Sonja Bata, O.C.Chairman, Batawa Development Corporation
As Directors of the Bata Shoe Company, Mrs Bata and her late husband Thomas, the company's founder, sat at the helm of this world-wide family company until its chairmanship was handed over to their son, Thomas Junior. Mrs. Bata sits as Vice Chairman of the Bata Shoe Foundation and the founding Chairman of the Bata Shoe Museum, another testament to her passion for design.
Mrs. Bata has served as a director of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a member of the board of Alcan Aluminum Ltd., and on the board of directors of CT Financial. Her role on board of the Design Council of Canada for more than a decade continued her dedication to design and included a three-year period as its chair.
She has devoted much of her life to a variety of social and cultural issues. Since 1989 Mrs. Bata has served as an Honorary Captain in the Canadian Navy. She has been a trustee with the World Wildlife Fund (Canada), of which she is currently honorary chair, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and for almost 20 years was a leading member of the North York General Hospital Board. She has served on the Advisory Council of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, the Council for Canadian Unity and the Canadian Club of Toronto.
Sonja Bata has had a lifelong interest in youth. She was chair of Junior Achievement in Canada and is still an active trustee and Honorary Eurpoean Chair. She has been a trustee of the Mentor Foundation in Geneva, and chair of Junior Achievement of Canada. She sits on the Girl Guides World Finance Committee. She was a founding member of the Toronto French School and a governor or York University. She currently serves on the board of the Royal Military College.
A lifetime of achievements has culminated in a number of prestigious awards. In 1983 she was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada. She has received the BNai Brith Humanitarian Award, the CESO Award for International Development and the Prime Mentors of Canada Award. For her environmental work, she was awarded a medal by the United Nations. She has been honored with a number of honorary degrees from both Canadian and American universities.