International Women's Day Profile - Dominique T. Hussey
Marked annually on March 8th International Women's Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Participation is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements and rally for women's equality. This year's campaign theme is 'Choose To Challenge,' as a challenged world is an alert world, and from challenge comes change. In celebration of this day IPIC has introduced its IWD Spotlight Series featuring some of the many incredible women within the IP profession.
Dominique T. Hussey
Dominique is Vice Chair & Toronto Managing Partner at Bennett Jones. In addition to her management role, she has an active practice, leads the Intellectual Property Litigation group and is co-head of the firm’s Innovation, Technology and Branding group. She was named Outstanding Practitioner in Patent Law by Managing IP in their Americas Awards in 2020. For the last four years, Managing Intellectual Property has name her in the Top 250 Women in IP in the world.
Dominique's practice involves all aspects of IP litigation and dispute resolution (patent, trademark, copyright, contracts, trade secrets), with particular emphasis on litigation involving pharma/biotech patents, and trademarks. She counsels on trademark, patent, copyright, trade secret, advertising, marketing, packaging, labelling, and regulatory matters—most often pertaining to pharmaceuticals, biologics, legal cannabis, food and beverages, medical devices, and natural health products.
Actively involved in several industry organizations, she is a member of the Executive of the 5000-member Advocates' Society. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Bennett Jones partnership, on which she served as Lead Director for four years.
Why is equity, diversity, and inclusion important to the IP profession?
EDI is important in all aspects of our lives and therefore in all professions, including IP. Equity is important as a matter of pure fairness. Diversity is important because excellence and talent are not concentrated in any one particular group of people. A lack of diversity, therefore, means that pools of great talent have been overlooked or excluded, which, over time, will erode the standing of the profession. Diversity serves no purpose, however, without inclusion. For diversity to enrich the human and professional experience, everyone must have a fair opportunity to take a seat at the table to make a meaningful contribution. Our profession must also be representative of the diversity of the clients and the society that we serve. And, as our society becomes more inclusive, it is important for our future leaders to see themselves reflected in the profession to reinforce a sense of belonging.
Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?
I am proud of the fact that my Bennett Jones partners have entrusted me with the role of Vice Chair and Toronto Managing Partner, as I continue my IP practice. I know, however, that this is a title, and the degree of accomplishment will depend on what I do with it. Accomplishment, for me, does not boil down to a moment, or an achievement. It emerges from decisions and actions made over days, weeks and months. I am proud to have made a life-long commitment to hard work, personal integrity, treating others with respect, and trying my best to contribute to society, my profession, my firm, my friends and my family.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Choose to Challenge” which encourages individuals to call out and challenge gender bias and inequality, because from challenge comes change. What do you believe is the best way to challenge biases and inequalities to achieve change?
Everyone will approach the issues differently, but I believe the best way to challenge biases and inequality to achieve change is to engage in a continuous process in six steps:
- State your intention: Be upfront about being a champion of change in the face of bias and inequality. It makes actually doing so feel more natural and achievable.
- Constantly question: Is the decision influenced by unfounded assumptions? Is the decision fair? Is the result equitable? Was anyone excluded? In each case, why? If the answers are not satisfactory, design a different approach. Encourage others to do the same.
- Embrace tough conversations: It is important to have honest, unvarnished conversations, regardless of how difficult they may be. The more difficult they are, the more necessary they are. Encourage others to do the same.
- Secure a commitment: Ask others to join you in taking action to address the issues.
What advice do you have for aspiring women IP professionals?
Seize every opportunity that comes your way and do so fearlessly. There is no boardroom or court room in which you do not belong. You will only know this by getting there. Find role models and champions; find people you admire to emulate. They exist, and they may look nothing like you.
What will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of women leaders in the IP profession?
The biggest challenge for the next generation of women leaders in the IP profession will be to occupy the positions and achieve the recognition they have worked for and deserve. Women are excellent first chairs, can attract clients and secure challenging and important work, and provide top-quality advice and representation. They should occupy the highest echelons of the league tables. Phenomenal women have served as role models in our profession over the last forty years, yet it is no secret among the IP profession that recognition has come more slowly for women for lots of complicated reasons. The next generation will also be responsible for preparing the generation that follows by mentoring, teaching skills, encouraging young people to pursue STEM careers, and spreading the word about the various facets of this very rewarding profession.