Changing the face of leadership: Awards recognize four GTA-based organizations

TORONTO, May 9 /CNW/ - At an awards ceremony on Monday evening at Cisco Canada's head office, DiverseCity onBoard recognized Peel Children's Aid, The Redwood and the Town of Richmond Hill for embracing diversity in board governance and making it a priority to recruit board members from diverse backgrounds. A new corporate award, presented by the Canadian Board Diversity Council, recognized TD Bank Group.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty addressed the winners and applauded the progress made in changing the face of leadership across the GTA. It was also announced that the government will continue to support the DiverseCity project, including the DiverseCity onBoard initiative, for another two years.

"Diversity is one of Ontario's greatest strengths," said Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins. "When organizations work with DiverseCity to make their governance more diverse, they open their organizations to new opportunities and new markets. That kind of openness is going to help support our growing economy and a stronger Ontario."

"Good practice in board governance includes finding the right people to lead," explained Ratna Omidvar, President of Maytree and co-chair of DiverseCity. "In a city region as diverse as ours, this involves embracing the full spectrum of skills, experiences and connections available. Capitalizing on our immense talent pool is an imperative for today's nonprofit, public and corporate boards. We're very pleased that the government of Ontario continues to be such a great supporter of this project."

This year's winners of the fourth annual Diversity in Governance Awards are leading examples of inclusive boards of governance. Their deliberate strategies have enriched their own boards and organizations, and their example is changing the face of leadership across the GTA. Research conducted by The Conference Board of Canada in the fall of 2008 linked diverse leadership to greater financial and organizational performance and enhanced innovation and creativity, among other outcomes.

"Our Board and staff are proud and thrilled to be recognized by DiverseCity onBoard for our work in the area of diversity and anti-oppression," said Paul Zarnke, executive director of Peel Children's Aid. "Peel Region has an increasingly diverse population and we want to ensure our services reflect the children and families we serve. Our multi-pronged approach to being an anti-oppressive and diversity competent organization is helping us achieve our goal of equitable services for clients and community and to being a more inclusive workforce."

"The Redwood is deeply honoured to receive the Diversity in Governance Award," said Anthea Windsor, President, Board of Directors of The Redwood. "Through the leadership of our board of directors, we have embraced the journey to break down barriers of oppression and racism. It is transforming our work to support women and children fleeing abuse and is supporting us in building leadership and staff teams that reflect and are responsive to the needs of our community."

"Richmond Hill is very proud to be selected to receive the Diversity in Governance Award," said Dave Barrow, Mayor of Richmond Hill. "We are proud to be a welcoming community, one that encourages the participation of all our residents in the local government process. Engagement and participation of the people is important to us and we are always looking for new and effective ways to encourage more of it in Richmond Hill."

"We're delighted to be the inaugural recipient of the Corporate Board Diversity Award," says Brian Levitt, Chairman of the Board for TD Bank Group. "Much more than simply the right thing to do, the TD Board views diversity as a business imperative and a competitive advantage in the competition for talented people."

Read the profiles of the winners:

DiverseCity onBoard is part of DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project, a joint initiative of Maytree and the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance. The project aims to transform the leadership landscape across the GTA. DiverseCity onBoard connects qualified candidates from Aboriginal, visible minority and under-represented immigrant communities to agencies, boards and commissions in the public and nonprofit sectors. Since 2005, Diversity onBoard has made over 550 appointments to public and nonprofit boards from its roster of more than 1,500 candidates.

ABOUT MAYTREE: Established in 1982, Maytree promotes equity and prosperity through its policy insights, grants and programs. The organization has gained recognition for its expertise in developing, testing and implementing programs and policy solutions related to immigration, integration and diversity.

ABOUT CANADIAN BOARD DIVERSITY COUNCIL (CBDC): CBDC's goal is to improve the diversity of boards in the public, not-for-profit, and private sectors. Our vision is to increase board representation of women, members of visible minority groups, Aboriginal and First Nations people, persons with disabilities and members of the LGBT community over the next five years. CBDC believes that boards comprised of directors who bring a wide range of perspectives, skills and experience to corporate governance will be effective contributors to the performance of their organizations.

ABOUT PEEL CHILDREN'S AID: Peel Children's Aid protects children from abuse and neglect and helps parents and caregivers build healthy families with the support of our Peel community. The agency works with families who may be facing challenges such as poverty, unemployment, ill health, domestic violence, mental health issues, or caring for a child who has serious physical, emotional or developmental difficulties. It acts as guardians for children and youth who cannot remain with their families and facilitates a "forever family" through adoption. The best way to deal with child abuse and neglect is to prevent it. If there is a concern - call Children's Aid. They are here to help.

ABOUT THE REDWOOD: Since 1993, The Redwood has been here to help women and children live free from violence. Free from fear. Free from threat. Leaving an abusive situation is one of the toughest things any woman or child has to face. The Redwood provides the emotional, practical and social support that families need to get their lives back on track - and we offer free and confidential services in over 170 different languages.

ABOUT THE TOWN OF RICHMOND HILL: With an engaged population of over 185,000 residents and located just north of Toronto, Ontario, Richmond Hill takes pride in its involvement in recreation, volunteer service, the arts and environmental sustainability. It is through involvement like this that helps make Richmond Hill's vision, "Where people come together to build our community", come to life. The Town of Richmond Hill contains a rich mosaic of cultures, languages and faiths that embraces and celebrates ethnic diversity. It's a friendly, down-to-earth, yet dynamic and active community which has earned Richmond Hill the distinction of being "one of Canada's most attractive communities to live," according to the Conference Board of Canada. Richmond Hill Council and over 625 full-time and 500 part-time staff honour and foster strong partnerships with their citizens and believe strongly in their mission of being committed to providing exceptional public service to our community. To find out more, visit

ABOUT TD BANK GROUP: The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group (TD). TD is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves approximately 19 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Insurance; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 6 million online customers. TD had CDN$616 billion in assets on January 31, 2011. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

SOURCE Maytree Foundation

For further information:

Media contacts:

Maytree: Markus Stadelmann-Elder, Communications Manager, p: 416-944-2627 x 284, c: 416-271-5654,

Canadian Board Diversity Council: Pamela Jeffery, Founder, 416-361-1475 x 224,

Peel Children's Aid: Lucie Baistrocchi, Director, Communications, 905-363-6131 ext. 1153,

The Redwood: Anne-Marie Gardner, Executive Director, 416-533-9372 ext. 234,

Town of Richmond Hill: Carol Moore, APR, Manager, Communication Services, 905-771-2418,

TD Bank Group: Suzanna Cohen, Manager Corporate Communications, p: 416-983-7487,

c: 416-317-8962,

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