Canadian Lawyer InHouse

October/November 2021

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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Page 11 of 35

10 GC PROFILE SUNITA MAHANT, the legal team leader at the Toronto office of global real estate company, Ivanhoé Cambridge, welcomed the opportunity to add to her remit last year by taking on the additional duties of head of global initiatives for diversity, equity and inclusion. In this new role — created by Ivanhoé Cambridge as part of its strategic objective to be an inclusive investor — Mahant leads a multi-disciplinary project team. The team includes cross-functional employees from different sectors with different experiences and expertise. As part of the newly created corporate strategy, it has produced several areas of transformation, one of which is becoming an inclusive investor. "This was about creating that space where we could add perspectives, create an inclusive culture and environment, and have an opportu- nity to amplify the voices of many different business groups and communities," says Mahant, who acts as a catalyst for the development and execution of the corporate strategy. As the daughter of immigrants, Mahant sees the role as an opportunity to give back to new generations and help create opportunities for many more within the industry. In taking on this significant new role, Mahant also transitioned some of her responsibilities for the legal department to other team members, allowing them to expand their duties and experience. The goal of the diversity, equity and inclusion team for 2021 is to review existing policies and practices and meet with stake- holders and partners to develop a strategy that the company will execute over the next three years. The team led the company in cele- brating events including Black History Month, International Women's Day, National Indige- nous Peoples Day and Pride. Mahant is also leading the team on an unconscious bias training strategy across the organization. "A key part of that learning is to become self-aware and figure out how we can interrupt the bias, and make a difference to the way we work and the way policies are structured," says Mahant. She says it provides the opportunity to learn a different skill set, create strategies and processes, and transform culture. Having started in private practice, where she first developed a taste for real estate law, Mahant quickly moved to an in-house role at Smart Centres in 2007. One year later, she landed at Ivanhoé Cambridge, where she has been honing her real estate skills. Starting as legal counsel, Mahant learnt all the facets of commercial real estate and gradually worked her way up the ranks to her current multi-faceted role. As senior director, legal, and head of global The power of human capital Sunita Mahant leads a multi-disciplinary team in building a global culture of diversity, equity and inclusion at Ivanhoé Cambridge "A key part of that learning is to become self- aware and figure out how we can interrupt the bias, and make a difference to the way we work and the way policies are structured."

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