Tag Archives: senior management

Which Women Have Arrived?

16 Feb

I recently attended the Regional Diversity Roundtable’s event “It’s 2015: Which Women have Arrived?

It was an interesting and thought-provoking evening. One of the speakers was Sandeep Tatla – Chief Diversity Officer from the Ontario College of Trades. Here were a few statistics Sandeep shared:

  • Women are still overrepresented in traditional female occupations (teaching, nursing, health) – many of these are underpaid professions.
  • Women still make 12-31.5% less than their male counterparts.
  • Despite being about half the population, and being about 53% of university graduates (since the 1980s), women continue to be under-represented in higher management positions (37.4% of lower managers, 31.6% of senior managers) and in STEM (22.3%) and trades (12%).
  • In all sectors, less than 50% of leadership positions are filled by women.

None of these statistics are surprising, nor is the fact that women are under-represented in leadership positions across sectors. But what did surprise me is the extent to which some women are more under-represented than others – specifically  women who are also visible minority women, women with disabilities, Aboriginal women, and women who identify as LGBTQ.

I feel like I’m reliving the Oscars debate…

Leadership clearly still has a gender.
But it also has a white, able bodied, heterosexual, (and probably slim) body.

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Copyright 2016 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker, Author and Facilitator on issues of Diversity & Inclusion
Interested in how the power of inclusion can transform your organization? Send me an email!

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Corporate Social Responsibility – what about inside the organization?

30 Sep

This week I was forwarded the list of Canada’s 50 Best Corporate Citizens (2011). It’s a list that Corporate Knights (“the Magazine for Clean Capitalism”) started about 10 years ago.

Who knew there was such a list? I was amazed!

I discovered  through Madelaine Drohan’s article in the report (entitled Big country, small steps) that corporate social responsibility can mean very different things;  from making sure child labour isn’t used in the supply chain, to building schools in Africa, to preventing high school drop outs right here at home.  Not bad, I thought. Good to know that there are large companies that are looking at more than profits. Hooray!

Further into the report, I came across a scorecard which tracks “the environmental, social and governance performance of the S&P/TSX60 Companies on the 2011 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada.  I thought I would find some great stats about what these companies are doing internally as well, to match their social responsibility externally.

I was disappointed.

A few things stand out in particular among these stats about corporate citizens who are up to some great things:

  • the number of female company directors in 2010 was 14.61% (UP from 14.49% in 2009, but still low)
  • the number of company directors who were either visible minorities or aboriginal  in 2010 was 2.92% (DOWN from 4.06 in 2009)
  • and the ratio of CEO salary to the lowest paid employees salary INCREASED by 8.70%


I’m not sure why I’m surprised. I often see companies making efforts in diversity and inclusion outside their walls (arguably where it looks good and they get kudos) before tackling any change inside. I guess I thought that with the corporate halo shining brightly for these 50 companies, that maybe, just maybe, they would be different.  I know it’s just a graph and I don’t have the whole story by far, but it suggests a lot.  

Would it be great if corporate social responsibility included creating an inclusive, welcoming workplace  that valued diversity and inclusion – with representation at all levels and smaller pay gaps (for example) to prove it?

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Copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity and inclusion

More than Mentorship

19 Sep

Mentorship has been around for a long time, but there is a new “ship” on the block! Sponsorship. In light of my recent posts, I thought this would be a good topic for today.

Mentorship is about development. Sponsorship is about advancement. While development can lead to advancement, given the (often unconscious) bias in business (see, for example, my previous blogs on women in senior management) it is clear that development is not enough.

A sponsor must be someone at a higher level than you in the organization. They also must have power within that organization. Why? Because their role is to “go to bat” for you; to put your name in the ring, to bring you up in the critical conversations, to help get you in the door when getting in is largely about visibility. Because, at the end of the day, if no one knows you are there, it doesn’t matter how good you are.  

It struck me as I read Catalyst Canada’s recent report on sponsorship, that this is a formal system that mimics what has been going on in the “Old (white) Boys Network” informally forever – deals done over golf, people introduced over lunch, skipping over a few rungs in the ladder because someone knows someone and makes an introduction. It’s sad that we need to formalize the system so others can get in. But there it is.

Advancement, it seems, is still largely not about what you know, but who. It seems then, that (sadly), women and visible minorities still don’t seem to “know” the right people to get the big jobs. Sponsorship can help. It’s what we need to do to see some representation in leadership that comes with credibility so it can withstand the sceptics.

A great article to read about this topic is in Forbes magazine: Making Partner; Sponsorship and Gender Bias.

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copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion

MBA Diversity

12 Sep

I have spent the past 4 days with hundreds of Schulich MBA students. A colleague of mine was running the team building program for them, and I was in charge of the diversity session.

It was a great experience, and I couldn’t help but notice the diversity (or in some cases, lack thereof) within the over 400 students (full and part time) that came through over the four days:

– culturally, the majority of students were of South Asian origin, followed by Asian

– about 80% of the students were male

– there was no one with a physical disability (that was evident, anyway)

– racially, the majority of the students were Brown (various shades of “people of colour”), followed by White and then Black

And here is where the numbers stood out the most for me. In a sea of different skin colours, the number of Black students was so low that I think I can actually remember the faces of each one. I think the final number was 9 (5 Black women and 4 Black men). That’s about 2%.


It reminds me of town hall meetings about high secondary school drop out rates (also known as “push out” rates) for kids of colour in Toronto. But not all of the Black students were local, or even Canadian…

Things that make you go “hmm….”

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copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker & facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion
www. beeing.ca

5 Ways to Increase the Number of Women in Senior Management

6 Sep

On the heels of last week’s interview with Anne Golden (CEO of the Conference Board of Canada) on CBC, here are 5 things Anne suggested companies need to do, to make a conscious effort to increase the number of women in senior management.  Anne made reference to these as steps CP Rail has taken in their effort (with success).

Of course, these are not specific to increasing the representation of women in senior roles…

Making a more representative senior management team is not something that will happen on it’s own. It requires commitment and a strategy. Strategies suggest that something is important, and gives it more weight while obviously providing a road map for accomplishing the goal.

Anne’s words in the interview were “what you inspect gets respect”. Making sure you know how you are doing vis à vis your goal is a crucial component in reaching it. And tracking your progress also keeps the issue on your radar.

Networking Across the Organization
The opportunity to talk with and learn from others – in this case other women in similar roles, or other women in higher roles – is helpful for personal and professional growth. Networks build support systems, can create opportunities, and at the very least let us know we are not alone.

Recruitment & Succession Planning
Make no mistake, this is not about quotas. But if you have a commitment to increasing the number of women in senior roles, you need a plan. This is an internal plan for the women you currently employ who are on the track to senior management, as well as a plan for your hiring process.

Experience / Training for Promotion
Further to the above, mentoring and providing training  & professional development for the women in your organization so that they have a fair chance of being promoted is key. This is not to say that promotion won’t happen without this, but given our national track record, it would seem that making sure female employees have as much in their professional toolkit as possible would help break through the obvious bias that exists.

Again, these steps can be applied to any group that is under-represented in your senior management. Take a look around and see who is missing.

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copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, professional speaker, and facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion

Women in Management

1 Sep

We haven’t come as far as we think.
Although there are many more women in the workforce than in 1987 when the Conference Board of Canada started their study, the number of women in middle and senior management has flat-lined.

Men are still twice as likely to be in management positions as women. This probably comes as no surprise to many of you, but it’s something that we should not be complacent about.

Yesterday on Metro Morning, Matt Galloway spoke with Anne Golden, CEO of the Conference Board of Canada about the study they have just released (spanning 22 years: 1987 – 2009) that shows these numbers. She also asserts that studies show that companies who have women in senior management positions do better.

So, what’s up?

It’s the same old story: “the way it is” is powerful, so firstly, we often don’t even imagine a change, and often don’t notice who is missing from these positions since we are so used to seeing the same old guard. Plus, challenging our ideas of what a CEO or VP or Senior Executive looks like (not just regarding gender, but skin colour, cultural background, age, ability….) is difficult and often not comfortable. Challenging the status quo is difficult work, but worthwhile work.

Next week I’ll write about some of the ways companies can create change in this area.

In the meantime – take a look around.
Who are you seeing in positions of power? Who is missing in your organization?
Let me know! Add a comment and let’s start a conversation!

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copyright 2o11 Annemarie Shrouder
Author, Speaker & Facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion

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