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Dean, Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario

By: Kate Robertson

Combining her business knowledge and experience with her drive to make a positive impact, Carol Stephenson is working to further improve the education of students at the University of Western Ontario’s business school.

Stephenson became Dean of the Richard Ivey School of Business in 2003, and brought 30 years of experience to her position. She initially embarked on a career in business at Bell Canada in 1973, where she worked her way up from a variety of management roles to executive positions by 1988. She later served as the president and CEO of Stentor Resource Centre Inc., and specialized in marketing and technology development for a large consolidated group of nine telecommunications companies. After leaving Stentor in 1999, she became the president and CEO of Lucent Technologies Canada, a spin-off of AT&T. Under her leadership and despite a slump in the industry, the company tripled its market share.

Within two years as Dean at Ivey, Stephenson had blazed a trail for significant changes at the reputable institution. In September 2005, with Stephenson’s leadership, Ivey began to transform the face of business education, with a comprehensive redesign of its programs, research and organization. Launching their Cross-Enterprise Leadership program allowed high-achieving students who want to gain a business perspective across a variety of levels, the opportunity to form big picture strategies and view the larger consequences of decision-making. As a CEO in telecommunications, an industry defined by the impact of globalization, competition and disruptive technology, Stephenson experienced first-hand the critical need for an organization to have managers with the capacity to think, act and lead across the organization. She also recognizes the nuances of working in a globalized and often consolidated business environment, and led Ivey to launch their 12-month, intensive MBA program.

In 2009, Stephenson was given one of the highest honours a Canadian civilian can achieve and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the development of our national telecommunications industry and for her work at Ivey. In 2005 Stephenson was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Canadian Information Productivity Awards, and in 2008 she was inducted into Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame.

Stephenson has sat on 27 boards for a variety of companies and government committees. She was appointed a board member for General Motors Company in 2009. Stephenson, who had been a member of the GM Canada Advisory Board, was nominated by the Canadian and provincial governments to sit on the 13-member board. She is the only Canadian representative. Calling it “a very interesting and historic time to be involved in the auto sector,” Stephenson has said her main goal is to restore the company to profitability.

Stephenson is a director of Intact Financial Services Corporation and Manitoba Telecom Services Inc., as well as a chair of the Ontario Research Fund Advisory Board and of the Federal Government’s Advisory Committee on Senior Level Retention and Compensation. In November 2006, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Olympic Games Organizing Committee (VANOC).

Stephenson is originally from Petrolia, Ontario, and graduated with a bachelor of arts from the University of Toronto. From there, she went on to the University of California at Berkeley where she completed the Executive Program at the Graduate School of Business Administration before she attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.