February 2015 | Issue 17

Mary Lou Maher: A champion for ‘being yourself’ at KPMG

A48XAiGCMAAEC-LAt 41, Mary Lou Maher was poised to take a giant step on her steady ascent through the accounting profession. Having earned her stripes in the audit practice of KPMG in Canada, she was ready to stride out on the national stage as the firm’s chief human resources officer.

But she needed one more conversation with the firm’s leadership before making the move. She had to come out as a gay woman.

[Maher’s] goal is to foster an environment where all employees – of whatever gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or colour – are comfortable being who they are.

If she were to become chief HR officer of a national professional services firm, and if she were not open about her sexuality, “I thought I wouldn’t be genuine. It all comes back to: I wanted to bring my whole self to work.”

That thought – and the hugely reassuring conversation she had with her boss — still resonates strongly, 13 years later, as Maher grapples with that same challenge: How employees can be themselves. Now it is not about her, but about all of KPMG in Canada’s 6,000-strong workforce.

As the firm’s chief diversity officer, her goal is to foster an environment where all employees – of whatever gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or colour – are comfortable being who they are. more…

Dean’s Column – February 2015

Leonard Waverman | Dean, DeGroote School of Business


The year is off to an exciting start at the DeGroote School of Business. Last week we announced the first Executive MBA in Digital Transformation, in partnership with theScore, CIBC, and IBM. The program will consist of 4 2-week residencies spanning 15 months and is aimed at conquering the divide between data and strategy.

While the official launch is a few months away, this is an exciting first step in the realization of our new strategic plan. Digital transformation is one of two new areas of focus for the school, with health management, that build on our already excellent core business programs. The highlights of the strategic plan are now available online.

In this edition of Knowledge Magazine, you will find a profile of Mary Lou Maher, chief diversity officer at KPMG Canada. Later this month Mary Lou will be participating on a Diversity and Leadership panel with Sherry Cooper, Bill Greenhalgh, CEO, Human Resources Professionals Association, and Clare Beckton, Founding Executive Director, Carleton University Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership.

Finally, you will notice over the next weeks that what was formally the “Dean’s Blog” on the website will become the “Deans’ Blog”. We will be featuring more voices there from DeGroote’s leadership team to better capture the DeGroote Experience.

Len Waverman


Who has more job satisfaction, immigrants or Canadian-born employees?

James Chowhan | PhD Student, Human Resources Management

immigrant-workersCanada’s population is aging and fewer young workers are available to replace retiring workers. Many look to immigration as the main driver for labour force growth. Immigrant workers are already a large minority of the labour force in Canada — they account for one in five employees — and this percentage is expected to increase.

Immigrant workers account for one in eight in the United States, one in ten in the United Kingdom, and one in ten in Ireland. The magnitude of these ratios highlights the relative importance of immigrant workers within the Canadian workforce. Because immigrants are the main driver of labour force growth in Canada, we ask the following question:

Are immigrants satisfied with their jobs?

Whether hiring immigrants or Canadian-born employees, there are recruitment, orientation and training costs involved, and when a valuable employee leaves, future anticipated benefits are lost. In this study, immigrant employees’ job satisfaction is compared to their Canadian-born counterparts, and further the effect of high performance work systems (HPWS) are explored to understand the role HPWSs may play in immigrants’ job satisfaction compared to Canadian-born employees. more…

In Practice

Top 3 Tips: Protecting your online identity

Ken Owen | PhD Student, Information Security

keyboard-279664_640It’s really tough being a private person in today’s digital economy. Identity thieves have tons of tactics.

The key to modern cyber privacy is vigilance and awareness. No one is 100% safe but you can lower your risk by monitoring and confusing the cyber-environment around you. Here are some tips to help protect yourself.

1. Be tech smart!

Use strong passwords with lots of mixed letters numbers and symbols. Avoid common strings like “12345” or the use of dictionary words (regardless of language). Don’t include information in your passwords that can be associated with you like your dogs name. Separate e-mails for social, work, shopping, etc. By doing this you spread the risk of exposing too much personal information if an account is compromised. Scrutinize vendors when buying online. Do they have a real location? more…

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Learn | Discover | Connect

Getting Out

MBA Alumni/Student Networking Reception

Toronto, Ontario

networking-tallPlease join us for an evening of networking with fellow alumni and students, sharing professional experiences and connecting with friends.

The evening will include an alumni / student Q&A exchange to share insights on experiential learning and career advice. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served, with two drink tickets.

There is no charge to attend this event; however your registration is kindly requested. event details…

Burlington Diversity & Leadership Panel

Burlington, Ontario

The DeGroote School of Business and the Burlington Economic Development Corporation are pleased to invite you to a special Knowledge @ DeGroote lunch seminar on Diversity & Leadership featuring a panel discussion with thoughts from industry experts, Dr. Sherry Cooper, Mary Lou Maher, Bill Greenhalgh, and Clare Beckton.

Join us as this dynamic power panel challenges the current practices in place and tackles issues surrounding Canadian policies on board diversity, talent retention and acquisition, human capital, and roles for HR and leadership in 2015.Diversity and Talent panel

This event is part of the Knowledge @ DeGroote seminar series. event details…


On January 23rd, Dr. Sherry Cooper delivered her 2015 Economic Forecast at the National Club in Toronto. Full size video.



MBA Alumni/ Student Networking Reception

Feb. 5, 2015 | 6 – 9 p.m. An evening of networking with fellow alumni and students, sharing professional experiences and connecting with friends. | The National Club, Main Dining room, Toronto


Women’s Breakfast Series Seminar

Feb. 24, 2015 | 7:30 – 9 a.m. A Knowledge @ DeGroote event with Carolynne Fletcher Wintrip, Learning & Team Effectiveness Specialist, Luminus Learning | Ron Joyce Centre, Great Hall, 4350 South Service Road, Burlington


Burlington Diversity and Leadership Panel

Feb. 27, 2015 | 11:30 – 1:30 p.m. A Knowledge @ DeGroote event with Dr. Sherry Cooper, Mary Lou Maher, Clare Beckton, Bill Greenhalgh | Ron Joyce Centre, Great Hall, 4350 South Service Road, Burlington


Contact Us

Have an interesting story to share? Want to get more involved with DeGroote? Email Leah Rosenthal and get in touch today.
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