Toronto, Canada

Toronto: DiverseCity Counts, Measuring Leadership Success

May 17, 2010

Measuring the changing face of leadership across the urban landscape

“What gets measured, gets noted, gets done”
– Ratna Omidvar, Co-Chair, DiverseCity, The Greater Toronto Leadership Project

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is one of the most culturally-diverse regions in the world. Statistics Canada reports that 49% of the city’s population is foreign-born and about 40% is comprised of visible minorities. Ensuring that the leadership of a region reflects the population’s diversity has important social and economic implications.

Launched in 2009, DiverseCity Counts is a three-year project being conducted by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute to measure the diversity of leadership in the Greater Toronto Area. This project is part of DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project, an initiative of Maytree and the Toronto City Summit Alliance and led by a steering group of impressive leaders — including senior representatives from major financial institutions, consulting firms, think tanks and service organizations. It is being funded by the provincial government of Ontario, and the release of its first benchmarking report was marked by a public event attended by more than 150 leaders including the Ontario Minister Responsible for Immigration.

The results from the DiverseCity Counts 2009 report reveals that visible minorities are under-represented in all the most senior leadership positions in the GTA.  Just 13% of the 3,257 leaders we studied are visible minorities. However, some sectors have much higher levels of representation than others. Education, for example, reported a diversity rate amongst senior managers of 20%. The corporate sector fared less well: 4% in total, with more success in the corner office than the boardroom.

The under-representation of visible minorities in leadership represents a lost opportunity on the agenda for creating urban prosperity. As one of the most richly diverse communities in the world, the GTA has enormous potential to leverage its diversity for success in the global economy.  What are the advantages of diverse leadership?

Diversity in leadership

  • helps organizations attract and retain the best talent;
  • supports improved financial and organization performance;
  • provides stronger links to domestic and global markets; and
  • promotes social inclusion.

In June 2010, the 2nd annual DiverseCity Counts report will be released. This time the study will include a unique look at media, asking hard questions like “How well does this important institution reflect the diversity of the population in both its media coverage and in its leadership?”

As DiversityCity Counts keeps counting, Cities of Migration will keep watching.

Sandra Lopes
Tel: +1-416-944-2627

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