Denise Donlon on Ethical Leadership

March 26, 2018

Denise Donlon delivered a powerful and passionate speech at the JUNOs this year when she accepted the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award.  Donlon is only the 2nd woman to ever be recognized at this level.  She used her platform to encourage leadership for diversity, respect and inclusion in the music business and in all businesses.  Here’s a sample excerpt:

“If I told you smart business people in the audience that there was a magic bullet that would be a game-changer for business; that would accelerate innovation, that increased your bottom line, and to enhance your brand…you’d want that right? Right? But it’s not new software, it’s a hiring practice. 

We are world leaders when it comes to artistic talent – let’s be leaders in gender equality, respect, and inclusivity.  It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s good business – and there is a mountain of evidence to support that.  A recent McKinsey report says that gender balance could bring an extra hundred and fifty billion dollars to Canada’s economy in a few short years.

And by the way, the idea that there are no qualified women candidates is just wrong. There are hundreds of extraordinary women – smart creative focused warrior women.  Look around you there they are – they are game changers.

And while you’re looking here’s an idea for all the men who believe in women – because we did some work today I want you guys to do some work.  To all the men who pledged to champion women stand up.  To all the men who promise to support women and mentor women and hire women stand up.  There they are ladies – you look at them because they are your allies in the march towards gender parity. 

I look forward to working with you together. Let us all wholeheartedly embrace diversity, respect, and inclusion – in our hearts, in our deeds, and not only will Canadians continue to win…we will truly thrive.

See her full acceptance speech here


Denise Donlon was one our featured speakers at Engage 2017 last fall.  She spoke on Ethical Leadership – view highlights from her talk here:

Consider Denise Donlon as a speaker on ethical leadership, gender parity, or business trends for your next event.