Award-Winning Leader | Intersectional Gender Diversity Advocate |
Creating Safe Spaces | Championing Human Rights |
Driving Psychological Safety
I am Cynthia Fortlage, an award-winning leader with over 25 years of experience in senior leadership positions across IT and marketing. I have a unique perspective on tackling the complexities of gender diversity, which I believe lies at the intersection of human rights, sexuality, gender, and privilege.
I currently serve on the board of Outright International, a global LGBTIQ human rights organisation and UN Secretariat for LGBTIQ issues. Through my board roles, I have passionately advocated for the rights and well-being of individuals from diverse gender identities and expressions.
My mission is to create safe spaces where everyone feels they belong. I firmly believe everyone deserves to be treated with unwavering dignity and respect, irrespective of gender identity or expression.
As a certified mentor and a seasoned expert in diversity and inclusion, I possess an in-depth understanding of the challenges organisations face. I have collaborated with over 400 organisations of all sizes in over 30 countries, assisting them in cultivating inclusive and welcoming workplaces.
With a unique lens of two genders of experience, I offer insights and guidance to navigate gender diversity challenges effectively.
Driven by a desire for a just and equitable world, I believe gender equality is paramount. Together, let's shatter barriers and foster environments where all individuals thrive.
Renowned for my ability to captivate audiences on every level, I have been hailed as "an amazing lecturer and teacher for those in hearing distance." Whether delivering inspiring speeches online or in person, I use the power of storytelling to share knowledge, vulnerability, and passion.
Our values are:
Acceptance: We believe in accepting others for who they are, regardless of their background or beliefs.
Authentic: We believe everyone should live life passionately and authentically. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, even if that means going against what is considered usual.
Care: We treat everyone with compassion and care, as we don’t know their story.
Courageous: We want everyone to feel courageous and independent and feel safe to stand up for their beliefs.
Board Experience: Driving Transformational Change
National Board Chair: Women's March Canada
Board President: Rainbow Resource Centre
Board Member: Outright International
2020 Yahoo! Finance & Involve Leading 100 LGBT+ Executives
2019 Finalist: CIO of the Year by Women in IT Awards
2016, 2017, 2018 Financial Posts & Involve Leading 100 LGBT+ Executives
2016: Named One of the 20 Most Influential CIOs by CXO Talk
Ready to create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace? Connect with me on LinkedIn or email me to assist you with reshaping perspectives, breaking down barriers, and unlocking the true power of diversity and inclusion.
According to some folks, I was living the perfect life. It was a good life, but I was not feeling fulfilled or using the words I use in my first book; I did not feel myself authentically. I was an actor playing a role that others told me who I was and how I was to act, think, and be. As a method actor, I watched others and copied behaviours to fill in the missing pieces when I didn't have guidance. Many would say I was successful as I accomplished much and achieved the things that define success in a patriarchal capitalist society.
Life is full of transitions, and mine was no different.
I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and due to "the troubles" in the early 1970s, my family immigrated to Canada, where I grew up. That was my first transition, changing my home country at six years old. I grew up in a middle-class neighbourhood and graduated high school at 17. I initially had no post-secondary education but returned after securing a role where I would benefit from the education. I began work right after high school. I was promoted into consecutively elevated positions, successfully changing industries during that career. I met this girl, and eventually, we got married. As we prepared for children, I changed religions from Irish Protestant to Roman Catholic. My second major transition in life was changing my religion. Although both Christian-based, it wasn't conceptually very different; only the sacraments and services differed. We had a son and then a daughter, both June babies, although they are four years apart. I acquired post-secondary education throughout this phase of my life and grew from that naive junior role I started with into an executive position. That role blossomed into opportunities to participate in advisory group roles and not-for-profit boards, including creating groups to bring folks together around common points of view. This was a role model life of a successful man by many accounts, but I wasn't a man! I am a woman with a trans history.
I am one leader with two genders of experience
in corporates, on boards, and in lived experience.
At the heart of our organisation are our values, which reflect our commitment to inclusivity. We believe in creating a safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of background or identity. Our values are accompanied by related words and beliefs that further reinforce our commitment to inclusivity. By embracing these values, we strive to build a culture that celebrates diversity and promotes equality.
1 / Authentic
- Respecting other's time - Without EGO
- We are accepting. - No Judgement
- Independent. - Open to new ideas
- Loyal - Relationship Based
- Being Courageous - Act with Integrity
- Trustworthy - We believe in Diversity
- Doing the Deep Work - We are Unique
- Act Transparently
2 / Optimistic
- Take Big Leaps - Be an Agent of Change
- Be Joyful - Willing to Help
- Be Fair - Be Encouraging
- Move Forward in Life - Believe in Reciprocity
3 / Current
- Find Insight - Lead
- Inspires - Be Contemplative
- Have Knowledge - Share Wisdom
- Be Spiritual - Innovate
- Be Creative
4 / Caring
- Be Kind - Show Gentleness
- Give Gratitude - Be Loving
- Show Respect - Be Courteous
- Smile - Be Generous
- Be Social - Fun Loving
- Appreciative - Be forgiving
- Create Contentment - Be at Peace