy for NASDAQ-traded, fiber optics innovator JDS Uniphase.
Ms. Cobb retired in 2001 to sail and to focus on her philanthropic work. She is keenly interested in the well-being of rural communities and holding on to ways of knowing. She believes in the transformational power of the arts, business innovation and social entrepreneurship as tools for community well-being.
She is the visionary and chief agitator behind the Shorefast Foundation. Shorefast leads a number of innovative projects aimed at the cultural and economic resiliency for Fogo Island and Change Islands. The recently launched Fogo Island Inn is a Shorefast initiative. She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth 1l Diamond Jubilee Medal.