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

TORONTO, June 19, 2013 /CNW/ - At an awards ceremony on Wednesday evening, DiverseCity onBoard recognized Blue Hills Child and Family Centre, the City of Markham, and William Osler Health System for embracing diversity in board governance and making it a priority to recruit board members from diverse backgrounds. A corporate award, presented by the Canadian Board Diversity Council, recognized BMO Financial Group.

"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 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."

This year's winners of the 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. The 2012 DiverseCity Counts report, Leadership Diversity in the Nonprofit Sector: Baby Steps, Big Strides, and Bold Stances, clearly shows that diversity contributes to effective governance, and that more diversity amplifies these benefits.

"Blue Hills Child and Family Centre has made a concerted effort to ensure this board reflects the diversity of the community in which it operates," said Jim Hamilton, Blue Hills Child and Family Centre's Board Chair. "Our board has benefitted immensely from this approach - each member of our board brings their unique talents, background, culture, experience and outlook to governance. We do not shy away from what makes us different, but rather we embrace and celebrate those differences, and, in doing so, we have managed to form a board that is as excellent as its staff. In this way, Blue Hills can continue to deliver the quality of service the community, and the families and children who need us, deserve."

Mayor Frank Scarpitti said, "The City of Markham is officially recognized as Canada's most diverse community. I'm proud that our city ensures our services are multilingual and accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Among our successes, we were the first municipality in Canada to invest in and add eSSENTIAL Accessibility software to our website. We pride ourselves on our actions and commitment to inclusivity."

"When inclusion and equity is represented and demonstrated at the highest level, employees, patients and families are empowered and strive to live these values each and every day," said Kay Blair, Chair, William Osler Health System Board of Directors. "This is an outstanding achievement for Osler and a testament to our innovation in diversity and inclusion, as well as our commitment to full integration within our organization."

"BMO fosters a corporate culture in which doing the right thing is second nature, and our board diversity practices represent an integral part of that culture," said Simon Fish, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, BMO Financial Group. "We are honoured to receive this award from the Canadian Board Diversity Council, and we are committed to continue supporting diversity on our board and throughout our organization."

Read the winners' profiles: http://diversecitytoronto.ca/get-involved/find-board-members/governance-awards/2013-diversity-in-governance-awards-2/

About DiverseCity onBoard
DiverseCity onBoard is part of DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project, a joint initiative of Maytree and the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance, funded in part by the government of Ontario. 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. http://diversecitytoronto.ca/onboard.

SOURCE: Maytree Foundation

For further information:

Media contacts

Maytree / DiverseCity:
Markus Stadelmann-Elder, Communications Manager
416-944-2627 x284, mselder@maytree.com

Blue Hills Child and Family Centre:
Sylvia Pivko, MSW, RSW, Executive Director
905-773-4323 ext 313, spivko@bluehillscentre.ca

City of Markham:
Dennis C. Flaherty, Director, Corporate Communications & Community Engagement
905-415-7520 (mobile: 647-295-4797), dflaherty@markham.ca

William Osler Health System:
Cara Francis, Manager, Public Relations and Digital Communications
905-494-2120 ext. 59467, cara.francis@williamoslerhs.ca

BMO Financial Group:
Peter E. Scott, Manager, Editorial Services
416-867-4711, petere.scott@bmo.com

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Maytree Foundation

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