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2014 Catalyst Canada Honours Champions Announced: Powerful Role Models for Advancing Women and Business

2014 celebration marks fifth year of prestigious Catalyst Canada Honours

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/19/14 -- Five exceptional Canadian corporate leaders have been named as 2014 Catalyst Canada Honours Champions for their transformational leadership and commitment to advancing women in their organizations, industries and communities. Today, marking the fifth anniversary of its prestigious awards, Catalyst Canada announced the 2014 Champions: Dean Johnson, President and CEO, Sodexo Canada; Ellen Moore, President and CEO, Chubb Insurance Company of Canada; Sharon MacLeod, Vice President, Personal Care, North America, Unilever; and Zabeen Hirji, Chief Human Resources Officer, RBC. Additionally, the Hon. Howard Wetston, Q.C., Chair, Ontario Securities Commission, receives Special Recognition - Board Diversity Champion for his work advancing women to board leadership.

"These extraordinary individuals set the bar high for leadership. Each challenges the status quo around diversity and inclusion. They are visible and influential role models for others, and their vision and bold commitment to championing women in Canadian business inspires us all," said Alex Johnston, Executive Director, Catalyst Canada.

The Catalyst Canada Honours annually celebrates champions of gender diversity in Canadian business, recognizing the critical role of individual leadership in creating opportunities for women to advance. Nominees are evaluated in a rigorous process, and Champions are named in three categories: Company/Firm Leader; Business Leader; and Human Resources/Diversity Leader. Catalyst research repeatedly reinforces the benefits of inclusive workplaces, and shows that companies with more women in leadership, on average, financially outperform those with fewer.

"We are seeing the results of a profound change in attitudes reflecting how important equitable and diverse slates have become to the entire business community in Canada. Leaders want to satisfy themselves that their company's belief systems exist at every level in their organization," said Bill Downe, CEO, BMO Financial Group and Chair, Catalyst Canada Advisory Board. "Congratulations to Catalyst Canada's 2014 honourees. Their efforts add up to far more than the critical work of promoting equity. They each have done and continue to do the practical work to correct a significant imbalance in leadership roles in corporate Canada. Their influence helps us all make progress. Along with this recognition, they deserve our thanks."


Dean Johnson (Company/Firm Leader Champion) has transformed Sodexo Canada's Executive Leadership Committee from 9% women and visible minorities to 30% since taking over in 2008. He has also been heavily involved with initiatives to support Canada's Aboriginal and LGBT communities, serving as executive sponsor of Sodexo Canada's Native American and Aboriginal Council and PRIDE (LGBT) Employee Business Resource Groups.

Ellen Moore (Company/Firm Leader Champion) has supported and developed women and minorities at all levels of Chubb Canada, most recently bringing women's representation in leadership up to 56%. A founding member of Chubb's Women's Development Council (WDC), a group of women managers who promote women's career development and advancement in leadership, she has helped to expand the program to Chubb globally. Ms. Moore is Toronto Chair for the International Women's Forum, supporting women's advancement in the broader Canadian business community.

Sharon MacLeod (Business Leader Champion) is a senior marketer and leader of Unilever's award-winning Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty and the Dove Self-Esteem Project in Canada. She works on diversity programs with colleagues around the world, and has taken a leadership role in shaping the agenda for diversity and inclusion at Unilever Canada. Ms McLeod is also executive sponsor of the company's Women's Interactive Network, and founder of Chocolate Villa, a professional development program for women seeking to gain the skills they need to reach the next level of leadership.

Zabeen Hirji (Human Resources/Diversity Leader Champion) has primary responsibility for implementing RBC's diversity and inclusion strategy. A transformational leader, her accomplishments include the establishment of a Global RBC Diversity Leadership Council, oversight of the first RBC Diversity Blueprint, and creation of the Diversity Dialogues Reciprocal Mentoring Program, an innovative model that positions mentors and mentees as partners in learning about diversity.

The Hon. Howard Wetston, Q.C. (Special Recognition - Board Diversity Champion) is Chair and CEO of the Ontario Securities Commission. A long-term advocate of inclusive workplaces, he has been the driving force behind the OSC's proposed rule amendments regarding the representation of women on boards and in senior management.

The 2014 Catalyst Canada Honours Champions will be presented with their awards at the Catalyst Canada Honours dinner on Monday, October 8. The dinner will follow the Catalyst Canada Honours Conference, a unique and dynamic opportunity for business leaders across the country to discuss best practices in inclusive leadership initiatives and learn strategies to advance sustainable change in corporate Canada.


Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit organization expanding opportunities for women and business. With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, India, Australia, and Japan, and more than 700 preeminent corporations as members, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information and advice about women at work.


The Catalyst Canada Honours celebrates champions of women in Canadian business. Recognizing that what's good for women is good for business, these exceptional individuals are personally and visibly committed to the advancement of women and serve as powerful role models for Canadian corporate leaders.

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