Broadening Opportunity through Leadership Diversity (B.O.L.D.) is a unique integrated leadership coaching program for culturally diverse executives and senior managers, particularly visible minorities, internationally trained professionals and Aboriginal Peoples.
B.O.L.D. was developed by Diversity Advantage International (DAI) in response to research, consultation and the needs of clients to meet long-term objectives. The B.O.L.D. program is distinctive in its approach to building leadership diversity as a sustainable Best Practice.
B.O.L.D. equips high-potential, culturally diverse managers and executives, internationally trained professionals and Aboriginal Peoples with powerful insights, tools and strategies to skillfully advance their careers to the next level, while firmly grounding their value in the organization's bottom line. Participants are intentionally drawn from various industries, sectors and job functions.
The eight-month, nine-session program is delivered with a customized, high-engagement leadership coaching platform to support real-time action-learning and practice. B.O.L.D. leaders are tracked for a five-year period. An employer-sponsor component facilitates the sharing of learnings and the incubation of ideas between B.O.L.D. leaders and their immediate superiors and/or executive team.
What makes B.O.L.D. successful is that it is more than a program.
Inspiration was three-fold.
One of the biggest challenges facing businesses today is the persistent disconnect between demographic realities and the practice of inclusion and effective utilization of Canada's diverse talent. The resulting high economic cost and opportunity loss is estimated at $4.1 billion to $5.9 billion annually, according to The Conference Board of Canada.
Inspiration also came through the leadership of DAI CEO Jennifer Lynn, who is a visible minority executive of immigrant roots with a decades-long commitment to leadership, diversity and inclusion.
The DAI culture is to believe, value and advocate that leadership diversity in an inclusive workplace is a hallmark of leading organizations with sustainably high productivity and international competitiveness.
It peaked with the release of the first DiverseCity Counts report in 2009. The report findings made it clear that chronic under-representation of visible minorities in leadership roles was persistent. Limited progress had been made with regard to diverse leadership in the senior-most positions and CEO suites in all sectors – private, public and non-profit – in the Greater Toronto Area. As the report stated, "The results indicated that, as of March 2009, just 13 per cent of leaders we analyzed are visible minorities."
B.O.L.D. is directed at the diverse senior managers who have achieved recognition for their professional work, are on an upward career trajectory, and are committed to their own leadership growth and that of their organization. It is also directed at the executives, line managers and human resources professionals (as employer-sponsors of leader participants), and supports their organizational goals for diverse talent recruitment, retention, succession pipeline and leadership promotion.
The breakdown for visible minority senior leaders by sector, according to the DiverseCity Counts report, was: 13 per cent in the non-profit sector; 9 per cent in the public sector and 4 per cent in the private sector. The numbers were stagnant over a three-year period (no sustainable growth) and indicated that they represented just a few companies doing a lot to address this significant leadership gap. Something needed to be done.
Given the need to address this situation, the demand from talent and employers alike for change and new possibilities, and the chronic gap, DAI went into action to find real solutions that could have an impact, and to create a new paradigm of leadership diversity. DAI conducted consultations with under-represented talent and employers in 2009-2010 and its findings led to the creation of B.O.L.D.
Making a Difference
Participants have achieved: greater credibility, confidence and connections to accelerate their leadership advancement potential; more opportunities to be profiled within their organizations, with senior executives and at external business events; clarity around self-value and openness to advocate for themselves; a stronger sense of how to manage diversity and inclusion, and invitations to 'sit at tables,' e.g. senior executive presentations or strategic multi-departmental sessions.
Employers see B.O.L.D. as an innovative, positive intervention for making measurable progress with their leadership diversity goals.
The main challenges have been:
Vision for the Future
The vision for the future of B.O.L.D. is to:
About Diversity Advantage International
Diversity Advantage International specializes in diversity and inclusion management, providing evidence-based human capital and workplace solutions. The comprehensive DAI approach integrates best practices, communications, and diversity and inclusion strategies, together with executive coaching, talent and leadership development.
Best Practice Contact
President and CEO
Diversity Advantage International