How does Natalie Raffoul, BESc’01, approach her golf game?
“With a sense of humour.”
Don’t get her wrong. The Managing Partner at Brion Raffoul loves the game and her time on the courses of the Royal Ottawa Golf Club. In fact, she considers it a welcomed respite from her hectic world.
“That’s my retreat,” she said. “That’s my sanity – right there.”
Raffoul, BESc’01, spends her days off the greens as one of the country’s top patent attorneys, managing worldwide intellectual properties for clients. She is also an in-demand speaker and lecturer at Sprott School of Business at Carleton and McGill universities, where she teaches courses for entrepreneurs that cover patents, trademark, copyright and industrial design issues. “Just this morning, I corresponded with someone in Mexico. I spoke to someone in China and someone in Japan,” she said. “We’re really reaching out to folks all over the world. We’re constantly butting up against deadlines and timelines and time zones.”
In Canada, she has worked with the National Research Council, Defence Research and Development Canada, Husqvarna Group and the University of Calgary. Locally, she is connected to WORLDiscoveries, the business development arm of London’s research network that includes Western and Robarts Research Institute among its partners.
Outside work, Raffoul is a member of Western’s Alumni Association board, a campaign cabinet member of the Caring and Sharing Exchange in Ottawa, as well as a volunteer with several other organizations. Her community involvement and pro bono work led to her being recognized with the 2015 Ottawa Business Journal’s Top Forty Under 40 award.
“Part of your job (as a patent attorney) is learning every day,” Raffoul said. “You’re looking at new technology and you’re getting your mind around the latest thing.” And studying Engineering at Western, she continued, provided her with a solid foundation to do just that. “Engineering really teaches you to hone your problem-solving skills,” she said. “You start to apply that same sort of logical thinking into a fact pattern in law. And it works really well. I still wear my Engineering iron ring. I wear it every day.”