2020 Resource Leadership Award
Nancy C. Southern,
Chair & Chief Executive Officer, ATCO Ltd.
Executive Chair, Canadian Utilities Limited
Nancy Southern is Chair & Chief Executive Officer of ATCO Ltd., as well as Executive Chair of Canadian Utilities Limited, an ATCO company. Reporting to the Boards of Directors, she has full responsibility for executing the strategic direction for both companies, and for the ongoing operations of ATCO.
After joining the ATCO Board of Directors in 1989, Ms. Southern served as Co-Chair of ATCO for 16 years prior to being elected Chair in December 2012. Ms. Southern was named President & Chief Executive Officer of ATCO Ltd. in 2003. She serves on the boards of all ATCO subsidiary companies. Ms. Southern also serves as Executive Vice President of Spruce Meadows and is a Founding Director of AKITA Drilling Ltd., a Director of Sentgraf Enterprises Limited, an Honorary Director of the BMO Financial Group and serves on the Rideau Hall Foundation Board of Directors.
In addition to her business leadership, Ms. Southern has long played a leading role in advocating on social issues of global importance – most notably, the rights of Indigenous peoples and the role of women in business. She is an Honorary Chief of the Kainai (Blood Tribe of Alberta) and was given the name Aksistoowa’paakii, or Brave Woman in 2012. In 2015, at the request of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ms. Southern joined 100 global leaders for the G7 Forum for Dialogue with Women in Berlin.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Southern has served with some of the world’s most prestigious and influential organizations. She is a member of The U.S. Business Council, a member of the American Society of Corporate Executives, a Canadian Member of the Trilateral Commission and a member of the South Australian Minerals and Petroleum Expert Group. She is also a member of the Business Council of Canada, serves as Vice Chair of the Alberta Business Council and sits on the University of Calgary School of Public Policy Advisory Council. In March of 2020, Ms. Southern joined the Premier’s Economic Recovery Council with other policy and industry experts providing insight and strategies to accelerate diversification of Alberta’s economy.
In October 2020, Ms. Southern was honoured with the British Empire Medal for services to British equestrian, military and commercial interests in Alberta. In 2018, the University of Calgary School of Public Policy honoured her with the “Distinguished Policy Fellow Award”, in recognition of her lifetime commitment to Canadian public policy. Earlier that year, she received the “Canadian Business Leader Award” from the University of Alberta School of Business and its Business Advisor Council – making history as the first second-generation recipient of that honour. She was inducted as a Companion into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 2017. In that same year, in recognition of her achievements in economics and industry, Ms. Southern was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Western University. In 2014, the University of Calgary awarded her its highest academic honour, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree bestowed in recognition of notable achievements and community service. In 2013, she received the “T. Patrick Boyle Founder’s Award” from the Fraser Institute for her entrepreneurial achievements and recognized accomplishments in the promotion of freedom and free markets. In 2012, Canada’s Public Policy Forum awarded Ms. Southern the “Peter Lougheed Award for Leadership in Public Policy”.
In 2016, Ms. Southern was included in Fortune’s list of the “50 Most Powerful Women” outside of the U.S. and recognized by the Financial Post Magazine’s “The Power List”. Previously, she was also included in Fortune’s list of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business: The Global 50” and named as one of “The 50 Most Important People in Canada” in Maclean’s Magazine. In 2011, she was selected as “Business Person of the Year” by Alberta Venture Magazine and in 2005, was selected “Business Woman of the Year” by the Consumer’s Choice Awards.
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Ms. Southern studied Economics and Commerce at the University of Calgary.