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Providing opportunities

A Q&A with 2021 J.D. Eaton Award recipient Peg Hunter

Campus and Community

By Ryan Howell

Contributing to the broader community has always run parallel with Peg Hunter’s (B.Comm.(Hons.)(Co-op.)’82 senior executive career.

From establishing a scholarship to creating programs to end youth homelessness and from guest lecturing to serving on advisory boards, generosity is a part of Ms. Hunter’s identity.

She earned the Faculty of Business Administration’s Alumni Honour Award in 2012 and was named an honorary life member of the Canadian Marketing Association in 2014 for her contributions to the marketing community.

In this Gazette Q&A, Memorial’s 2021 J.D. Eaton Award recipient shares how acing an exam changed her career path, how her contributions to Memorial help her stay connected to home and why she’s not finished giving back yet.

RH: What is the most rewarding aspect of the work you do?

PH: I have met some amazing people through my association with Memorial. Some I admire for their accomplishments, some for their stories, some just because they are wonderful humans. It’s inspiring and continuously reinforces why I like being part of it.

“We more than held our own against classmates from universities across Canada.”

When there is an opportunity to positively impact a young person’s journey — by mentoring, in-class lecturing or providing an opportunity of some kind — it is very rewarding.

Especially if it’s encouraging young women to recognize and build on their leadership potential, and seeing it happen. The Alice Buckingham Leadership Award was developed to achieve exactly that — each year the monetary award recognizes a female Business faculty student who has demonstrated leadership in a student-based activity or organization.

RH: Can you recall a particular experience or person who influenced and inspired your work and/or career trajectory during your time at Memorial?

PH: Without a doubt, acing my first marketing exam, completely changed my career path.

Up to that point, I was definitely going to be a lawyer. The whole university experience as a part of the business class of 1982 — academic, student social life, work term, leadership opportunities — set me up well for my career. We had an awesome year!

With that said, sometimes you don’t really appreciate how good something is until you leave it. Four of my graduating classmates landed at the University of Toronto to do our MBA.

It was there that I realized the quality of my Memorial education, as we more than held our own against classmates from universities across Canada. My work-term experience was also instrumental in landing my first career job in brand management in Toronto.

RH: Can you comment on what it means to receive this award?

PH: I have such personal pride in the people and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Memorial is integral to the fabric of the province.

“Memorial has a pivotal role in building the next generation of leaders for the province and beyond.”

For me, it has always been a key lifeline to staying connected to home. It has never been about “giving back” as much as it has been about staying a contributing member of the family.

More than anything, this award shows that alumni contributions, in whatever form, are welcomed and appreciated — and you can do it from afar.

RH: How do you hope to continue contributing to Memorial?

PH: Memorial has a pivotal role in building the next generation of leaders for the province and beyond.

The challenges are daunting and the opportunities great. Innovative approaches will be at the heart of finding a way forward.

I personally believe that a more inclusive, diverse and equitable approach to leadership, and leadership systems, is absolutely required to achieve change for the better.

I’m not surprising anyone by pointing out that women have been woefully under-represented in dominant decision structures — and there is no reasonable argument for this to be perpetuated.

I’ll be the first to put my hand up to help with anything the institution does to cultivate the diverse leadership capacity and capabilities of the next generation.

The 2021 Alumni Tribute Awards will take place on Oct. 27 at the Emera Innovation Exchange and will be livestreamed.

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