NEW YORK, May 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation (WCD) prepares to open its innovation-focused Global Institute, the organization's Visionary Awards are recognizing corporate leaders for their innovation in diversity, inclusion, and corporate citizenship.
WCD is honoring BMO Financial Group (BMO), Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel), Hallmark Cards Inc., and Eileen McDonnell, CEO and Chairman of The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company (Penn Mutual). The 2019 honorees were selected "based on proven industry leadership, demonstrated achievement in ESG – environmental, social, and governance factors – and an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion in the board room and C-suite," said awards committee co-chair Joan E. Steel.
This year's honorees are among those working to increase the number of women in senior roles. Only 27% of senior management roles in the S&P 500 are held by women, and the number of women CEOs – now at 26 – remains only 5.2%. Yet, study after study has shown the financial benefits of inclusivity – with the latest research finding that inclusive organizations are 6X more likely to be innovative and agile and 2X more likely to meet or exceed financial targets. "This year's Visionary Award recipients from Canada, Singapore, and the United States are model corporate citizens and set a strong example for others around the world to follow," says Barbara Bowles, co-chair of the Visionary Awards committee with Steel.
The leaders being honored on May 20 at the Visionary Awards Dinner in Silicon Valley include:
Award for Innovation in Shared Value: BMO Financial Group (BMO)
- "BMO has long recognized the significant power and potential that diverse and inclusive workforces bring to the growth prospects of companies across all sectors, including ours," says Darryl White, CEO, BMO Financial Group. "While we still have more to do, we are extremely proud of the significant improvements we've made in the number of women leading in roles across our organization, including serving as directors on our board. With greater diversity at all levels of our organization, including greater female participation, we've accelerated our growth and performance and strengthened our organizational culture. It is clear that a diverse and inclusive team is good for our business and for our customers."
- This year, for the fourth year in a row, BMO was included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), which honors companies that are committed to gender equality and inclusivity within the workplace and the community. For instance, in 2018, BMO announced that $3 billion in capital would be available over three years for Canadian businesses owned by women.
- Women make up over 40% of BMO's senior leadership roles in U.S. and Canada, and 35.7% of independent members of BMO Financial Group Board of Directors.
- "BMO's deep commitment to advancing women's leadership has been in place for decades," says Bowles. "BMO has had at least three sitting female board directors since 1999 and was the first financial institution to receive the Catalyst Award for advancing women," adds Steel. "At BMO, sustainability is at the heart of their strategic agenda and represents the inextricable connection between BMO's financial performance and corporate responsibility."
Award for Leadership and Governance of a Public Company: Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel)
- Led by female CEO Chua Sock Koong, Singtel is one of Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications companies by market capitalization and reaches more than 675 million mobile customers in 21 countries.
- "I am very honored for the Singtel Group to receive this recognition from WCD," says Chua. "Singtel operates in Asia-Pacific, in some of the most diverse markets in the world, and women constitute half of our customer base. We recognize the importance and value of diversity and corporate social responsibility in building a sustainable business. Our inclusive workforce and focus on responsible business practices, transparency, and integrity cuts across all levels of our organization – our customers and the communities we operate in expect this of us. Their trust is hard-earned and sets the standards by which we measure ourselves. We will strive to keep on improving and be a corporate citizen that leads by example."
- In January 2019, Chua was the first woman appointed to Singapore's Council of Presidential Advisers. Singtel also has an executive on Singapore's Council for Board Diversity.
- "Under the dynamic leadership of its CEO, Singtel's global growth consistently demonstrates diversity and inclusion in the board room and C-suite, and responsible corporate citizenship while delivering value to its stakeholders – all to support its drive for excellence across all measures," says Steel.
Award for Leadership and Governance of a Private Company: Hallmark Cards, Inc.
- Dave Hall, President of Hallmark, said of the award: "Hallmark is extremely honored to be recognized by WomenCorporateDirectors as one of this year's Visionary Award recipients. We feel fortunate to be guided by the contributions of female board members and company leaders, all of which help us put more care in the world through the products and experiences we create. Creativity is a defining characteristic at Hallmark, and it requires a culture of inclusion and diversity of background, thought, and experience to flourish. So, while we are proud of the work honored by this award, we are also reminded to maintain a fervent desire to do more."
- Women make up 40% of senior management and the board in this $4 billion Kansas City, Missouri-based company that ranks the firm high as a "Best Employer of Women" by Forbes.
- "Hallmark is dedicated to creating a more emotionally connected world and making a difference in the lives of others," adds Steel. "Its culture embraces a commitment to diversity and inclusion along with strong financial achievements and continued global growth and innovation."
- "It's truly an honor for our board, leadership team, and associates to be recognized by WomenCorporateDirectors for our strategic innovations that have led to industry-leading growth rates over the past decade," says McDonnell about the award. "As a Fortune 1000 company with over 40 percent female representation on our board and executive team, Penn Mutual's corporate philosophy is embedded in the fact that an inclusive and diverse workforce breeds success. We wholly advocate for shared leadership and our performance clearly demonstrates that it has been a winning strategy."
- As chairman and CEO of Penn Mutual since 2013, McDonnell has helped lead the company in its commitment to inclusivity and diversity through shared leadership of a diverse team. In fact, McDonnell and Sue Deakins, the second female CFO in the company's history, are one of only seven female CEO/CFO duos in the Fortune 1000.
- "Eileen McDonnell is a highly effective CEO where innovation drives the company's strategic objectives," says Bowles. "Eileen's strategic leadership has led to strong culture spurred by innovation, workplace and board diversity, a dedication to policyholders, and a healthy financial position, while backed by over 170 years of history. With Eileen at the helm, Penn Mutual is now a Fortune 1000 company that continues to grow and remain a leading national competitive force among life insurance companies," says Steel.
The awards will be presented at the Visionary Awards Dinner on May 20, 2019, as part of its annual invitation-only Global Institute (May 19-22) in Silicon Valley; the Institute's theme is "Harnessing the Transformative Power of Technology." Both events are sold out. Follow #WCDSiliconValley on Twitter for updates on the Institute and Awards.
Some sessions of the Global Institute and Visionary Awards program will be open to select media. For media inquiries, please contact Suzanne Oaks Brownstein or Trang Mar of Temin and Company at 212-588-8788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About WomenCorporateDirectors Education and Development Foundation, Inc.
The WomenCorporateDirectors Education and Development Foundation, Inc. (WCD) is the only global membership organization and community of women corporate directors. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the WCD Foundation has 80 chapters around the world. The aggregate market capitalization of public companies on whose boards WCD Foundation members serve is over $8 trillion. In addition, WCD Foundation members serve on numerous boards of large private and family-run companies globally. For more information visit www.womencorporatedirectors.org or follow us on Twitter @WomenCorpDirs, #WCDboards.
SOURCE WomenCorporateDirectors Education and Development Foundation, Inc.