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Leadership is vital to Canada’s social and economic prosperity. We need the best leaders to address the pressing challenges of global competitiveness, economic and social development. Diversity in leadership helps organizations attract top talent, meet the needs of diverse markets and communities, promote innovation, improve employee satisfaction and performance, and reduce risks. It also shapes the aspirations of young people.

DiversityLeads aims to:

  • Benchmark and assess the progress of diversity in leadership;
  • Examine barriers at the individual, organizational, and societal levels;
  • Explore leadership representation in media; and
  • Develop an integrated approach across groups, sectors and levels for sustained change.

This project will produce new knowledge that informs and offers practical and creative tools to enable organizations to operate effectively and implement sustained change.

DiversityLeads is a five-year Community University Research Alliance (CURA) Project, made possible with the generous support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

DiversityLeads has support from a cross-disciplinary research group, including professors and other partners from different disciplines and sectors across Canada. The following academics have committed to facilitating and supporting diversity, using fact-based strategies to promote inclusion.

  Principal Investigator

Wendy Cukier, Professor Information Technology Management, Ryerson University

  Lead Researchers for Current Projects

Women and Visible Minorities in Montreal
Suzanne Gagnon, Assistant Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University
Suzanne Gagnon focuses on global workforce diversity, using qualitative and ethnographic methods to improve the ways that human resource practices influence organizational processes in international firms.

Media Analysis
Frederick Fletcher, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, York University
Frederick Fletcher focuses on mass media and politics, communication policy, election campaigns and public opinion, as well as federalism and environmental issues, to support the improvement of public policy in Canada.

Aboriginal People
Pamela Palmater, Associate Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University; Director, Centre for Indigenous Governance
Pamela Palmater focuses on Aboriginal Governance matters, specifically how land and natural resources, treaties and Aboriginal rights, jurisdiction and law-making powers, and citizenship and identity issues can contribute to stronger Aboriginal families, communities, organizations and Nations.

Gerald Hunt, Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University
Gerald Hunt focuses on how organized labour has responded to increased diversity in the labour force to raise awareness of labour’s engagement with women and minorities in Canada, Europe, and Australia. He is also engaged in a research project looking at the impact of gender in business education.

Kathryn Church, Director and Associate Professor, School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University
Kathryn Church focuses on mental health policy and the history of disability in Canada, as well as the invisible work of doing disability in everyday life.

Melanie Panitch, Associate Professor, School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University
Melanie Panitch focuses on creating a new disability history that emphasizes the cultivation of activist disability oral history and disability-based archives.

Esther Ignagni, Assistant Professor, School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University
Esther Ignagni focuses on the use of new media in constructing new knowledges of disability and in constructing new ways for disabled people to transform their personal and collective realities.

  Researchers for Other Ongoing Projects

Jennifer L. Berdahl, Associate Professor, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Jennifer L. Berdahl focuses on workplace mistreatment – broadly defined to include social exclusion, derogation, sabotage, and threat – to raise awareness of social inequalities at work.

Robin Church, Associate Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University
Robin Church focuses on the experiences of gay and lesbian employees, including individual mentoring in the workplace, to investigate the factors involved in changing organizational policies and practices.

Joanne DiNova, Associate Professor, School of Professional Communication, Ryerson University
Joanne DiNova focuses on indigenous theory to improve the discourses of negotiation with Aboriginal communities in Canada.

Grace-Edward Galabuzi, Associate Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University
Grace-Edward Galabuzi focuses on the racialization of the Canadian labour market to effect changes in the social exclusion and economic status of racialized groups in Canada.

April Lindgren, Associate Professor, School of Journalism, Ryerson University
April Lindgren focuses on the content analysis and the computer mapping of local news stories to answer research questions about geographic patterns, topics and diversity in local news coverage in the Greater Toronto Area.
  Minelle Mahtani, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
Minelle Mahtani focuses on "mixed race" identity, media and minority representation, critical journalism and women of colour in geography, using discourse analysis to improve training modules and resource guides on diversity.

Joseph Medaglia, Assistant Professor, School of Fashion, Ryerson University
Joseph Medaglia focuses on research and creative work that examines the relationship between LGBT identity, visibility, representation and the body.

Agnes Meinhard, Associate Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University
Agnes Meinhard focuses on the formation, growth and demise of voluntary organizations in order to impact strategic responses and change policy to better integrate new immigrants into Canadian society.

John Shields, Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University
John Shields focuses on alternative service delivery and partnerships between government and the third sector, public administration reform, and labour market restructuring to support the improvement of public policy and advocacy.

Jutta Treviranus, Professor, Faculty of Design, OCAD University
Jutta Treviranus focuses on the design of emerging information and communication technology and practices, developing inclusive solutions to accessibility in the digital domain.

DiversityLeads collaborates with 20 community partners from the private, public, and non-profit sectors in order to support the process of identifying and addressing barriers to full participation in the workplace for underrepresented groups.
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network KPMG Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia  
Mark Blackburn
Executive Producer - East

Scott Graham
Manager of Research and Consulting
Assembly of First Nations Maytree TD  
Judy Whiteduck
Director of Economic Partnerships
Sandra Lopes
Manager, Policy and Research
Francis Fong
City of Toronto Multimedia Nova Corporation Toronto Region Board of Trade  

Melanie Smith
Senior Consultant,
Employment Equity

David Ackerman
Director of Business Development


DiversiPro OMNI Television Toronto Workforce Innovation Group  
Hamlin Grange
Madeline Ziniak
National Vice President
Karen Lior
Executive Director
Environics Institute Pride at Work Canada Women in Film & Television – Toronto  
Michael Adams
Founder and President
Brent Chamberlain
Executive Director
Heather Webb
Executive Director
Equal Voice Region of Peel York Region  
Nancy Peckford
Executive Director
Geoff McIlroy
Strategic Policy and Research,
Human Services Department
Karen Close
Director, H.R. Services
The Globe and Mail Royal Bank of Canada Asthma Society of Canada  
Sylvia Stead
Associate Editor
Vandana Juneja
Diversity Advisor
and Program Manager
Rob Oliphant
President and CEO


DiversityLeads – Women and Visible Minorities in Senior Leadership Positions: A Profile of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)  |  March 2014
DiversityLeads 2014

This report provides a five year perspective on the progress of women and visible minorities in senior leadership roles in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Specifically, it:

  • Measures the representation of women and visible minorities in senior leadership positions (including boards of directors and senior management) in six sectors: elected officials, public, corporate, voluntary, education, and appointments to government agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs)
  • Examines similarities and differences between sectors, as well as variances within sectors; and
  • Suggests best practices to advance women and visible minorities to senior leadership positions.

Key preliminary findings are now available.

DiversityLeads – Women and Visible Minorities in Senior Leadership Positions: A Profile of Greater Montreal (DiversitéEnTête – Les femmes et les minorités visibles occupant des postes de leadership : Profil du Montréal métropolitain)  |  February 2013
DiversityLeads Montreal

This second DiversityLeads report profiles and provides insight on where, how and why women and visible minorities in Greater Montreal are advancing to senior leadership positions. This report found that while women have gained ground, accounting for 31.2% of senior leadership roles in Montreal, visible minorities remain more markedly underrepresented in these ranks.

DiversityLeads – Women in Senior Leadership Positions: A Profile of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)  |  March 2012
DiversityLeads Toronto

This report is the first of its kind to profile and provide insight on where, how and why women in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are advancing to senior leadership positions. This report found that although women account for 51.3% of residents in the GTA, 28.0% of leaders were women.

The DiversityLeads project and the new data on diversity in leadership collected and published by the Diversity Institute have received a lot of media attention. Below is a selection of media coverage from across Canada.

Diversity Institute


Ted Rogers School of Management's Diversity Institute at Ryerson University is located at 415 Yonge Street, Suite 701, Toronto, ON, M5B 2E7.

Mailing Address:
Diversity Institute
Ted Rogers School of Management
Ryerson University
350 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5B 2K3


Phone: 416-979-5000 ext. 7268

Media Contact:
Kathleen Powderley 416-803-5597


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This website was created with the generous support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).