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May 14, 2014

WCD Visionary Awards recognize commitment to diversity, communities

RBC, Abbott, Key Community Bank and Sodexo receive honors

WomenCorporateDirectors presented its annual Visionary Awards on May 14 at a dinner in New York to three companies and one CEO that have exemplified a commitment to diversity and good governance practices.  The awards were held in conjunction with WCD’s fourth annual Global Institute, a two-day conference organized this year around the theme of ‘Leading through uncertainty – directors think strategically about risks and opportunities.’   

The award for innovation in shared value was presented to Abbott for integrating its core business practices with global citizenship efforts, including setting up health clinics in some of the poorest communities around the world. CEO and chairman Miles White accepted the award on behalf of the healthcare company.

Sodexo was honored with the award for leadership and governance in a private company. The global food service company that he runs is the 18th largest employer in the world with more than 420,000 employees globally. Michel Landel, CEO, president and chairman of Sodexo, whose board membership is 38 percent women, said, ‘We should be satisfied only if we reach 50 percent [female board membership], which would reflect the reality of the world today’ in terms of percentage of population and economic contributions.

Beth Mooney, CEO and chairman of Key Community Bank, received the award for strategic leadership for increasing the company’s revenue while making improvements in employee morale and strengthening the company for the future.  

The award for leadership and governance of a public company went to Royal Bank of Canada for serving as an example of corporate responsibility, focusing on its impact on the workplace, the economy, the communities it operates in, the environment and the marketplace.

In accepting the award on behalf of RBC, CEO, president and former chairman Gordon Nixon said as an older white man, he isn’t the image of diversity on boards and in the C-suite that WCD has been working hard to promote. But he said his interaction with RBC’s diverse workforce has given him access to broader perspectives and made him a better leader. After 13 years leading RBC, Nixon is scheduled to retire in August.

In her closing remarks, WCD’s CEO, global co-chair and co-founder Susan Stautberg said the time has come for shareholders not to be privileged over other stakeholders and that ultimately a company that is doing the right thing for its employees, customers and the communities in which it operates will be better positioned to deliver sustainable value to shareholders over the long term.