The power of determination and going “all in”
Tracey McGillivray (’87/’15)
Tracey McGillivray (’87 / ’15) is a determined individual whose accomplishments are legion.
McGillivray is a senior technology executive with more than 30 years of experience in global operations, business development and account management. As a Vice-President and General Manager, she led the Managed Services divisions of two multinational corporations to the top of the technology services industry as measured by market analysts. In her current position as Vice-President of Information Technology at Rogers Communications, she has delivered a world-class digital workplace to employees and is transforming how Rogers delivers their products and services to Canadians.
Again and again, McGillivray has built and mobilised high-performance teams, sometimes numbering more than 5,000 people who speak two dozen languages in diverse global environments, to drive organizational change and innovation. She is known for her straight talk and is an effective communicator as a public speaker and with her colleagues, customers, and the media.
As if that weren’t enough, she has been a competitive athlete at the international level and is a pilot, a sports fan, a musician, and a cultural and food enthusiast. Bilingual in English and French, McGillivray has lived and worked in the USA, southeast Asia, Europe and South America.
“My holistic academic, athletic, and social experience continue to positively influence and shape me three decades later. It was at Acadia that I learned personal accountability and that success only comes when you go ‘all in’.”
But one accomplishment close to her heart had been on a back burner for 30 years. Although as an Acadia student-athlete in the 1980s she did well, a serious bout of pneumonia in her final semester kept McGillivray from completing the project course she needed to obtain her degree in Computer Science.
Determined to graduate before she turned 50, she contacted Sharon Watson, senior administrative secretary in the Jodrey School of Computer Science, who remembered her and put her in touch with Dr. Darcy Benoit to ask about completing the course. Benoit proposed that she write a paper on some aspect of her working experience. She chose the science behind running an effective IT Service Desk, wrote the paper, and received an A grade. In May 2015, McGillivray walked across the stage of Convocation Hall.
Her Acadia experience all those years ago has stayed with her. “My holistic academic, athletic and social experience continue to positively influence and shape me three decades later,” she says. “It was at Acadia that I learned personal accountability and that success only comes when you go ‘all in’.”
Besides being the year McGillivray celebrated her 50th birthday and her long-awaited graduation from Acadia, 2015 was the year she established the McGillivray Athletic Award, a scholarship for female student-athletes in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs. The award provides $1,000 to a qualifying student-athlete each year.
In 2018, McGillivray established the Tracey McGillivray Volleyball Award, which provides up to $5,000 to a deserving, returning female student-athlete on Acadia’s volleyball team.
“Acadia University is a twenty-four/seven whole life experience,” McGillivray believes. “Founded on the principles of inclusion, respect and excellence, it’s a place where you can test your mettle and build the confidence to make a difference. Acadia creates leaders.”