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3 Rotman Grads Named Canada’s Most Powerful Women

Powerful Women

If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s that women are necessary for business. In fact, companies with a female on the board of directors, on average, have a 53 percent higher return on equity. The issue is that though women represent 47% percent of the workforce, they only represent 17 percent of boardrooms, and 4.8 percent of CEOs among the Fortune 500 companies, according to the Forté Foundation.

That’s why University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management has made it a priority to promote women in business. And their efforts have recently been rewarded with both a Rotman professor and two alumni named to the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women for 2016. The list featured 100 women in total, including several graduates of the Rotman School’s Judy Project and Executive Programs.

Top 100 Women Award Winners 

The three Rotman women to make it onto the list were:

  • Professor Beatrix Dart: The Executive Director of the Rotman School’s Initiative for Women in Business, Professor Dart was given the RBC Champion Award. The award recognizes Dart’s large contribution to promoting the advancement of women in the Canadian workplace.
  • Kathleen O’Neill: O’Neill is a 1975 BCom alumni from Rotman. She received the Accenture Corporate Directors Award for her work as the Corporate Director of several companies including ARC Resources Ltd; Dinning International Inc and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
  • Catherine Wood: Wood is a 2008 MBA graduate out of Rotman. She was granted the Scotiabank Corporate Executives Award for her work as the SVP, Head of Online Brokerage, Insurance Products & Marketing at Qtrade Financial Group.
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According to a recent news release from the university, Professor Dart had this to say about being named to the WXN List:

“I’m honored to win this award. What started as an idea in 2008 to provide leadership programs for women has evolved into a personal mission to play a facilitative role in bringing businesses, academia and policy makers together to create gender equality across Canada,” she said. “We’ve made strides, but there’s still more work to be done by all female and male leaders to advance women.”

Rotman Women

And there’s no doubt that the Rotman School is continuing to work to promote women in business, but what exactly are they doing? To find out, we reached out to the Rotman School to talk with Niki da Silva, the Managing Director of the full-time MBA program. She gave us an inside look at what the Rotman School, and the MBA program, in particular, are doing to bring their women into the spotlight.

How does Rotman help prepare women for influential careers in business?

“Rotman has an entire community designed to support our MBA students preparing for influential careers as leaders in business and across sectors/industries,” said da Silva. “[Around] 34 percent of our Class of 2018 is female and we have more women in our FT MBA Program than the entire student population at most Canadian Schools (230 across first and second year)! The power of community is our most influential factor supporting female students, and beyond this there are a number of specific initiatives/resources for women.”

“Our student club, the Rotman Women in Management Association, is the mobilizing force offering events/programming/support across student life and careers,” da Silva continued. “They lead sessions ranging from networking events with industry to golf lessons! The group also blazed a trail in the business school space launching an Allies group, WiMen, this year to ensure the conversation about women in leadership are truly inclusive and all of our students are aware of the important roles all genders should play in these conversations and solutions. Rotman offers dozens of dedicated scholarships connected to our pursuit of women in leadership, including Forte Fellowships, and is on track to achieve a public goal of 40 percent women in our MBA class by 2020.”

“In addition to the Program initiatives there are a number of School-wide supports in place ranging from a dedicated space for nursing mothers, a central equity group called the Rotman Equity and Diversity Initiative comprised of faculty, students, alumni and staff, the Initiative for Women in Business, as well as the newly formed research centre run by Professor Sarah Kaplan, the Institute for Gender & Economy,” da Silva stated.

Why should female MBA candidates consider Rotman?

“Not only does the Rotman School have the tools, resources and community to specifically support women in preparing for influential leadership roles, but beyond this framing, female MBA candidates should consider Rotman for reasons that are shared across genders,” explains da Silva.

“Rotman is uniquely positioned to develop the leadership capabilities required to be successful in a world where, as cliché as it sounds, the only constant is change,” da Silva continues. “Disruption is happening across industries and many MBAs will be working in roles that didn’t even exist a few years ago. We have a reputation for training students in a ‘new way to think’ resulting in MBA graduates who are well-positioned to solve difficult problems and make challenging decisions across industries, sectors and functions. Through our innovative curriculum led by some of the world’s top research faculty Rotman MBAs develop a unique skillset in both critical and creative thinking. We are located in Toronto, the world’s most multicultural city and have one of the most diverse class profiles in North America. These factors, plus the array of international experiences expose all Rotman students to a diversity of opinion and experience to build a global mindset. Additionally, from day one Rotman MBAs engage with our Self-Development Lab and cultivating a growth mindset is an ongoing focus within the Program experience. The Rotman MBA should be considered by candidates who are looking to make a positive impact in their organization and we pride ourselves on the diversity of career opportunities for our graduates.”

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About the Author

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Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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