UTSC Wili launch 20170921

In picture, UTSC Alumna and WiLi program founder, Gigi Pang (front middle), UTSC Alumna Grace Lau (front left), and Executive Director Georgette Zinaty (front right) with the inaugural cohort of the Women in Leadership Initiative program.

Made possible through the generosity of alumna Gigi Pang (BA 98), Chair of Evergreen Education Foundation, the Women in Leadership Initiative (WiLi) is a unique leadership program for emerging young women from the University of Toronto Scarborough. It provides an opportunity for young women to build capacity in key strategic areas of personal and professional growth.

More qualified women are now graduating from universities across Canada than ever before. However women continue to lag behind their male colleagues when it comes to achieving senior leadership positions. The glass ceiling still exists: Women hold a mere 8.5% of the highest-paid positions in Canada’s top 100 listed companies, and female CEOs are more often hired from outside the company than male CEOs are. In fact, in 2015, out of 87 incoming CEOs, only one was a woman. This points to the continued trend of women not being recognized within their own organizations.

McKinsey and Company’s 2016 Women in the Workplace report noted “Women get less access to the people and opportunities that advance careers, and are disadvantaged in many of their daily interactions. These inequities appear to take a toll on women: They are less likely to think they have equal opportunities for growth and development—and more likely to think their gender will play a role in missing out on a raise, promotion, or chance to get ahead.”

Studies show that mentoring relationships play a critical role for women seeking advancement. The women in leadership initiative will provide both informal and formal mentoring and in-depth skill development opportunities to mentees chosen through a selective application process. Female University of Toronto Scarborough alumni who are leaders in the arts, business and non-profit sectors will act as mentors to young females with leadership potential from our community.