A double rainbow graced the sky above Vancouver, British Columbia, on the evening of June 17, 2016, marking the hour when Michelle Pockey slipped away, surrounded by her family. This extraordinary display of colour and light was a fitting tribute to Michelle, who will be remembered by many as a tremendous and transcendent force of nature.
Michelle leaves a family who loved and cherished her, including her husband, Mike Mammone; her children, Noa and Nathan; her parents, Carole and Maurice Pockey; her brother, Barry Pockay, and his wife Petra; and her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Shewchuk. She will be dearly remembered by her friends and colleagues, whose lives she touched profoundly through her generosity, mentorship, and leadership.
Michelle, an alumna of UBC Law, was an outstanding lawyer, who, during her 20-year career, specialized in environmental law across the forestry and mining industries, principles of corporate social responsibility, and the cultivation of successful, inclusive partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses. A tireless advocate for the advancement of women in business, Michelle was a founder of the Professional Women's Network, an organization dedicated to women's education and business development, with over 1,200 members across Canada. She was a member of the Women Presidents' Organization and the WEB Alliance of Women's Business Networks, and the recipient of many awards, including a Business in Vancouver Influential Women in Business Award, a Champion for Change Award presented by the Women Presidents' Organization and GroYourBiz, and an International Alliance for Women World of Difference Award for extraordinary contributions to the economic empowerment of women. Michelle served as a board director for several prominent organizations, including the Sarah McLachlan School of Music, which drew not only on her business acumen but also on her musical talent: an accomplished jazz vocalist, Michelle performed at many clubs and concert halls while she was building her remarkable legal career. Her voice was soulful, and listening to her sing was a powerful and moving experience.
Jewelry making was another of Michelle's many talents. Her beautiful gemstone creations expressed her artistic sensibility and her love for the recipients of her stunning gifts. Michelle's ability to make others shine was exceptional, and it transcended everything she did. Whether she was playing with her beloved children, mentoring a junior associate, helping colleagues network with one another, or hosting family and friends over a delicious, home-cooked meal, Michelle always made people feel encouraged, empowered, and cared for. Even during this past year, while battling the devastating effects of metastasized colon cancer, Michelle reached out to loved ones and supporters, inspiring courage and faith through a candid blog, in which she documented her medical trials and her indomitable spirit and sense of self.
Above all else, Michelle valued the precious time she spent with family and close friends. Her children were her greatest treasure and greatest joy, and she loved nothing more than raising them, together with Mike, their extended family, and the close-knit group of friends with whom they spent holidays and celebrated many milestones.
In recent months, Michelle often shared a favourite aphorism, encouraging us all to "be the place that love shines through." For so many, Michelle was – and always will be – that place.
A Celebration of Michelle's life will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, July 8, 2016 at the Rosewood Georgia Hotel, 801 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC.