MO is participating in Plan International Canada’s “Girls Belong Here” program for the sixth year to foster leadership opportunities for young women
TORONTO, ON–BMO is supporting the International Day of the Girl (IDG), a day declared by the United Nations to celebrate girls’ achievements and address the unique barriers they face. This year marked BMO’s sixth year partnering with Plan International Canada’s IDG mission and activities that help girls achieve their goals and lead the fight for equality.
Through Plan International Canada’s Girls Belong Here program, young women aged 14 to 24 are placed in positions of leadership, power, and influence for the day called the “Girls Belong Here Seat Share.” Only 10 per cent of youth in Canada visualize a woman when they think of a CEO, according to a Plan International Canada survey. The program aims to change that by amplifying girls’ voices and reinforcing their capacity as decision-makers by creating meaningful opportunities for them to directly interact with leaders, such as BMO’s Chief Marketing Officer, Catherine Roche.
“BMO is proud to host exceptional young women from Girls Belong Here for the sixth year in a row and create meaningful opportunities for them to make progress on their leadership skills alongside a senior executive mentor,” said Catherine Roche, Chief Marketing Officer, BMO. “Bringing diverse perspectives to the table fuels our performance and is directly aligned to our Purpose and our commitment to driving change for an inclusive society.”
BMO Leaders Share Their Seats
Roche recently offered up her role at BMO to Kaitlyn, a Girls Belong Here participant and this year’s youth ambassador.
“Spending the day with BMO and taking on the role of Chief Marketing Officer was a valuable experience,” said Kaitlyn. “During the day, I was placed in a position of leadership and brought my personal passions of activism and business to the forefront of the conversations with other leaders. Opening this dialogue and voicing my opinions was an opportunity I learnt from, and I will take with me in the future.”
Further, Kaitlyn – who cares about the accessibility of economic education– is also the Director of Logistics at Marketyze, a non-profit that makes business opportunities accessible for youth across the globe. She is passionate about philosophy and justice and started a bracelet business that aims to raise $150,000 to fund Truth and Reconciliation advocacy. Kaitlyn also regularly hosts a podcast on macroeconomics.
In February 2024, Deland Kamanga, Group Head, BMO Wealth Management, will offer up his role to a youth program participant in advance of International Women’s Day.
Supporting IDG is one of the many ways BMO embodies its Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, and fulfills its Zero Barriers to Inclusion Strategy. Specifically, BMO is committed to supporting the advancement of women both within the bank and beyond, including through:
- Maintaining gender equity for women in senior leadership roles, within a range of 40 to 60 per cent, as part of its Zero Barriers to Inclusion 2025 workforce goals.
- Pledging $5 billion in capital over five years to support women business owners
- A $1.2 million in funding to SheEO – a not-for-profit company which offers financial support to businesses led by women and non-binary people. BMO’s financial commitment allowed SheEO to fund all 2021 venture applicant companies.
- Ranking #1 among major Canadian banks and receiving top-quartile scores in board gender diversity, executive diversity, and sustainability pay link in Canada’s “Best 50 Corporate Citizens”.
- Being recognized for the 8th year in a row by Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index. The global index recognizes companies committed to gender equality and inclusion within the workplace and the community.
- A recognition in Report on Business Women Lead here list for the third year in a row, which names Canadian corporations with the highest degree of gender diversity among executive ranks.
- Appearing in Forbes’ America’s Best Employers for Diversity 2023 for the fifth year in a row.
- BMO’s WMNfintech program – a collaboration between BMO and 1871, designed for women-led fintech start-ups that create services or solutions for the financial sector, offer insights and advice to customers, or help identify customer needs. The program provides women founders with curriculum and guidance from industry experts and an opportunity to pitch venture capital investors for feedback, mentoring, continued connections, and potential for funding.
- BMO Alliance for Women, the bank’s largest employee resource group with over 5,000 members globally.
Additionally, several women in leadership positions at BMO have been recognized by prominent publications: Mona Malone, Chief Human Resource Officer and Head of People and Culture received the Catalyst Honours Champion for 2023; Kimberley Goode, Chief Communications & Social Impact Officer, was recognized by Savoy Magazine’s 2022 Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America List; Ernie Johannson, Group Head, North American Personal and Business Banking, and Nandita Bakhshi, Special Advisor were recognized in American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking.
BMO leaders have also consistently been named to WXN’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 list, including in 2021 with Ula Ubani, Vice-President, Ombudsperson and Chief Ethics & Conduct Officer.
Learn more about BMO’s support for women entrepreneurs and its Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good, in business and life by visiting bmoforwomen.com.
BMO Gives. Good grows here.
Helping communities thrive by supporting the organizations that sustain them and encouraging employee giving and volunteerism is at the heart of BMO’s Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. In 2022, our social impact included more than $69 million donated to hundreds of charities and non-profit organizations across North America to help drive progress by enabling individuals to thrive and communities to prosper. Our colleagues spent almost 50,000 hours volunteering in the community and contributed more than $26 million of donations through our annual employee giving program.
About BMO Financial Group
BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.25 trillion as of July 31, 2023. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to over 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society.