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Claudia Hepburn

Photography by Kourosh Keshiri


Executive Director and Co-founder, The Next 36


Hers is regularly praised as one of the best-run charities in the country

On track to raise over $2 million this year

Winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal


Joe Canavan, Chairman and Interim CEO, Children’s Aid Foundation, and CEO, Canavan Capital

From Joe Canavan

As told to Rebecca Eckler

Claudia has been one of my most important friends in the world over the past 20 years. She is a founder, and the driving force behind, Canada’s most im­portant entrepreneurship program, The Next 36. She and her team are transforming young, energetic people into trained business leaders.

Claudia originally got me involved in the Fraser Institute as a donor and board member. It was Claudia who engaged me about the important analysis being done to increase understanding of how economic policy affects Canadians.

A few years ago, we were in New York meeting with politicians and senior banking and law enforcement officials for another ven­ture we were working on. We were stranded with all the airports closed down because of a snowstorm, so I called my wife and told her I could probably rent a car and drive home. She was like, “You’re stuck with Claudia in New York at the Waldorf? Forget about me, enjoy yourself. I’m jealous!”

So we rented rooms, opened a bottle of wine, and had phenomenal discussions about so many issues. If something is going on in the world, Claudia knows about it and can talk intelligently about it. We talked about education, politics and children’s issues and she spoke a lot about wanting to change our country for the better.

Everything she has undertaken in the years I have known her has had a remarkable impact. She is a founding investor and board member of Canada’s most successful national daycare company, Kids & Co., which is grow­ing by 30% per year.

She really stepped up to help with the restructuring of The Children’s Aid Founda­tion by supporting our “Bridging to Indepen­dence” program, which teaches life skills to kids coming out of the child welfare system, so they lead fulfilling, independent lives.

She is a phenomenal role model for young women and her three children learn so much by seeing her in action. She is strong and confident, whether she’s in a room full of politicians, powerful business leaders or philanthropists.

With Claudia behind it, The Next 36 will have a dramatic impact on this country in the next 10 years. These kids are going to be world leading CEOs and major gift donors, because she’s teaching them that they can be and do anything they dream of, that they are worthy, and that it’s important to use your success to give back.