Kristi Michem, Chief Executive Officer of BMO Global Asset Management, who recently shared her seat with a Girls Belong Here ambassador, and Lesley Marks, Chief Investment Strategist of BMO Private Wealth Canada, and recent participant in the Day of the Girl roundtable discussion, have made headlines talking about BMO’s commitment to advancing women’s empowerment, and the business case for ensuring diverse representation in the leadership of all organizations.
Kristi Michem in Investment Executive
Kristi discussed raising the profile of women in the investment sector. She anticipates that, over the next few years, clients will seek investments that both align with their values and generate returns. “You can take something you believe in, such as diversity, and make it work in the context of your portfolio. And I think that’s where we’re going. The message that I’m consistently putting out there is that you don’t have to sacrifice investing in what you believe in [in order to get good returns],” says Kristi in the article.
It’s more than just a professional passion for Kristi, though; it’s a personal one as well. “I have three girls at home,” she says. “So, when I think about one of the things that I want to achieve with my career, it’s not just making a place for all women, but making a place for them where they can be equally successful [as men can be]. That’s something that drives a lot of what I do.”
Lesley Marks on Morningstar
In her interview, Lesley spoke about the business impact of equal opportunities in the workplace. A study by Moody’s Investors Service found that companies with a higher percentage of female directors also have higher credit quality.
“I think overall, all diversity is very important to corporate success. But as it pertains to gender diversity, we’ve seen a plethora of studies around how corporations have done that have more diverse boards, as well as more diversity in their executive ranks as well. In general, what we’ve seen is companies with more diversity perform better on what is probably one of the most efficient metrics, which is, profitability. Certainly, BMO recognizes this as an important attribute for its own corporate success and has made a concerted effort to focus on diversity across the organization,” says Leslie.