Rotman Launches Canadian Graduate Women in Management Conference

Management Conference

On February 1, 2017, for the first time, graduate business students and industry leaders from across Canada will have a chance to come together and discuss the most pressing matters facing the business community. The annual event, titled the Canadian Graduate Women in Management Conference, was organized by the Rotman Women in Management Association (WIMA) and will be hosted by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

The theme of the inaugural year is “Men as Allies and the Parity Proposition,” which will highlight the role of gender inclusivity in expanding the discourse on gender equity. Attendees can expect to hear from a variety of speakers including Bruce Simpson, Director (Senior Partner) at McKinsey & Company, as well as Jennifer Reynolds, Head of Women in Capital Markets.

To get more insight, we spoke with Alex Walker Turner, MBA ’17 and Vice President of Communications at Rotman WIMA. Here’s what she had to say.

What should attendees expect from the full day event?

The whole reason that we put the event together is that there didn’t seem to be—at the graduate level and beyond—a consolidated platform where women and men, both from the academic side and industry, could come together and have conversations about the future of gender and work. That was the impetus for putting this event together.

Regarding what attendees can expect, there’s a broad slew of different topics that will be covered. There will be very tactical and implementable strategies that firms have used to aim at parity at the board level and throughout their organizations. There will also be high-level discussions about what the future of work looks like. We have an executive coming from KPMG who is going to talk a little bit about machine learning and the way that industries and firms are moving toward digitization. Within this, we’ll also discuss how the role of the employee changes with digitization, and what the role of gender will be during that transition. We will also have a discussion on women in finance—an industry-focused topic.

So really, attendees can expect a slew of different perspectives about the future of work and gender at work. Plus there will be opportunities to have discussions and to connect with women from other schools within an MBA program as well as people from the industry. This will help attendees to benchmark what’s going on out in the corporate world and inside academia, in order to learn, on both sides, how we can improve and push the dial forward.

Who should attend?

There are several different people that we would like to see at the event.

    • Obviously, we’d like to see MBA students attend. Those who are going out into industry and will be the future leaders in Toronto and other business communities. We want them to come and to think about how they can, going forward, really create change within their organization. MBAs are a primary audience.
    • Also, we’d like to see executives—from mid-level directors to the C-Suite—attend. These individuals will be a benchmark for the MBA programs, so it’s a great opportunity for cross-pollination in that sense. But also, we’d like these individuals to bring implementable best practices on the types of tools, techniques, and programs that can be used to aim at equality within an organization.


What makes this conference different from other graduate business events?

A few months ago I was invited to attend an undergraduate conference talking about issues on gender and work. There were a number of undergraduate women—both from engineering and business—that attended. These women seemed to be chatting about when they’d seen each other before and what other undergraduate business conferences they would attend to see each other again. It was obvious that there were plenty of opportunities for these women to get together.

Well, my fellow graduate students and I started wondering, “Why doesn’t this exist for us?” The reality is that there really is nothing across Canada that brings together women and men from various MBA programs to have meaningful discussions. It seemed especially strange to us since MBAs are on the cusp of becoming the next business leaders meaning there are many important conversations for us to be having, but no platform where we could have them.

That’s one thing that’s particularly unique about this event. It provides a platform for women and men, from all of the MBA programs across Canada, to come together and really benchmark against each other and to have these necessary conversations. In addition, it welcomes people of industry to add their perspective.

What part of the event are you most excited about?

There are a couple of different sessions that I am really excited about.

  • The first is a conversation about the future of work and how as everything becomes more automated, more digitized, and machines become more intelligent how the future of work will change and what role gender will play in shaping an organization within this future.
  • Another interesting topic will focus on the Canada Growth Council, which is a study that includes recommendations from CEOs across Canada providing the pillars for Canada’s economic success. Recently, McKinsey made a second set of recommendations and gender plays a huge role in those recommendations.
  • Laura McGee will also talk about her hashtag initiative #gosponsorher, which is sort of an Ice Bucket Challenge. It challenges CEOs to become female sponsors both outside and inside their organization. It will be the first public appearance for the campaign.
  • Finally, Bruce Simpson, a Senior Partner at McKinsey, will close off the event. He does an excellent job of using photos from his life as the son of arctic explorer to tie together his business lessons. He’s an exceptional speaker.


Register for the event by clicking here and receive $5 off your registration by using the discount code: ClearAdmit


About the Author

Kelly Vo    

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

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