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Why Aren’t More CEOs Women? 4 Ways Corporations Can Clear The Path.

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Why Aren’t More CEOs Women? 4 Ways Corporations Can Clear The Path.

While more women are rising to the top of the corporate ladder, a question persists: Why do female  CEOs still comprise a small percentage of the highest leadership positions?
Research underscores women’s capabilities as corporate leaders and their positive effects on organizations. An extensive worldwide survey showed that having women at the C-suite level significantly increases profit margins. And a study by the Harvard Business Review reported women scoring higher than men in most leadership skills.
But research also partly sheds light on why women aren’t proportionately represented in corporate leadership roles. Reasons include male-dominated corporate boards and leadership stereotypes. Not to mention that women, in addition to having the bulk of at-home family responsibilities, can be seen as threatening to men when in leadership positions.
How can more women ascend to executive positions? Andreas Wilderer, author of Lean On: The Five Pillars Of Support For Women In Leadership, says it starts at home with a supportive husband willing to take on more of a household role while not worrying about reverse stereotypes – the stay-at-home dad or secondary breadwinner.
“Even though society is getting used to strong women in the workplace, men who take care of the house and kids are still often seen as an oddity,” Wilderer says. “Old attitudes in society fade slowly, as many still believe that each sex should keep its place.”
“In many families, however, that place is changing. Change tends to begin not in the big arenas, but in small places. And change starts within the family unit – long before many corporations and institutions recognize what is happening. Now more and more men are proudly accepting the role of staying home to fully support their wives and their career pursuits, and it’s time more companies were supportive of women in well-earned leadership roles.”
Wilderer suggests four ways companies can make leadership opportunities more accessible to women:
-Gender equality training. “With evidence proving that women make excellent leaders,” Wilderer says, “it is clear that not having these qualified individuals in leadership positions is a detriment to your business. Gender equality training within a company is a transformative process that enables women to be assessed on the basis of their skills, not restricted from upward movement by their gender.”
-Gender equality training 2.0. Wilderer says normal bias training needs to go an extra step, emphasizing how companies can show support for male partners and the family of the female leader. For example, when companies sponsor events such as dinners for employees, they often buy gifts for spouses attending. Wilderer says an important cultural shift can occur in the form of a gift. “It’s a cultural shift to not assume that the spouse of a leader is a female,” Wilderer says. “You can no longer make that assumption. Companies should make the gifts gender-neutral, emphasizing the importance of the supportive spousal role.”
-Recruiting. A company’s commitment to promote women’s advancements from within starts in the recruiting process. “Recruiting women on the premises of equal opportunity provisions is the first step to help women rise to important positions,” Wilderer says. “Organizations should issue meaningful equality plans to absorb women members in proportion to men.”
-Career-mapping. “Organizations should have an effective career-mapping plan in place for female employees,” Wilderer says. “Being aware of higher-level opportunities within the organization and the path required to achieve them helps women to set out clearer plans for attaining these roles.”
“Ingrained attitudes take years to evolve into acceptance,” Wilderer says. “Acceptance starts with simple gestures like the gifts but has to go much further – flexible hours, provided daycare, a partial home office. As far as women have come in the corporate structure, there are still too many barriers, and too few of them get to fulfill their potential as leaders.”
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Andreas Wilderer (andreaswilderer.com) is the author of Lean On: The Five Pillars Of Support For Women in Leadership. A business leader and entrepreneur, Wilderer worked in the event and marketing field. As Gallup-certified CliftonStrengths Coach he founded GLOBULARiTY LLC, a business coaching company that helps leaders grow and learn how to strengthen their Adaptability Quotient (AQ). While working on his business pursuits, Wilderer stayed at home and cared for his two children while his wife pursued her career. Recognizing that women can be providers and men can be nurturers, Wilderer began focusing on coaching female leaders while teaching men how to actively support them. As a motivational Keynote speaker, he is advocating for females in leadership and the system they can Lean On.

Women in Logistics: Ann Drake of DSC Logistics

As a current member of the Kellogg School Global Advisory Board at Northwestern University—and a previous 24-year tenure as the CEO for DSC Logistics—Ann Drake’s exemplary leadership and expertise helped create the leading position for DSC in the supply-chain sector. DCS is a forward-thinking Lead Logistics provider, 3PL provider, and supply chain consultant aimed at raising the bar higher while embracing change. 

Among her impressive list of awards and recognitions, Drake was awarded the 2015 Schultz Award for efforts to advance women in transportation and logistics. Last year, she was presented the Entrepreneurial Champion Luminary Award by C200.

No stranger to the competition found in a male-dominated industry, Drake continues supporting women’s roles in the supply chain and logistics industries through the founding of the AWESOME (Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management, and Education) network that now boasts more than 1,000 female senior supply chain leaders.

Additionally, she boasts recognition for “Women Who Make a Difference” Award recognition from International Women’s Forum in 2014 along with being named the “Industry Leader of the Year” by Illinois Institute of Technology.

 

Kenco’s Jane Kennedy Greene Defines Exemplary Leadership

When thinking of logistics leaders, some might not automatically think of the female representation and the impact on the logistics and supply chain sector as a whole. Global Trade  aims to recognize female leaders in the industry who continue making substantial impacts and change the way females in the industry are perceived. Jane Kennedy Greene is a great example.
Kenco’s 60+-year story starts with humble beginnings as a stand-alone warehouse in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Fast forward to today, and Kenco serves as a leader in third-party logistics. Jane Kennedy Greene, current chairwoman of the board, former CEO and daughter of co-founder, Jim Kennedy Jr., is no stranger to the success Kenco prides itself in. Following her appointment to CEO in 2012, the company was deemed the largest woman-owned 3PL in the U.S and received the Women’s Business Enterprise certification by Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
The company is known for its close family ties and dedication to heritage. In a blog titled “Making A Company A Family,” Kennedy Greene writes, “Being cognizant of how our associates are being taken care of was a weekly, if not a daily, concern of my father’s. This dedication to our associates has made us more than a company; I feel it has made us a family.”

Women in Logistics: Wendy Buxton, President of LynnCo.

In 2002, Wendy Buxton began her career as the chief information officer for LynnCo Supply Chain Solutions, moving her way up to her current position as president following the successful development of a web-hosted software package. Additionally, Buxton has been recognized for her leadership and expertise in the logistics sector through awards such as the Women of Distinction and Top 10 Women in Logistics.

 

Wendy Buxton serves as a prime example that regardless of one’s gender, factors such as talent, intelligence, and determination are what can make or break a career. Buxton boasts active membership with women-centered organizations such as the National Executive Women’s Association and Tulsa Executive Women’s Forum.

“We strive to provide a supply chain management solution that is innovative and enables our clients competitive market positioning through a network that has been engineered and optimized by our team of consultants and operational experts,” she said in regards to LynnCo making an online magazine’s list of Top 10 Most Innovative Supply Chain Management Solution Providers. “We are honored to receive a Top 10 award from Insights Success.”

Woman Leader Barbara Yeninas Breaks Gender Barriers

Barbara Yeninas started her career as a maritime journalist, covering stories in the midst of the most historic moments in feminist history. For example, the day women were burning their bras in Atlantic City, she was out covering a story on the longshore wildcat strike on the New York-New Jersey waterfront. Decades later, Yeninas is proud to be the CEO and founder of  BSYA and senior advisor of the Containerization & Intermodal Institute (CII).
Throughout the years, Yeninas developed a thorough understanding of what it takes to create a successful business. Put together, these characteristics create the most productivity and efficiency. “From day one nearly 45 years ago, it has been a spirit of teamwork,” she says. “Acknowledging the strengths of each member of your team and ensuring that each person feels valued for what he or she can contribute to the overall effort on behalf of our clients is very empowering. You cannot teach team spirit, it has to be in your DNA.”
Yeninas also adds that staying one step ahead of the industry through good old-fashioned reading and research are critical to keeping clients happy. “I read a great deal and encourage others to do so as well. It feels good for both your client and you to be literally on the same page when it comes to what is happening in the industry. For example, in the early days of containerization, it was all about the new ships, maiden voyages parties. … While the ocean carriers were slower to embrace technology, today it is all about technology and by working on staying informed we bring value to our clients’ marketing communication strategies.”
She ends with a special message for a certain group. “For the naysayers who said  BSYA Inc. would not last six months, I say to those still around that whatever gender you are, we all deserve to succeed. I am very proud of the client relationships that have helped fill our roster of those who have stuck with us for four decades and longer.”