Blog by John Miller

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The future is white

Just how far Canada's corporate sector is from recognizing diversity as a core business value was evident in yesterday's Globe and Mail.

A special section with the unfortunate headline "Celebrating our own" presented the Top 40 Under 40 award-winners. Labelled "a new generation of young leaders," their pictures and profiles covered eight pages and the back page of the Globe's Report on Business section.

The Globe is a partner in the annual competition, organized and run by Caldwell Partners International, a head hunting company. Other partners are Deloitte, National Bank Financial Group and Westjet.

Of the 40 young entrepreneurs chosen for future promise, 35 were men and 33 were white. It is hard to imagine that the list of 1,100 nominees could be that unrepresentative of the demographics of Canada's population under the age of 40.

So why were they chosen? Well, look at who did the choosing -- 25 senior executives, a group that included only three women, no visible minorities and one Aboriginal. It appears that they merely chose a reflection of themselves.

This isn't good enough. It was published the same week as DiverseCity Counts was released. It's the second annual report of diversity in the Greater Toronto Area's major public institutions and largest corporations. More than 40 percent of the region's population is non-white, yet in the largest corporate sector companies, visible minorities accounted for only 4.8% of senior executives and 3.3% of board members.

So where are the leaders of the future going to come from to change those dismal figures? How will they emerge if they're not recognized now?