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Forty Under 40 Award winner Q&A: Morgan McDonald

This year’s cohort of recipients will be celebrated at an event Feb. 7, 2024

BIV is recognizing Morgan McDonald, partner and co-chair of emerging growth and venture capital at DLA Piper (Canada) LLP, and 39 other exceptional business leaders as part of the 2023 Forty Under 40 Awards cohort.

Longer Q&As with each recipient are included in BIV's annual Forty Under 40 Magazine (out in print Dec. 11). Award winners will be celebrated at an awards gala Feb. 7, 2024.

This profile may have been edited for length and clarity.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

Launching the Black and Indigenous Business Law Clinic at DLA Piper (Canada) LLP in 2020. We're now operating in B.C. and Ontario, providing Black and Indigenous-run businesses with pro bono corporate and commercial advice, and running business education seminars to help first-time business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs understand the risks they should keep in mind as they start or grow their business. I'm keen to grow the clinic's reach to more participants and locations.

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Switching firms at around 40 weeks pregnant to take a new opportunity. I knew this would require a certain level of rebuilding my book and practice with a new baby (during COVID). This was very hard to do, but looking back I am confident I could do so again, which is an empowering feeling.

How do you lead?

I would prefer to consider myself as a part of a team, where delegation comes with support in reaching a solution, but not control over how to get there. I try to ensure anyone feels comfortable asking questions or challenging my thoughts on how to get a task done. That mindset allows me to learn from everyone I work with, regardless of seniority, and hopefully instills confidence in teammates to come up with solutions rather than simply execute how I would.

What is the biggest lesson you've learned in business?

If you can remain positive and focus on a solution and not the frustration that builds up around a problem, you can usually reroute a discussion and lead parties through a disagreement.

Best piece of advice ever received?

From my dad: Attitude matters. You can control how most things impact you with your reaction, attitude and perspective. Similarly, from my parents: If you focus on doing the right thing, you should hopefully not regret the results.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

You'll get there, take a breath.

What's left to accomplish?

Lots? I'm not that old yet! I feel like I'm just getting started, so I hope to continue to grow our practice supporting entrepreneurs, portfolio companies and investors. Outside of that, I'd love to get more involved on boards and strategic decision making in various entities. Finally, continuing to ensure I make the most of precious time with family and loved ones.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or acknowledge?

I'd thank my mom and dad for my worth ethic and opportunities; my brother for my ability to laugh things off; my husband for being an equal parent and supportive partner; and my whole team of amazing colleagues, who embrace the goal of working (and thriving) as a team.

Read Q&As with all 40 award recipients here. Tickets to the 2023 Forty Under 40 Awards gala on Feb. 7 are now available.