Breaking boundaries and traditional roles through scholarship
by Patty Mah
Building gender representation in a male dominated industry
Historically, roles within the finance industry have been dominated by men with very little representation from women. Lana Paton’s (BMath ’93, National Managing Partner, Business Units, PwC Canada), generous gift to establish the Lana Paton Women in Finance Scholarship hopes to bridge this gap.
“I chose to make a gift to encourage more women to study and stay in finance. To have women who want to study and understand finance and are really drawn into this field, adds so much richness in terms of diversity, of thought, and of different perspectives that women can bring to our community.”
Scholarships like the one Paton has established addresses both a historic and present-day under representation. The award aligns with the mandate of the Ontario Human Rights Code’s Special Programs, which aspires to ensure that women have access to resources to help them participate in particular fields of studies with confidence. Having female representation in under-represented fields of study, like finance, benefits both society and the field/industry itself by creating robust thought leadership and leveraging the knowledge and perspectives that women can bring and participate in all levels within the work force and particularly in senior leadership.
This past year, the University of Waterloo has established awards for women in a number of areas, including Women in Computer Science, Women in Math, Women in Technology (CS and engineering) and now, Women in Finance.
“I was inspired to give because I see how few women stay in the career of finance, and that’s why I chose to give,” notes Paton.
The establishment of these gender-focused scholarships will have an exponential impact in encouraging young women to pursue careers in these fields and become role models in industries where female leadership can be few and far between. The scholarship will provide relief from financial burdens to enable bright, young women to focus on their studies to develop their skills and knowledge with confidence to truly make a positive impact in under-represented fields.
“As a successful alumna from the School, SAF thanks Lana for her inspirational gift to encourage more women to study and have successful careers in finance,” states Sheilaah Guthrie, SAF Associate Director of Advancement. “Your support will help pave the way for our female students to lead and succeed in the field of Finance. The legacy you have created will help many students for years to come and challenge others to give.”
Lana is a 1993 University of Waterloo graduate, holding a Bachelor of Math degree. She attained her CPA, CA designation in 1994.
As the National Managing Partner of PwC’s Business Units, Lana oversees the Consulting, Tax, Assurance and Deals businesses. She works closely with PwC’s business unit leaders to help navigate change and solve important problems.
Prior to her current role, Lana was the National Tax Leader for PwC, building diverse teams and using technology to help businesses reimagine the future of tax. She has also led PwC’s energy, utilities, mining and industrials products (EUMI) practice, where she focused on broad business issues and practical client solutions.
Beyond her day job, Lana is a director with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and is involved in the Greek Community and Math in Motion. In 2017 she was recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by Women's Executive Network and in 2018 she received the Hellenic Canadian Board of Trade Business Award.
Lana Paton - Transcript