The Power of Women's Leadership

Guest blog by Renee' Aloisio and Kate Kennedy. As one of the state delegates to Vision 2020, I have enjoyed working with them and the other amazing women who are part of this effort. Thanks to GoLocal for the original.

As the Rhode Island economy plods along its slow recovery, our state's businesses continue to seek out any kind of competitive advantages to get ahead. One such advantage that has been widely documented and reported is the power of women's leadership. Some companies are making serious investments in this area, while others have yet to take full advantage of the opportunity.

Research indicates companies led by women or with a higher representation of women board directors experience higher financial performance. The correlations are found across industries ‒ from consumer discretionary to information technology. Here in Rhode Island, women currently make up 48% of the workforce, and many women can be found in entry- and mid-level management positions. But when we look at the top levels of management, executive officers hover at somewhere just above 10% and board seats are filled by a slim 16%. A clear indication that we can and should be doing better.
Vision 2020 Rhode Island's upcoming report, Women, Leadership and Wages, reviews the findings of a survey conducted with 22 of the state's largest not-for and for-profit businesses. The survey is focused on initiatives and best practices that advance women, such as commitment to women’s leadership, advancement of women into senior leadership, wage equity and women on boards. The report also examines obstacles and barriers to advancing women into leadership.

The findings at times fall below where we would hope Rhode Island businesses could be: for example, only 23% of for-profits and 1% of not-for-profits surveyed have a clearly defined strategy and philosophy for the development of women into leadership roles. However, some best practices are being utilized to advance women, such as requiring a diverse slate of candidates for executive searches and conducting wage equity audits that look for inequities in compensation between men and women serving in the same position. This report can and should be used by for-profit and not-for-profit leadership teams, human resource departments and board of directors to spearhead meaningful conversations for improving the advancement of women in their organizations' leadership team. The real benefits of paying attention to these measures ‒ short and long-term, financial and workforce ‒ can offer an alternative for contributing to companies' competitive positions and thus Rhode Island's economic growth.

On behalf of Vision 2020 RI's Corporate Sub-committee, we invite members of the business sector and other interested parties to attend and hear more about the report's findings at Leading Women's breakfast, The State of Women's Success, being held on September 11th at 8:00 at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick. We appreciate the willingness of companies who participated in the survey, and we urge all members of the business community to participate in ongoing research to share successes and challenges in advancing women's leadership as we work together to advance Rhode Island's economy.
Vision 2020 was developed by the Institute for Women's Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine to make equality a national priority through shared leadership among women and men. The organization’s goal is to advance women’s equality before the landmark 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

Renee Aloisio is Director of Internal Operations at LGC&D and Kate Kennedy is the Executive Director of Rhode Island Business Group on Health.

The report, Women, Leadership and Wages will be available online at and at on September 11. Hard copies will be distributed at the event.

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls and Make the Most of Mentoring. Follow her on TwitterLittlePinkBook  |  Facebook  |  Google+  |  LinkedInGroupLinkedIn

Develop Top Talent - Challenge Managers' Mindsets

Following up on our blog about the Final Frontier for Women's Advancement check out our new video.

Managers have mindsets about women and men, about leadership and careers. Many of these mindsets create barriers for women and get in the way of developing top talent. Helping managers take action to minimize gender barriers is the new frontier in women's advancement -- and one that Leading Women is uniquely positioned to address.

For decades we've tracked over 15 gender-based mindsets. Our research tells us that the impediments created by these mindsets differ by country and corporate culture. With this knowledge we work with you to identify the barriers most prevalent in your business locations and prepare managers to make more equitable and effective talent decisions.

Read more about gender dynamics and ways the mindsets of managers create barriers to women's advancement here.

To explore the ways Leading Women can support your efforts to develop top talent and remove barriers to women's advancement, email us at or call us in the U.S. at +1-401-789-0441.

Lead ON!

Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls and Make the Most of Mentoring.
Follow her on TwitterLittlePinkBook  |  Facebook  |  Google+  |  LinkedInGroupLinkedIn

If the President Can, So Can You! - Dinner with Family

Whether or not you support President Obama, if you're a mother you'll want to listen to the first 40 second or so of this interview.

We encourage women to be proactive with internal and external networking, but that doesn't mean that you have to overdo it. If the President of the United States can make sure that when he's in town he's having dinner with his children, so can you!

Of course, if your company has a ridiculous work-hour expectation, you might have to explain that you're leaving work on time because you "have a meeting." That's just smart.

Lead ON!


Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls and Make the Most of Mentoring. Follow her on TwitterLittlePinkBook  |  Facebook  |  Google+  |  LinkedInGroupLinkedIn