The best and brightest queer business leaders and senior executives were honoured Sept 6 at Out on Bay Street’s Leaders to Be Proud Of Awards Series.
Doug Elliott, a Toronto lawyer and partner at Roy Elliott O’Connor, was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award. Elliott has most recently been an active supporter of gay-straight alliances in Ontario schools.
During a panel discussion following the awards, Elliott said he wished he’d had gay role models growing up. “There was no one like me,” he said. “I had to split my role models between great lawyers and great activists.”
The annual gala celebration commemorates visible role models and mentors of the Canadian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally professional community.
Michael Mirpuri, president and board director of Out on Bay Street, says the awards are meant to inspire youth.
“Being a youth is difficult enough. Adding the LGBT element makes it all the more difficult,” Mirpuri says. “This is about promoting what’s out there and ensuring that future leaders have that path.”
Out on Bay Street is a national non-profit that provides opportunities and resources for queer students and young professionals in business, law and technology. The group started the awards in 2011 with the support of Deloitte, an accounting firm.
More than 150 attendees cheered emcee Bruce Sellery, host of reality show Million Dollar Neighbourhood and author of Moolala. Sellery was part of the corporate world before he moved to the world of broadcast. “People underappreciate how some risked a heck of a lot to change the way corporations think about these issues,” he said. “Tonight’s a celebration of how far we have come.”
An independent executive selection committee chose candidates after they were nominated by peers.
Professional Leadership Award
Esther Dryburgh, partner, western Canada, IBM
Tim Moseley, senior vice-president and chief compliance officer, CIBC
Carol Osler, senior vice-president, Enterprise Project Management & Global Physical Security, TD
LGBT Workplace Advocate Award
Brent Chamberlain, executive director, Pride at Work Canada
Leading Executive Ally Award
Kate Broer, Partner, Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP