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June 18, 2012Leadership is hard to define. But we know it when we see it.

And one thing that sets apart great leaders is their belief that it is their responsibility to lift while they climb. By acting on that belief throughout their careers, the 2012 Catalyst Canada Honours Champions have “lifted” hundreds of other people in their own organizations and across Canada.

Company/Firm Leader Champion Gordon M. Nixon has demonstrated the impact of diversity leadership from the very top. As President and CEO of RBC for the past 11 years, he has personally sponsored many women, and supported the advancement of women to senior management positions. Mr. Nixon has been a strong and public advocate for the Catalyst Accord. He has also regularly sponsored both RBC and external women leaders for corporate and community boards.

Business Leader Champion Anne-Marie Hubert, Managing Partner, Advisory Services with Ernst & Young, has been a committed and dedicated mentor and sponsor throughout her career. She has led her company’s gender equality initiatives across Canada, and she has been an outspoken public champion of women, raising issues and opening discussions of parity and equity in the workplace and on corporate boards. And she has influenced a number of Ernst & Young clients to assess their own diversity programs.

Human Resources/Diversity Champion Jane Allen’s influence has been felt not only throughout Deloitte Canada, where she is Partner and Chief Diversity Officer, but across Canada in initiatives such as the Women of Influence Luncheon Series, and the successful “Women in Energy” networking program.

I have known these three leaders for many years and in each of them I consistently see a willingness to step up and speak up. They use their leadership positions to influence the broader business environment. For them, being a champion is not only about the bottom-line advantages for their companies, it’s about creating a more competitive business community and a strong society.

Beyond the business case or any personal reward, these three leaders are driven by their passion for ensuring that everyone gets the opportunity to develop her or his talents fully.

I encourage all of you to follow the lead of these fantastic role models and become champions in your workplaces.