Challenging companies to address the critical need for diversity on boards
It is a widely known fact that in Canada, the representation of diverse groups on boards is low. According to a 2016 report, visible minorities make up 22.3% of the total population yet only 4.5% are directors at FP500 companies (Canada Board Diversity Council, 2016). Various studies have also highlighted that this under-representation contributes to economic and social exclusion.
A recent study by Ryerson’s University’s Diversity Institute finds that while women in general are gaining ground in board representation in specific sectors, racialized women are having a harder time than non-racialized women. And, in general, racialized people (commonly referred to as visible minorities) are almost invisible in corporate leadership roles, even in cities like Toronto where more than half the population is racialized.
The report concludes that while there has been progress in the representation of women, there is still much more work to be done to increase representation on boards for other diverse groups.
Which is why organizations like the newly launched Synergy on Boards Consulting Group (SBCG) have a critical role to play. SBCG is a company that aims to support, mentor and train candidates from the Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) community, thus ensuring that organizations have access to executive, ‘board ready’ candidates from this specific population.
Co-founded by Coquitlam City Councillor Trish Mandewo and VP of Operations at Tide Rise Technologies and Executive In Residence at Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC) Cecilia Mkondiwa, the company challenges organizations to make a conscious effort to diversify their boards, and also helps them easily access the talent pool.
“For many years racialized people have been outside the boardroom circle. My passion is to ensure that all qualified people are invited inside the circle. Change is hard, but progress lies in recognizing the creativity that the dimensions of diversity bring to all decision-making tables,” says SBCG co-founder Mandewo.
SBCG seeks to be a Canada-wide conduit between private companies, crown corporations, nonprofits, and board-ready BIPOC candidates. The company not only sees diversity on boards as a societal issue but also as the right business decision.
For more information about SBCG and for upcoming trainings and events, click here.
Access a recent editorial from Canadian Immigrant in support of diversity in senior management positions, boards and thought leadership councils: A message of solidarity and commitment to diversity and inclusion here.