5 leaders honoured for transformational leadership, advancement of women

List includes RBC's CHRO

Five Canadian corporate leaders have been named as 2014 Catalyst Canada Honours Champions for their transformational leadership and commitment to advancing women in their organizations, industries and communities.

The champions are: Dean Johnson, president and CEO of Sodexo Canada; Ellen Moore, president and CEO of Chubb Insurance Company of Canada; Sharon MacLeod, vice-president of personal care for North America at Unilever; and Zabeen Hirji, CHRO at RBC. Additionally, the Hon.

Howard Wetston, chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, also received a special recognition award.

"These extraordinary individuals set the bar high for leadership. Each challenges the status quo around diversity and inclusion. They are visible and influential role models for others, and their vision and bold commitment to championing women in Canadian business inspires us all," said Alex Johnston, executive director of Catalyst Canada, a non-profit organization expanding opportunities for women and business.

The annual awards celebrate champions of gender diversity in Canadian business, recognizing the critical role of individual leadership in creating opportunities for women to advance.

"We are seeing the results of a profound change in attitudes reflecting how important equitable and diverse slates have become to the entire business community in Canada. Leaders want to satisfy themselves that their company's belief systems exist at every level in their organization," said Bill Downe, CEO of BMO Financial Group and chair of the Catalyst Canada Advisory Board. "(The winners’) efforts add up to far more than the critical work of promoting equity. They each have done and continue to do the practical work to correct a significant imbalance in leadership roles in corporate Canada. Their influence helps us all make progress."

2014 Catalyst Canada Honours Champions

Dean Johnson (company/firm leader champion) has transformed Sodexo Canada's Executive Leadership Committee from nine per cent women and visible minorities to 30 per cent since taking over in 2008. He has also been heavily involved with initiatives to support Canada's Aboriginal and LGBT communities, serving as executive sponsor of Sodexo Canada's Native American and Aboriginal Council and PRIDE (LGBT) employee business resource groups.

Ellen Moore (company/firm leader champion) has supported and developed women and minorities at all levels of Chubb Canada, most recently bringing women's representation in leadership up to 56 per cent. A founding member of Chubb's Women's Development Council (WDC), a group of women managers who promote women's career development and advancement in leadership, she has helped to expand the program to Chubb globally. Moore is Toronto chair for the International Women's Forum, supporting women's advancement in the broader Canadian business community.

Sharon MacLeod (business leader champion) is a senior marketer and leader of Unilever's award-winning Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty and the Dove Self-Esteem Project in Canada. She works on diversity programs with colleagues around the world, and has taken a leadership role in shaping the agenda for diversity and inclusion at Unilever Canada. McLeod is also executive sponsor of the company's Women's Interactive Network, and founder of Chocolate Villa, a professional development program for women seeking to gain the skills they need to reach the next level of leadership.

Zabeen Hirji (human resources/diversity leader champion) has primary responsibility for implementing RBC's diversity and inclusion strategy. A transformational leader, her accomplishments include the establishment of a Global RBC Diversity Leadership Council, oversight of the first RBC Diversity Blueprint, and creation of the Diversity Dialogues Reciprocal Mentoring Program, an innovative model that positions mentors and mentees as partners in learning about diversity.

Howard Wetston (special recognition — board diversity champion) is chair and CEO of the Ontario Securities Commission. A long-term advocate of inclusive workplaces, he has been the driving force behind the OSC's proposed rule amendments regarding the representation of women on boards and in senior management.

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