News and Announcements

Catalyst Honors Initiatives at Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Sodexo with the 2012 Catalyst Award

Catalyst to celebrate 50 years of advancing women in the workplace

NEW YORK—Catalyst announces that initiatives from Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Sodexo are the recipients of the 2012 Catalyst Award. Catalyst will honor these groundbreaking initiatives at its 50th anniversary celebration, beginning with a special two-day conference on Wednesday, March 28, 2012, and Thursday, March 29, 2012, and culminating with the gala Catalyst Awards Dinner on the evening of March 29. This anniversary represents a significant milestone: Catalyst’s 50 years of leadership to expand opportunities for women and business.
“This year’s 50th anniversary celebration recognizes Catalyst’s unique contribution to women’s progress in the workplace over the last five decades and anticipates the positive impact women’s leadership will have on the world in decades to come,” said Ilene H. Lang, President and Chief Executive Officer of Catalyst. “The pioneering initiatives we honor with the Catalyst Award affect businesses and employees’ lives, but their influence also extends beyond corporate walls to families, communities, and economies worldwide. Clearly, what’s good for women is good for men, business, and society.”
James S. Turley, Chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young LLP and Chairman of the Catalyst Board of Directors, will chair the Dinner. The CEOs of many leading global organizations and more than 2,000 corporate leaders will be in attendance. The festivities will take place at The Waldorf=Astoria in New York.
Since 1987, Catalyst has honored exceptional business initiatives that advance women in the workplace with the Catalyst Award, which embodies Catalyst’s vision of “Changing workplaces. Changing lives.” This year’s Award-winning initiatives share a laser-like focus on the business case for women’s advancement and include:

  • A cutting-edge initiative from one of Australia’s largest financial services organizations, which has transformed its culture and provides many opportunities for its women and diverse employees to excel.
  • A strategic initiative from a food and facilities management services company that advances employees, including women, and clients through multi-pronged diversity and inclusion strategies.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)’s initiative, Opening the Door for Gender Diversity, seeks to increase the number of women in senior leadership positions through a variety of strategies and programs aimed at breaking down barriers women and diverse populations often face in the workplace. Unique programs include mandatory and in-depth unconscious bias training for all senior leaders, a rigorous talent review process, and a progressive approach to building a flexible workplace. Because of CBA’s strong support for flexibility, the proportion of employees who state they work flexibly (formally and informally) has increased from 35 percent in 2008 to 41 percent in 2011. Strong metrics and results reinforce the power of this initiative; women’s representation in executive manager and above roles has increased from 21 percent in 2005 to 29 percent in 2011, and the percentage of women on the board of directors also increased from 20 percent to 27 percent.
Sodexo’s initiative, Making Every Day Count: Driving Business Success Through the Employee Experience, is a systemic strategy to provide the tools, resources, and support necessary to ensure success of all employees, including women. A host of professional development programs present opportunities to share diversity lessons with staff and clients, provide training to different employee populations, and develop connections through strategic networking and robust mentoring. For example, Sodexo’s IMPACT mentoring program, which connects employees across client sites, has resulted in a demonstrable improvement in women’s careers: 30 percent of women who participated in IMPACT received a promotion. The strategic nature of this initiative has led to strong results; from 2003 to 2010, women’s share of positions in the executive pipeline increased from 23 percent to 33 percent, with racially/ethnically diverse women’s share increasing from 6 percent to 9 percent.
The prestige of winning the Catalyst Award, rooted in its rigorous criteria and year-long evaluation process, continues to grow. The Award-winning initiatives are assessed against a robust set of criteria, including business rationale, senior leadership support, accountability, communication, employee engagement, innovation, and measurable results.
Catalyst believes that showcasing best-in-class initiatives is vital to women’s progress in the corporate world. This year’s Award-winning initiatives provide valuable models for companies wishing to transform society, increase sustainability, and potentially improve their bottom lines by creating opportunities for women to advance. This year’s Catalyst Awards Conference is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company and Walmart; this year’s Dinner is sponsored by PepsiCo, Inc. and Shell Oil Company.
Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit membership organization expanding opportunities for women and business. With offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, and India, and more than 500 preeminent corporations as members, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information, and advice about women at work. Catalyst annually honors exemplary organizational initiatives that promote women's advancement with the Catalyst Award.
The Catalyst Award annually honors innovative organizational approaches with proven, measurable results that address the recruitment, development, and advancement of all women, including diverse women. Catalyst’s rigorous, year-long examination of initiatives culminates in intensive on-site evaluations at select organizations. By recognizing, sharing, and celebrating successful initiatives, Catalyst provides models for creating initiatives that are good for women and good for business.
The Commonwealth Bank is Australia’s leading provider of integrated financial services including retail banking, premium banking, business banking, institutional banking, funds management, superannuation, insurance, investment and sharebroking products and services. The Commonwealth Bank Group is one of the largest listed companies on the Australian Stock Exchange and is included in the Morgan Stanley Capital Global Index.

The Commonwealth Bank brand is the most recognised brand in the Australian financial services industry, with the largest customer base of any Australian bank. The business is established in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Asia-Pacific region.

With over 52,000 people in the Group and the largest financial services distribution network in Australia, the Group shares a vision to be Australia’s finest financial services organization through excelling in customer service.
Sodexo is a world leader in Quality of Daily Life Solutions. Quality of Life plays an important role in the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. Based on this conviction, Sodexo acts as the strategic partner for companies and institutions that place a premium on performance and employee well-being, as it has since Pierre Bellon founded the company in 1966. Sharing the same passion for service, Sodexo’s 391,000 employees in 80 countries design, manage and deliver an unrivaled array of On-site Service Solutions and Motivation Solutions. Sodexo has created a new form of service business that contributes to the fulfillment of its employees and the economic, social and environmental development of the communities, regions and countries in which it operates.