Catalyst Canada recognizes corporate leaders’ commitment to advancing women in business

Catalyst Canada recently announced that Ed Clark, president & CEO of TD Bank Financial Group, Colleen Sidford, Vice President & Treasurer of Ontario Power Generation Inc., and Sylvia Chrominska, Group Head of Global Human Resources & Communications at Scotiabank are the inaugural recipients of The Catalyst Canada Honours, which recognizes Canadian commitment to the promotion of women in business.

This year marks the first time that Catalyst has awarded The Catalyst Canada Honours, which were developed in celebration of Catalyst Canada’s tenth anniversary. This year’s winners will be celebrated at The Catalyst Canada Honours dinner on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto.

 “By highlighting the extraordinary achievements of today’s honourees, The Catalyst Canada Honours hopes to inspire a robust pipeline of women and men leaders who will champion the advancement of women in Canadian business,” says Deborah Gillis, vice president, North America, Catalyst. “Ten years ago when Catalyst Canada was founded, women in business had few visible champions. Today, we are particularly pleased to celebrate the exceptional leadership of this year’s honourees who understand that what’s good for women is good for business and whose commitment to supporting women has measurably improved progress within their individual organizations and in the corporate sector.”

 With the goal of creating visible role models for Canada’s current and future leaders, The Catalyst Canada Honours recognizes a Company/Firm Leader, a Business Leader, and a Human Resources/Diversity Leader whose outstanding leadership has made a critical difference to women’s advancement. The three categories of honourees reflect the unique and integral roles individual corporate leaders play in championing diversity. According to Catalyst, these champions can inspire women and men leaders to step up, demonstrate foresight and leadership, and become champions themselves.

“The business environment today is borderless and hyper-competitive. This reality compels companies to foster business cultures that are barrier-free and where talent and ability are what defines success,” says Bill Downe, president & CEO of BMO Financial Group and chair of The Catalyst Canada Honours dinner. “So it is a fact long past debate that all businesses are enhanced by diversity – and gender equity. BMO and Catalyst have a long-standing partnership that's built on a shared aspiration: to advance talented women to leadership roles. By annually celebrating individuals and corporations that have demonstrated exceptional and visible leadership in the advancement of women, Catalyst continues to inspire more and more champions to come forward. On behalf of BMO Financial Group, congratulations to this year’s  honourees for setting such a high standard. We are very proud to be associated with The Catalyst Canada Honours.”
In his eight years as President and Chief Executive Officer of TD Bank Financial Group, W. Edmund Clark has successfully created a cultural shift within the bank to make it a more inclusive employer of choice. Having established diversity as a strategic business priority, Clark seeks to understand the barriers to advancement for women and diverse groups at TD Bank Financial Group. His drive to engage TD employees to ensure they feel included regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, abilities or disabilities, through focus groups, interviews, and surveys of employees, has made it possible to maintain an ongoing dialogue while producing lasting change.
During her five years as vice president, treasurer, Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPG), Colleen Sidford has been a champion for women’s advancement both within OPG and in the community. She works with OPG management to remove gender biases and encourage women in their business sectors. She is founder of the emPOWERed Women Program, a leadership development and mentoring program designed to help women at OPG with networking, career development and mentoring skills. Results speak for themselves: Sidford’s direct reports have become extremely diverse and include 28 percent visible minority women, 28 per cent white/Caucasian women, and 16 per cent visible minority men.

As group head, global human resources and communications, at Scotiabank, Sylvia Chrominska has been instrumental in championing a diversity and inclusion strategy that has shaped Scotiabank’s ability to attract and retain employees with varied skills, abilities, experiences, and backgrounds. An avid mentor, champion, and founder of Scotiabank’s Advancement of Women (AoW) strategy, Chrominska has overseen significant progress in this area. As a direct result of her efforts, many women have access to development opportunities, have gained visibility with executives, and have had the opportunity to succeed.

For more information about The Catalyst Canada Honours, including complete profiles of this year’s honourees, please visit

Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading non-profit membership organization working globally with businesses and the professions to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business. With offices in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and more than 400 preeminent corporations as members, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information, and advice about women at work. Catalyst annually honours exemplary organizational initiatives that promote women’s advancement with the Catalyst Award.

The Catalyst Canada Honours shares the rigour and prestige of the Catalyst Award, which Catalyst has presented since 1987 to business initiatives dedicated to advancing women’s progress in the corporate world. The Catalyst Canada Honours celebrates individual champions of women in 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.

Once an individual is nominated, Catalyst Canada looks for examples of exceptional leadership that has had a visible impact on women’s advancement both within and outside of her or his organization. The nomination process is supported by interviews with the nominee and letters of reference.