News and Announcements

Catalyst Welcomes Tanya Van Biesen as New Executive Director for Canada

Toronto, ON, September 27, 2016 — Catalyst President & CEO Deborah Gillis and BMO Financial Group Chief Executive Officer and Catalyst Canada Advisory Board Chair Bill Downe are pleased to announce the appointment of Tanya van Biesen as Executive Director of Catalyst Canada Inc. She comes to Catalyst with more than two decades of corporate leadership and diversity and inclusion experience. 

In her position as Executive Director, van Biesen will lead the continued growth of Catalyst’s operations in Canada, shaping strategies to advance Catalyst’s mission with supporters, corporate partners, professional organizations, CEOs, senior leaders and stakeholders. 

“Tanya is a recognized leader and influencer with a remarkable depth of experience and passion for advancing inclusive workplaces. With deep experience in the executive search sector at the most senior levels of corporate Canada, she understands the competitive talent environment and the challenges facing women today. Her ability to work with others to inspire change will be a tremendous asset to the organization and our supporters as we continue to expand in Canada,” said Gillis.    

Most recently, van Biesen co-led the Financial Services Practice at Spencer Stuart, focusing on executive search assignments at the board, CEO and general management levels. In this capacity, she also led the firm’s Canadian Diversity Practice, specializing in the placement of chief diversity officers and diverse slates of candidates across all search assignments. 

“Tanya is an exceptional choice to lead Catalyst’s efforts here in Canada,” said Downe. “Her work and achievements throughout her career are a testament to her commitment to diversity and inclusion—principles that are vital to Canada’s international competitiveness. Her well-established leadership credentials will play an essential role in developing all of Canada's talent and ensuring the same quality of opportunity is available to all.”

Van Biesen began her career at Procter & Gamble, working in both Toronto and Calgary in regional and national sales leadership roles. She holds an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business and a Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s University.

“I am delighted to be joining the Catalyst team at a time of tremendous change and opportunity in Canada. I look forward to leveraging my experience serving Canadian companies at the executive and board levels for the last 20 years in this new challenge with such a great team and organization,” said van Biesen.
In addition, van Biesen is currently the Toronto chapter representative for WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation, a global membership organization and community of women corporate directors dedicated to accelerating best practices in corporate governance. She is a sought-after speaker on the topic of diversity in the boardroom, and van Biesen has contributed to several research studies and articles analyzing leadership trends and attributes. 

# # #

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.