Women Making a Powerful Contribution at Cominar
Every year on March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day, during which the whole world celebrates the accomplishments of women in the social, cultural, political, economic and other spheres. It is also an opportunity to take a closer look at the status of women in the workplace.
A few weeks ago, we were honoured to be named to the Women Lead Here list published by The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business. More than 500 of Canada’s largest public corporations were ranked based on the composition of their management and executive teams. Cominar received top marks, as one of 75 companies selected for their focus on gender diversity. This accolade shows Canada and the rest of the world that our company fosters and supports diversity in addition to creating a workplace where women are encouraged develop their full potential.
The purpose of this list is to celebrate companies that hire and retain women in executive positions as well as those that excel in their field. Accordingly, Women Lead Here sets a new standard in terms of gender equity at the executive level for Canada’s biggest publicly traded companies. Cominar is proud to be one of the influential voices in the business community that have brought diversity to the forefront. Globe and Mail article here.
The Value of Diverse Leadership
The topic of diversity is getting more and more attention, and rightly so. Countless studies show a correlation between gender-diverse management teams and metrics like financial performance and employee satisfaction (read more here). And this isn’t the first time Cominar has been recognized in this regard.
In a report on the subject published by La Presse in October 2019, Cominar was credited as “leading the way toward gender parity” among 24 Quebec publicly traded companies valued at $2 billion or more (source here). This same study indicated that women held 16% of C-suite roles within these corporations, compared with Cominar’s 35%.
Our diversity performance clearly stems from our CEO’s own convictions: “I consider executive and employee diversity to be one of the key drivers of our economic and human performance,” said Sylvain Cossette to La Presse (as reported here). This vision is backed by a diversity policy in which Cominar aims to a target of 30% female representation on the company’s board of trustees by December 31, 2021, and to eventually achieving full gender parity. The policy was passed by the trustees in April 2018. As it currently stands, women hold 22% of the board’s seats.
Who Are the Women at Cominar?
Following the first article in La Presse, we were proud to be the subject of a corporate profile that shone the spotlight on six of the women on our leadership team, namely Marie-Andrée Boutin, Brigitte Dufour, Alexandra Faciu, Heather Kirk, Sandra Lécuyer and Mélanie Vallée. They occupy six of the 17 top positions at Cominar.
This ratio is possible because of the importance attached to parity by our President and CEO. “I don’t see myself in a 100% male environment providing a meaningful leadership,” he said to La Presse in December.
Although diversity is a must in Sylvain Cossette’s eyes, he sees to it that the competence of each individual recruited to the team comes first, by setting aside stereotypes. The result? All six female executives know that they were hired for their qualifications and not solely for the purpose of filling the gender parity gap.
These six women contribute their own management style and proven expertise to strengthen the organization’s leadership. As Marie-Andrée Boutin, Cominar’s Executive Vice President, Retail and Chief Development Officer, explains, “the idea of having several women sitting at the table is to tap into different leadership models.” You can learn more about all six here.
Cultivating Female Leadership
Although we already actively highlight the importance of women at every level of our organization, we believe that our involvement in various initiatives designed to promote female empowerment is vital to leading by example, so that other companies are encouraged to follow in our footsteps toward greater diversity.
Here are some of the initiatives we have been proud to play a part in to activate the power of women in the workplace.
L’Effet A is focused on developing women’s professional commitment by giving them the tools they need to excel and take concrete action in their daily lives. The program is in line with the realities facing today’s women and showcases inspiring leaders who bring a new perspective to the concept of female ambition.
Cominar’s first cohort, made up of influential women selected by their managers and our HR team, will be taking part in this year’s 100-Day Challenge.
They are Elizabeth Beauchemin, Lorraine Da Costa, Anissa Hébert, Catherine Lachance and Victoria Tenenboym.
Note that our participation in the 100-Day Challenge has been postponed to Fall 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We plan to add more colleagues from our Quebec City office to the cohort at that time.
Crew M is for women who want to remake the world through their leadership and innovative spirit. The aim is to promote, support and recognize the success of women in commercial real estate. Crew M is a business relations incubator for women looking to be a force for change in this highly skilled and diversified industry.
With over 12,000 members in North America, CREW Network, Crew M’s parent organization, is the premier network dedicated to the success and promotion of women in the commercial real estate industry (more information can be found here).
Cominar employees who are also proud Crew M members are Olivia Anderson, Marie-Hélène Blouin, Julie Godbout, Anissa Hébert, Catherine Lachance, Sandra Lécuyer and Victoria Tenenboym.
Diversity at the leadership and executive level remains a challenge for many organizations. But we are confident that we are on the right path and inspiring others to embrace this imperative. In today’s business world, Cominar needs people with a variety of perspectives, backgrounds and experiences so we can continue to be innovative and maintain our competitive edge. We know that the key to our success lies in diversifying our leadership style and making sure every voice is heard. Working together, we can build a future that is more diverse and more prosperous for everyone.