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Women on Corporate Boards

Research from Catalyst has found that on average, Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women directors had stronger financial performance than those with the lowest representation. Return on equity was 53% higher; return on sales was 42% higher; and return on invested capital was 66% higher. Despite this compelling business case that women board directors support stronger financial performance, women continue to be significantly under-represented on corporate boards in Canada.

For the first time, Women of Influence has joined forces with Catalyst to discuss this phenomenon. Catalyst, the leading research firm expanding opportunities for women and business, will launch their newest study outlining how women’s representation on FP500 boards has changed between 2007 and 2009: 2009 Catalyst Census of Women Board Directors of the FP500. Taking this one step further, Deborah Gillis will lead a panel discussion on why this matters for your organization, what needs to happen for more equal representation, and the key strategies women have used to get on boards.

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Independent Director, HSBC Bank Canada

Beth is Former President & CEO, Amex Bank of Canada, and Former President & General Manager, Amex Canada, Inc. From 2002-2007, she chaired the Amex Bank of Canada board.

During her 22-year career with American Express, Beth served in many leadership roles, including Senior Vice President, International Product Strategy & Development; Vice President, Quality & Reengineering; and Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Global Network Services. In addition, she served on Amex’s Global Diversity Council.
She is currently serving on a number of non-profit boards, including the Art Gallery of Ontario (Board of Trustees); Junior Achievement of Central Ontario (Board of Governors); the Schulich School of Business (Dean’s Advisory Board); Catalyst Canada (Advisory Board); and Harvard Business School Club of Toronto (Board of Directors). In addition, Beth has served as an Executive-in-Residence at Schulich, and is currently a member of the Marketing and Communications Advisory Board for the McEwen Center for Regenerative Medicine.

Beth received a B.A. degree in Medieval and Renaissance European History from Cornell University, and an M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School.


Dean, Richard Ivey School of Business

Since joining the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario in 2003, Carol Stephenson has led the drive to re-shape the teaching of business education.
Originally from Petrolia, Ontario, Ms. Stephenson spent many years in the Canadian telecom industry before joining Ivey. As a widely respected CEO, she brings more than 30 years of progressive experience in marketing, operations, strategic planning, technology development, and financial management to Canada’s premier business school.

Carol Stephenson currently serves on several Boards for top Canadian companies and on important Government Committees. She is a Director of Intact Financial Services Corporation (formerly ING Canada) and Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. Carol served as a Board of Directors member for GM Canada, until she was appointed by the Governments of Canada and Ontario to serve as a Board Member for General Motors Company. Ms. Stephenson is Chair of the Ontario Research Fund Advisory Board, and Chair of the Federal Government’s Advisory Committee on Senior Level Retention and Compensation. In November 2006, she was appointed by the Federal Government to serve on the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Olympic Games Organizing Committee (VANOC). Ms. Stephenson also serves as a Member of eHealth Ontario Board of Directors.

Carol Stephenson has earned significant recognition for her community work, and industry involvement. In 2005, Ms. Stephenson was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Canadian Information Productivity Awards, and in 2008 was inducted into Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame. She has also been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Women. In December 2009, Carol was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada.
Carol Stephenson is a graduate of the University of Toronto, and completed the Executive Program at the Graduate School of Business Administration, University of California at Berkeley. In addition, she is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

Ms. Stephenson’s goal as Dean of Ivey is to dramatically advance the practice of business management and leadership, and to create business leaders who think globally, act strategically, and contribute to the societies in which they operate.


President and CEO, Institute of Corporate Directors

Beverly Topping is President and CEO of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD. Under her leadership, the ICD has mobilized its membership base and launched the ICD Directors Education Program, in partnership with Rotman School of Management and other leading universities across Canada. In her position, Beverly has made every effort to advance the profession of director and to raise the profile of women on boards. Beverly is a business entrepreneur and experienced corporate director. She is the founder of Today’s Parent Magazine, and developed a multi-media company, which she sold to Rogers Media in 2000. As a corporate director, Beverly has served on several boards including: Cara Foods, CT Financial Services, the Toronto International Film Festival Group, the Women’s College Hospital Foundation and the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation. Today, Beverly serves as a Governor for the Institute of Child Study. As well, Beverly sits on the Special Initiatives Committee of the Capital Campaign, Women’s College Hospital Foundation.