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Metrolinx works to build an inclusive workplace by increasing the ratio of women in senior roles to over 40 per cent.Provided

When urban planner Danielle Bury joined Toronto-based Metrolinx in 2016 in an entry-level role, she never expected the career that awaited her. Throughout her seven years at the organization, she has held five increasingly challenging positions at the Ontario Crown agency and is currently director of the Hamilton LRT.

“I had a lot of reservations about my ability to advance in my career,” she recalls of her start at Metrolinx, which manages and integrates road and public transportation in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area. “Many of the positions I was interested in were traditionally filled by men and engineers, and I was neither.”

Bury says she would not have applied for them were it not for the encouragement of her leaders at Metrolinx. “They mentored me and believed in my potential. I always felt that they were interested and open to listening to my ideas.”

She has also witnessed the commitment that Metrolinx has made and continues to make to ensure there are opportunities for all employees to thrive across the organization. This includes the appointment in 2022 of its first chief inclusion officer, reporting directly to the CEO, and the growth of employee resource groups, which include the Metrolinx Women’s Network, Women in Rail, Pride 365, Black Employee Experience and Emerging Leaders.

“Metrolinx is building places of belonging for employees, customers and communities,” says president and CEO Phil Verster, “so employees are supported, customers feel safer and communities are included as trusted partners.”

He notes that when he joined Metrolinx about six years ago, approximately 20 per cent of senior leadership positions were occupied by women. He was committed to changing that.

“Improving our recruitment practices was a priority,” Verster says. “We recognize the importance of representation in the hiring process, which is why we arrange interviews with at least one woman on the hiring panel. This, coupled with other focused initiatives, has doubled the percentage of women in senior roles at Metrolinx to over 40 per cent.

“Our three-year equity, diversity and inclusion strategy and evidence-based approach demonstrate our commitment to building an inclusive and equitable organization,” he continues. “Although there is always much to learn and improve on, our employees think that we are on the right track, with over 80 per cent feeling a strong sense of belonging as reported in our recent enterprise-wide engagement survey.”

Bury, meanwhile, also cites Metrolinx’s commitment to promoting work-life harmony. When she returned to work after the birth of her first child, she found the transition challenging. Bury says her senior leadership was incredibly supportive. “I was part of a weekly ‘Mommy and Me’ group and my leader encouraged me to adjust my schedule so that I was able to take care of my daughter on Thursday mornings for the first few months of my return.”

Another plus for Bury is the purpose and connection she feels to her work. “I have the opportunity to help transform the community my family and I live in for generations to come, and to do something that really matters.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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