CVCA’s Diversity and Inclusion Journey
Monday is International Women’s Day (IWD), a time when we celebrate the women in our lives and remember the work we have put in and that is still required on our drive towards a common goal — equality in our workplaces, communities, and society. As the CVCA kicks off our webinar series celebrating IWD, the CVCA is reaffirming our commitment to improving diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the Canadian private capital industry.
We recognize our influence and our responsibility to support the leadership of our members in making progress on D&I. Since 2017, under the stewardship of our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the CVCA has been pursuing a program-level approach to improve D&I in the venture capital and private equity community to foster a greater diversity of thought.
When it comes to D&I, like any other aspect of business, metrics allow us to understand where we are, ensure that we set meaningful goals, and holds us accountable. We continue to reflect on our own efforts, confront our own biases, be honest with ourselves and articulate what we need to be doing better.
In 2019, the CVCA released the Canadian Private Equity and Venture Capital – State of Diversity & Inclusion 2019 report which provided a snapshot of the current state of diversity and inclusion within the Canadian PE and VC sectors. The report established baseline data based on CVCA membership responses to measure our sector’s progress over time.
This year, the CVCA will again work with our members on an update to this report. Beginning in Q3, the CVCA will distribute a D&I survey to our membership with the publication of results to follow before the end of Q42021. Establishing this updated demographic profile will allow us to acknowledge the progress that has been made and will serve as an important step towards understanding the gaps that exist and the work that still needs to be done.
We are also pleased to announce our intention to pilot a new co-op/internship program under our D&I committee. The pilot program, expected to launch in summer 2021, will pair 10 nominated university students who identify as a woman* and/or Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPoC) into 10 Canadian VC and PE firms for the Fall 2021 term. The program’s objective is to expand the pipeline for women and BIPoC in junior roles at VC and PE firms. The CVCA will also provide onboarding best practices, facilitate training and continuing education, as well as networking opportunities for the cohort.
Finally, effective today, the CVCA will embrace the full gender spectrum by encouraging CVCA employees to use gender pronouns in their email signatures. It is our collective responsibility to respect each other — including respecting someone’s identity and their preferred pronouns. Using pronouns is a key element of being inclusive, being an LGBTQ+ ally, and is something that is effortless to do but means the world to others and is an important step in our D&I journey towards normalizing conversations about gender and inclusion in our industry.
The CVCA encourages all members to review their practices and policies to ensure the respect and career success of their employees, communities, and partners. As we continue to focus on solutions to diversity challenges, we have the ability to serve as remarkable engines of change in our industry and to better reflect Canadian society.