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IWIB Awards: A Q&A with Radha Curpen

The vice-chair and Vancouver managing partner of Bennett Jones will be recognized at an event on International Women's Day

BIV will recognize five exceptional leaders at its annual Influential Women in Business Awards event on March 8 in Vancouver.

The following Q&A with award recipient Radha Curpen was originally published in the Feb. 27 print edition of BIV.

At Bennett Jones, Curpen is the firm’s vice-chair, national leader in environmental, social and governance strategy and solutions, Vancouver managing partner and co-head of the firm’s environmental law practice.

Curpen is recognized as a preeminent legal expert on areas such as environment, regulatory, climate change, Indigenous relations and governance for energy, infrastructure and other industrial and natural resource sectors.

She is currently chair of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

Convincing my firm in my 20s after four years of practice that I should start a new practice in environmental law where there was no business yet.

Your toughest professional challenge?

I have moved cities/countries and firms throughout my career. Each time I adapted to a new environment and learned in this new environment. The biggest one was returning to Toronto in 2010 after working in New York City for five and a half years, having lived and worked in Toronto only for four years before I left in 2004.

Greatest advice ever received?

My father continues to remind me, even to this day, about the importance of building, nurturing and fostering relationships. And my mother taught me early on about giving with no expectation of receiving and to feel grateful every day.

What do you wish you knew when you were first starting out?

Life is full of surprises. Expect the unexpected.

What does it take to be a leader in 2023?

Empower people. Show them how it is in their interest to work towards a common goal and to build a team around it. Be courageous and earn trust so people can believe in the integrity of the leader they are following. Foster connections and give importance to relationships.

What are you looking forward to personally and professionally this year?

Personally – travelling with my husband, family and friends. Professionally – helping clients and the business community navigate the global, national and local dynamic changes at play, especially as a lawyer and chair of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

What is your best habit?

Ability to adapt to change.

A book you would recommend?

The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel.

One surprising or improbable fact about yourself?

I am Francophone.

A female leader or woman in business you admire?

Oprah Winfrey. Also, the powerful women (sisters) in my circle.

A cause or non-profit you support?

Women's empowerment.

What do you do to relax?


A top tip for staying organized?


A favourite quote?

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." – Warren Buffet

Celebrate Curpen and BIV's four other 2023 Influential Women in Business Award recipients on International Women's Day, March 8. Tickets and event details are available here.