TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 5, 2012) - BMO Financial Group and Catalyst today announced the establishment of a first-of-its-kind corporate learning centre focused exclusively on providing corporations around the globe with the critical skills, knowledge and resources to become more inclusive organizations.
The BMO / Catalyst Inclusive Leadership Practice Centre (ILPC) is being established through a $500,000 donation from BMO Financial Group in support of Catalyst's Inclusive Leadership Initiative.
The Centre will be a destination point to bring leaders of Employee Resource Groups (ERG) together to network, connect and learn from one another. Today, employee resource groups can be found in many FP500 and Fortune 500 companies and are important engines of employee engagement and business results.
ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups that provide important insights and input that help shape and direct an organization's diversity and inclusion strategy, as well as customer and employee engagement strategies.
"The Centre's mandate is to build cultural competence. Based at BMO's Institute for Learning, BMO and Catalyst will be welcoming ERG leaders from North America, Europe and Asia. Our goal is to equip participant companies' Employee Resource Groups so they, in turn, can help their own organizations to benefit from the full experience, creativity and insights of their workforce, make the best decisions in a complex business environment and deliver for customers who are increasingly diverse themselves," said Bill Downe, President and CEO, BMO Financial Group.
"The BMO / Catalyst Inclusive Leadership Practice Centre will enable current and emerging leaders to build more inclusive workplaces, significantly advance women's careers, better manage diverse teams and enhance service to diverse customers and communities.
"It's time to accelerate the agenda. Today, Employee Resource Groups can be found in many FP500 and Fortune 500 companies and are important engines of employee engagement and business results. We think insufficient attention has been paid to these leaders who head Diversity Councils and affinity groups, yet they are their company's own catalysts.
"The bank's Institute for Learning will be the flagship location, for in-person training and certification for these ERG leaders from companies across the globe," concluded Mr. Downe.
"BMO's donation will help accelerate the levels of diversity and inclusion in business around the world. It is critical work, because we know empirically, through our own research at Catalyst and from numerous other organizations, that the most inclusive companies are the most successful and profitable," said Ilene H. Lang, President and CEO, Catalyst.
The ILPC will embed Catalyst knowledge, research, and expertise into leadership development programs by leveraging a variety of channels, media platforms and technologies. BMO's Institute for Learning (IFL) will be recognized as the flagship location for in‐person training and certification of these learners. Additional learning session updates could also take place virtually.
"The Inclusive Leadership Initiative aligns well with BMO's commitment to being a culturally intelligent organization," said Sonya Kunkel, Managing Director, Diversity and Inclusion, BMO Financial Group. "BMO already has excellent diversity and inclusion training and bold diversity goals built into its leadership development and performance assessment but we want to take this capability further, giving more of our leaders and employee resource groups greater aptitude to engage, problem solve, and inspire in cross-cultural and cross-border business settings.
"In increasingly global and diverse work settings, organizations that can work more effectively across genders, cultures, languages and belief systems, will continue to win in their chosen markets," she said.