News & Insights about Closing the Leadership Gender Gap

Engaging & Retaining Black Female Talent...

How to Mix & Serve the Perfect Corporate Cocktail


Many a career-impacting conversation has happened over a great drink. Not with any intent of impropriety – simply away from the confines of cubicles and conference calls. So, as a Black professional woman with years of earned and discerned corporate experience, I’d like to share some tips on how to build a better “corporate cocktail” for Black women like myself* who want a career they can sip and savor without the anguish of a 30-year hangover.   

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Topics: Talent Development, Diversity & Inclusion, Women of Color

Here is a Key to Closing the Gender Gap at the Top... Gender Dynamics

 Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Here's a fact about closing the leadership gender gap that might surprise you.

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Topics: Closing the Gender Gap, Gender Dynamics, Diversity & Inclusion, Managers Mindsets

Bread and Roses!

Iceland  Women's Day Off, photo from the BBCMarch 8th is International Women's Day
and in addition to the official #BeBoldForChange campaign, other groups across the United States and the world are preparing for an International Women's Strike. A "day without women" is not a new concept and has happened a number of times across the world with varying effect, most notably in recent times,  Iceland's Women's Day Off on 24 October 1975. Women from all across Iceland, with different backgrounds brought the country to a screeching halt. 

According to the Global Nonviolent Action Database: "The striking women achieved their goal of demonstrating the importance of their work, at all levels from home to workplace, to the well being of the country. They essentially shut down most of the nation for the day. While this was their main goal... it even led to the passage of an equal rights bill..." While the bill did little to change things immediately, Iceland is now ranked #1 on the WEF's Global Gender Gap Index. While they still have a ways to go to reach true parity, they have taken steps to insure they are moving in the right direction. 

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Topics: Gender Dynamics, Diversity & Inclusion, Gender Bias

Making the Business Case for Gender Initiatives


Since the 1970s, many companies have understood and taken action on the business case for gender initiatives, made progress and reaped benefits. Others are still questioning whether this topic warrants their attention. In a recent interview for an upcoming TV biz news interview I was asked about this:

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Topics: Closing the Gender Gap, Diversity & Inclusion, Making the Business Case

Tracking the Business Case - Research from Around the Globe

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We use this blog to track the research into the correlation between the % of women in senior management and on boards and measurable business performance. It is updated as research comes in. You'll find related information on correlation v. causation here.

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Topics: Closing the Gender Gap, Diversity & Inclusion, Making the Business Case

9 Reasons Companies Aren't Closing The Leadership Gender Gap

Last week we released our updated research entitled Closing The Leadership Gender Gap: The Missing 33%TM and Conventional Advice to Women.

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Topics: Talent Development, Closing the Gender Gap, The Missing 33%, Diversity & Inclusion

How Women's Leadership Development Programs Fail Black Women


February is Black History Month in the United States and what's historic this year is that while all around us change is endemic, when it comes to the advancement of Black women in major corporations, little is new. With a few exceptions - most notably Ursula Burns, former CEO of Xerox, the percentages of African American women at the top of and in director positions at Fortune 500 companies is appallingly small. The reasons are many, and we're grateful to share this insight gleaned from our work with multicultural women. For more African American women to make history in major corporations, women's leadership programs must address the fact that conventional advice to women can create problems for women of color.

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Topics: Talent Development, Career, Breakthrough Leadership, Diversity & Inclusion, Women of Color

Gender Dynamics: Key to Closing the Gender Gap at the Top

women in leadershipHere's a fact about closing the leadership gender gap that might surprise you.

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Topics: Closing the Gender Gap, Gender Dynamics, Diversity & Inclusion, Managers Mindsets

Leadership Lessons: What Women Haven't Been Told About Career Success

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Career advice received by women covers only 2/3 of the success equation in business. This Missing 33%™ has serious implications for a woman’s chances of being seen as high potential, receiving promotions to senior positions, receiving optimal benefits from mentoring relationships and nurturing the next generation of women leaders.


Leading Women recently asked over 2000 women, “What’s the best career advice you’ve received?” The verbatim responses they submitted were given by bosses, friends, parents, mentors, colleagues and others. We analyzed these responses and found an entire category of advice that women haven’t been given – a category that creates barriers to career success. Why?

Unless on a specialized technical track, people are promoted on the basis of their perceived potential and success as a leader. So, what does this mean? As defined in the book No Ceiling, No Walls, and used by managers in F500 companies including Sunoco, PepsiCo, DePuy/J&J, Amgen, Pfizer and others:

“Leadership is using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others”.

This is a definition in which all 3 parts are required for success.

  1. Using the greatness in you – this means tapping the essential best of who you are, your strengths, knowledge and attributes; leading in alignment with espoused values, and more.

  2. To achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes – this means hitting or exceeding the outcomes that your organization has determined are important for its current and future success in the marketplace. Elements of this include business acumen, strategic acumen and financial acumen.

  3. By engaging the greatness in others – means engaging others’ positive aspects such as hope, creativity, commitment, egalitarianism, compassion (as opposed to their most negative such as hatred, fear, bigotry, etc.) and aligning them to key outcomes.

All 3 elements are interdependent and balance is necessary among them. For example, someone who achieves outcomes by commanding it out of their people (lack of focus on engaging others) doesn’t meet the definition of leader and will ultimately cost the company money due to high turnover. Someone who over-focuses on engaging others without attention to outcomes will direct happy sailors on a sinking ship. And someone who over-focuses on personal growth will ultimately be out of a job.

It follows, then, that the success equation has 3 factors:

  1. Use Personal Greatness

  2. Achieve and Sustain Outcomes

  3. Engage the Greatness in Others

The Success Equation in Practice

What do executives and boards look for in high potential candidates and candidates for C-suite positions? For answers Leading Women analyzed key factors from Leaders at All Levels: Deepening the Talent Pool to Solve the Succession Crisis  by Ram Charan, Boards at Work by Ram Charan, Building Better Boards by Beth Behan and David Nadler and interviews with executives. We then assigned each factor to the related 1/3rd of the leadership definition.

Here’s what we found. Of the factors:

  • 50% relate to Achieve and Sustain Outcomes

  • 27% relate to Engage the Greatness in Others

  • 23% relate to Use Personal Greatness

In essence, when identifying high potential candidates for career advancement, executives and boards look for people with business and strategic acumen by a factor of nearly 2 to 1. This is significantly out of line with the advice that women are given about career success. 

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Topics: Talent Development, Closing the Gender Gap, The Missing 33%, Diversity & Inclusion

Women's Advancement: Interpersonal Skills Aren't Enough!

There's a not-so-little hidden secret that women aren't being told about career success. It's a rarely discussed element that holds women back...or propels them ahead. It's one element on which they are consistently rated as under-performing their male counterparts. It is one element missing from (or under-taught in) most organizations' leadership development programs - and frequently totally absent from the activities of women's networks, affinity groups or leadership forums. This one element is the vital missing piece of the success equation for women. I call it The Missing 33%™. It is business savvy with all its related skills and knowledge.

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Topics: Closing the Gender Gap, The Missing 33%, Diversity & Inclusion

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