Hard Row to Hoe...and up to #13

It's patently obvious when looking at the numbers that African American women have a difficult time getting to the top of organizations. The Executive Leadership Council surveyed 150 CEOs and directors, EVPs and VPs to dig into the reasons why. Their just released findings include:
  • 31% of respondents say that challenges to getting to the top are due to weaker or less strategic networks available to African-American women.
  • 24% cite inaccurate perceptions of African-American women's capabilities
  • 23% point to work/life balance demands as preventing or slowing down their rise.
As remedies...
  • African-American women should seek high-visibility stretch assignments to improve their access to C-Suite positions, (73 percent);
  • African-American women should set career goals and create the action plans necessary to achieve them (67 percent);
  • African-American women should work with executive coaches to prepare for and take full advantage of critical feedback (57 percent).
  • "Not only should senior executives cultivate more trusted and strategic relationships with high-potential black women executives, it is important for black women executives to have and execute detailed plans for advancement and demonstrate a passion for the values and culture of their companies."
Glad they put some of the burden for change on the executives who aren't African-American Women!

Now, for #13
Ellen Kullman stepped into the CEO role at DuPont this month, becoming the 13th woman FORTUNE 500 CEO.

USA Today has one of the BEST reports on the performance of women CEOs. In 2003 and 2004 women outperformed men. In '05 the women underperformed and '06 and '07 performance was about even. With devastating losses, the F500 women CEOs underperformed the DOW in '08.

In spite of the huge losses suffered last year, Susan Ivey at tobacco company Reynolds American Andrea Jung at Avon and Anne Mulcahy at Xerox have had stellar performances over time. Avon is up 65% during Jung's nine years, and Xerox is up 1% during Mulcahy's 6½ years (rising like a Phoenix from near bankruptcy). Reynolds is up 21% since Ivey began in 2004.

1 comment:

Susan Colantuono said...

13 out of, let's see what did we say? Oh yeah, out of 500! and it's the 21st century. Hmmm