For over 24 years, Crowe Soberman, one of Canada’s largest accounting and advisory firms, has been hosting Women for Women, an annual event that serves as a vehicle to bring the important women’s issues to the forefront. Crowe Soberman doesn’t just talk the talk. Our support of the advancement of women leaders can also be seen in the makeup of our firm, where our Chief Operating Officer and over one-third of our partners are women, statistics that are unheard of in public accounting firms.
Women for Women is comprised of the female professionals at Crowe Soberman and was founded in 1995 as a vehicle for providing them an open forum to network, communicate and educate one another.
Over the years, we have been fortunate to attract outstanding speakers as well as be involved with a number of initiatives and events as attendees.
Imogen Coe is the Dean of the Faculty of Science and a professor of biology at Ryerson University. She is also an affiliated scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Keenan Research Centre at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada. She is an accomplished researcher who is internationally recognized for her research on the cell biology and biochemistry of drug transport proteins.
She is also a vocal advocate for equity, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) in STEM and is recognized internationally for her work in this field. She is a sought-after speaker on the issue of EDI in STEM, locally and nationally, in diverse venues, such as TEDx and she also writes on the topic in a variety of outlets including the Huffington Post. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Michael Garron Hospital (formerly TEGH), the Girls in STEM Executive Advisory Board (an initiative of FIRST Robotics Canada) and a member of the International Women's Forum.
Eugenia Duodu is an award-winning chemist, who holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Toronto. Her research was focused on the development of detection tools for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's.
As CEO of Visions of Science, she leads a team of passionate and talented colleagues whose focus is to provide engaging programs and opportunities for youth who are traditionally under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Her goal is to help make a long-lasting positive impact in communities through STEM engagement and in-turn allow youth to unlock their potential.
Eden Hennessey is a data-driven artist and PhD Candidate in Social Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University working with Dr. Mindi Foster. Eden's current research examines the costs of confronting sexism in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Her popular photo-research exhibits (#DistractinglySexist & #DistractinglyHonest) are internationally recognized, and present her dissertation work using a unique and thought-provoking visual medium. Eden continues to be inspired by her work with the Laurier Centre for Women in Science (WinS); a research centre that builds a strong community for women in science through research, communication, and action.
In 2016, I was very fortunate to attend the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles Annual Event in New York City. This conference brought together 400 leaders from business, government, not for profit and the UN; I was the only business delegate from Canada, and will forever be enriched by the experience.
The business case for the commitment for gender equality has been conclusively proven; ensuring that women have access to economic opportunity leads to stronger and more just societies and more profitable businesses. The seven Women’s Empowerment Principles (“WEPS”) set out a framework for action with respect to advancing this business case. Going beyond setting out the issues, the WEPs require the CEOs of businesses to become signatories to the principles, and to commit to bringing them to life with specific action plans in the organizations they lead.
Jerry Cukier, as Crowe Soberman’s Managing Partner, was the first leader of an independent public accounting firm in Canada to commit to the WEPs by becoming a signatory to the WEPs in 2014. The firm’s ongoing activities and strategies actively support the seven principles. Crowe Soberman has taken a leadership position within the Crowe Global Network, with several of the other member firms coming forward to become signatories to the WEPs. The principles are:
1. Establish high-level leadership for gender equality.
2. Treat all women and men fairly at work; respect and support human rights and non-discrimination.
3. Ensure the health and safety and well-being of all women and men workers.
4. Promote education, training and professional development for women.
5. Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women.
6. Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy.
7. Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality.
Crowe Soberman has a higher percentage of women partners and senior leaders than any other firm in our market. We have consciously created opportunities for women professionals to excel and advance, while demonstrating a commitment to social issues that are important to them and their communities.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the 2015 conference and highlighted the economic importance of moving these principles forward. Crowe Soberman’s commitment to the WEPs will continue to enrich all members of our firm. I challenge other Canadian business leaders: visit the site here and consider becoming a signatory to this crucial initiative. Or contact me and we can discuss how we can make a difference together.
- Susan Hodkinson
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