Aspiring nurse is winner of Michelle Pockey Leadership Award

Influential Women in Business: Vancouver Community College student Davena Isaac chosen as recipient of annual tribute honouring legacy of B.C. businesswoman

Vancouver Community College student Davena Isaac is the 2020 recipient of the Michelle Pockey Leadership Award | Submitted

A Vancouver student seeking to provide a better life for her three children is the winner of this year’s Michelle Pockey Leadership Award.

Davena Isaac, originally from the Carrier Nation in B.C.’s Central Interior, moved to the Vancouver area to pursue post-secondary education with the goal of becoming a registered nurse. She attended Native Education College for upgrading before transferring to Vancouver Community College, where she is studying life sciences toward applying for the bachelor of science in nursing program.

As a prominent lawyer and community activist, Michelle Pockey dedicated herself to making a positive difference in the world. A winner of the Influential Women in Business Award in 2016, Pockey worked tirelessly for 20 years advancing women in business, law, First Nations and non-traditional sectors. She was an inspiration to others every day of her life until her death from cancer in June 2016.

To help support her legacy and advance other women along their leadership journeys, Business in Vancouver and Minerva BC, proudly supported by Vancity, have partnered to recognize this exceptional female leader through the Michelle Pockey Leadership Award. This award gives first priority to Indigenous women and single parents, and second priority to women pursuing law, justice, Indigenous or environmental studies. An award and donation cheque will be presented at the Influential Women in Business Awards on March 6 at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel.

In a letter recommending Isaac for the award, Amanda McKay, Indigenous employment  counsellor with the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society, noted that Isaac moved to the Lower Mainland to seek opportunities for a better life for her young family. McKay praised her dedication.

“Davena is very passionate about becoming a registered nurse and her grades show that,” McKay said. “With her education, she plans to work in the Downtown Eastside where people, including many Indigenous people, are in desperate need of quality care. She is always helping others and wants to improve the community where she lives.”

Toni Gladstone, senior Aboriginal advisor for Indigenous services and community engagement at Vancouver Community College, said Isaac has shown “strong work ethics and a positive outlook.”

“There are few people in the world who so clearly exemplify the rare combined spirit of enthusiasm and altruism than Ms. Isaac,” Gladstone wrote.


Business in Vancouver celebrates the 21st annual Influential Women in Business Awards, March 6 at the Fairmont Waterfront hotel. For more information, visit