By Catalyst

Catalyst Canada has announced The Catalyst Canada Honours 2011 champions of women in business: Monique F. leroux, chair of the board, president and CEO, Desjardins Group; Jennifer tory, regional president, Greater Toronto, RBC; and Michael Bach, director of diversity, equity and inclusion, KPMG LLP. The Catalyst Canada Honours recognizes three exceptional individuals who have demonstrated commitment, passion and results through their championship of women’s advancement in Canadian business.

“This year’s champions are extraordinarily committed to advancing women in the Canadian corporate world. Catalyst research shows that companies gain when they have a greater number of women on their boards and in senior leadership roles, and that highly placed sponsors like this year’s champions are the key to women’s advancement,” said Deborah Gillis, senior vice president, membership and global operations, Catalyst.

The Catalyst Canada Honours recognizes a company/ firm leader, a business leader and a human resources/diversity leader who champion progress by advancing women in their organizations, industries and communities. The Catalyst Canada Honours celebrates leaders who have made a critical difference in women’s advancement, while inspiring men and women leaders to step up, demonstrate foresight and leadership and become champions themselves.

“BMO became one of Catalyst’s earliest members not only because of a shared conviction that workplaces must provide opportunities for everyone but also to serve as a constant reminder of the standard to which we hold ourselves as a company,” said Bill Downe, president and CEO of BMO Financial Group and chair of The Catalyst Canada Honours dinner. “The Catalyst Canada Honours is all about recognizing individuals who are setting the bar higher and understand that it’s the strength of Canada’s workforce that will define corporate Canada’s success and, in turn, our customers’ success in a rapidly changing world.”

The selection process for The Canada Catalyst Honours is extremely rigorous. Champions are nominated, and Catalyst looks for clear indications of leadership that has had an impact on the advancement of women. The process is also supported by interviews with the nominated individual and references.

This year’s recipients have demonstrated a commitment to advancing women that extends beyond their businesses and into their communities.

As the first woman elected board chair, president and CEO of Desjardins Group and the first woman to lead a top ten financial institution in Canada, Monique F. Leroux has taken giant steps to increase diversity at Canada’s largest financial cooperative group. She implemented an unprecedented organizational restructuring, establishing ten multidisciplinary taskforces with equal numbers of men and women on each. Ms. Leroux is also a mentor and sponsor to many women, speaks regularly to the various Desjardins women’s networks and has established programs to build a strong pipeline of women in banking.

Jennifer Tory, regional president of Greater Toronto at RBC, has worked tirelessly to advance women and visible minorities both at RBC and in her community. Her commitment extends beyond her role at RBC and into her work on the boards of the Toronto International Film Festival and the Toronto Board of Trade, and as the chair of the Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation’s capital campaign.

In his four years as director of diversity, equity and inclusion at KPMG, Michael Bach has championed diversity both within Canada and on a global level. He authored the business case for dedicated resources for diversity and inclusion at KPMG and was instrumental in creating and implementing targets for women becoming partners at the firm, which has resulted in an increase in the proportion of women and visible minorities in new partner classes at KPMG from 40 percent in 2009 to 51 percent in 2010.

This year’s champions will be celebrated at The Catalyst Canada Honours dinner on Tuesday, October 18, 2011, at The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. To book a table, contact Jessica Dolmer at [email protected].

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Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit membership organization working globally with businesses and the professions to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business. Visit to learn more about our work and download Catalyst reports. Visit to begin receiving Catalyst C-News, our monthly e-newsletter.