Project Description

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A New Paradigm for Leadership Diversity

An employers forum dedicated to accelerating from good to great.

As champions of leadership diversity, we have a substantial commitment to convening groups of senior executives and thought leaders. Our experience in strategic partnerships means that when we bring together leaders, with a thought-provoking and provocative agenda, what results is actionable ideas and insights and a clear direction on feasible solutions.

In January 2013, Diversity Advantage International (DAI) convened over 30 leading diversity thought leaders and champions. CEOs, VPs and Directors responded to a call to action put forth by DAI, along with the Schulich Executive Education Centre and Knightsbridge. This invitation-only employers forum facilitated a discussion on solutions for a transformative Canadian diversity leadership agenda – and a call to action to accelerate culturally diverse executives into executive roles in all sectors.

Pre-forum consultations generated comments that could be grouped into four themes. Discussion during the forum continued along these lines, providing deeper insights into each area:

  • Establishing the business case,
  • Data and metrics,
  • Targets and incentives, and
  • Training and leadership development.

Establishing the business case was consistently expressed as connecting diversity to increased competitiveness and the importance of diversity in aiding innovation in thinking. Three critical areas that must all come together to bring about a new paradigm for leadership diversity were explored:

  • Identifying what is required of leaders in order for the organization to be successful in implementing its strategy,
  • Reviewing formal policies, programs, rules and aligning them with diversity goals and objectives, and
  • Establishing the fundamental belief systems that will continue the diversity agenda.

The forum’s themes transformed into five action areas. We prepared an aide-mémoire as a reflection of the forum and the ideas presented. Forum participants expressed a shared call to action:

  • Change the systems
  • Move from WHY to HOW
  • Movement in upper ranks
  • Address the unconscious bias
  • Rethink risk