Star’s Corner: Diversity Now – We Need More Women in the C-Suite
“Don’t limit your challenges; challenge your limits.” –Anonymous
We educated ourselves. We proved our leadership and value to the business world. We shattered the proverbial glass ceiling. But, the glass pieces are reforming; changing into, what I like to call, a glass dome – high enough for us to rise through the professional ranks, but still clear enough for us to see where there are not enough of us – in the C-Suite.
It’s a proven fact that when professional women executives run a company, they lead that business to increased revenue. For example, in 2012, when hedge funds were losing money, a study of hedge funds run by women found that they outperformed funds run by men. And, much has been written about women’s corporate leadership style involving more listening and cooperation, leading to women-run companies outperforming those run by men. Now CNN says that there has been no significant difference in the number of women executive positions for the past four years in a row, and I am outraged. So, I will take this outrage and channel it into the positive energy necessary to affect change!
I ask that you all join me as we stand together, support our sisters and bring attention to the following…
Stop the Stereotypes
If the right person for the job is a woman, then hire her! That’s what diversity is all about. When it comes to gender bias, it can be said that it’s not so much an outright hostility that holds women back, it’s simply a preference for men. And, when it comes to Wall Street, it goes one step further as a preference for White men. It’s time to bring awareness to diverse America through education, open dialog and expanding our minds to realize that the right person for the job is not always a man.
From the Top Down
Women are doing all the necessary things to move up the corporate ladder – communicating this to their supervisors; networking with proper workplace leaders; working just has hard, if not harder, than men; and negotiating for raises and promotions. Yet, these strategies for advancement only seem to be working for men. Why? Most corporations only acknowledge and reward men for their on-the-job achievements and successes, while overlooking women. This mentality must change; and it starts at the top. As President of Professional Diversity Network and NAPW, my new platform allows me to speak about these issues and bring awareness to this antiquated mentality in order to bring positive change for women’s business leadership.
It has been said that great leaders lead by example, and learning from those who are great leaders is imperative to a successful career. Women seeking to enter an organization’s executive level should look for an advocate within their firm. Doing so provides the path to attain the right positions and responsibilities necessary to enter the C-Suite. Role models are just as important because these women’s experiences can provide insight into what it takes to succeed in a particular organization along with the skills needed to overcome obstacles on your path to high achievement.
A recent article in Business Insider claims that although some large corporations have programs offering generous maternity leave and flexible schedule arrangements for working mothers, women who take advantage of these programs are sometimes seen as lacking ambition or commitment to their work. Now think about how truly insulting that is to women everywhere, whether you are a mother or not. News flash! Women are more than capable of running a successful corporation AND being a mother AND we do!
Help for Working Moms
As you know, I lead a dedicated team committed to working hard for all NAPW members. I am so pleased that my development team has added a great new service to our Diamond Discounts program called Care.com. They’re your babysitter connection! And, Care.com is offering their Premium Membership at 25% off. Along with childcare services, e.g., nannies and afterschool sitters, you’ll also find pet sitters, dog walkers, housecleaners, housekeepers and elder care services. Yes, sometimes we all need a little help, and Care.com is there for you with high-quality care providers.
No one said achieving our goals would be easy. Challenges arise every day in business. It is how we address these challenges, while working hard to push the limits of our success. We must continually stand together, smashing the boundaries and antiquated mindsets of those creating the glass dome. As we maintain an open dialog and shout louder together, we will shatter the dome like we did the ceiling before it!
Here’s to diversity and more women in the C-Suite!
How do you plan to work towards getting more women into executive level positions? What have you done to maintain open dialog on this important subject? Share your comments below.