Maytree and the Toronto City Summit Alliance recently announced the first wave of over 100 partners that have committed their support to “DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project”. Partners include private, non-profit and public organizations that are committed to more diverse leadership in the Greater Toronto Area (a full list can be found online at
“It is our goal that, over the next three years, 1000 new diverse leaders will be identified and helped to move into positions of leadership and influence,” says Ratna Omidvar, president, Maytree, a private foundation that promotes equity and prosperity through its policy insights, grants and programs. “Ultimately our city will benefit from the competitive advantage diverse leaders bring to the public, private and non-profit sectors.”
The GTA has a higher proportion of immigrants than any other city, surpassing Miami, Sydney, Los Angeles and New York: forty-four per cent of the city region’s population is foreign born. Despite the GTA’s multicultural strength, visible minorities are currently under-represented in its leadership. The partners of DiverseCity are committed to change this by realizing the full potential of our people and transforming the GTA’s leadership landscape through DiverseCity’s eight-point plan (see details below).
A Conference Board of Canada report, “The Value of Diverse Leadership”, analyzed many of the issues and benefits of diversity in Canadian leadership circles. The report showed that diverse leadership can benefit the GTA and other regions in the following areas:
• Increased financial performance
• Greater employee productivity and organizational performance
• Greater ability to attract and retain talent
• Enhanced creativity and innovation
• Increased civic engagement
“It is time to reap the benefits of creating a more diverse leadership in the GTA and we are thrilled to be partnering with so many strong organizations,” says David Pecaut, chair, Toronto City Summit Alliance, a multi-sectoral coalition of civic leaders who develop and support initiatives addressing issues critical to the future health and wealth of the Toronto region, and senior partner, The Boston Consulting Group. “Toronto has the opportunity to turn its diversity deficit into a huge diversity dividend.”
Participants recently discussed the eight concrete projects of DiverseCity including:
1. Initiatives to expand the region’s networks:
- DiverseCity Nexus will bridge business and social connections between established and rising executives through an annual salon-style speaker series.
- DiverseCity Fellows will equip 25 next generation civic leaders each year through a fellowship that combines leadership, diversity, exposure to top leaders, and action projects.
2. Initiatives to strengthen the region’s institutions:
- DiverseCity onBoard will strengthen public and voluntary institutions by matching their governance positions with highly qualified candidates from racially and ethnically diverse communities.
- DiverseCity in Civic Leadership will broaden involvement in the political process by identifying, training and mentoring diverse leaders who will run for elected office and manage election campaigns.
- DiverseCity Voices will enrich the quality of print, radio and television news by identifying and training diverse spokespeople across a variety of subject areas and connecting them with journalists.
3. Initiatives to advance the region’s knowledge:
- DiverseCity Advantage will build and communicate the body of knowledge on the economic and social benefits of diversity in leadership.
- DiverseCity Perspectives will create opportunities for dialogue and surface new ideas on the systemic conditions that encourage or discourage diversity in leadership.
4. An initiative to track the region’s progress:
- DiverseCity Counts will produce an annual check-up on the extent to which the GTA’s leadership reflects our demographic realities.
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