For a person who didn’t think of himself as a mentor, Purdy Crawford, a Canadian legal expert and business executive, left a legacy of many people he mentored. One of those he mentored became the first woman to serve as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. At a time when women were struggling to gain access to the old boy’s club of legal firms in Toronto, Purdy Crawford hired her to work with him, and acted as an advocate or sponsor for her early career advancement.
Gordon Pitts, who wrote a book about Mr. Crawford said that Crawford’s “greatest contribution to Canada was serving as a personal mentor for generations of young people who now form a who’s who of Canada’s most influential leaders,” including Canada’s Governor General David Johnston, and the CEO’s of some of Canada’s major corporations.
Mr. Crawford’s obituary in the August 16 issue of the Globe and Mail newspaper reported that “Deborah Alexander, executive vice-president and general counsel at Bank of Nova Scotia said Mr. Crawford was her most important mentor as a young lawyer,” and that much of her personal success is attributable to him.