The headlines on the morning of November 7, 2018 read, “Over 100 female candidates set to win seats in Congress.” This is good news for our nation. Women at all levels of government ran tremendous campaigns in tough districts and won. Finally, we are seeing the beginnings of representation that reflects the voices and demographics of voters at the polls. For many of us, the mid-term election reflects the importance and value of women in leadership roles.
Recently, The Harvard Business Review interviewed CEOs across a range of industries and found that the top executives believe that improving representation of women and people of color, especially at leadership levels, is a top priority. As Mikael Ohlsson of IKEA put it, “My leadership on diversity is vision-driven from a business point of view and value-driven at the foundation.” However, at five percent, women still represent an abysmal percentage of CEOs in the S&P 1500 index. We can do better! Board of Directors and shareholders must hold business leaders accountable for their commitment to increase representation which means doing the hard work necessary to recruit, hire, develop and retain under-represented groups at senior levels.
For the last eight years, Leap Into Leadership has helped organizations develop talent for higher-level leadership positions. Developing leaders doesn’t happen overnight but with intention, long-term commitment and incremental change, leaders can deliver on their promise of diversity just as the voters have done.