Leith Wheeler Supporting Women in Finance

Leith Wheeler Supporting Women in Finance

The past year was one in which the importance of diversity and women in leadership came to the fore. As we look back at 2018, we reflect on some of the ways our colleagues at Leith Wheeler have given back to the industry and made the female voice stronger.

Leanne Scott, a Portfolio Manager with the firm started the year off by hosting a very engaging Mentor Lunch with a dozen highly ambitious, up-and-coming investment professionals. Leanne shared her extensive experience in the industry, her personal story, and plenty of practical advice. Leanne is a firm believer in cultivating, engaging, and mentoring the next generation of women investment professionals and as a firm, we are happy to support her. 

In April, Portfolio Manager Michael Schaab engaged Leith Wheeler to support client Brescia University College, Canada's only women's university, by sponsoring their BresciaLEAD Awards Gala. The event honours inspiring women as well as organizations that are leading the way in their field. Some of the incredible women honoured this year included Lifetime Award Recipient, Maude Barlow, Emerging Award Recipient, Abirami Kirubarajan, Activist Award Recipient, Cheryl Perera, and Distinction Award Recipient, Catalyst. This event resonates deeply with the firm, so much so that Michael worked with high schools in the London and greater Toronto area to bring female high school students to the event to be inspired and encouraged by the women that have walked before them. 


Michael Schaab and Kirsten Nelms, centre, host students at BresciaLEAD Awards Gala.

In October, Women in Capital Markets (WCM), Association of Women in Finance, and Chartered Financial Analysts Society Vancouver collaborated to produce a luncheon asking, “What is Driving Change in Board Diversity?” This group brought together a distinguished group of panelists for an open, honest and thought-provoking discussion on how Canada’s corporate boards contemplate diversity. The key takeaways from this session were that board diversity is a competitive advantage; the long-term trend of increasing diversity on boards unfortunately stalled last year; and best practices for boards include application of a skills matrix, setting term limits where appropriate, and leveraging third party board reviews. Leith Wheeler sponsored the event while our own Portfolio Manager Catherine Heath (co-chair of the Vancouver chapter of WCM) worked hard with the organizing committee to stage the event and Mike Wallberg, our VP Marketing, served as master of ceremonies. 


(L to R) Mike Wallberg with Board Diversity moderator Melanie Bradley (BLG attorney), and panelists L. Scott Thompson (Finning CEO), Rachel Colabella (WATSON Governance Consultant), and Maureen Howe (Corporate Director).

Finally, Investment Associate Kirsten Nelms co-chaired the WCM SheBiz Vancouver 2018 event in November, a free day-long event at SFU for girls in grades 9 – 11 that offered unique access to leaders in STEM and exposure to the diverse and exciting career opportunities available to women in these fields. This year’s event attracted 345 students from schools across the Lower Mainland. Kirsten worked with a team of dedicated volunteers throughout the year to create an engaging and educational experience that empowers young women to pursue studies and careers in Technology, Engineering, Finance and Accounting. 


WCM SheBiz Vancouver 2018.

As a firm we are very happy to see our team members giving back to the community and we look forward to seeing the exciting and worthwhile projects they take on next year!