Susan Goldberg is an award-winning freelance writer, editor, blogger and essayist. She is coeditor of the anthology And Baby Makes More: Known Donors, Queer Parents & Our Unexpected Families.

Pride guide

What corporate Canada is doing to welcome its LGBTQ workers

When Marianne Smith interviewed with Blake, Cassels & Graydon for an articling position in 2003, it never occurred to her to ask about the storied law firm’s stance on diversity. Coming out as a lesbian was even lower on her list of priorities.

Today, the corporate lawyer and partner in the firm’s Toronto offices has a Pride flag on her desk. She’s involved in Blakes’ employee resource group on behalf of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) staff members. When she interviews law students interested in joining the firm, “almost everyone I speak with asks about diversity, regardless of their personal circumstances. And when we recruit young [LGBTQ] lawyers, they are, by and large, out in the recruiting process.”

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Boards are not enough

By Susan Goldberg
Efforts to expand female corporate diversity need to extend into senior management and beyond.

It’s no longer news – or, at least, it shouldn’t be news – that gender-diverse boards make good business sense. Time and time again, studies have shown that boards with greater gender balance have higher levels of organizational effectiveness and perform better financially. They’re also more diverse in terms of thought and perspective, show more evidence of unity and collegiality, and are associated with better corporate social performance.

As an organization’s most important and visible decision-making body, boards are an obvious target for scrutiny when it comes to assessing gender diversity. For the record, the numbers indicate that parity is a long way off. According to Catalyst’s 2014 Census, women occupied 19.2 per cent of board seats at U.S. stock index companies and 20.8 per cent of seats at Canadian firms.

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