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By Sandra Lopes, Maytree
At Maytree and Civic Action, when we talk about diversity in leadership, we often argue that we need to “collapse natural timelines.” Why would we say this knowing that change is inevitable, and, with time, it will happen regardless?
Because there is nothing natural about these natural timelines.
In 1991, 26% of the Toronto CMA’s population were visible minorities. What would be natural is to expect that twenty years later at least a quarter of our leadership would be visible minorities. But this is not the case. According to our DiverseCity Counts research, in 2011 only 14.5% of leaders in the most diverse areas of the GTA were visible minorities.
The slow pace of change is shocking. It is unnatural. A lack of networks, old-fashioned hiring criteria, and racism (whether intended or not) are barriers to leadership for visible minorities.
To encourage organizations to make diversity a priority, we often emphasize the economic reasons to take action. Research has found that leadership diversity is linked to enhanced financial performance, better access to new markets, and innovation.
But leadership diversity is important for many reasons that have nothing to do with the bottom line. (more…)
by Tina Edan, Maytree
Leader is a title.
Leadership is an action.
An action that requires individuals to deal with real situations, show courage and take risks.
A few things we know:
Recognizing the context and the demographic trends, Ratna Omidvar, President of Maytree, along with the late David Pecaut, chair of the Toronto City Summit Alliance (now CivicAction) also recognized an opportunity. Together, they developed a suite of initiatives to address the lack of diverse leaders on boards, in public office and in the media. This was the start of DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project.
DiverseCity initiatives create opportunities for leaders to exercise their leadership.
A counselor at the Schlifer Clinic, Voices participant Farrah Khan was identified by the Toronto Star as one of the 2011 People to Watch. She appears regularly in media, discussing issues like domestic violence and, most recently, a lift on the ban on Muslim women soccer players wearing hijabs in international matches, a cause she’s championed through the group Right2Wear.
2010 DiverseCity Fellow Gabrielle Scrimshaw headed a city building action project that led to the creation of the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada. The association’s vision is to foster and showcase world class leadership within the First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
Rezwanul Karim is one of 29 community leaders who have been trained by Building Blocks to train residents on how government decision-making works and how to impact those decisions. At the end of this year, close to 900 leaders will be equipped and motivated to help make social change happen where they live. Find out more.
Danny Ankle (Executive Director, Dovercourt Boys & Girls Club) is serving his second term on the Ontario College of Teachers board. For him, being a member of the DiverseCity onBoard roster has been of tremendous benefit. Find out why.
Interested in leadership opportunities?
In May, we held the 2010 Diversity in Governance Awards to celebrate four organizations that have embraced diversity in their board governance.
In this video, Saäd Rafi shares his insights on leadership, what he looks for in emerging leaders, and why diversity matters for the Toronto region.
Colin Clarke is changing the way conductors lead.
Meet Nick Davis who was previously senior producer of Metro Morning, and hear what he has to say about his own leadership journey.
At a recent session hosted in York Region, the 2011 DiverseCity Fellows explored and shared opportunities to broaden the regional perspective in their city-building efforts.
In 2007, Mamdouh Shoukri became President and Vice-Chancellor of York University, Canada’s third-largest university.
Meet Sheldon Leiba, President & CEO of the Mississauga Board of Trade.
As I reflect back on my life, I had a lot of mentors and people that supported me to develop me to who I am today.