The Phelps Group proudly supports and participates in the 30% Club, an international, business-led approach focused on developing a pipeline of senior female talent. It is complementary to individual company efforts and existing networking groups – adding to these through collaboration and the visible commitment of senior business leaders – mostly men!

What is the 30% Club?

The 30% Club has become an international, business-led approach focused on developing a pipeline of senior female talent. It is complementary to individual company efforts and existing networking groups – adding to these through collaboration and the visible commitment of senior business leaders – mostly men!

The Club launched in the UK in 2010 with an aspirational goal of 30% women on FTSE-100 boards by end 2015. There are now more than 100 members of the UK Club and the proportion of female FTSE-100 directors risen from 12.5% to 22.8%.

The 30% Club Canada is a group of Chairs and CEOs committed to better gender balance at all levels of their organizations through voluntary actions. Business leadership is key: this takes the issue beyond a specialist diversity effort and into mainstream talent management

In Canada, recognizing its distinct corporate governance framework, the aim from the start is to include both board Chairs and CEOs, not only to achieve better gender balance at the board level, but also at the senior management levels. In particular, the 30% Club Canada is working closely with Catalyst and their important Catalyst Accord initiative. We do not believe mandatory quotas are the best approach. Instead, the 30% Club is building a strong foundation of business leaders who are committed to meaningful, sustainable gender balance in business leadership. Our name comes from an aspirational goal that we believe can be achieved in Canada through focused efforts by the business community.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a member of the 30% Club Canada, please contact our Chair, J. Spencer Lanthier:

The Role of Chair/CEO Supporters

The ‘ask’ is simple: We ask business leaders to join the 30% Club Canada to publicly endorse a belief in the value of better gender balance at the board and in senior management. This underscores our view that business and its leaders, not quotas, should drive the change.

  • There is no requirement to have 30% women on the board or management committees – the under-representation of women at senior levels is a global phenomenon, so better gender balance is inevitably an aspiration rather than reality
  • Supporters are invited to all events, and many speak at these and at other occasions, but this is entirely voluntary.
  • We always make it clear that views expressed do not necessarily represent the specific views of each and every supporter.
  • In the UK, a small group of senior Chairs act in an advisory capacity to the steering committee. The plan is to replicate this in Canada
  • There is no membership charge. The 30% Club works through individuals volunteering their time and companies and other organizations hosting events (we do not charge attendance fees). Events have been hosted by, amongst others, the London Stock Exchange, Bloomberg, Rothschilds, Linklaters, BNY Mellon, GE Capital, KPMG, No. 10 Downing Street, the Financial Times, Goldman Sachs, EY, Cass Business School
  • A steering committee and sub-groups work on separate components of the intensive and concerted program

The Business Case

There is clearly a powerful intuitive argument for having a varied board and executive team, with complementary skills and less danger of ‘groupthink’

  • 30% is the proportion when the contributions of a member of a minority group are valued in their own right – critical mass
  • Institutional investors are increasingly considering overall board effectiveness including diversity as an important aspect of good governance
  • The 30% Club is focused primarily on the greater effectiveness of organizational diversity. However, 5 studies based on experiences in different countries corroborate the intuitive argument that more diverse boards contribute to improved corporate performance:
    • McKinsey ‘Women Matter’ 2011
    • Catalyst ‘The Bottom Line and Women’s Representation on Boards’
    • Citigroup ASX100 Women on Board Analysis August 2011
    • SocGen Getting the Right Women on Board October 2011
    • Credit Suisse Gender Diversity and Corporate Performance August 2012

Ripe for change: the timing is right for the 30% Club Canada

  • Limited progress: only 12.2 per cent of directors in the 2013 S&P/TSX composite index were women and more than 40 per cent of boards had no female representation.
  • A “comply or explain” policy was put into effect as of Dec. 31, 2014, by the Ontario Securities Commission, along with securities regulators in six other jurisdictions
  • The policy requires that proxy circulars must contain information on:
    • Director term limits and a description of how the board is renewed.
    • Policies regarding the representation of women on the board.
    • How the board or nominating committee considers the representation of women in the director identification and selection process.
    • How the company considers representation of women in filling executive officer positions.
    • Company targets regarding the representation of women on the board and in executive officer positions.
    • The number of women on the board and in executive officer positions.

Where are we now? Establishing the right goals for Canada

  • As in all business ventures, ‘what gets measured gets managed’ – a numeric goal provides real impetus for change. This is NOT a quota, but an aspiration.

The 2013 Catalyst Census of Financial Post 500 Companies found that:

  • In 2013, women held 15.9 percent of board seats at Financial Post 500 companies, an increase of almost one and a half percentage points since 2011.
  • In both 2011 and 2013, approximately 40 percent of companies had no women board directors.
  • One-fifth of companies have 25% or more women serving on their boards
  • Women’s representation at public companies increased nearly two percentage points from 2011 to 2013, but public companies continue to have the lowest representation of women on their boards.
  • We will measure progress using Catalyst’s benchmarking research to track the representation of women at the board level.

At the same time, we will work collaboratively to increase the female representation in senior executive ranks.

  • Our goal is 30% of board seats by held by women by 2019

Importantly, this is an aspirational vision for Canada

It is NOT a requirement or a quota

30% Club Canada Launch

In November, 2014, veteran corporate director, J. Spencer Lanthier, was named Chair of the 30% Club Canada. Mr. Lanthier is an influential Canadian business leader who brings decades of senior business leadership and corporate board experience to the role. He is a former Chairman and CEO of KPMG and has served as a director of The Bank of Canada, the TMX Group, Torstar, Rona, Gerdau AmeriSteel Inc., Rona Inc., Emergis, Biovail, and the Canada Life Assurance Company. He is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of EllisDon. In 2011, he received a prestigious Fellowship Award from the Institute of Corporate Directors for his distinguished work as a Director.

The 30% Club Canada Steering Committee is co-chaired by veteran search firm executive Heather Connelly, principal, The Phelps Group and former partner, KPMG; and former journalist Stephanie MacKendrick, President of consulting firm MacKendrick & Associates International Inc. and former President of Canadian Women in Communications,

The Steering Committee oversees numerous working groups. To date, these include Business Schools headed by Beatrix Dart, The Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto; Investor Group, co-led by Cory McCruden, BNY Mellon and Colleen Sidford, former Chief Investment Officer of OPG; Executive Search Firms, co-led by Jane Griffith, Four Corners Group and Heather Connelly, Phelps Group. Steering Committee members at large include Alex Johnston, Catalyst Canada; Korinne Collins, Credit Union Central of Canada; Becky Finley, Finley Consulting; and Nancy Griffin Mandeville Private Client Inc. and Beth Horowitz, Corporate Director.

Support for the 30% Club Canada is growing quickly and an official launch to announce founding members and incoming Chair took place by webinar on June 2, 2015. To listen to the webinar, click here

Founding Members 30% Club Canada

  • Phillip Crawley Publisher & CEO The Globe and Mail
  • Peter Dey Chair Paradigm Capital Inc.
  • Victor G. Dodig President & CEO CIBC
  • William A. Downe CEO BMO Financial Group
  • Darren Entwistle Executive Chair Telus Corporation
  • Randall J. Findlay Chair Pembina Pipeline Corp.
  • Jay Forbes CEO MTS Allstream
  • Trent Henry Chair & CEO EY
  • John A. Honderich Chair Torstar Corporation
  • Ellis Jacob President & CEO Cineplex Inc.
  • Claude Lamoureux Chair Cordiant Capital Inc.
  • Spencer Lanthier Chair Ellis Don Inc.
  • David G. Leith Chair MTS Allstream
  • Hon. John P. Manley Chair CIBC
  • Bill McFarland CEO & Senior Partner PwC
  • David I. McKay President & CEO RBC
  • Samuel Mintzberg Chair HSBC Bank Canada
  • Heather Munroe-Blum Chair CPP Investment Board
  • Ellen J. Moore President & CEO Chubb Canada
  • Rod Phillips Chair Postmedia Network Inc.
  • J. Robert S. Prichard Chair BMO Financial Group & Metrolinx
  • Geoff Smith President & CEO Ellis Don Inc.
  • Barbara Stymiest Chair CIFAR
  • Kathleen P. Taylor Chair RBC
  • William B. Thomas CEO & Senior Partner KPMG
  • Frank Vettese Managing Partner & CEO Deloitte
  • Edward J. Waitzer Chair LCBO
  • Mark Wiseman President & CEO CPP Investment Board
  • Phyllis Yaffe Chair Cineplex Inc

If you would like to find out more about becoming a member of the 30% Club Canada, please contact our Chair, J. Spencer Lanthier:

Timeline: 30% Club Canada

Fall 2013 – Planning for 30% Club Canada begins

June 17 2014 – Breakfast information session hosted by KPMG at their Toronto offices to discuss formation of 30% Club Canada, featuring 30% Club Founder Helena Morrissey

October 2014 – 30% Club Canada and Catalyst collaborate to strengthen the Catalyst Accord and support membership in the 30% Club Canada

October 15, 2014 – The Ontario Securities Commission and six other securities regulators announce a “Comply or Explain” policy to increase transparency around the representation of women on boards of directors and in senior management, including provisions addressing board renewal and term limits.

November 1, 2014 – Noted Canadian business leader J. Spencer Lanthier, Chair of Ellis Don, former Chair of TSX and former partner at KPMG, named Chair of the 30% Club Canada.

November 13, 2014 – 30% Club Canada, along with International Women’s Forum, partners in a Catalyst panel discussion at the Toronto Stock Exchange and the ringing of the TMX opening bell

January 1, 2015 – All proxy circulars required to adhere to the “Comply or explain” policy

June 2, 2015 – 30% Club Canada to announce founding members and incoming Chair by webinar

September 22, 2015 – 30% Club Canada to host launch event featuring Helena Morrissey at the Rotman School of Management.

For more information, please contact: