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Where Are the Women?

Increasingly, companies recognizing the importance of diversity at the top are investing in recruiting and developing talented women. So why aren’t we seeing more women in top roles?

Less Structure, More Culture

Empowering the next generation of women leaders is less about structure and more about culture. That’s the central message of The Committee of 200 (C200), a Chicago-based invitation-only membership organization of the world’s most successful women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. C200’s more than 400 members generate over $200 billion in annual revenues and employ more than 2.5 million people.

CEOs who want to recruit superstar women to their boards face a lot of competition, says Russell S. Reynolds, Jr., chairman and CEO of RSR Partners, a search firm for based in Greenwich, Connecticut. He describes a client’s strategy in recruiting a particular high-profile woman to accept a board seat when she had nine other offers. “The CEO and chairman got a plane and went to visit her to personally express how much she was valued,” Reynolds says. “Women tend to be more relationship-driven than men, so the gesture proved hugely important. As far as I know, we were the only ones who made that gesture.”

Before she accepted the CEO role at a startup pre-fab construction business called Project Frog, Ann Hand took advantage of formal women’s leadership development programs at BP, McDonalds and ExxonMobil. With a team of 35 people at Project Frog, Hand knew that while she couldn’t duplicate those kinds of formal development programs, she was capable of creating the conditions for everyone to stay flexible and get exposure to new challenges. Hand admits that she sometimes forgets how key the fact that the CEO of Project Frog is a woman is to young women considering where to place their allegiance.

To truly move the bar on developing women leaders, CEOs must shift the conversation from the metaphor of diversity to the metaphor of a fully capable workforce delivering measurable business benefits, says Boston-based George Davis, co-leader of the global board practice at search firm Egon Zehnder International. “The single next most important thing is for CEOs to impose accountability, starting with themselves, for a robust hiring process that considers business needs in balance with employee needs.”


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    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

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    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

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    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

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    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.