For the second year in a row, Heritage Park recognized women whose contributions to Alberta deserve to be remembered through their prestigious Women Making History in Alberta Awards. This year, ACP’s president, Irene Pfeiffer, C.M., was selected as an award recipient.
Irene’s innovative leadership in business, community organizations, and health care has earned her several well-deserved honours too numerous to list, including an appointment to the Order of Canada. The Women Making History in Alberta Award recognized her contributions to Alberta throughout her diverse leadership roles.
In her career, Irene has worked as an industry leader in the education, agriculture, and oil and gas sectors. Throughout her life, she has also prioritized giving back to her community as a volunteer and advocate; she has chaired a number of boards including Teen Challenge Canada and the Human Resources Committee of STARS. She has also worked closely with The Mustard Seed, the Calgary and Alberta chambers of commerce, and Alberta Women Entrepreneurs. These are just a few examples of her prolific volunteer work.
Despite her varied and notable accomplishments, Irene said she is always humbled by any of the awards she receives and that her drive to give back is simply part of who she is.
“I’ve always been a volunteer – I often say it’s in my DNA – my parents instilled in me the importance of giving back, helping the community, and making the world a better place,” said Irene. “For me it’s just a natural addition to anything else I may be doing and it’s very fulfilling for me to do it.”
Irene’s contributions to Alberta’s healthcare sector are also significant. She previously served as co-chair of the Health Quality Council of Alberta and she was the first public member to serve as the president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. After being appointed to ACP Council in 2017, Irene became the first public member to be elected by her Council peers as president of the college.
Irene said it is the impact on patients that makes her roles within the healthcare sector meaningful to her.
“It took hard work – at the beginning, I carried around a book of acronyms so I could know what language they were speaking,” she said. “But I found a passion for health care because, in the end, its all about the people and the patients.”
Irene wasn’t intimidated by the lexicon of acronyms or the hard work because she looks at any challenge as an opportunity.
“There are no roadblocks that you can’t get over, under, or around,” said Irene. “Rather than looking at challenges as threats, I look at them as opportunities. From time to time throughout my career, people have said, ‘well you can’t do that,’ and I always say, ‘just watch me.’”
Irene believes anyone can make a difference with the right attitude and a willingness to work hard.
“My motto is suit up, show up, and become a contributor to success,” she said.
There are countless Albertans who have benefited from Irene’s drive to make the world a better place and from her ongoing dedication as a volunteer, an advocate, a change agent, and a leader. ACP extends a sincere congratulations to Irene for this well-deserved recognition.