30 Under 30: Ella Laure Hipolito is chasing equity in recruiting

The Boyden Executive Search senior associate helped create a national EDI committee.

Elle Laure Hippolito

Ella Laure Hipolito, 29

Senior associate + EDI committee member, Boyden Executive Search

Life Story: Ella Laure Hipolito was all set to pursue a career in medicine, much to the approval of her father and mother, who had dreamed of becoming a doctor and a nurse after immigrating to Vancouver from the Philippines via France. Then, as a pre-med student at UBC, Hipolito joined a volunteer trip to the operating room. Everyone else was thrilled to be there, she recalls. “And I was looking at the clock to figure out what time dinner would be.”

But Hipolito loved her part-time job in student recruitment and admissions at the university, where she worked in the same role for UBC Sauder School of Business after completing a BA in 2015. Recruited for an administrative position by an executive search firm, she saw nepotism and other problems. “It became clear to me that executive search follows a system that upholds some barriers because of the way it was created.”

Hipolito moved to the Vancouver office of global firm Boyden Executive Search in 2019. While interviewing for the role, she explained that her motivation was to help put more women and people of colour in leadership roles, by making executive search more equitable and inclusive and ensuring that there are diverse candidate pools. 

With the team, Hipolito started a Vancouver anti-racism and equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) working group that revisited the search process from start to finish. She also led the creation of a national EDI committee that shares its best practices with Boyden offices across the country. “All of our practices get shared internationally as well, because we’re also part of a world corporation,” says Hipolito, the first Boyden associate to sit on a committee or practice group.

Bottom Line: Hipolito has worked on more than 50 searches over the past three years to help place leaders in education, the public sector, nonprofits, health authorities and roles related to EDI. Equity-deserving candidates account for 72 percent of her placements, versus a national average of 29 percent for the industry. Partly thanks to those contributions, 51 percent of people that Boyden’s Vancouver office placed in the last year were from equity-deserving groups, including 38 percent women and 20 percent BIPOC candidates.

During the next three years, Hipolito plans to help B.C. universities and colleges make their dean groups and senior executive teams as diverse as the communities those institutions serve. “It’s a pretty low bar, so [I’m] trying to increase that bar at a number of levels.”