Gender equity in Corporate America is still projected to take decades to achieve based on the current rate of growth, despite the commitment of many organizations and individuals who have tried on their own to advance women’s leadership and diversity in C-suites and boardrooms nationwide. This is why I recently joined the Leadership Council for the Women Business Collaborative (WBC). This “accelerator” organization is dedicated to building a movement to rapidly change the numbers around position, pay, and power for all businesswomen, drawing successful women and men from key seats of influence and tapping into their collective strength and resources.
WBC represents an unprecedented alliance that brings together women’s business organizations, corporations, trade associations, researchers, and the media to accelerate:
1) Advancing diverse women’s representation in C-suites and boardrooms
2) Achieving gender diversity and parity in the workplace
3) Growing women-owned businesses and ensuring equal access to capital
WBC takes a number of steps to advance this agenda for change, starting with connection and collaboration by sharing like-minded organizations’ best practices, strategies, and results to drive and accelerate results around women’s advancement in business. Aggregation via leveraging resources and building unity is also important, as is communication—using every vehicle possible to spread information and results—and celebration of successes by sharing stories, actions, and outcomes.
I joined because I feel this is an important snap shot in time for not only women but for everyone. We can’t wait any longer for things to happen, and through my participation on behalf of SHAMBAUGH Leadership, I am encouraging women to step into their own leadership and get involved. This is not about a me-too movement—we are inviting men to be involved as a collaborative part of the solution.
There is a strong case now for more women to take on roles in politics, on boards, and in senior leadership and executive roles—as I called out in my book Make Room for Her, to create a shift in norms and open up more voices and doors for women. We need to see 30 percent of women in the boardroom and in leadership roles across diverse industries.
This focus on moving more women into leadership is not to dismiss men’s value at the leadership level; rather it’s about creating more balanced leadership and gender equity for innovative and balanced decision making, policy issues, and basic culture norms that open up the field for everyone to have a fair chance, and which have been proven time an time again to lead to great innovation and better business results.
WBC was created for women and men to take action together—as it states on their website, to “inform, educate, advocate for and celebrate the full partnership of diverse men and women leaders.” When each gender and each organization leverages each other’s strategic priorities and core strengths, it’s possible to finally drive the numbers up and move the needle on gender equity in our organizations.
The collective power and influence of women such as through WBC is one way to start seeing real change. It strikes me that the mission of WBC is interconnected with the mission of Thrive Global’s mission “to unlock human potential”—every human’s potential. As Arianna Huffington states on the website, she launched Thrive Global “to go beyond raising awareness and create something real and tangible that would help individuals, companies and communities improve their well-being and performance and unlock their greatest potential.”
This is exactly what WBC is doing as well, in taking each organization beyond what it has been able to achieve singularly in terms of awareness raising, and catapulting all involved into the change we need to see at the leadership level. Thrive Global’s focus on sustainably changing behavior—and helping companies unlock and sustain peak performance—is what it’s going to take to achieve the important goals around the collective values and leadership that will serve everyone better in the much nearer future than has previously been predicted.
Leadership is about having a voice and making a difference in the things you care about. Tapping into the collective power of each of us together will be the equation for real change that will make this a better planet—not only for women, but for all of us!