The Answer: 13% 14.2% 14% 14.1% 14.3%
The Question: What is the five-year trend representing the percentage of women in senior executive roles?*
On a recent weekend in June, 45 C-suite executive women were invited to convene in Tuscany to tackle the task of changing this dismal metric. The group represented past and present CEO’s, top execs and directors of public company boards. We were brought together with a common goal. We were bound together by shared experiences and a real passion to make a significant difference in an age-old problem. I was privileged to be one of the invitees at the table. My organization, The Signature Program, provides women executives with a peer learning experience and ongoing network for support as they move up and into leadership roles. The group that gathered in Italy was focused squarely on changing the broader landscape – those corporate cultures that spoke of inclusion but didn’t really achieve it. One of the Tuscany attendees, a Lead Director of a major public company, relayed a conversation she’d had with her company CEO.
You don’t have a tree problem, you have a forest problem. Your company does a great job of selecting and enriching top female candidates and strategically planting them in your forest. The forest then overtakes them and crowds them out.
This group has vowed to take on the forests. It’s a huge undertaking, but I know that women with passion, smarts and resources can make huge things happen. The room was at full capacity with these ingredients for change. I’ve gotten many questions about the meeting. All who attended agreed to the confidentiality of the attendee list and specific content details. Sharing some of the information, however, is helpful in keeping the effort on track and inspiring others to take an interest. Here are two excellent blogs written by Susan Packard and Deborah Jackson about their experiences with the Tuscany Convening. I couldn’t say it better than these two amazing women.
I recently travelled to Italy to attend a small conference of senior level women. Our goal was to strategize ways we might join together to topple the barriers impeding organizational progress around diversity. We all agreed to honor the Chatham Rules so I can’t share who precisely attended, but we had heavy hitters from all aspects of industry, women running worldwide, multibillion-dollar portfolios of businesses.
The kind of fight we have all waged to earn senior roles takes extraordinary effort. As I looked around the room, some seemed a little battle weary, but the overall impression was this: these are the elite. Most were in excellent physical shape regardless of age, as elite athletes always are. To be your all- around best you need robust health and top notch conditioning, because navigating career success, while thrilling, is an endurance game. I also noticed clothing choices which were tasteful and elegant. (Note to self: get some shoes that actually go with your outfit). And the brainpower—the brainpower was breathtaking. — Read More Of The Article —
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I had the great fortune to spend two and a half days with 45 women from major industries in the US. The women invited to attend the gathering were C Suite corporate executives with 20 to 40 years of experience running billion dollar businesses with P&L responsibility. Most of the women have corporate director roles in major US or UK companies and many have built global operations.
This was not a conference with inspirational speakers or to share best practices. This was a time to get off the grid and step back and use our common experience and wisdom to tackle the problem of getting more women up the ladder to the C Suite in major corporations. — Read More of The Article —
It’s been said that many hands make light work. Not often are there tasks this important. As a group, women like Susan Packard, Deborah Jackson and I are taking conscientious steps to change the landscape of women in executive leadership roles. The more of us contributing to the effort, the greater the chances of making sure the forest no longer stifles the trees.
We all have a role to play. How will you contribute your voice and passion to changing the landscape?
*Source: Catalyst Research