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The Alberta Order of Excellence Council is made up of prominent volunteers who represent Alberta’s diverse backgrounds and geographical regions and demonstrate career and community leadership. Council carries out duties to ensure the Order meets its objectives, including reviewing nominations received from across the province, country and internationally; recommending persons to be granted membership in the Order to the Chancellor; advising the Chancellor on matters concerning the Order; and promoting the Alberta Order of Excellence in the community.
Current members of council
Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani, AOE Chancellor
The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta serves as the Chancellor of the Alberta Order of Excellence.
Salma Lakhani was installed as Alberta’s 19th Lieutenant Governor on August 26, 2020. Her longstanding service as a community leader and volunteer has been guided by her deep commitment to the values of pluralism and inclusion and her dedication to championing those who face barriers in life.
Gary Mar, AOE Council Chair
Gary Mar was named President and CEO of the Canada West Foundation in April 2020. An accomplished and respected leader, Gary brings deep experience in government and business, and established expertise in CWF’s key policy areas in natural resources, trade and investment and human capital.
Gary has broad experience in government having served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the Province of Alberta from 1993-2007. During his time as an elected official, Gary held several Cabinet portfolios – Community Development; Health and Wellness; Education; Environment; and International and Intergovernmental Relations.
From 2007 to 2011, he served as the Official Representative (Minister-Counselor) of the Province of Alberta at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. where he worked extensively with the Alberta energy sector on advocacy issues in Washington DC and many U.S. states. In 2011, he was appointed the Province of Alberta’s Representative in Asia and led the province’s strategic outreach efforts from his post in Hong Kong, frequently working with Alberta’s offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei.
Prior to joining the CWF, Gary served as President and CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), the national trade association representing the service, supply and manufacturing sectors within the upstream petroleum industry. He was also an independent consultant working for both Chinese and Canadian companies seeking assistance with trans-Pacific trade and investment.
Gary has been appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta School of Business in Marketing, Business Economics and Law beginning July 1, 2020. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne Business School.
Gary completed a Law degree at the University of Alberta and has practiced criminal, civil, corporate, commercial, and real estate law.
Diane Ablonczy, AOE Council Member
The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, BEd, LLB, PC, was honoured to represent Calgary constituents in the Parliament of Canada for over two decades. Ms. Ablonczy was first elected in 1993. She later became a key member of the shadow cabinet of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, serving as chief critic for Citizenship and Immigration, Health, and Human Resources Development. Upon her Party forming government in 2006, Ms. Ablonczy was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance. In 2008 she became Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), a position she held until 2010, when she was appointed Minister of State (Seniors). From January 2011 to July 2013, she held the position of Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), representing Canada in the Americas and overseeing consular affairs around the world. Ms. Ablonczy was also a member of a number of Cabinet Committees.
Throughout Ms. Ablonczy’s long political career, she sought to be a strong voice for accountability in government, for fiscal conservatism, and for values underpinning strong, stable families and communities.
Prior to entering political life, Ms. Ablonczy enjoyed a varied career, which ranged from teaching junior high school to managing a grain farm operation to building a successful law practice.
Currently, she coaches in an executive coaching program, participates in a writers’ group, and is a member of the board of the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians.
Ms. Ablonczy lives in Calgary with her husband Ron and has one daughter, four stepchildren, and nine grandchildren.
Jim Boucher, AOE Council Member
Jim Boucher of Fort McKay is a visionary leader and businessman who led Fort McKay First Nation to become one of the most successful and enterprising Indigenous communities in the world. Jim believes practice and preservation of one’s traditional way of life can occur simultaneously alongside continuous and long-term sustainable oil sands development. Jim has effectively built relationships with the oil and gas industry and all levels of government. This has built Fort McKay’s social and economic strength, facilitated proper consultation and advanced the rights of his community and its people.
Jim was born in Fort McKay, Alberta, a community of around 850 Dene, Cree and Métis on the banks of the Athabasca River. He is a direct descendant of Headman Adam Boucher, who signed Treaty 8 on August 4, 1899. Raised by his grandparents, Jim’s first languages were Cree and Dene. The family lived off-the-land with Jim helping on the trap line as a young boy. At 13, Jim and his younger siblings were placed in Blue Quills Indian Residential School in St. Paul, his 3 older sisters having already been sent several years before.
In 1986, Jim was elected as Chief of Fort McKay First Nation (FMFN) after serving on the Council executive. He served as Chief for over 30 years. As Chief, he began helping the community navigate the decline of the fur trade in the early 1980s, and the growth of the oil sands industry, facilitating proper consultation and advancing the rights of his community and the peoples.
In 1986, he established the Fort McKay Group of Companies and numerous First Nation joint ventures. Jim focused on 3 goals: creating employment, building educational opportunities and turning a profit to provide a higher standard of living for the community. Under his leadership FMFN grew into a successful, healthy community with next to zero unemployment, a per capita average household income higher than the Alberta and national average, a $65 million trust fund and control of companies that have generated billions of dollars in revenue, making FMFN a net contributor to Alberta and Canada’s economies.
In 2020, Jim established the Saa Dene Group of Companies. As President and Founder, Jim works with a variety of partners to pursue opportunities in education, health, tech and innovation, and service sectors. Some of those ventures include Maple Maskawâhtik (which is expanding access to virtual care nationwide); Sagekeeper (which is developing educational resources to help Canadians learn more about their history with Indigenous Peoples); and Acceleware | Kisâstwêw (which is improving the environmental and economic performance of the heavy oil and oil sands sector by ensuring that the technology supports ideals important to Indigenous Peoples, including respect for land, water and clean air).
Jim currently serves as an advisor and as a board of director on several private and public companies, non-partisan and purpose-driven organizations. Jim became a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence (AOE) in 2020.
Sharon Carry, AOE Council Member
Sharon devoted more than four decades to a career rooted in her passion for creating opportunities for access and student success at four Alberta postsecondary institutions. Now President Emerita of Bow Valley College, Sharon was hired to lead the college through a transition from a provincially-administered institution to a board-governed college. Over the two decades of her tenure as President and CEO, Bow Valley became the largest and fastest growing college in Alberta, welcoming some 15,000 students from 142 countries each year, while expanding campuses in the region surrounding Calgary and extending educational services to more than 20 other countries.
Building on three degrees from the University of Calgary (BA, BEd, and Masters of Communication Studies), Sharon’s career has led her through progressively more responsible academic and administrative roles at Bow Valley College, Olds College, Mount Royal College (now University) and the University of Calgary. When honoured with a Blackfoot name and headdress, her ceremonialist chose the name Niipaitapiaissksinimatstohki, which translates to Lifelong Educator.
A lifelong committed volunteer in her profession and community, Sharon has been recognized with the Alberta Order of Excellence, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Alberta Centennial Medal, Calgary Award for Education, as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, and with her profession’s national Distinguished Service Award. She has received honourary bachelor’s degrees from Olds College and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and the first honourary Masters of Fine Arts degree awarded by the Alberta College of Art and Design (now Alberta University of the Arts).
A resident of Cochrane, where she is still close to her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren in Calgary, Sharon also serves as a Director of the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation; as Past Chapter Chair of the International Women’s Forum; and as a Member of the YWCA Calgary Board, Governance Committee and YW Transformation Campaign Advisory Committee.
Brian Hodgson, AOE Council Member
Brian Hodgson of Edmonton was an Intelligence Officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). He saw duty in the Service’s Counter Espionage, Counter Terrorism and Security Screening Branches. He left CSIS in 1992 to become the Sergeant-at-Arms with the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, a position he held until 2019. He also served as the Assembly’s Director of Visitor, Ceremonial and Security Services and as the first president of the Canadian Association of Sergeants-at-Arms.
Brian has a life-time of Reserve Army service. In 1979 he joined the South Alberta Light Horse (Royal Canadian Armoured Corps). Lieutenant-Colonel Hodgson commanded his regiment, which is split between Edmonton and Medicine Hat, from 1996 to 2000. In 2004 he volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan. He continues to serve on the South Alberta Light Horse Regiment Foundation.
He is a graduate of the University of Alberta, Sir William Stephenson Academy, Canadian Forces’ Reserve Command and Staff College in Kingston, and of the Joint Reserve Command and Staff College in Toronto.
He is a past-president the Edmonton Robert Burns’ Club and Edmonton Sir Winston Churchill Society and a former board member of the Edmonton United Services Institute, Churchill College Cambridge Scholarship Fund, the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame Dinner Committee, HM The Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Dinner Committees, the Vestry Committee of All Saints’ Anglican Cathedral, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (Cavalry) Association, the Capital Health Foundation and CARE Canada. He was formerly a member of the Edmonton Police Foundation, Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police and Whitemud Equestrian Learning Centre Association.
Currently Brian is Chair of the Edmonton Salutes Committee, Salvation Army Edmonton Advisory Board, and Nancy Fairley Scholarship Fund. He is also on the boards of the Canada West Military Museums and the Northern Alberta Military Museum Initiative and serves as a Trustee for the Loyal Edmonton Regiment Museum.
In 2008 he was elected as Fellow Royal Canadian Geographical Society (FRCGS) and in 2009 was elected as a Governor (board member) RCGS. In 2020 he was awarded the RCGS Joseph Bernier Medal. Brian also has received the Canada 125 Medal, Queen Elizabeth’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals and the Alberta Centennial Medal.
His interests are varied and include cycling, travel, skiing, fox hunting and upland game bird shooting, fly-fishing, bagpipes, reading and anything to do with horses and the family ranch. He holds a skeleton sled competitors’ licence and represented his regiment in international show jumping competition on numerous occasions. Brian is also a free-lance writer. His numerous articles and book reviews have been published in the National Post, the Edmonton Journal, and the Calgary Herald.
Patricia M. Moore, AOE Council Member
Patricia Moore is the representative from Calgary.
Patricia Moore of Calgary is a lifelong Albertan and former teacher whose generosity of spirit has changed the face of giving in the province as a dedicated philanthropist and hands-on volunteer.
As a teacher in Lethbridge, Stony Plain, Edmonton and Calgary, Patricia was known as a “mentor extraordinaire.” After she retired from teaching in 1993, she turned her full attention to building healthier and more connected places to live.
It all started more than 50 years ago, at a time when there were no women's shelters in Edmonton. That’s when Patricia and friend Barbara Poole (AOE 2004) joined forces. They helped form the Edmonton Women’s Shelter (now WIN House) to ensure that homeless women had a place to rest and receive information about social assistance.
Patricia has been deeply committed to a diverse range of community organizations. She has served on boards and committees of the Calgary Science Centre, Calgary Zoo, Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Snyder Institute, Calgary Public Library Foundation, Momentum, the National Theatre School of Canada and the Faculty of Education of the University of Alberta. Patricia’s dedication has also seen her spearhead multiple fundraising campaigns that led to improved public services in Alberta.
In recognition of her extensive community involvement, Patricia has received numerous awards. In 1997, she received the YWCA Lifetime Achievement Award, clearly demonstrating that she had already done a lifetime’s worth of work more than 20 years ago. She has also received the Harry and Martha Cohen Award from Alberta Theatre Projects, the Kay Pringle Award from the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and the Builder Award from the Calgary Public Library.
In 2018, Patricia was named an Officer of the Order Canada. The award recognizes her for her lifelong involvement in her community, and for her fundraising and philanthropic efforts to strengthen her community’s cultural and social fabric.
The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta serves as Chancellor of the Alberta Order of Excellence. Chancellors automatically become members of the Order.