Canadian Lawyer

March 2022

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

Issue link: http://digital.canadianlawyermag.com/i/1455045

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 37 of 51

FEATURE 36 www.canadianlawyermag.com GC PROFILE "As far as we're concerned, external counsel are ambassadors of our brand, and they need to reflect our values, so I make a point of thinking about the background of each of the people that's at the table" joining RioCan. These include the 2019 Canadian Lawyer Innovatio award for Law Department Management, and being named a Female Trailblazer Excellence Awardee at the 2021 Canadian Law Awards. Suess' remit includes overseeing a size- able legal department and administration and insurance teams, and she is also corpo- rate secretary for all of RioCan's board- based initiatives. Since joining the organization, Suess has created a fully integrated full-service legal department, meaning that every business unit has a dedicated legal support person. From the inception of an idea to its execu- tion, the business unit partners with a legal team member. "It's been a really lovely transition to see in the last five years. It's no longer a ques- tion. It's a given that legal will be at the table to help develop and execute the strategy at every step," says Suess. Among her recent projects, Suess is proud of an investor outreach program that solicits feedback from the investment community to help improve the program. The Board of Trustees announced several critical changes to the executive compensation program in October 2021 to respond to investor concerns, which required considerable input from the legal team. When selecting external counsel partners, Suess evaluates the interested parties, looking for creative, innovative, entre- preneurial, hard-working and responsive people who are also reflective of the diver- sity of RioCan. "As far as we're concerned, external counsel are ambassadors of our brand, and they need to reflect our values, so I make a point of thinking about the background of each of the people that's at the table with us, and no longer taking for granted that the person at the table is necessarily the only qualified person," she says. "I think it's incumbent on in-house counsel to make sure that they are actually seeking diverse opinions from their external counsel." A key goal for Suess in 2022 is to keep her team motivated and engaged while remaining agile and prepared for uncertain- ties. After two years of working harder than ever before, the team will stay connected remotely until returning to an office envi- ronment is safe. "Sometimes being bold means saying that you don't know what's going to happen. For a long time, we tried to make predictions about dates and return to office, but the truth is nobody knows," says Suess. "As we move into 2022, my hope is that people in my team understand that we will always be transparent and communicative, but the key is to be adaptable." FACT FILE Attended University of Windsor, 1999 – 2002 Member of Sick Kids Foundation Cabinet 2021 Canadian Law Awards Excellence Awardee, Female Trailblazer Winner – 2019 Canadian Lawyer Innovatio award for Law Department Management Winner – 2020 and 2019 GC Powerlist Canada, Legal 500

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Canadian Lawyer - March 2022