Dec 10 2010
If you’ve been following our weekly news review here, you will have noted a great deal of recent media coverage about the strategic importance of diversity here, here and here.
Some notable recent articles include:
While the articles focus on diversity in the workplace, the key messages are common for any strategic approach to diversity:
- “One of the key things is always to have leadership commitment.”
- “The bottom line is that kind of commitment is just good business.”
- “The truth is we could talk about the benefits of diversity for hours. But I believe everyone in this room already understands the argument. We’ve all seen the business case. The challenge today is to increase the pace of change. And it all comes down to execution.”
Articles and media coverage like these can be insightful, inspirational and interesting. But how do we get there?
DiverseCity onBoard can help you to understand, and help others understand, why diversity in leadership matters. More than that, our Knowledge Centre will help you build a better understanding of the economic and social benefits of diversity in leadership and help make the case for diversity.
Visit the Knowledge Centre to find:
- Profiles of diverse leaders who have benefited from participating in the DiverseCity project;
- A collection of good practices from organizations and businesses that have successfully diversified their leadership;
- A summary of why diversity in leadership matters;
- A compilation of existing research, newspaper articles and other resources that explore various facets of diversity in leadership;
And don’t forget to watch this video, where Ratna Omidvar explains why you need diverse leadership.
Nov 30 2010
In this video, Cathy Winter, Manager of DiverseCity on Board at Maytree, speaks about three candidates of the program.
They are great examples of the program’s diversity of candidates and what DiverseCity onBoard can offer to non-profit and public boards in the GTA.
What do the candidates have in common?
- a “change agent” profile
- seeking personal leadership development
- awareness of systemic issues and desire to address them
Watch Cathy’s interview to find out more (runs 4:03):
Nov 29 2010
Sonia Dong’s parents never called themselves environmentalists, she says, but they were committed adopters of the three Rs. Since her parents grew up with tight finances, they continued to be thrifty, using and reusing all available resources was a given as was composting and growing a thriving vegetable garden. So it wasn’t a surprise when Sonia chose a career in the environmental movement.
As a young, minority woman Sonia “fit a lot of those checkboxes, organizations like to check off about being diverse, and I didn’t necessarily want to be representative of all those groups.” While she had no interest in being a representative of a disenfranchised group, she did recognize that she could be a leader. Sonia took on the personal challenge of speaking on behalf of diversity within the environmental sector.
Some organizations she worked with made attempts to broaden their outreach to diverse audiences but had difficulties making inroads. Why aren’t people interested? they asked. Sonia knew that the problem stemmed from a lack of understanding of what was actually happening in communities. The green mindset was alive and well in diverse communities but many organizations are not tapped into this reality. “My parents weren’t part of the discourse,” she explains by way of example.
Sonia challenged the sector to ask itself: “Do we have programs and organizations and messages that are relevant and accessible and inclusive of diverse communities? Maybe we should also be listening to people who are from other parts of the world who have experienced very dire environmental circumstances and have a lot of experiences and knowledge that we could learn from and bring into the sector.” In this way, she has helped the Sustainability Network lead the way in diversity in the sector, including managing a major diversity project.
In the process she’s learned a lot about leadership and her identity as a leader. She credits DiverseCity onBoard and DiverseCity Voices with helping her “affirm my own leadership style. Being a quiet person, I always thought that I needed to be someone else to be a leader. But, I realized that I could lead in my own way.”
Watch and listen to Sonia in her own words (runs 4:42):
Nov 25 2010
Leaders play a pivotal role, and their impact is felt in everything from strategic decision making to organizational and community effectiveness and, ultimately, financial performance. Diverse leaders bring added benefits and unique capacities that, when realized, add significant value in both the public and private realm.
Five of the most important benefits of diverse leadership are:
- Improved financial and organizational performance;
- Increased capacity to link to new global and domestic markets;
- Expanded access to global and domestic talent pools;
- Enhanced innovation and creativity; and
- Strengthened cohesion and social capital.
(more, from the DiverseCity Knowledge Centre)
In this second video segment, Ratna Omidvar outlines why organizations need to think strategically about enhancing the diversity of their leadership:
“It’s important to look at diversity from a variety of perspectives… Why it is important is because of the demographic share, quite frankly, that this population [immigrants & visible minorities] has in our city region. In Toronto 43% of the population are visible minorities. In the city region, the GTA, it’s slightly lower. More than half of Torontonians were born outside of the country. It’s not just an argument for representation… we have to look outside what we know, what we think, our normal solutions to look for new ideas. I’m reminded of a quote of Einstein: “When we all look alike, then we all think think alike.”
Nov 24 2010
DiverseCity onBoard connects qualified candidates from racially and ethnically diverse communities with governance positions in agencies, boards, commissions and nonprofit organizations across the GTA.
In this video Maytree President, Ratna Omidvar, explains the origins, goals and importance of the project.
“DiverseCity onBoard is our effort to revitalize the governance profile of the city region, bring it closer to the demographics of people who live in the city. This is not just an effort on representation, or tokenism of any kind. It is more of an effort to bring people with real qualifications, with real capacity to provide value, but a different point of view and a different perspective.”
Nov 18 2010
As we move closer to our 500th board appointment, we’re going to take some time over the next few weeks to inform, educate and celebrate the impact of the DiverseCity onBoard program.
We’ll give you some background information about the program, including why it’s important, introduce you to some amazing board candidates on our roster, and tell you a bit about where the program is going.
DiverseCity onBoard is part of a larger, eight-initiative project, a partnership of Maytree and the Toronto City Summit Alliance. The program works to ensure that the governance bodies of public agencies, boards and commissions as well as voluntary organizations reflect the diversity of people who live and work in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
The program has been operating in the Greater Toronto Area since 2006. It connects qualified candidates from Aboriginal, visible minority and under-represented immigrant communities to the governance bodies of public agencies, boards and commissions and nonprofits.
DiverseCity onBoard staff personally interview applicants and offer support and governance training to ensure that organizations get excellent, qualified candidates to join their board.
While working hard to change the face of governance in the GTA, Diversity onBoard has also created a toolkit to help other communities replicate this successful model.