Culture in the Boardroom

May 16, 2022

Different organizations have different boardroom cultures, which can influence decision-making and the overall company culture. Understanding underlying culture – those unwritten, often even unspoken norms upon which all else is built – is essential to governance success.

Our Fireside Chat Features:

Martine Irman

Board Chair – Export Development Canada
Former Vice Chair – TD Securities

Hilary Foulkes

Board Chair – Enerplus
Chair & Senior Advisor – Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. Securities
Former EVP & COO – Penn West Exploration

Michelle Edkins

Managing Director – BlackRock, Investment Stewardship
Former Corporate Director – Hermes Investment Management

Moderated by:

Heather Culbert

Co-Founder/Board Chair – Board Ready Women & Axis Connects

We are so excited to invite you to join our next Board Ready Women event on May 16th, 2022 from 4 to 6 pm, MST.


In-person registration starts at 4:00 pm, with the Panel starting at 4:30 pm.

In Person & Online Webinar

Different organizations have different boardroom cultures, which can influence decision-making and the overall company culture.  Understanding underlying culture – those unwritten, often even unspoken norms upon which all else is built – is essential to governance success.

We are thrilled to be hosting another exciting session with an impressive set of panelists, Michelle Edkins, Martine Irman and Hilary Foulkes, on the topic of Culture in the Boardroom. Our objective is to discuss some of the critical components of healthy board culture and ideas on how to address challenges in the Boardroom.

The event will be hosted in-person in Calgary and virtually. In-person tickets are limited so register early! To submit your questions for our panelists, please email us at

For in-person attendees:

BRW Associates/Members – Free

Non-members – $25/person

Post-event Notes

A huge thanks to our wonderful panelists Martine Irman, Michelle Edkins and Hilary Foulkes, for a very open, insightful discussion on the topic of Culture in the Boardroom. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and insights, and most importantly, for sharing your precious time. We were thrilled to have such a great panel! A special thank you to our generous sponsor McCarthy Tétrault Calgary for hosting another event for us!

Some Of Your Comments:​

  • Great event. It was my first time attending.
  • Thank you for the event – I left energized and excited to learn more.
  • Lots of great instances and scenarios that can happen on a board and the advice on how best to address those issues.
  • The panelists were so genuine and honest.  It was refreshing and they provide some very insightful tidbits.
  • The entire experience was impressive!
  • I have been looking for information on being on a board and loved every min. of it. as it was very informational.
  • Excellent speakers and a great topic. Thank you!
  • I was pleasantly surprised with the openness of attendees.  I only just stepped onto the elevator when ladies started introducing themselves to me, and everyone was happy to connect.  So very welcoming!  A far cry from so many industry events where people tend to cling in groups and only chat with the people they already know.

Speakers' Bios:

Hilary Foulkes,

Board Chair, Enerplus Corp.

Hilary began her career over 40 years ago as a geologist, working in northern exploration camps then transitioning to the oil and gas sector and making Calgary home. She worked on the oil rigs and had technical roles in resource development and corporate planning for many years before moving to financial advisory work.  The evolution from technical to strategy and leadership roles led to executive positions in both investment banking and oil and gas operations, including Managing Director at Scotiabank and Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for Penn West Exploration. She founded the Canadian platform for Tudor Pickering Holt & Co., a U.S. based energy investment bank and remains a senior advisor to the firm.

Hilary served on several charitable, public, and private equity boards prior to her current role as Board Chair for Enerplus Corporation, a public oil and gas producer listed on Toronto and New York stock exchanges; and Board Chair of “Let’s Talk Science”, a national not-for-profit that creates and delivers science-based programming to children and youth across Canada.

A Deloitte Women of Influence Speaker and University of Waterloo Distinguished Alumni, Hilary is a committed mentor and passionate promoter of education and science literacy. She is a lifetime member of both the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta and the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists. She is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors, the National Association of Corporate Directors, and Board Ready Women.


Michelle Edkins,

Managing Director, BlackRock, Investment Stewardship Team

Michelle Edkins is a Managing Director in BlackRock’s Investment Stewardship team of 70 specialists covering the Americas; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Asia-Pacific.  The team engages companies and others in the investment stewardship ecosystem to promote the governance and business practices aligned with long-term value creation by the companies in which BlackRock invests on behalf of clients.  Michelle is responsible globally for institutional relations, policy on investment stewardship issues, and communications related to BlackRock’s investment stewardship perspectives and activities. She also serves on the firm’s Global Operating and Government Relations Steering Committees. She is an alumna of BlackRock’s Women’s Leadership Forum, Enterprise Leadership Program and Human Capital Committee.

Michelle is an active participant in the public corporate governance debate and regularly speaks and writes on the importance of good stewardship for company performance.  She was named in the NACD (the US National Association of Corporate Directors) Directorship 100 Governance Professionals list for the past seven years.  She is Chair of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a former Chair of the International Corporate Governance Network and an Aspen Institute First Movers’ Fellow.  She currently serves on a number of industry initiatives to enhance governance and sustainable business practices including the US chapter of the 30% Club, a market initiative to increase the number of women on boards and in senior management, and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Investor Advisory Group.

Prior to joining BlackRock in 2009, Michelle was Managing Director at Governance for Owners, an independent partnership offering products that support responsible long-term share ownership.  She started her corporate governance career in the UK in 1997 at Hermes Pensions Management, where she spent eight years, initially as the head of the corporate governance team and thereafter as Director of Institutional Relations.  An economist by training, Michelle has also worked for New Zealand’s Reserve Bank and the British High Commission in Wellington.  She lives in New York with her husband and two children.


BlackRock’s purpose is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. As a fiduciary to investors and a leading provider of financial technology, our clients turn to us for the solutions they need when planning for their most important goals. As of January 2022, the firm managed $10 trillion in assets on behalf of investors worldwide. For additional information on BlackRock, please visit

Martine Irman,

Board Chair of Export Development Canada

Ms. Irman is a senior financial executive.  Along with over 30 years’ experience in International Banking, Treasury, Securities and Trade, she has also spent 20 years sitting on both Corporate and Not-for-Profit boards along with Executive Advisory Councils.

As Vice Chair, TD Securities and Senior Vice President, TD Bank Group, Martine held several senior level positions during her 30-year career with TD.  Ms. Irman has a proven leadership and performance track record, and she was a valued contributor to the firm’s senior management team. Before joining TD, she heldincreasingly senior treasury related roles at CCL Industries

Martine currently sits as an Independent Director of the Board of the TMX Group of Companies and Chair of the Board for Export Development Canada. Martine values community involvement and is known as a strong leader and mentor for women in the investment industry as well as engagement in giving back to her community through historical and current leadership roles like in the United Way of Toronto and as Past Chair of the Board of the YMCA of Greater Toronto. She also sits on the Board of St-Michael’s Hospital Foundation and the Campaign Committee of MAP Centre For Urban Health Solutions.

A graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Martine holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Financial Studies.  She has also completed The Wharton Business School Advanced Management Executive Program at the University of Pennsylvania.  Martine is a graduate of the Rotman School of Management Institute of Corporate Directors and holds the ICD.D certification. Martine is bilingual in both French and English.

Martine has the distinction of being honoured as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 and was recognized for both her professional excellence and leadership by Women in Capital Markets and the Brock University’s Goodman School of Business, Distinguished Leader award. She is currently volunteering as Honorary Mentor at McGill/HEC EMBA Class of 2022.