Women in Leadership – A Plan to Promote the Participation of More Canadian Women on Boards`

The Cause

The Women in Leadership Foundation (WIL) is the only national women’s charity in Canada solely focused on bringing women together to advance women in leadership roles and empower the next generation. Founded in 2001, WIL is Canada’s largest charity organization with six chapter cities across Canada – Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. WIL hosts over 40 events annually and runs a Mentorship program to facilitate networking & learning and to showcase female role models.

300+ women leaders panelist showcased
800+ graduates of WIL Mentorship program
12,000 people in our WIL community
8 Federal & Provincial Labor Market Partnerships
8000+ Twitter followers
$3.5 million+ invested to showcase female role models
$300,000 invested into Aboriginal programs (forums, scholarships and grants)
Partnered with 30+ universities & colleges


Research shows that women occupy only 15% of the corporate boards in North America. The Equality and Human Rights Commission
suggests that it will take another 70 years to have gender-balanced boardrooms in the largest multi-national companies.

Studies show that diversity is crucial to the overall effectiveness and long-term success of an organization. Companies with higher numbers of female executives on their boards were found to have 42% higher return in sales, 66% higher return on invested capital and 53% higher return on equity. However, companies are challenged to identify and attract qualified board-ready women.

We aim to address this challenge by offering a program to train and transition female professionals onto boards. The training will include topics such as director and fiduciary responsibilities, governance, risk mitigation, financial strategies, and more through a carefully designed program comprised of team-based learning, capstone projects, panel discussions and networking events. Additionally, the program will also offer the newly certified participants assistance with building board portfolios and finding potential board placements.

Who Will it Benefit?

This project will benefit the women in Calgary and surrounding areas who are interested in board appointments. This project will also benefit companies that are seeking qualified women to appoint to their boards to become more diverse and gender balanced. Our longer term goal is to take this project nation-wide, making the program sustainable enough to engage further development through the Government of Canada, Advisory Council members, business leaders and board chairs.

By empowering local women with the necessary governance tools through training, an expanded network, and board placement assistance, we are aiming to achieve greater gender balance and successful long-term board appointments of women.