In the 2023 edition of our annual report, Exploring the Headwaters: Gaining Insight to Advance Women GCs on Boards, we continue on our mission to illuminate the path for women general counsel aspiring to board leadership.
Executive roles are a key channel for board recruitment. In this edition, we turn the focus on women general counsel (GCs) as executives in the board recruitment pipeline to better understand their specific goals and challenges. Our survey, conducted in partnership with Women General Counsel Canada (WGCC), establishes a baseline of women GCs’ board aspirations.
Almost two-thirds of our survey respondents had strong, long-term boardroom ambitions, though they noted many challenges to navigate en route. We also heard loud and clear that women GCs considering a board opportunity have a breadth of leadership skills and experience, but seek training and the right networks to access one.
While much progress has been made, the journey toward greater board diversity is ongoing. In addition to our GC survey results, the report includes advice and insights from a roundtable of exceptional women who have both general counsel and board experience. They shared their lived experiences, providing rich inspiration, context and guidance for other women GCs.
About the Blakes Board Report
Seven years ago, Blakes took the ambitious and unprecedented step of benchmarking the Canadian public company landscape for women GCs. We were inspired by our conviction that women GCs bring key operational and strategic experience to boards that translates into a persuasive value proposition, and that diversity enriches conversations and decision-making at the board table. We are witnessing a groundswell of belief, excitement and commitment among women GCs who recognize their capacity to add unique value to the boardroom.
Blakes has long been committed to championing and promoting women leaders — within the Firm, in business and in the legal profession. We founded Women@Blakes in 2007 to focus on the recruitment, professional development and retention of women and to create business development and leadership opportunities for women lawyers and clients. Since then, our women's programming has grown exponentially, reaching more professionals than ever before, building invested communities and making an impact across the country.