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What a difference a year makes! In December 2011, DiverseCity on Board found a new audience after receiving an Intercultural Innovation Award by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group. The award opened up new possibilities for DiverseCity onBoard. Could this made-in-Canada solution of matching diverse individuals with public and nonprofit boards work elsewhere?
The answer appears to be a resounding yes. Countless phone calls, webinars and emails led to organizations from 20 cities – from London to Louisville – travelling to Toronto in October 2012 to learn, share and leave committed to replicate DiverseCity onBoard in their communities. These groups are equally committed to the idea that increasing diversity within public governance is essential for inclusion to succeed at home.
This year, the second Intercultural Innovation Awards were held in Vienna where DiverseCity onBoard Project Leader Cathy Winter presented on the impact of receiving an award that catapulted the GTA-based project into an international movement.
In this video, Cathy Winter speaks about DiverseCity onBoard’s journey to becoming a “community of practice” as well as exciting plans for year two of the replication process – creating a hub and e-learning platform to serve the new partners and the next grand convening in Berlin in June 2014.
“Before I wrote the email to Maytree, I had no board experience. Maytree opened the door for me to be recognized. I felt that I had a lot to offer, but I didn’t have the connections. This initiative opened the door for me to use my skills and give back to the community.”
As a corporate lawyer at Bennett Jones, Rebecca Huang provides her clients with excellent services on a wide range of corporate legal matters. She also believes strongly in using her experience and skills in public service and making a contribution to her new community. But she long found it difficult to do so. Although trained and working as a lawyer in a high-paced firm in Toronto, she, like many newcomers, lacked the connections to take the first steps towards using her skills to serve the public.
Then, she came across a news story about a new program seeking help to diversify public boards. Thinking the idea was excellent, she took the initiative and wrote a short email to Maytree congratulating the foundation on the program and offering to help in any way she could. Not long after, she was contacted, interviewed, recruited and appointed by the Ontario government as a Lieutenant-Governor Appointee to the Council of Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) for a three-year term. She has since been re-appointed and in 2012 was also appointed to the Discipline Committee of Certified Management Accountants of Ontario.
Rebecca credits DiverseCity onBoard with helping her make these first connections. And she believes that the work onBoard does is not only important, but has much future potential:
“There are a lot of candidates out there with strong leadership skills, but who lack the connections to make things happen. We still have a lot of room to help leaders in immigrant communities to get there and to make contributions. This is just the beginning. There is still a lot more we can do to diversify boards.”
She exemplifies the skills, attitude and sense of community commitment that form the foundation of onBoard candidates. Our work exists, in part, to help connect diverse, natural leaders like Rebecca with organizations and boards that can benefit from her skills, experience and enthusiasm. Her story reminds and energizes us about the impact we can all make on our communities.
Leaders signal who belongs and who doesn’t, especially in a time of change and renewal. Maytree and CivicAction have recruited, trained, and connected hundreds of diverse leaders for greater civic and political participation. Learn about our suite of DiverseCity leadership programs and their impact to date.
It’s been an exciting year for DiverseCity onBoard with the start of the program’s global replication, a new funding partner, and some of our roster members joining Diversity 50.
Congratulations to DiverseCity onBoard roster members, Brian Chu, Mohamed Dhanani, Allan Mark, and Noella Milne, who have been included in Diversity 50.
Today, the Green Party of Ontario looks a lot different, thanks to the election of Judith Van Veldhuysen as Deputy Leader and member of the Green “shadow cabinet.” Judith is part of a trend, or a “changing of the guard” in Ontario politics, especially in the Greater Toronto Area.
We know that our demographic reality is often not reflected in media stories. There is an absence of visible minority representation in the media, both in the newsroom and in the news. So, we created DiverseCity Voices.
Interested in the well-being of the Greater Toronto Area? Then you should be interested in the supply chain. The supply chain matters because it delivers the goods and services we all consume.
Nidhi Tandon calls herself one of the “oldies” of the DiverseCity onBoard program. A former journalist, she has been part of the roster since day one and understands how important the program is to both individuals and organizations.
Many Canadian companies have come to recognize and embrace the benefits of diversity in their workforce and in their leadership. But how many have ethnic and racial diversity in their supply chains?