334 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 3 MAY 2020
Nicole’s grandmothers descended from two lines of original European
immigrants in the 1600s (Mayflower/English immigration to Massachusetts
and “King’s Daughters”/French women immigration from France to Quebec).
Her father’s career as a teacher, principal and school administrator
meant that the family moved several times during Nicole’s childhood, first
to Prince George, then to Dawson Creek and finally to Kamloops, where
some of her family still resides.
Education was, not surprisingly, a focus in Nicole’s childhood home, and
there was never really any question that Nicole and her siblings would pursue
post-secondary education. However, law was not Nicole’s first inclination.
From an early age, she was fascinated with archaeology, and she
studied in that field in her first three undergraduate years, first at Cariboo
College (now TRU) and then at SFU. Although she would eventually go in
a different professional direction, archaeology continues to be an area of
interest and somewhat of a passion for Nicole. In the 1990s, while her husband
Kieran was working in Lima, Peru, she volunteered on an archaeological
dig. Their vacations often still involve visits to archaeological sites,
perhaps because she married an “old ruin” (as he self-identifies).
Nicole’s detour to the law came as a result of an uncharacteristic bout of
impulsivity (perhaps the last time that occurred). During her third year of
university, a family member asked Nicole whether she was prepared to pursue
the Ph.D. she would certainly need to have a career in archaeology.
Daunted by the thought of so many more years in school (and perhaps by
the thought of spending her energies digging around in dirt for the rest of
her working life), Nicole hastily signed up for the last LSAT scheduled
before the law school application deadlines. Although her score reflected
the necessary aptitude, she was not sure how committed she was to law.
Nevertheless, she embarked on her legal studies at UBC but told herself that
if law was not for her, she would return to archaeology. Luckily for us, she
soon discovered that digging in metaphorical dirt was much more fulfilling
than digging in literal dirt.
Despite going to law school in Vancouver, Nicole was committed to
returning to serve in the communities where she grew up. She articled with
the Kamloops litigation boutique of Berna, Horne, Marr and practised there
for one year after her call to the bar in 1983. In 1984, Nicole made two significant
moves: she left Kamloops and moved to Trail, and she left private
practice to become in-house counsel for Cominco (now Teck Resources),
where she would remain until 1998. She was the first woman and first
lawyer appointed to the company’s senior leadership team in Trail. Her
years at Cominco were foundational in terms of the development of her