Media Announcements

Announcing the 2013 Catalyst Canada Honourees

Five Committed Champions of Women’s Leadership in Corporate Canada

TORONTO (June 25, 2013)—As a sign of the growing prestige of the Catalyst Canada Honours, which is now in its fourth year, Catalyst Canada has awarded its highest honour to a record number of Canadian business leaders for championship of women in their organizations, industries, and communities.

The 2013 Catalyst Canada Honours celebrates Marc-André Blanchard, Chair & Chief Executive Officer, McCarthy Tétrault LLP; Lorraine Mitchelmore, President and Country Chair & Executive Vice President, Heavy Oil, Shell Canada Limited; Susan Allen, Assurance Partner, International Team Leader, Global Assurance Quality Review Group, PwC Canada; Colleen Johnston, Group Head Finance, Sourcing and Corporate Communications & CFO, TD Bank Group; and Kate Broer, Partner and Canada Region Co-Chair, Diversity and Inclusion, Dentons Canada LLP.   

The aim of the Catalyst Canada Honours is to create visible role models for Canada’s current and future business leaders. The Catalyst Canada Honours recognizes the critical role company/firm leaders, business leaders, and human resources/diversity leaders play in advancing women in business. According to Catalyst research, sponsoring women and advocating on their behalf is crucial to career advancement. Catalyst research also shows that companies with more women in leadership, on average, financially outperform those with fewer.

“Our honourees challenge the status quo and give talented women opportunities to advance in their careers. By action and example, they set the gold standard in their industries and in the Canadian business community,” said Alex Johnston, Executive Director, Catalyst Canada. “These extraordinary individuals are business leaders, risk-takers and role models who, through their actions, inspire others to step up and become Champions themselves.”

“This year, we pay tribute to five exceptional individuals whose actions prove they understand that the debate on the meaning and importance of achieving gender diversity in business leadership is long past, and whose achievements are accelerating the diversity agenda in this country,” said Bill Downe, President & CEO, BMO Financial Group. “Congratulations to Catalyst Canada’s 2013 honourees. Their efforts add up to far more than promoting equity. They each have done and continue to do important work to correct a significant imbalance in corporate Canada. Their influence helps us all make progress. Along with this recognition, they deserve our thanks.”

This year’s Champions include:

Marc-André Blanchard (Company/ Firm Leader Champion) leads his firm in refining the application of its partnership admission policy to ensure that more women succeed in becoming equity partners. Now lawyers can take more than the traditional six years to become income partners or eight years to become equity partners, specific to their situations. In the three years before Mr. Blanchard became CEO, 18 percent of those admitted to equity partnership were women; more recently this number has risen to 35 percent, even as the total number of new partners fell from 33 to 23.

Lorraine Mitchelmore (Company/ Firm Leader Champion) is committed to promoting women to leadership roles in the traditionally male-dominated oil and gas industry. Her heavy oil team is 35 percent female, including several women who serve in key leadership roles. Under her leadership at Shell Canada, women hold 28 percent of senior roles.

Susan Allen (Business Leader Champion) was the first woman elected by worldwide partner peers to her firm’s Global Board, which is responsible for the firm’s overall governance. Ms. Allen’s work as chair of PwC’s Women in Leadership program has raised awareness of unconscious gender biases embedded in the firm’s ratings system and led to fairer performance reviews.

Colleen Johnston (Business Leader Champion) is a founding member of TD’s Diversity Leadership Council, and, since its inception in 2005, has chaired TD’s Women in Leadership (WIL) Committee, which works to expand leadership opportunities for women. In support of this goal, WIL organizes and runs networking opportunities, a wide variety of events, and a group mentoring program that provides women with the tools and support they need to advance their careers. WIL’s work has been credited with helping TD increase its representation of women in executive roles by 50 percent since 2005.

Kate Broer (Human Resources/ Diversity Leader Champion) works with her organization’s senior leaders to ensure that a diverse slate of talented candidates is considered for leadership positions. When the firm underwent its recent combination to become Dentons, Ms. Broer ensured that the company’s focus on women in leadership was not lost.

This year’s Catalyst Canada Honours Dinner will take place at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel on Monday, October 21st. The Dinner will follow the Catalyst Canada Honours Conference, which will provide participants with concrete examples of successful inclusive leadership initiatives and strategies that advance women and diverse employees and help companies to create sustainable change within corporate Canada.

ABOUT CATALYST
Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit membership organization expanding opportunities for women and business. With offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, and India, and more than 600 members, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information, and advice about women at work.

ABOUT THE CATALYST CANADA HONOURS
The Catalyst Canada Honours celebrates champions of women in Canadian business. Recognizing that what’s good for women is good for business, these exceptional individuals are personally and visibly committed to the advancement of women and serve as powerful role models for Canadian corporate leaders.