The Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) has created Canada’s only national database of qualified, diverse candidates for corporate board of director appointments – Diversity 50. In two years, in collaboration with the 10 Diversity 50 CEOs/Chairs, we now have a database of 100 top, board-ready candidates for corporate board service.
Please click here to meet the Diversity 50.
Applications for Diversity 50 2014 will be available in March 2014 from our website. If you would like us to send you a reminder, please click here and fill out a feedback form.
Diversity 50 is designed to help corporate directors identify board-ready diverse candidates beyond their own networks. How do we define diversity? The Council’s definition expands the traditional board definition of industry experience, management experience, functional area of expertise, education, geography and age to also include such considerations as ethnicity, gender and aboriginal status. The Diversity 50 database allows you to search 78 specific fields such as industry experience, functional area of expertise and gender to name a few. Like in any search for a new director, the onus remains on a board’s nominating and governance committee (and their executive search firm) to exercise due diligence and assess the potential candidate’s credentials against the board’s requirements.
We are grateful to HSBC Canada President and CEO Paulo Maia, Deloitte Managing Partner and Chief Executive Frank Vettese and the eight other CEOs who have developed and vetted the qualification criteria for Diversity 50 in collaboration with the Council. In turn, the Council collaborated with GMI Ratings, a leading independent provider of global corporate governance ratings and research with a database of over 130,000 public company directors.
It is important that corporate directors meet the Diversity 50 candidates in person. The Council was pleased to facilitate these introductions for our Members’ boards of directors and executive teams at private receptions hosted by the select CEOs. The Receptions were held in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montréal in November 2012 and September/October 2013. The Council also piloted a Diversity 50 Reception with executive search firms in Toronto in June 2013.
We invite your board to join the Council and mitigate the risk to your business of not having the diversity of thought and experience at the table to drive shareholder value.
The Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) is the leading Canadian organization advancing diversity on Canada’s boards. The Council is self-funded thanks to a growing number of member organizations following initial funding from the federal government.
Our vision is for Canadian companies to become more globally competitive in part because more boards are comprised of directors who are the most qualified in a greatly-expanded talent pool. In other words, imagine if Canada’s boardrooms look like Canada! Our multicultural population provides a wealth of talent, connections and perspectives. Are quotas the answer?
The Council does not support quotas at this time. Instead, we support a made-in-Canada approach. First, we advocate boards recruit beyond their own directors’ networks. Through a rigorous process to identify new directors who are not known by the current directors with the assistance of search professionals and the Council through Diversity 50, boards can benefit from well-credentialed individuals who bring a wider range of skills, experiences and perspectives to corporate governance. This means better discussion, greater diligence in decision-making and ultimately, improved financial performance and shareholder value.
Second, our made-in-Canada approach means the Council conducts annual research to track progress. We deliver a hard copy of the Annual Report Card to each FP500 director. In this way, directors can contextualize the composition of their own boards. Third, we provide the tools that our member companies boards need in order to execute a board diversity strategy. Fourth, the Council created ‘Get on Board’, which provides a cost-effective orientation to board service. Fifth, we help our member organizations be successful in the execution of their own diversity strategies.
Diversity 50 does not guarantee board seats for the candidates. Diversity 50 is intended to 1-motivate boards to embrace greater diversity by providing a pool of potential candidates who are not in board members’ individual networks and 2-motivate potential candidates to be more active in their searches. The Council advocates that boards follow a rigorous process to identify and recruit new directors in collaboration with search professionals.
Diversity 50 underscores the importance of boards identifying candidates from traditional and non-traditional pools and provides a forum for interested individuals to communicate their interest in corporate board service. It is up to the individual board (and search firm) to assess the individual’s competencies against the board’s requirements when conducting its due diligence during a search.
Six key differences sets Diversity 50 apart from similar initiatives that have been tried in the past: a focus on visible minorities, women, Aboriginal Peoples and persons with disabilities; the hands-on participation of leading CEOs; best-in-class criteria that addresses knowledge, skills and behaviors; a stringent selection process; a small number of candidates; and, collaboration with Governance Metrics International (GMI).
On July 19, 2012 at the New York Stock Exchange, GMI launched its own database, Diverse Director DataSource (3D), for shareholders, nominating committees and search firms seeking more diverse individuals from a new talent pool. This database was commissioned by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). Each of the Diversity 50 are in this new database as are each of the Diversity 50 applicants.
The design of Diversity 50 is rooted in dialogue with corporate directors at the Council’s 2011 Board Diversity Best Practices Roundtables. The directors highlighted a key nominating issue that, if resolved, would increase the speed at which FP500 boards identify and consider diverse candidates. The issue was how to find potential new directors who were not in the directors’ personal and professional networks. Directors whose boards had re-defined diversity to include gender, ethnicity and aboriginal background described how they felt they made better board decisions as a result of this diversity. In response, directors whose boards were not diverse expressed their desire to increase the diversity of their boards but were blunt in their confession that they had a difficult time finding new qualified directors.
At the Roundtables the Council raised the idea of creating a list of board-ready candidates who were recommended for consideration based on a process endorsed by a group of leading, well-connected CEOs who were respected within the business community and/or the public sector. The list of these diverse candidates would be made available to boards. It would be up to the individual board (and their search firm) to assess the individual’s credentials against the board’s requirements. The directors at the Roundtables supported the idea for its simplicity and the ease in which they could identify potential Directors who are unknown to them. Diversity 50 was born!
Sarah Kavanagh elected to Board of HudBay Minerals Inc., July 2013 and WPT Industrial REIT, April 26, 2013
Melissa Sonberg elected to Board of EQUITAS International Centre for Human Rights, January 2013
Victoria Withers elected to Board of BlueShore Financial, October 2013
Julie Jai elected to Board of St. Joseph’s Health Centre, October 2013
Rodney Nelson elected to Aboriginal Financial Officers Association board, October 2013
Thanks to the CEOs/Chairs and their organizations who are supporting and sponsoring the Diversity 50 initiative.
President and Chief Executive Officer TELUS
President and Chief Executive Officer Postmedia Network
President and Chief Executive Officer IAMGOLD
President and Chief Executive Officer HSBC Bank Canada
President and Chief Executive Officer Coast Capital Savings
Co-chair Norton Rose Fulbright
President and Chief Executive Officer Hydro-Québec
Managing Partner and Chief Executive Deloitte
President and Chief Executive Officer Suncor Energy
President and Chief Executive Officer Iron Ore Company of Canada