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Ovivo Celebrates International Women’s Day

Our People

In honor of International Women’s Day, we explore the career of Gwen Klees SVP, Business Support, and ESG at Ovivo, shedding light on her commitment to diversity, sustainability, and authentic leadership.

Gwen shares her unique approach to navigating the corporate world which started over 35 years ago, “In the beginning, I was the only woman at the table, and also the only person bringing a risk management, legal and governance perspective, which was new at the time”. Her desire to focus on diverse representation, and in particular women in the business, has contributed to increased diversity within Ovivo, with a focus on the company’s best interests in finding the right talent. She built her career by aligning with her values and maintaining the courage to be the first to speak out when needed.

After starting in a position managing global legal affairs, she developed risk management strategies, managed information technology, improved project management processes, and supported the business in many ways, including numerous acquisitions and strategic plans. She has always focused on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) before it became the right thing for companies to do. She more recently played a pivotal role in integrating ESG into strategic goals, emphasizing her commitment to sustainability and the company’s broader impact beyond its carbon footprint.

She encourages embracing diverse experiences, collaborating with different teams, and recognizing the value it brings. Her philosophy of continuous learning and adaptability has become a cornerstone of her success. Reflecting on this, she shared, “I’ve learned in my career to seize opportunities, immerse myself in learning, and tackle challenges head-on. Taking bold leaps into unfamiliar territories became a habit of mine, realizing its positive impact on the company’s success, and overtime on personal growth.”

The Future of Women in the Workplace

Gwen highlights Ovivo’s commitment to women in leadership, discussing the company’s focus on finding qualified women and the need for an open-minded approach to evaluating candidates. “You can see that there’s an understanding globally that diversity brings value.” She also emphasizes how the market and industries need to grow and accept diversity and our role in pushing these barriers. She believes that influencing the cultural mindset is crucial to advancing women in a male-dominated industry.

Reflecting on her journey, Gwen sees increased opportunities for women now and in the future, emphasizing changing workforce dynamics driven by women’s unique ability to balance various aspects of life, ultimately reshaping business culture.

Her advice to women is simple yet profound: “Be yourself.” She encourages women to stay true to their principles, speak up, and be open to others, highlighting authenticity as the key to making a lasting impact and finding the right place within the workforce.

Gwen’s story at Ovivo reflects a successful career and a commitment to values, diversity, and setting the stage for future generations of women in leadership, which was supported over time by Ovivo’s business culture and openness to diversity. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Gwen is an inspiring figure within Ovivo and the broader corporate landscape.

Posted on March 8, 2024