Congratulations to the 2020 Recipient of the Donna S. Finley Leadership Award

Congratulations to Ariel Clipperton who is the 2020 recipient of the Donna S. Finley Leadership Award. Ariel will be attending The University of Toronto in Fall 2020 to begin studying architecture. Ariel is a Grade 12 student at CFIS whose poster was also selected by the Calgary Stampede as its 2020 Poster. “It’s a beautiful piece of art that certainly represents the Western culture of the world-famous Calgary Stampede rodeo, but we’ve also said it’s about the student as well and Ariel did a wonderful job all the way through the program. We could tell that she was going to be a great ambassador for the Calgary Stampede” – Dana Peers, Calgary Stampede President. Congratulations Ariel, we wish you nothing but success in your future endeavors!

Donna’s transformational work at CFIS:

The Award was developed as a tribute to our Founder Donna Finley for her outstanding volunteer service and dedication to the Calgary French & International School (CFIS). As the volunteer President & CEO of CFIS, Donna led three volunteer boards and numerous committees and staff through the conception and realization of not only a new vision for the school; however, also the design, financing, and construction of a new $20M facility over a six-year period. Efforts included organizational restructuring (including the introduction of the Foundation and Endowment Boards) and repositioning (i.e., vision, program expansion, image, branding, and pricing), major fund-raising, marketing strategy, recruitment and succession planning, and governance & policy renewal.

The project was delivered on time and on budget, with a high degree of parent satisfaction and community collaboration. CFIS was a benchmark used by the City of Calgary and the Provincial Government as a P3 (Public, Private Partnership) success. In recognition of Donna’s leadership role, Donna was nominated for The Conference Board of Canada’s Global Best Award for Partnerships in Business and Education in 2004.


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