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President & CEO, Catalyst
[woitab title=”About the Deloitte Women of Influence Luncheon Series” active=”active”]
Join Women of Influence as we showcase North America’s most accomplished and influential women who share their stories of professional success and personal triumph on their rise to the top. Since 1994, the series has shared the dreams, accomplishments and challenges of high profile women in business, government, sciences and the arts. Our highly regarded speakers provide proven advice and inspiration in an environment that promotes networking, learning and growing. This national flagship event is hosted in six cities across Canada and inspires 8,000+ aspiring women leaders each year.
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[woitab title=”Deborah Gillis Biography”]
Deborah Gillis, President & Chief Executive Officer, Catalyst
Deborah Gillis is President & Chief Executive Officer of Catalyst, the leading research and
advisory organization working to change workplaces and improve lives by advancing women
into business leadership. She is the fourth President in Catalyst’s 52-year history—and the first
from outside the United States. She is also the first internal successor from within Catalyst’s
ranks to hold this office.
Ms. Gillis brings a unique blend of strategic vision, operational savvy, and advocacy to her
position. Her distinguished career at Catalyst includes roles as Chief Operating Officer and
Senior Vice President, Membership and Global Operations, where she led Catalyst’s global
growth strategy and expansion into India and Australia. Ms. Gillis joined Catalyst in 2006 to
lead Catalyst Canada and became Vice President, North America, in 2008, introducing a new
global membership model which enabled Catalyst to support members and their operations
around the world. She initiated Catalyst Canada’s signature event, the Catalyst Canada
Honours, paying tribute to champions of women’s advancement to leadership in corporate
Canada, and she instituted the Catalyst Connects series of events, in which senior executive
women share their inspiring stories. In anticipation of the current attention to board diversity
challenges in Canada, she led Catalyst’s initiative to increase women in the boardroom,
resulting in the successful launch of the Catalyst Accord and Catalyst’s first acquisition, Women
Prior to Catalyst, Ms. Gillis spent more than 20 years advising decision-makers in the public and
private sectors, including management roles in two multi-national firms. A thought leader and
advocate, she twice served as a candidate for elected office, and has made coaching and
mentoring of women in business and political life a personal priority.
As a breast cancer survivor and a woman who has successfully overcome the challenges
inherent in high-pressure, male-dominated environments, Ms. Gillis is a recognized advocate
and expert on expanding opportunities for women and business. She is frequently quoted in
the media globally, including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, CNBC, CNN, The Globe and Mail,
and Economic Times, on issues related to talent and women’s leadership. She regularly
addresses senior leaders around the world in a variety of business, academic, and public policy