Women Lawyers Forum Debra Van Ginkel, QC Mentoring Award

CBABC congratulates the recipient of the 2023 Award, Cheryl D’Sa.

Cheryl, who is a managing partner at Narwhal Litigation, is a civil litigator, dispute strategist and mediator. She is also a bencher of the Law Society of BC.

With an incredible capacity to give, Cheryl has served as mentor in CBABC’s Law Student Mentorship Program and the WLF Mentorship Program, as well as with the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers. She engages her mentees with honesty, strength and courage, drawing from real-life experiences to create a clear picture of what it is really is to be a woman lawyer.

Nominations for this award will open in 2025

This award honours the memory and accomplishments of Debra Van Ginkel, QC, an extraordinary woman and member of the legal profession. Debra sincerely believed that all people, women lawyers especially, need a mentor to support and encourage them in their profession and their lives. Debra achieved her personal vision of a Mentoring Program to sustain women’s participation in the legal profession and enrich their careers in 2003 when the Canadian Bar Association British Columbia Branch (CBABC) Women Lawyers Forum (WLF) Mentoring Program was instituted.  

Debra was a committed, inspirational and wise mentor. She had a keen understanding of women’s issues generally and within the legal profession, and was a role model for women in many different contexts. All who knew Debra were inspired by her enthusiasm, authenticity and talents, and were proud to call her a colleague. The CBABC WLF Debra Van Ginkel, QC Mentoring Award seeks to keep her vision alive by recognizing in other mentors the qualities and commitment she demonstrated throughout her life and her legal career.  


Nominees must be CBABC members but cannot be members of the WLF National or Branch Executives. Nominees also must have participated for at least one year, currently or in past, in the CBABC WLF Mentoring Program. WLF welcomes and encourages the nomination of any lawyer who is a woman (both cisgender and transgender).


Consideration will be given to candidates who can:

  • Understand and support women’s issues and serve as a role model for women in the law. 

  • Build trusting and collaborative relationships and share her personal experiences with others. 
  • Be inspirational, enthusiastic and authentic in her relationships. 
  • Be a good listener and be empathetic, encouraging and non-judgmental with others. 
  • Celebrate others’ successes.  

Nomination & Selection

Nominations are accepted for a minimum of 60 days between November and January. There must be three nominators, one of which must be a CBABC member. Further nomination requirements are included in the nomination form. Submitted nomination packages are valid for two consecutive award periods. 

The award shall be granted at the discretion of the WLF Selection Committee formed for the purpose by the Chairs of the WLF Mentoring Committee.


This award is presented every two years at the WLF Awards Gala. The award is an elegant crystal vase.   

Previous Recipients

2019 - Rita Andreone, QC 

2017 - Rachel Mockler

2015 - The Honourable Madam Justice Carla L. Forth

2013 - Danine Griffin

2011 - Joan Gordon

2010 - Brenda Edwards

Names, designations and honorifics are reflected as they were when the award was presented.

Additional Information 

CBABC Awards
604.687.3404 or 1.888.687.3404