Mentor of Distinction
Robert Rivard, Barrister & Solicitor at Calgary law firm McConnell MacInnes, is someone who gladly puts his money where his heart is.
A generous supporter of Operation Minerva for over five years, he initially got involved through his sister-in law, Micheline Rivard, BSc. BEd., who has been a volunteer mentor with the program for 15 years.
“Micheline is very active in Operation Minerva, and I got involved because I wanted to support my sister-in-law. I thought it was a very meaningful organization that was obviously creating satisfying experiences for everyone who participated,” Rivard says. Over the years, he has made several financial contributions toward the growth of Operation Minerva and this year, is supplementing his personal support by contributing sponsor gifts.
Although a law practice seems far removed from the science lab, Rivard feels a sense of pride and responsibility in supporting Operation Minerva.
“Because I don’t work in the field, I’m not certain what residue of prejudice may occur with respect to women in science. But to the extent that there may be, I’m happy to put some energy into eradicating it,” he says. I believe that if we don’t support endeavors such as this, we’re cheating ourselves as a society by not allowing the very best people to get the very best positions.”
Rivard is the proud father of two daughters, Delaney, 15, and Keelin, 14. Last year, Keelin participated in Operation Minerva’s job shadowing program and as a future veterinarian, found the entire experience to be invaluable.
“She really enjoyed the job shadowing,” Rivard recalls, noting that being a father of two young women is the best motivator to championing a program that is designed to open eyes, open minds and eventually, open doors. “Many men out there have daughters and certainly, we would want to see a level playing field for them. We would certainly not want them to face any additional impediments to the challenges that already exist,” he says.
It’s important to show our support of programs like Operation Minerva as they enable the best people, regardless of gender, to arrive at whatever position that their abilities and dreams take them to.