The future workforce is a gender-balanced workforce. Yet many organizations have yet to make the transition. Why has diversity become such an area of focus? And what are the levers for change?
On International Women’s Day, female thought leaders shared their perspective and insights on how to bridge that gap. It was all part of an Ivey Idea Forum in Toronto called Building the business case for gender balance.
Judy Cotte, CEO and founder of ESG Global Advisors, discussed why diversity has become a governance issue and how Canada fares in terms of progress. She also outlined the financial and performance benefits that gender balance brings to organizations. Then the panel gave advice for tackling the gender-balance gap across industries. Panellists included:
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- Elana Chan, HBA ’06, Head of Customer Marketing and Brand & Reputation, Google Canada;
- Jeannine Pereira, HBA ’95, Talent Development & Learning Leader, EY Canada;
- Alina Polonskaia, MBA ’04, Global Leader, Diversity & Inclusion Solutions, Korn Ferry; and,
- Melissa Sariffodeen, HBA ’10, Co-founder and CEO of Ladies Learning Code and Canada Learning Code.
The event was moderated by Professor June Cotte, who discussed gender balance in the academic world. Here are some key takeaways from the event.
We have a long way to go to achieve gender diversity on corporate boards and in executive leadership – Judy Cotte, CEO, ESG Global Advisors
Be conscious about diversity every step of the way – Elana Chan, HBA ’06, Head of Customer Marketing and Brand & Reputation, Google Canada
The whole person matters, not just gender –Jeannine Pereira, HBA ’95, Talent Development & Learning Leader, EY Canada
Move toward inclusion, not just diversity – Melissa Sariffodeen, HBA ’10, Co-founder and CEO of Ladies Learning Code and Canada Learning Code
Hiring at equal levels doesn't mean retention at equal levels – June Cotte, Professor of Marketing, Ivey Business School
When we think about inclusion, it's important to think about it in terms of both behaviour and structure. Just think about traffic management. We can manage the cars and people flow, right? We can teach the drivers how to be good drivers. Likewise, we can teach leaders how to be inclusive leaders, but that's not going to be enough. We need structural elements in place just like we need traffic lights – Alina Polonskaia, MBA ’04, Global Leader, Diversity & Inclusion Solutions, Korn Ferry