Canada: Stikeman Co-Hosts Board Diversity Workshop With Women Get On Board
Last Updated: August 1 2017

Last month Stikeman Elliott's Toronto office was delighted to co-host "Getting Yourself on a Board" with Women Get On Board (WGOB), a member-based company that connects, promotes and empowers women to corporate boards. Led by Deborah Rosati, Corporate Director, Co-founder and CEO of WGOB, and facilitated by a number of leading and serving corporate directors and board recruiters, this workshop provided tips and tools for board career planning, board resumes and interview preparation for aspiring corporate directors.

The evening began with an update on developments in board diversity from Raman Grewal, counsel in the Corporate Group of Stikeman Elliott.

"An interesting trend in our more recent research shows shift in how asset managers and proxy advisors are emphasizing substantive inclusion in leadership positions along with structural changes to promote diversity," said Raman. "This facet of gender diversity initiatives will be very interesting to watch going forward."

The workshop was led by Deborah Rosati and the table discussions were facilitated by the following leading and serving corporate directors who shared both their expertise and practical insight:

  • Daniella Dimitrov: President of DDimitrov Advisory Group, Corporate Director Excellon Resources Inc. and Aldridge Minerals Inc.
  • Laurel Murray: President of Murray Management Consulting Inc., Chair of the Audit Committee of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, former Corporate Director and Audit Committee Chair at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
  • Elaine Roper: ICD, Partner, NFP and Public Sector and National Board Practices at Odgers Berndtson
  • Trish Volker: Corporate Director, Labrador Iron Ore Royalty Corporation, member of ORNGE Board of Directors and recently appointed to the board of Burlington Hydro Electric Inc.

Key takeaways from this event:

  • Are you "board ready"? In addition to having the requisite experience, board positions require a significant time commitment. If you currently hold a position with a company, the support of your own board of directors and/or senior executive team will be an important asset.
  • What is your value proposition? One of the most important steps in preparing to apply for board positions is identifying and articulating your unique value proposition. Well-functioning boards are made up of members with a diversity of skills, experience, personality, culture, gender, ethnicity and age. Your value proposition is your unique collection of these attributes that enable you to bring a valued contribution to a given board.
  • Know the board. Like a job interview, when interviewing for a board position, you want to come prepared! Make sure you know which members of the board you will be meeting. Know their background, experience and skills. Find out who the independent board members are and what the ratio of executive to non-executive membership is. Map out any connections to members of the board. Make an impact and familiarize them with your style and the way you conduct yourself.

As part of Stikeman Elliott's ongoing commitment to diversity and the advancement of women in law and business, the firm will be continuing its Board Diversity initiative by hosting a number of events and roundtables to discuss the issue of gender diversity on boards as well as cover topics of interest to current and future board members.

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