Christopher E. Pinnington

Christopher E. Pinnington
CEO, Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (FMC)

Corporate Headquarters: Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver
Primary Business: Law Firm
Employees: 1,500

2011 CEO in Action

As the son of a career member of the Canadian Armed Forces, I spent much of my childhood living abroad. This exposed me to a vast array of cultures and world views, and taught me the importance of understanding and appreciating different perspectives.

My early experiences prepared me well for the future. I quickly learned that in the working world, depth and innovation come more readily from diverse groups who are better able to identify and seize opportunities and to confront challenges. Throughout my career, I have worked to apply the lessons of my childhood and have benefitted from surrounding myself with highly talented people holding divergent points of view. Given the op portunity to lead FMC, I made it my personal priority to instill and nurture a culture of mutual respect, compassion and collegiality, and to ensure that every individual is heard and feels equally respected, valued and honored. I believe that if we are able to achieve these simple things, it will benefit us all, align us with our clients’ needs and expectations, and drive our business success.

Several years ago when I was the Managing Partner of FMC’s Toronto office, I asked a group of individuals to work with me to tackle the challenge of building a continuous and sustainable culture of diversity and inclusion at FMC. Since then, we have worked together to make diversity and inclusion part of our daily dialogue. Today, diversity and inclusion is an important part of our strategic plan. We have both a National Diversity and Inclusion Committee and local committees in each of our offices which address local interests and concerns.

We have mandated awareness training for all members of the organization with hiring, promotion or compensation responsibilities, and we are on the verge of providing awareness training to every firm member through a new e-learning initiative. We sponsor scholarships and conferences, often in collaboration with our clients, and we have created internships to assist internationally-trained lawyers transition to legal practice in Canada. I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished.

Over the past several years, FMC has been honored by the business and legal communities for our commitment and achievements, and while the recognition is gratifying, it does not define my commitment. In 2011, we will embark on our second Engagement and Inclusion survey which will provide us with a measure of how far we have come and signal where we need to go from here. I am determined that we continue moving forward in our journey, and that our commitment to improve our own diversity reflects our culture and our values. As CEO, it is essential for me to actively lead the charge by inspiring and motivating members of the firm to make diversity and inclusion a priority both personally and professionally.

Education: BA, Trinity College, University of Toronto; LLB, Osgoode Hall Law School
First Job: I worked on an assembly line in a publishing plant.
What I’m Reading: Swedish author Henning Mankell’s addictive Kurt Wallander series of crime novels
My Philosophy: We achieve greater success through collaboration and teamwork.
Best Advice: Surround yourself with colleagues who complement your strengths but provide diverse skills and perspectives.
Family: Wife, Astrid; children – Hilary, Allison, Stephanie, Ian
Interests: Golf, tennis, cross-country skiing/snowshoeing, gardening, cooking, reading and travel
Favorite Charity: United Way