The first time Miranda Lam had a governance role was when she was entering her first year of law school at UBC. Two decades later, she is now a member of UBC’s Board of Governors — the university’s highest level of governance.
Lam was appointed by the province for this position, joining the Board that is responsible for the “management, administration and control of the property, revenue, business and affairs of the University.” She is replacing departing provincially-appointed governor, Sandra Cawley, who's third and final term ended in February 2022.
Twenty other members sit on it, which includes UBC’s Chancellor, President, three faculty members, three full-time students, two UBC employees and ten other appointed members. A majority of the Boards members are not elected, but rather appointed by the provincial government.
Lam has sat on numerous boards, including the Vancouver Foundation, Imagine Canada and the UBC Alumni Association. Her extensive career in law — of which she has been recognized by multiple independent publications for — has meant that she’s worked alongside governance boards professionally too.
“I am a self-professed governance nerd,” she said in an interview with The Ubyssey.
What draws Lam to these roles is the idea that, through their structures and processes, a collaborative and innovative environment can flourish.
“It’s about providing that framework that enables those conversations, that enables that magic,” she explained.
Lam hopes that her prior experience in governance will help her to facilitate such conversations and a “spirit of collaboration.” Communication, she explained, is key for the success of any organization.
“I can bring that … ability to ask questions without it being a cross examination, and engendering trust with my board colleagues, so we can have those open and honest conversations.”
“Organizations get into trouble when they aren’t talking to each other,” Lam said.
She has seen how having collaborative environments contributes to fruitful outcomes in her professional life, because law develops through “people have courageous conversations about difficult topics.”
Lam is excited for “everything” about her new role – because of the potential UBC has at an individual, community and global level.
“So what I’m really excited about is how UBC can continue to make those contributions to the world. And how it can be done in … an accessible, equitable and transparent way.”
As part of the board, she wants to continue UBC’s delivery of both education and innovative ideas.
“I think that one of the great things about UBC – is that it's not afraid to try.”