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Diversity at the top good for business

By Dan Ovsey via Financial Post
Mar 13, 2012

 

Sandra Stuart is a member of a C-Suite composed of one-third women. The chief operating officer of HSBC Bank Canada has had the opportunity to rise through the ranks of the international banking industry with few obstacles and today champions diversity in the company’s recruitment and retention practices. She recently spoke with Dan Ovsey, editor of FP Executive, about the challenges of today’s executive women and what’s being done to overcome them. Following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Q What would you say is your biggest challenge rising up the corporate ladder?

A I think the biggest challenge – particularly when entering an organization – is just figuring out how to navigate it and [determining] where you want to be. I think the trick is to find someone pretty early on in your career that can help you understand the snakes and ladders of the organization, which is all a bit daunting.

Q Is there something more specific in terms of obstacles that women have to overcome?

A There’s unconscious bias and you become more familiar with that as more opportunities are presented to you and you compete for them and you don’t get them. For diversity to be successful in an organization, you have to call out the biases. Some people won’t hire a woman in her child-bearing years because they think it will be inconvenient. How does an organization make it easy for a woman to be successful after having children? We’ve introduced programs such as flex return where women don’t have to come back full time after maternity. Read full article>>