BMO joins global festivities to mark International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Throughout the month of March, BMO is celebrating women and girls, and reinforcing its commitment to breaking down gender-based barriers and investing in their success.
“Today we honour the achievements of women while recognizing the need to continue eliminating barriers to women’s career advancement in the bank, and in the business community as entrepreneurs and investors,” said Mona Malone, Chief Human Resources Officer and Head of People & Culture, BMO Financial Group. “Unfortunately, women are losing ground as a result of the pandemic and women-led businesses are struggling to recover from its economic impacts. This is why BMO is deepening our commitment to women through new and continued partnerships with organizations, such as SheEO, The Prosperity Project and Plan International Canada, that share our values and align with our Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life.”
BMO Collaborates with SheEO
BMO is collaborating with SheEO to provide C$1.2 million in funding for women entrepreneurs and business owners. SheEO, a not-for-profit company which offers financial support to businesses led by women and non-binary people, is committed to reducing barriers women-owned businesses face when trying to obtain financing, and funding ventures that address sustainability issues faced worldwide. BMO’s financial commitment will allow SheEO to fund all 2021 venture applicant companies working to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. BMO’s collaboration with SheEO aligns with the bank’s newly announced five-year diversity and representation goals, centred around creating a more inclusive society.
Girls Belong Here
To reinforce the bank’s ongoing commitment to fostering female leaders of tomorrow, David Casper, U.S. Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group, welcomed a youth participant on March 2, 2021 to shadow him in his role. BMO has participated in three seat shares since announcing its renewed executive sponsorship of Plan International Canada’s Girls Belong Here program in October. Since sponsoring the program for the third consecutive year to mark International Day of the Girl 2020, youth have participated in day-long seat shares with: Antonio Novillo, Chief Information and Operations Officer, BMO Capital Markets T&O; and Erminia (Ernie) Johannson, Group Head, North American Personal and Business Banking, BMO Financial Group.
BMO is partnering with the Prosperity ProjectTM, a new not-for-profit organization focusing on creating and disseminating knowledge on gender diversity and intersectionality in the senior ranks of Canadian workforces. The project fills an important need for explicitly linking women and prosperity – underscoring the economic importance of gender equality during the COVID-19 pandemic and as society recovers. It applies an intersectional lens, emphasizing the importance of both equity and foregrounding inclusivity. The Prosperity Project’s mission is aligns with both BMO’s Zero Barriers to Inclusion 2025 goals and its focus on driving an inclusive recovery from the pandemic.
Celebrating BIPOC Women-Owned Businesses
BMO continues to spotlight women-owned businesses through its Barriers Breakers social media content series, first launched in February as part of Black History Month. The series features women business owners from the BIPOC community, celebrating the success they’ve achieved in spite of the barriers they’ve overcome. In addition, to mark the arrival of International Women’s Day, today BMO has released a new video outlining its commitment to women business owners and removing barriers to inclusion.
Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean Delivers Keynote Speech at BMO Event
To celebrate Black History Month and International Women’s Day and in keeping with its commitment to building a society with zero barriers to inclusion, BMO hosted a special event on February 24, 2021 with The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Canada’s 27th Governor General and the first Haitian-Canadian to hold the office, and BMO executives, including Darryl White, CEO, BMO Financial Group. The event, Building Empowerment Through a Racial and Gender Equity Lens, included a panel discussion on intersectionality and empowerment that was moderated by Deland Kamanga, Head, Global Markets, BMO Capital Markets. BMO panel participants included: Gillian Noble, COO, BMO Insurance and BMO Global Asset Management; Joanna Rotenberg, Group Head, Wealth Management; Ula Ubani, Chief Ethics & Conduct Officer, and Vanessa Lewerentz, Chief Inclusion Officer.
BMO’s efforts to foster an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion have been recognized within the bank and beyond.
- BMO is listed among Equileap’s top 100 gender-equal companies around the world in its 2021 Gender Equality Global Report & Ranking
- Leaders at BMO have been named as WXN’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100. Most recently, Sherri Griffiths, Head, Greater Ontario, Canadian Commercial Banking in December 2020
- BMO has been included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) for the sixth year in a row
- BMO Harris Bank appeared on Forbes’ America’s Best Employers for Diversity 2020 for the second year in a row
- In 2018, BMO announced it is making C$3 billion in capital available over the next three years for Canadian women business owners
- BMO runs a dedicated website, www.bmoforwomen.com, which provides tools and educational resources for women entrepreneurs, including podcast series Bold(h)er.
- The bank is committed to doubling its industry-leading support for women entrepreneurs as part of its Purpose commitments
- BMO honours the achievements of business and community women leaders through the BMO Celebrating Women Program
- In 2020, BMO committed US$300 million for small business lending to expand resources for women — Black and Latinx-owned small businesses in the U.S., as part of its BMO EMpower initiative
- BMO Harris Bank launched WMN•FINtech in 2020, a mentoring program for women-led fintech startups and the latest evolution of the BMO Harris / 1871 Innovation Program, designed to give more women entrepreneurs the opportunity to bring cutting-edge technology and products forward