Diversity more about talent than gender, say Alberta business leaders

| December 12, 2012 | 0 Comments

Alberta business leaders focus more on innovation and entrepreneurial thinking

Beacon Staff Reporter

alberta business

Alberta business leaders encouraged to provide mentorship for diverse candidates.

Alberta business leaders from the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) Canada and World Presidents’ Organization are weighing in on the subject of corporate board diversity by promoting a focus on talent rather than gender.

The Alberta business leaders met with an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in order to strengthen Alberta businesses and maintain international competitiveness.

“Talent with a bias toward innovation, creativity, consumer-orientation, and sector-specific knowledge needs to be tapped for long-term business sustainability,” said Debby Carreau, CEO of Calgary-based Inspired HR.

Carreau said this while co-chairing a Calgary event with Beth Reimer-Heck, Q C and Counsel at Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG), on Wednesday as part of an international initiative, known as 12/12/12, to promote board diversity.

The event was sponsored by Women’s International Network, BLG, and YPO Canada.

“Recruiters need to consider a broader range of characteristics – including non-corporate career paths – that can and should be part of the mix at the board table,” she said.

Carreau said that one corporate trend is toward advisory boards that provide corporate leadership access to a diversity of talent, a practice that would benefit Alberta business leaders.

“Alberta is rightly proud of its place on the world stage,” said Reimer-Heck, a corporate lawyer with 25 years of experience in transformational change.

“But we run the risk of under performing if we don’t take the diversity imperative seriously.”

While the talent argument isn’t gender-based, diversifying the talent pool would naturally lead to more women at leadership levels, she added.

Other points that came out of the meeting included; thinking about expanding board mandates to go beyond financial risk management toward broader organizational risk management, a stronger focus on sponsorship of diverse talent by men and women already in the executive ranks, mentorship of diverse candidates and providing support to women’s board-focused professional groups that promote mentoring and sponsorship based on talent.

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