Susan A. Thompson, O.M., LL.D.
Susan Thompson is a well-known and highly regarded leader and made many firsts in Manitoba history. She is a proud Winnipegger, a proud Manitoban and a proud Canadian. Thompson was Winnipeg’s first, so far only female mayor, elected in 1992 and again in 1995. Among other trailblazing achievements, she was the first woman to own her own family business, the first woman Rotarian in Manitoba, the first woman Consul General at the Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis, and the first woman and founding president of the University of Winnipeg Foundation.
In Thompson’s autobiography “Her Worship: Moments in History, Moments in Time”, she describes many moments that demonstrate her leadership and reflect the spirit of Nellie McClung. In fact, she shares a great story in a chapter leading up to her victory as mayor whereby all mayoral candidates attended a forum at the Walker Theatre. While sitting on the stage and waiting for her turn to speak, Thompson reflected on the fact that this was where Nellie McClung presented her parody about women’s right to vote. She understood the significance of this great historical event for our province that took place in 1914, and for the first time in the campaign, allowed herself to think ahead and believe that history could be made again.
Thompson was faced with many issues during her time as mayor. Most significantly, she led the city of Winnipeg in a fight for its life during the 1997 Flood of the Century. With the help of a tremendous team from all levels of government, including the Canadian Armed Forces, Winnipeg was relatively unscathed once the crest reached the city. Thompson recalls this time as one that showed how strong and resilient the citizens of Winnipeg are and will always remember the kindness of others during this difficult time in the history of our city.
Among other achievements that has impacted our city is Thompson’s hard work and determination as a fundraiser. As president and CEO of the University of Winnipeg Foundation, Thompson helped to achieve a record-breaking fundraising campaign, the largest in the university’s history. And most recently, and still to this day, she is involved in fundraising for the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s new Inuit Art Centre, Qaumajuq, which opened in March 2021. Thompson coordinated the opening.
As Thompson states in her book “Every chapter of my life has been done with 100 per cent commitment and devotion to the cause at hand.”