Els Kavanagh was born in Amsterdam and educated at Lyceum "Fons Vitae." She arrived in Canada with a strong desire to gain fluency in both official languages.
Prior to her marriage, she participated in competitive sports, notably in badminton in the Winnipeg area and in canoeing at a national level. In more recent years, Els developed an outstanding record of community service.
Internationally, she has served on the Board of CARE International in Brussels and has been a Trustee with St. John's School in Denver. Nationally, Els was the Chair for CARE Canada and Finance Chair for the Canadian Museum of Nature, both in Ottawa. Locally, her involvement is mind-boggling.
She has served on no less than 11 Boards, including St Paul's High School, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Catholic Foundation of Manitoba. Els was Chair of the Manitoba Arts Council and the Manitoba Historical Record Society, Vice-Chair of the St Boniface General Hospital and President of the Canadian Club.
Kevin Kavanagh is best known for his association with the Great-West Life Assurance Company, serving as its President and CEO from 1979 to 1990. Kevin joined the company's Group Insurance Division in 1953, after attaining his Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Manitoba in the same year.
In 1990 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Manitoba. He subsequently served as Executive-in-Residence in the Faculty of Management from 1992 until 1996.
He is currently a Director and Member ' of the Executive Committees of Great-West Lifeco and its Canadian and U.S. subsidiaries. Kevin is presently Chancellor of Brandon University and serves as a Director on a number of Boards, including the Banff Center, National Leasing Group, Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc., among others. Kevin has been Chairman of several other Boards, including the Conference Board of Canada, the Crown Corporations Council and the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.
Kevin and Els have a shared passion…
For their Family - the Kavanaghs have been married since 1963 and they have two children; Sean Kavanagh is a graduate of St Paul's High School, Class of 1982. Jennifer Moncrieff is a graduate of St Mary's Academy, Class of 1984. Els' brother, Hubert Mesman, is also a graduate of St. Paul's High School, Class of 1962.
For the Lake of the Woods -where they have spent years developing an island home – much frequented by their family and friends.
For skiing, tennis, and golf - While Kevin has resumed skiing, and both play tennis, golf of an undisclosed quality has become a major preoccupation.
For the Arts - both are ardent supporters of the arts in Winnipeg and frequently attend the Theatre, Symphony and Ballet.
Biography Update: In 2006-2007, Kevin and Els Kavanagh again answered the call and served as co-chairs of the very successful Be A Champion campaign. This campaign encouraged members of the St Paul's High School community to consider a gift in their will to the high school. In May, at the end of the initial phase of the campaign, an inaugural induction ceremony was held for the St Paul's High School Legacy Society.