Odgers Berndtson Appoints National Diversity Practice Leader for Canada

October 3, 2016 – Executive search firm Odgers Berndtson has named Jane Griffith as national diversity leader for the firm’s Canadian operations.

With a focus on the recruitment of senior leaders in the academic sector, Ms. Griffith has worked with universities, colleges and not-for-profit organizations in Canada. Prior to joining Odgers, she was partner and practice leader for the academic and non-profit practice at Four Corners Group. Before that she was partner and fundraising practice leader with Boyden and founded Griffith Research, where she worked with executive search firms located in Canada, the U.S., Dubai and Australia. Earlier in her career, she gained experience with The Bedford Consulting Group and KCI Ketchum Canada.

Having joined the firm earlier this year as a partner in the education and public sector practices, Ms. Griffith is an active advocate for diversity in the workplace. She is currently on the Canadian steering committee of the 30% Club – a global initiative aimed at achieving better gender balance at the board level. Ms. Griffith is also an advisory board member of Informed Opinions and is the founder of The Council of Women Executives.

Diversity As a Competitive Advantage

“You cannot be in the talent business today and not be focused on the importance of diversity,” said Carl Lovas, Canadian chairman at Odgers Berndtson. “We have seen firsthand how a diverse mix of talent, opinion, judgement and experience enables organizations to challenge existing thinking and come up with more innovative solutions.”

This can help organizations gain a real competitive advantage, said Mr. Lovas. “That’s why we’re excited about taking our diversity efforts to the next level under Jane’s leadership and guidance.”

Odgers Berndtson is a founding member of the Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) and has been an active supporter of the CBDC’s efforts to increase the number of diverse board members in Canada. The firm maintains a solid track record of recruiting diverse candidates into senior roles. This year, more than 45 percent of the senior executives placed by Odgers Berndtson were women, up from 36 percent in 2015.

“Everyone is focused on the importance of attracting more diverse candidates to boards today,” said Ms. Griffith. “And while we agree this is critical, we also see a real opportunity to look at how we can develop the pipeline by supporting women and other diverse candidates to move up into the C-suite roles that will help prepare them for board positions.” In essence, she said, “we want to focus on those high potential candidates who we believe are the future leaders of our country and we are working to develop a plan to help us achieve this goal.”

Recognizing the Value of Inclusivity

Odgers Berndtson provides a wide range of recruitment services for leading organizations in private and public sectors, including board level & executive search and global management assessment. And the firm is not alone in putting a greater emphasis on diversity. Other search firms are expanding their diversity practices to serve companies that recognize the value of having an inclusive workforce.

In August, Raines International appointed Pauly Rodney as co-head of its diversity and inclusion search practice in New York. Mr. Rodney previously served as New Jersey executive director of America Needs You, a national non-profit.

Just recently, Heads! International named Elspeth Renshaw as a partner where she leads diversity initiatives for the firm’s global clients. She supports Heads! on gender diversity specific assignments and will lead Heads!’ global gender diversity advisory business.

More companies today recognize the value of a strong diversity and inclusion strategy and its role in creating an effective and competitive workforce; the challenge, however, lies in applying meaningful metrics to drive performance and accountability,” said Peter Vermuelen, head of HR Americas for The Linde Group.

“To truly leverage the power of a diverse workforce,” he said, “companies must not only figure out how to attract diverse talent, but also focus on the inclusion aspect – creating a high-performing team of qualified individuals who want to stay with the organization for the long term, feel a part of its culture and see the opportunity to continually grow and advance their careers.”

Improving organizational diversity has become a top priority for many organizations, but it’s important to understand that creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace doesn’t happen overnight, said Audra Jenkins, senior director, diversity and compliance for Randstad Sourceright. “By taking the steps to identify what may be impacting diversity hiring and retention, and introducing the strategies to address these hurdles, companies can achieve a state of continuous improvement,” she said.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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