Bill McFarland

Bill McFarland
CEO, PwC Canada

Headquarters: Toronto, Ontario
Primary Business: Assurance, tax and advisory services
Revenues: C$1,202.2 million
Employees: 6,105

Embedding Diversity in All Business

Making a difference to the success of our clients, people, and communities starts with an ability to see and relate to different perspectives. Canada is one of the most diverse nations in the world and reflecting that diversity and being inclusive in the way we do business is not only the right thing to do but also good business.

Creating an inclusive environment where people feel valued for their diverse perspectives, ideas, skills, and experiences, and are given equal opportunities to succeed means means doing three things: leaders must do what they say they will do, building more awareness throughout their organizations, and embedding diversity in everything we do. It also means fundamentally shifting the way we think about diversity and inclusion, evolving the conversation beyond being about groups in the workplace, to seeing every individual as unique and creating an environment where everyone’s able to develop to their full potential.

When I became CEO in July 2011, one of the first things we did was to create a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion Office. We now have diversity and inclusion leaders across the country supporting and promoting our strategy.

I’m proud that we have a diverse executive leadership team and believe that diversity of thought is helping us come to better business decisions. My extended leadership team recently took part in 360 degree diversity and inclusion assessments (the ‘Equitable Leader Assessment’). The results provided a benchmark of where we are today as a team and individuals. It provided real data for developmental feedback which is being used during one-on-one executive coaching sessions, and in setting goals and areas for each of us to improve upon over the next twelve months.

Being inclusive means listening to what people say and taking the right actions as a result of those conversations. As an example, last fall, we invited our entire firm to tell us how we can foster a more inclusive work environment where individual differences are respected and valued. The survey provided us with valuable insights into how we’re perceived by our people.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is also important to our clients and the communities where we work and live. We’ve been an active member of the “Diversity Roundtable” and are now collaborating in creating a national website for members to share and collaborate.

Leaders have a huge impact in moving organizations, so I keep diversity and inclusion top of mind by weaving it into my conversations and interactions with clients, employees, teams, and communities. We’ll know we’ve been successful when it’s not a separate agenda item; rather, it’s the way we act and behave.

Education: BCom, University of Toronto
First Job: CA in training
What I’m Reading: 4 Disciplines of Execution, by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling
My Philosophy: Greater diversity results in more successful businesses.
Best Advice: Find a job you love and it won’t be work.
Interests: Sports: hockey, golf, cycling