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2021 Catalyst Award Winners

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Barilla and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Are Honored for Their Commitment to Innovative Solutions to Create Inclusive Workplaces That Work for Women


NEW YORK, Jan. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Barilla and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) will receive the premiere 2021 Catalyst Award on March 17-18, 2021, for initiatives that have accelerated progress for women and elevated inclusion within their organizations.

The theme for the Catalyst Awards virtual event is "Progress Won't Pause–Equity Can't Wait." It signals the continued and steadfast efforts of organizations committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion at this heralded global convening of corporate leaders.

More than 5,000 attendees are expected at the virtual event, including the Catalyst Board of Directors and Catalyst CEO Champions For Change. Executives from top global corporations, professional firms, governments, NGOs, and educational institutions will convene at the 2021 Catalyst Awards, chaired by Julie Sweet, CEO, Accenture.

The organizational initiatives receiving this year's Catalyst Awards are:

Barilla: An Italian Family-Owned Company's Journey to Global Inclusion–Barilla is being honored for its turnaround to become a model of inclusion for their LGBTQ+ employees and all underrepresented groups working for the family-owned company.

From 2013 to 2020, women's representation increased in Barilla's direct reports to the CEO from 8% to 28%. From 2014 to 2020, women's representation also increased in the direct reports to the Global Leadership Team from 23% to 36%; direct reports to senior leaders from 40% to 47%; and all women in leadership positions globally increased from 33% to 38%.

Barilla achieved gender pay equality in 2020 globally for all employees. It was also one of the first companies in Italy to achieve many inclusion milestones, such as formalizing flexible working around the world and becoming the first Italian company to support the United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business Against LGBTQ+ Discrimination in the Workplace.

RBC: Speak Up for Inclusion–RBC's global culture change initiative, Speak Up For Inclusion, began with a refresh of the bank's five-year Diversity & Inclusion Blueprint, which outlines RBC's overall strategic diversity and inclusion priorities, driven by RBC's Diversity and Inclusion Center of Expertise (D&I CoE) and supported by senior leaders on the bank's Diversity Leadership Council, chaired by RBC's President and Chief Executive Officer, Dave McKay.

Women's representation on RBC's board of directors increased from 31% in 2015 to 38% in 2019—and as of the end of RBC's fiscal year 2020, it was at 47%. From 2015 to 2019, the representation of women executives in Canada rose from 38% to 46%. And its leadership development programs such as Women in Leadership and Ignite help advance the careers of high-potential women and people of colour.

RBC's 41 Employee Resources Groups (ERGs)—with over 27,000 members globally—advise RBC's D&I strategy and play a major role in grassroots workplace inclusion efforts. The Speak Up for Inclusion video series encourages everyone in the business community to call out discrimination and give space to the voices and experiences of people from underrepresented groups in the workplace.

"We applaud Barilla and RBC for these initiatives that have proactively cultivated inclusive cultures for women and everyone within their organizations," said Lorraine Hariton, President and CEO, Catalyst. "Their singular commitment to increasing the representation of women in their leadership ranks—and holding themselves accountable to develop and empower talent in the face of challenges—demonstrates that progress won't pause."

The 2021 Catalyst Awards, Catalyst's signature fundraiser, will feature programming throughout the month of March, including keynote presentations, various sessions and activities, extensive networking, a partner and exhibitor lounge, and a diverse resource library.

The virtual event will feature working sessions and a "Progress Won't Pause Hall" highlighting Catalyst's focus areas:

Target Corporation is the virtual event's presenting sponsor.

Learn more about registration for the 2021 Catalyst Awards virtual event. For specific questions, please contact

Join the 2021 Catalyst Awards conversation by following Catalyst on,, and, using the hashtags #ProgressWontPause and #CatalystAwards2021.

About CatalystCatalyst is a global nonprofit working with some of the world's most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women. Founded in 1962, Catalyst drives change with pioneering research, practical tools, and proven solutions to accelerate and advance women into leadership—because progress for women is progress for everyone.

Media Contacts:Naomi R. PattonVice President, Global

Stephanie WolfUS Communications

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