BDO Canada joins women's leadership development program

16 June 2021 2 min. read

Mid-market accountancy BDO Canada has announced it is a founding member of Velocity, a women’s leadership development program aimed at accelerating the personal and professional success of women.

Velocity is a program developed by Cleary Leadership, a Toronto-based boutique leadership coaching and advisory firm. Women at BDO will have access to a platform and program that enhances career progression through networking, relationship building, coaching, and learning and development.

“The Velocity program was developed to give women direct access to effective tools and training to support their leadership journey,” said Kristina Cleary, founder of Cleary Leadership. “While organizations often speak to the benefits of supporting gender equality, very few are investing in programs that support women in tangible and meaningful ways. I am thrilled to welcome BDO Canada as a founding member and applaud their commitment to support women in leadership and drive positive change.”

Cleary in 2019 founded her consulting firm, which deliver results-oriented coaching to marketers and women in leadership. Cleary was previously chief marketing officer at HR software firm Ceridian. Earlier in her career, Cleary was a consultant at PwC, specializing in e-business marketing and ERP systems.BDO Canada joins women’s leadership development program“Gender equality is more than a women's issue; it's a business issue – one that improves culture, fosters innovation, and enhances business performance. This is particularly important to BDO as women represent more than 50 per cent of our workforce,” said Giselle Bodkin, chief DEI officer at BDO. “As a founding member of Velocity, BDO is making strides in providing women with a program to help them learn, grow, and succeed.”

According to BDO Canada, the firm’s investment in the Velocity program aligns with its wider commitment to its women partners and employees. The firm has pledged to: increase the number of women in leadership positions; develop their skills and capabilities through educational programs; and provide greater career coaching and support resources.

According to analysis from McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile.

Though consulting firms – including BDO – have little trouble attracting women candidates at sub-director level, the share of women decreases markedly in senior leadership roles, and especially at the C-suite level.

Combatting barriers to female advancement requires strong goal-setting and buy-in from the C-suite on down, executive ownership of reporting and results, and robust mentorship, training, and leadership development programs.