News and Announcements

Catalyst to Honour Exceptional Corporate Leaders Advancing Women and Inclusion in Canadian Workplaces

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Toronto, ON, June 28, 2017Catalyst announced today the 2017 Catalyst Canada Honours Champions: four corporate leaders who have made transformational contributions helping to advance women and inclusion in Canadian workplaces; and one emerging leader whose inspiring leadership has contributed to meaningful progress for inclusion within her organization. 

The 2017 Catalyst Canada Honours Champions are:

Company/Firm Leaders—

Business Leaders—

  • Pierre Dubreuil, Executive Vice President, Financing, Business Development Bank of Canada 

  • Kenneth J. Fredeen, General Counsel and Secretary to the Board, Deloitte Canada 

Emerging Leader—

“These remarkable individuals have demonstrated bold and intentional leadership to create workplaces where diversity and inclusion is a priority,” said Tanya van Biesen, Executive Director, Catalyst Canada. “They are exceptional role models in the Canadian business community, sharing a conviction that inclusion is vital to business success, and that all talent, regardless of background, should have an opportunity to succeed. We salute them and thank them for their inspiring leadership.”

“Congratulations to everyone being honoured by Catalyst. These leaders are making a real impact on the advancement of inclusion in Canadian workplaces,” said Dave McKay, President & CEO of RBC and Catalyst Canada Honours Dinner Chair. “The 2017 Catalyst Canada Honours Champions show what is possible when we all work together, helping to shape a brighter and more inclusive future for all.”

The Catalyst Canada Honours annually celebrates champions who advance women and inclusive workplaces in Canadian business. Nominees are evaluated in a rigorous process, and this year’s Catalyst Canada Honours Champions have been named in three categories: Company/Firm Leader, Business Leader and Emerging Leader. These leaders exemplify Catalyst research that reinforces the benefits of inclusive workplaces, and shows that diversity and inclusion are linked to innovation and team citizenship, overall team productivity, and stronger business results.

About the 2017 Catalyst Canada Honours Champions
  • Victor G. Dodig (Company/Firm Leader Champion) is a transformational leader with a passionate commitment to advancing inclusive workplaces at CIBC both in Canada and around the globe. Since becoming CEO in 2014, he has ignited a commitment to gender diversity and inclusion among his leadership team, setting goals and holding teams accountable for meeting and exceeding them. He has advanced bold initiatives to make diversity and inclusion part of CIBC’s DNA, mentoring and sponsoring women and men across the organization, and in 2016 hosting the first-ever MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) Leaders program in Canada. Outside of the bank, he is chair of the 30% Club Canada, supporting efforts to recruit and establish an influential group of Board Chairs and CEOs to address the challenge of advancing women to boards, and helping to grow the 30% Club membership in Canada from 35 to over 150 organizations. Mr. Dodig is also a member of the Catalyst Canada Advisory Board, volunteering his time to help Catalyst advance its mission in Canada.

  • Chris Huskilson (Company/Firm Leader Champion) is an inspirational leader whose efforts to advance inclusion at Emera, a leading energy and services company headquartered in Atlantic Canada, have been felt keenly throughout the organization. A long-time advocate for the advancement of women, he has changed the face of leadership at Emera, boosting the representation of women on the Emera Inc. executive team to 39% and helping the company to reach 33% women board directors. Under his leadership, the organization has enhanced its employment and procurement policies, increasing the numbers of women, Indigenous people, visible minorities and people with disabilities in its workforce. A true champion of inclusion, Mr. Huskilson is known as a leader who “walks the talk,” empowering people from all backgrounds to rise to their true potential.

  • Pierre Dubreuil (Business Leader Champion) is a trailblazer who in five short years has transformed his leadership team in Financing at Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) from all male to two-thirds women and one-third visible minorities. His inclusive management style empowers employees to challenge the status quo, take risks in hiring and developing talent, and embrace the value of equal opportunity. Under his leadership, BDC has increased its portfolio of women-owned businesses it finances by 27%, and is now developing a financing program for new immigrant entrepreneurs to help establish themselves. Mr. Dubrueil has encouraged a culture of inclusion well beyond his own team and has become a role model for the entire organization.  

  • Kenneth J. Fredeen (Business Leader Champion) has been a role model of courageous and inclusive leadership at Deloitte Canada for over 16 years. Women comprise 70% of his teamwhich is also diverse in terms of ethnicity, sexual orientation and ability. His commitment to hiring the best talent is a shining testimony to his inclusive leadership. As a founding member of Deloitte’s Diversity Council in 2007, Mr. Fredeen advocated for meaningful change and concrete action. In 2011, he assumed the role of Chair, and both restructured and re-named it to be Deloitte’s Inclusion Council. Mr. Fredeen is also one of the founding members of Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD), a group of over 100 General Counsels from across Canada committed to creating a more inclusive legal profession. 

  • Kimberly Smith (Emerging Leader) is a passionate advocate for inclusive workplaces. As a leader of two of EY Canada’s employee resource groups (ERGs)—Black Professionals Network and UNITY, the network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender employees and their allies—she supports and models the value of bringing one’s whole self to work. Under Ms. Smith’s leadership, both of these important ERGs have grown and flourished; with increased events for members and non-members alike, including the highly successful “Bring Yourself to Work” event. Ms. Smith’s efforts to ensure that all employees at EY Canada understand and support the value of inclusion have received widespread accolades across the firm.

The 2017 Catalyst Canada Honours Champions will be presented with their awards at the 2017 Catalyst Canada Honours Dinner on Monday, November 6, at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. The dinner will follow the Catalyst Canada Honours Conference, a unique and dynamic opportunity for business leaders across the country to discuss best practices in inclusive leadership initiatives and learn strategies to advance sustainable change in corporate Canada.

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About Catalyst

Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit organization accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion. With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, India, Australia, and Japan, and more than 800 supporting organizations, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information, and advice about women at work.