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McCarthy Tétrault CEO, Dave Leonard steps up to lead United Way Greater Toronto’s 2023 Community Campaign as Chair

Damon Williams, CEO, RBC Asset Management, joins Leonard as UWGT’s Major Individual Giving Cabinet Chair.

Tuesday, May 3, 2023 – After years of volunteer involvement with United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT), McCarthy Tetrault CEO Dave Leonard has stepped up to lead the 2023 Community Campaign as Chair. Joining him will be another long-time UWGT volunteer: Damon Williams, CEO, RBC Global Asset Management, who will act as Major Individual Giving Cabinet Chair. In these roles, Leonard and Williams will partner with UWGT CEO Daniele Zanotti, and hundreds of corporate, community and labour leaders to drive the largest fundraising campaign in the world, involving 950 workplaces, 2,200 volunteers and 85,000 donors – all united to end poverty.

In a post-pandemic period, the staggering effects of inflation and the increasing cost of living indicate 2023 will continue to see massive demand for social services, many of those for the first time. United Way Greater Toronto supports a crucial network of almost 300 community agencies to help people meet immediate needs and works to achieve long-term systems-change so that the current context doesn’t become the new normal. 

Two million people accessed United Way Greater Toronto services and programs last year, and that number is set to increase over 2023. Dave Leonard and Damon Williams know the challenge ahead of us; we must act now, deepening our efforts in neighbourhoods across the GTA with solutions that create better ways of living, working and thriving for all.

Daniele Zanotti, President & CEO, United Way Greater Toronto

I have seen first-hand the impact United Way’s work has on people’s lives and their families and it motivates me to support this phenomenal organization. United Way brings people and organizations together to fight poverty and improve social conditions on a scale no single organization or individual can accomplish alone. As the 2023 Community Campaign Chair, I know in my heart that if we work together, united, we will build a stronger, more equitable region.

Dave Leonard, Chief Executive Officer, McCarthy Tétrault and United Way 2023 Community Campaign Chair

As a region and as a community, we need to rally to support our neighbours for whom basic needs like food, affordable housing and mental health supports are out of reach. I am inspired by United Way Greater Toronto’s support for people both in the moment they need it, and in building the bridges – from communities to corporations, government and the social services sector – that help them sustainably emerge from poverty. UWGT is making meaningful change in Peel, Toronto and York, and we all can help.

Damon Williams, Chief Executive Officer, RBC Global Asset Management

United Way’s research has shown that social identity and where you live can be barriers to success and opportunity in the GTA, and that many systems in place reinforce those barriers. That’s why United Way Greater Toronto is addressing poverty and advancing equity by both responding to urgent needs and tackling systems-change.

Through equity-based funding, collaborative partnerships, cross-sector innovation, advocacy and research, United Way is driving solutions that lay the groundwork for community prosperity in every neighbourhood and create opportunities for everyone.

Because united, we can end poverty.

To meaningfully address poverty and advance equity across the region, give now to United Way Greater Toronto.


David Leonard, CEO, McCarthy Tétrault

About Dave Leonard, United Way 2023 Community Campaign Chair

Dave Leonard is the Chief Executive Officer of McCarthy Tétrault, one of Canada’s leading national law firms with more than 700 lawyers in Toronto, Montréal, Calgary, Vancouver, Quebec City, New York and London (UK). Leonard has over 20 years of experience as a litigator. He received his LLB from the University of Western Ontario in 1992 and was called to the Ontario bar in 1994. Dave practised in McCarthy Tétrault’s litigation group, representing a wide range of clients, and in 2012, he was appointed National Practice Group Leader for litigation before assuming the role of CEO in 2016.

Leonard has been recognized for his leadership and support of D&I initiatives and was named Senior Executive of the Year (Eastern Region) by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion in 2019. The firm also founded its Inclusion Now program under his leadership, which is dedicated to diversity, inclusion and corporate social responsibility. The first-of-its-kind in the Canadian legal profession, the program has achieved tremendous results and industry recognition, earning back-to-back Diversity Initiative of the Year honours at the Canadian Law Awards, including one for its Anti-Racism Strategy in 2021.

About Damon Williams United Way 2023 Major Individual Giving Cabinet Chair

Damon Williams is CEO of RBC Global Asset Management (RBC GAM), the asset management division of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and sits on the Boards of Directors for RBC GAM’s legal entities in Canada, the UK and the US. He is also a member of RBC’s Wealth Management & Insurance Operating Committee. RBC GAM invests over $500 billion for individuals and institutions, primarily from offices in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia.

Damon joined Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management (PH&N IM) in 2005 as an institutional portfolio manager specialized in fixed income. PH&I IM became part of RBC GAM after being acquired by RBC in 2008. Damon then served as head of the institutional business globally and as President of PH&N IM (the institutional asset management business in Canada), before becoming CEO of the global business in 2015. His previous experience includes leading the global and Canadian investment consulting practices at a large multinational insurance, risk management, and human capital consulting firm.

Damon is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA), a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder.

Damon is also a member of the Strategic Development Subcommittee of the United Way of Greater Toronto, and on the Board of Directors of CIFAR.

About United Way: As the largest non-government funder of community services in the GTA, United Way Greater Toronto reinforces a crucial community safety net to support people living in poverty. United Way’s network of agencies and initiatives in neighbourhoods across Peel, Toronto and York Region works to ensure that everyone has access to the programs and services they need to thrive. Mobilizing community support, United Way’s work is rooted in ground-breaking research, strategic leadership, local advocacy and cross-sectoral partnerships committed to building a more equitable region and lasting solutions to the GTA’s greatest challenges.     

Media contact: 

Lindsay Kwan
Manager, Communications, United Way Greater Toronto 
Tel. 416-732-9700 

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