minerva bc three women happily conversing

Our History


our story

In our future, women and girls, in all their diversity, have equal power in decision-making spaces. With that vision in mind, Minerva has spent over two decades working to change the face of leadership through education, mentorship, training, and advocacy delivered through a gender lens. But, there is still work to be done. Women deserve more, and organizations can do more to create unobstructed journeys to leadership for everyone — so our mission to drive change continues.

Minerva was born out of an understanding of what it’s like to be the first, and often the only woman at the leadership table. Our founders learned to navigate a workplace that wasn’t built for them, but they didn’t want future generations to experience the same barriers they did. They recognized that our potential is greater when each of our leadership journeys — whether bumpy, curved, or paved — is unobstructed.

Today, we continue the work they started, enabling paths to leadership that are without gender, without bias, and without limits. We hope you’ll join us.

minerva bc three founders of minerva women smiling together

minerva milestones

Follow our journey and mission from past to present


The Beginning

BC’s Minister for Women’s Equality, Sue Hammell, is inspired to create a non-partisan, province-wide foundation to help raise funds for women’s issues. She meets with Nancy McKinstry, VP at Odlum Brown, to explore the idea.


The Launch

After being incorporated as a registered charity, Minerva officially launches with a fundraising event at Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. The Education Awards and Community Grants are established as the first programs.


Program Development

Minerva develops Learning to Lead™, Follow-A-Leader™, Minerva Helping Women Work™, Women In™ and Women Leading the Way™ programs and events. Combining Our Strength™ begins in 2007 as a partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous women to advance leadership, economic security, and education. The COS Council is formed.


The Vision

Minerva introduces a new vision statement: “To change the face of leadership in BC.”


The Face of Leadership

Board member, Bob Elton, leads initial research into the Face of Leadership in BC report. Minerva presents the initial findings at the first Face of Leadership conference.


The Scorecard

Minerva publishes the first annual BC Scorecard measuring the representation of women in BC’s top companies. CEOs are asked to pledge their support for gender equality.


Minerva launches several new programs and events including WE for SHE NextGen Leaders, Indigenous Roots, and the Inclusive Leadership Forum.


The Rebrand

Minerva board and team create a Theory of Change and three-year strategic plan. Minerva undergoes a rebrand and implements a new visual identity, refreshed website, to reflect our clarity of purpose.

leading her way


the face of leadership

Identifying strategies to champion equity and accelerate the pace of change in collaboration with the business community.

the FOL scorecard

Measuring the representation of women and Indigenous peoples on corporate boards, and in senior executive leadership in BC’s largest companies.

combining our strength™

Creating connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous women through culturally relevant career and leadership programming.

making change happen


Investing in women’s education and leadership development positively impacts communities. This has been proven at a local, national, and global level — yet no country in the world has successfully closed the gender gap. Current estimates from the World Economic Forum suggest that it will take another 169 years to close the gender gap globally.

Since 1999, Minerva has been doing everything we can to accelerate the pace of change and advance economic and leadership opportunities for self-identifying women and girls.

  • We have raised over $10M to support leadership development programs

  • We have raised over $2M to support women’s education

  • We have published several in-depth research reports to measure and showcase progress

  • We have created evidence-based programs and events for women, youth, and allies, serving over 8,500 people

“We have touched so many lives in so many ways. The ripple effect is phenomenal.”

- Nancy McKinstry

insights and inspiration

meet our alumni

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