BD&P Hosts 8th Annual International Women’s Day Luncheon


BD&P was delighted to host its 8th annual International Women's Day luncheon on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, with the BD&P lawyers and guests being treated to luncheon at the Calgary Petroleum Club and presentations by two dynamic guest speakers connected with SOS Children's Villages.

SOS Children's Villages focuses on abandoned and destitute children in many countries of the world, establishing these children in homes with an extensively trained local Mom, with other children in similar circumstances, within a village of similar homes. SOS currently operates 2000 villages in 133 countries.

Guest speakers included Divine Usabase, Children’s Villages Youth Ambassador, and Amanda Martinez, Canadian singer songwriter and honourary ambassador of SOS Children's Villages.

Divine was born in the Central African Republic of Burundi, a country traumatized by a near decade’s long civil war that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and forced nearly 1.2 million to flee their homes.Due to struggles Divine’s mother faced with mental health, as a result of the war in Burundi, Divine grew-up in the care of SOS Children’s Villages. With the love and support of SOS Children’s Villages and her SOS Mother, Divine thrived, becoming at 14 the first female student from Burundi admitted to SOS-Hermann Gmeiner International College of Ghana.

After completing her International Baccalaureate in Ghana, Divine obtained the prestigious MasterCard Foundation Scholarship to study at McGill University where she is currently a second year student in environmental and international development studies.

Divine recently represented Canadian youth at the United Nations Economic and Social Council - Youth Forum where she had the opportunity to influence implementation of the new sustainable development goals.

Divine embodies the aspirations of SOS Children’s Villages, that by supporting children, we can help break the generational cycle of poverty and ensure that the circumstances that one is born into do not define one's future.

Amanda Martinez is a Canadian singer-songwriter whose music exultingly blends her Mexican father and South African mother’s roots with Latin soul and folklore. Her sultry, bright vocals and upbeat sound get entire audiences on their feet around the world. Her three CDs have garnered multiple nominations for Latin Jazz Performer of the Year, the Toronto Independent Music Awards, and the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

As a honourary ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages, Amanda traveled to Namibia in January 2015 where she spent just over a week caring for a family of eight orphaned and abandoned children. Guests were treated to a video of Amanda's heart-warming experience in the village. A mother of three young children, Amanda calls the SOS mission "a cause close to my heart." As a result of that experience, she wrote and recorded the song “Under African Skies”-- now on iTunes.

Amanda holds a MBA in international business from York University and a biology degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Thanks to the generosity of BD&P lawyers and guests, we were able to raise over $17,000 for SOS Children's Villages at the luncheon.