Nancy Wilhelm-Morden

Class of 1982-1983

Nancy Wilhelm-Morden is living proof that dropping everything on a whim to go live on a ski hill is a perfectly good decision. In August of 1973, Nancy came from Ontario to visit her boyfriend (now husband) who was working in Alta Lake, or what is now known as Whistler. She was supposed to stay for two weeks, but her boyfriend's plan to stay for ski season seemed like a much better idea. Forty years later, Nancy is serving the city as their first elected female mayor while continuing to practice law.

Her electoral win was not the first time that Nancy broke gender barriers. In fact, Nancy admits that, in addition to wanting to work in an intellectually stimulating field where she could help people and make a difference, part of the allure of law school was "the challenge of working in a profession that was male-dominated at the time".

Nancy's education at UBC is something that she highly values. "I loved law school!" she says. Nancy credits small classes and great professors for helping to create memorable experiences and providing her with "lifelong friends".

Nancy also points to some truly unique moments including producing the Law Revue with future Prime Minister, Kim Campbell.

Apart from lasting friends and memories, Nancy's degree from UBC has also provided her with invaluable skills. "I can't remember now whether it was a particular class or prof but I do know that I came out of law school with a very clear and lasting sense of the overriding importance of ethical conduct and reputation. It's guided me ever since in my professional career".

Nancy's professional career currently balances between her role as mayor, and her partnership at the Whistler/Squamish law firm, Race & Company. "I don't sleep a lot", she admits. "Being able to maintain life/work balance is proving to be a bit of a challenge".

However, a challenge is not something that causes Nancy to back down. When Nancy campaigned back in 2011, she had a "Top 10 List" of things she wanted to accomplish. To date, she says that "10 out of 10 have either been completed or are well on their way". She also mentions that her and her council have achieved zero per cent property tax increases in 2012 and 2013, helped secure the Ironman competition for the next five years, and were chosen as the sight of Michael Audain's privately funded 66,000 sq.ft art museum.

One of the most rewarding parts of being mayor for Nancy is "making change happen", and having this immediate affect on her community. So far, she says, "the changes we have made have been very well received".

When Nancy isn't seeking this change as a lawyer or as mayor she can be found skiing, running, hiking, gardening or in the kitchen. If you see Nancy carrying a lemon loaf to work sometime, see if you can snag a bite - apparently they're a hit!

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