Does the diversity gap in leadership matter to people on the street? What do they see as the benefits of leadership that reflects the population? And what can we do about it?
On May 22, pollster Nik Nanos and DiverseCity released a report that set out to answer those questions. What we found should hearten and encourage us all. Yes! Residents in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) do care about diversity in leadership. What's more, they think we should take action to make it happen.
The survey found that when GTA residents learned of the facts about diverse leadership in the GTA - that is, that only 14% of leadership reflects visible minorities and under-represented immigrant groups - they were concerned. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of respondents said that this is not enough.
Further, the respondents were concerned not only with the social risks that this under-representation entails, they also saw it as limiting the GTA's potential to:
- Attract foreign investment;
- Attract skilled workers;
- Innovate in business; and
- Create prosperity for the region
Diverse leadership was seen as an essential step towards becoming a world-class city.
The majority of respondents (75%) did think that the GTA's leadership will be more representative of the population in the future. However, on average, they think it will take another 18.9 years - almost two decades! - before this happens. That's the bad news. The good news is that nearly two-thirds of respondents said that action should be taken to speed up this process.
Many survey respondents did not know about the diversity gap in leadership, but when they found out, they appreciated that it was a problem - so we need to continue to raise awareness of the issue. The survey results also indicate that GTA residents understand the economic arguments for closing this gap - which confirms to us that it is time for political, business and community leaders to take action.
At Maytree, this survey has encouraged us to re-double our efforts to support emerging diverse leaders. We are now replicating our award-winning DiverseCity onBoard program, which facilitates the placement of diverse leaders on public and non-profit boards in the GTA, in seven cities across Canada. We are also supporting cities around the world - including Berlin, London and Boston - so they can create their version of the program. On June 19, our Diversity in Governance Awards will recognize public, non-profit and private sector organizations that are showing commitment and innovation to create inclusive governance boards. In anticipation of a number of elections in 2014, we are also once again offering our popular School4Civics boot camps for aspiring political leaders. And, finally, in partnership with the Toronto LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) and Mount Sinai Hospital we will be turning our attention to diverse leadership in the health care sector for our next piece of research. GTA residents have spoken. This survey is a rallying call. Our work must continue.
Ratna Omidvar is the president of Maytree, a private foundation in Toronto. The DiverseCity project is a partnership between Maytree and the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance. Tamarack is pleased to welcome Ratna as a key thought-leader at the 2013 CCI: Accelerating Impact in Edmonton later this year.
At Social Innovation Generation (SiG) we are interested in strengthening Canada's Social Innovation ecosystem and accelerating Canadians' ability to innovate to overcome large scale complex social and environmental challenges.
As the author of Canada's first national study of social entrepreneurship, and co-author of a new study on corporate social innovation, I am frequently on the look-out for new trends within the field. Recently, I've been intrigued by insights shared by Ron Schultz in his recent blog and new book entitled, Creating Good Work - The World's Leading Social Entrepreneurs Show How to Build a Healthy Economy which identifies a shift towards new forms of social innovation that are now emerging as the field matures. Schultz describes it as "a shift from the rugged individualist we call a social entrepreneur, to the rugged collaborationist, or members of Social Innovation Collaboratives.
Acknowledging that our most complex social problems can only be solved through collaboration, there is a growing recognition that social innovation is less the domain of the heroic, solitary individual and more a non-linear and "complex relation-based undertaking" where social innovation collaborators "stretch, reach, reform, combine and collectively join together...with fellow co-conspirators for good, and get to work."
Looking towards the future, Schultz suggests the need to deliberately create "Social Innovation Collaboratives that have at their core not the veneration of the individual, but the salvation of our society. It is together, as social innovation collaborators, that we can reach our goals." He reminds us, "We simply aren't as effective alone as we are when we join together as a social unit reaching far into our societies, to shift the often un-shifting with our collective effort."
Tim Draimin is ED of SiG and a board member of Partnership Brokers Association, a global organization building the new profession of ‘partnership brokering' by offering professional development and skills training.
Ideas We're Following...
Several months ago I reviewed a resource called Pathways to Change: Six Theories about How Policy Change Happens. This excellent resource describes six common pathways or theories of change that advocates for policy change can use to plan their work.
If you found that paper helpful for the upstream task of planning policy change activities, you will find A User Guide to Advocacy Evaluation Planning a very useful resource for the downstream task of evaluating policy change efforts.
The Guide is produced by staff and partners at the Harvard Family Research Project. Like all the resources that have emerged from this impressive project, the material is well written and nicely laid out. There are three things, however, that make this resource a "must-have" for advocates of policy change, and the funders and evaluators that support them.
First, the authors explore some very important distinctions between the different types of outcomes that emerge from policy change efforts. This includes making the distinction between policy goals (e.g. the adoption of a subsidized bus pass for low income residents by a city council) and policy impacts (e.g. increased ridership by low income residents, their increased access/use of social services, changes to transit revenue stream, public perception of the value of the pass, etc.). The authors go further by elaborating on seven policy goals that a group might aim for throughout the life-cycle of the policy change process. This ranges from getting a new policy on the legislative agenda all the way to blocking undesired shifts in policy from being passed. These distinctions encourage advocates to be as clear as possible about what types of outcomes they seek to generate and evaluate.
The second strength of the resource is the common-sense approach to planning an evaluation. These include four steps that are described fully in the Guide and are summarized in an attractive planning worksheet:
- Step 1 - Focus: Identify the evaluation users, their evaluation questions, and how they will use the evaluation results.
- Step 2 - Map: Clarify the advocacy strategy, including the desired impacts, the types of policy change sought, and the activities and interim outcomes to get there.
- Step 3 - Prioritize: Review which elements of the strategy are most important and/or most feasible to evaluate.
- Step 4 - Design: Develop outcomes, indicators and methods to monitor and assess progress and learning's about the policy change effort.
The third and final strength of the resource is the comprehensive summary of information for each step of the process. This includes: an extensive list of outcomes, measures and methods that users can choose from when developing their own evaluation plans. Several of these methods are quite innovative, including: Intense Period Debriefs; Bellwether Evaluation; and, Policy Maker Rating Scales.
Planning and evaluating policy change efforts is a complex and sometimes tricky set of inter-related tasks. Advocates, funders and evaluators can make the work more manageable by employing the insights, frameworks and the tools contained in this Guide.
Throughout 2011-2012 a group of nine First Nation Elders from the Ojibway (Anishnabe), Cree and Dakota Nations met inside the Turtle Lodge to share and capture ancient Indigenous knowledge and teachings. Together we have written a book: The Journey of the Spirit of the Red Man. It is an attempt to convey our understanding as the Red People and capture the fullness, richness and beauty of our Nation.
We acknowledge that one book can never convey our way of life - especially through the written word. We are an oral people. Sacred law cannot be written. It must be spoken and heard. Our way of life is meant to be lived and experienced. Our words are meant to inspire and guide our fellow human beings to follow the path of the heart.
Our prophecies speak of a time when a New People - representing all races of humanity - will come among us. The New People will find a way to unite and create a new understanding of how we should live and behave as human beings: where we will go beyond the divisions we have created amongst ourselves. We will find a way of life collectively to prevent the violence we see in our communities. With the participation of the Red People, and all peoples, a new spiritual understanding will be created that will go beyond the divisions and separations that cause violence and wars today.
Today, we the Red People, encourage everyone to put as much effort as we can into living from the true nature of our individual spirits, and connecting to the Creator through Mother Earth. We are challenged today to find a vision that is inclusive - a vision which supports all life that brings a spirit of hope for our future. As the Creator had the first vision, we have the same ability and power to have a vision that supports the original vision of life.
It is the role of the Elders and Adults to provide mentorship for the New People - the youth of today - to gather and share the uniqueness of each of their strengths and bring forward the teachings and knowledge that they have gathered from their cultures that reflect balance in the circle of life. In supporting this New Life, we must learn to live from the heart. We must speak from the heart. We must act from the heart. Within the essence of our Spirit, all that we need to support the New Life is within each of us.
The Red People bring a gift of opportunity to share the true spirit of love by honouring the uniqueness in the human family. We are all different but that difference does not mean we should be separated. We offer these teachings, our perspective as the Red People, as an inspiration to return to our original purpose as humanity. What our people almost lost, we the Elders are bringing forward today. The circle of life continues as we return to our original instructions, and we believe this time all the races of humankind will walk with us. Our prophecies have told us that it will be our people, the Red People, who will lead this movement of return. And so, today we share our knowledge and perspective with you.
The Ontario Government has just announced that it is recruiting 10 additional members to become part of a new, 25-person, Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities. If you are an Ontario Youth (aged 16-25) or someone in the province who works with and serves youth, your provincial government needs you to "…help reflect youth from across all of Ontario's communities."
The role of the Premier's Council is to "provide advice to the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Children and Youth Services on how to enhance existing youth-oriented programs, policies, strategies and resources, and on any new issues or topics relevant to youth that may emerge." Members will also be engaging youth in their communities on a range of issues. Applications are being accepted until July 31, 2013 at: Ontario.ca/applyforpcyo.
From Tamarack's Learning Communities
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