We invite you to join us virtually on September 30th, 2020 as a community that supports the potential of girls and youth and to celebrate six amazing women who exemplify the Big Sisters’ legacy and shape our future.  Over the coming weeks, we look forward to profiling our six Luminary Award recipients – showing how each extraordinary individual exemplified the values of Big Sisters and have worked together to make a BIG impact in lives of girls throughout the Lower Mainland.

Kay Gray

“I made some bad choices and it was pure luck that no lasting harm came to me from them. I don’t think we want luck – be it good luck or bad luck – to be the determining factor in the future of a young girl’s life.” 

Kay Gray recently retired from Grant Thornton where she was a senior tax partner.  She began her career as a single mother raising two babies. She studied accounting on the advice of others for the flexible working hours that could be achieved within the profession. She never imagined building the remarkable career that she enjoyed.  

Kay is well-known for the leadership roles she held, and the meaningful contributions she made, through her work. Most notably, she was one of the founding partners of the Grant Thornton Foundation – a national organization dedicated to serving communities across the country. The foundation was built as a response to Kay listening to young employees and their desire to give back.  

Being a voice for young people would become a common theme in Kay’s life.   

Kay sat on many charitable boards throughout her career but began wanting more from her volunteer work. The organizations she was supporting were undertaking important work, but Kay wanted to dedicate herself to an organization with which she felt a personal connection. She had experienced firsthand how difficult life could be for young girls when she raised four of her own. “In my daughters we had it all,” she remembers. Even with the supports available to them, they dealt with significant issues on a daily basis – anxiety, depression, relationships, social media, schoolwork, teachers. Kay remembers her own struggles, and poor decisions she made, growing up. She credits her good fortune that none of the decisions caused lasting harm.  

As a result, Kay developed a strong desire to support young women and girls. So when The Honourable Janet Austin let her know that Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland was looking for an accountant to join their board, she jumped at the opportunity. Kay sat on the Big Sisters board for seven years and, following that, joined the Honourary Advisory Board on which she continues to serve today.   

She lives by the sage words of a senior colleague when she became a partner with Grant Thornton: Give more than you take.  We are grateful to be the beneficiary of Kay’s giving and lifelong commitment to our cause. We are honouring Kay for her years of service, as a guiding light and for her unwavering dedication to the vulnerable youth we serve. To Kay, her fellow Luminaries are the treasures of our society. She is, no doubt, a treasure to us.

Our 2020 Luminary Award Recipients

Her Honour, Janet Austin
Joanne Brown
Kay Gray
Linda Parsons
Patricia Shields
Susan Mendelson