BMO has a long, rich history with Catalyst, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion. The bank was a founding signatory of the Catalyst Accord, and in 1994, BMO became the first Canadian company – and the first bank in North America – to win the prestigious Catalyst Award, given to employers that show bold initiative in promoting career and leadership development for women.
Bill Downe, Chief Executive Officer of BMO Financial Group, is a director of Catalyst and a member of the Catalyst Canada Advisory Board. In 2014, Catalyst extended special thanks and recognition to Mr. Downe for his leadership and dedication to expanding opportunities for women in business.
Together, BMO and Catalyst Canada launched the BMO Millennial Leaders Advisory Council on Inclusion in 2015. The council is made up of 30 female student leaders from universities across Canada, and aims to develop strategies to advance women, build inclusive workplaces and help grow Canada’s talent advantage for the future.
In 2017, BMO was once again named a Catalyst Award winner. The bank is one of only nine organizations to win the award twice. Central to this recognition is BMO’s Diversity and Inclusion Renewal (DIR) program. Launched in 2012, the initiative focuses on transforming BMO’s senior leadership ranks, talent pipeline, and organizational culture through innovative diversity and inclusion strategies – and it’s yielding excellent results.
“If there is one thing we have learned over time, it’s the importance of keeping this subject alive by making it a permanent part of the business agenda. In 2012, we decided to re-double our efforts on diversity and inclusion by introducing a more deeply integrated approach to this work. The renewal agenda we laid out had no less a goal than to ensure we’re tapping into the full potential of every person in the bank,” Said Bill Downe.