The Fortune 500 list includes 37 companies run by women this year, up from 33 last year. More diversity is needed, writes Courtney Connley, as women comprise just 7.4% of CEOs on the list, and only three are women of color.
SAP executive Kathleen Muller looks to three pillars of leadership to support teams through uncertainty, including building trust through empathetic communication. "My job is to build psychological safe spaces for those in my care so they can be their best selves," she says.
Create long-term plans for operating in a post-pandemic environment by determining employees' needs, making sure their safety comes first and reconfiguring workplaces for optimal productivity, HR leaders say. "Our memories are short after trauma -- we just want to move on -- but our CEO has challenged the executive team leaders to keep a running list of what's working and what's not and how we would improve it currently or for the long term," says O.C. Tanner executive Mindi Cox.
Always keep learning, and don't let naysayers keep you from moving your idea forward, says FabFitFun co-founder Katie Rosen Kitchens. "What makes you seem like a wild card is what ultimately will be your biggest asset," she says.
The coronavirus pandemic could widen gender imbalance, with women worldwide disproportionately affected by the economic fallout and governments' focus shifting away from equity, but there is hope that progress made so far doesn't have to end, write Zoe Kinias and Vinika Rao. Research suggests the pandemic could be an equalizer as work-from-home arrangements could continue, offering flexibility that would keep women from dropping out of the workforce, they write.
Older fashion influencers are promoting the power of representation and age diversity, and brands such as Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and Celine are taking notice. "[Social media] allows us to foster a community with similar-minded women and even younger women who are inspired knowing that their visibility doesn't have an expiry date," says influencer Grece Ghanem.
The shift to remote working in response to the coronavirus could improve the likelihood of female founders receiving venture funding, as well as lead to more female investors, says Maryam Haque of National Venture Capital Association. "Any shift away from traditional approaches likely benefits diversity," says Shundrawn Thomas, president of Northern Trust Asset Management.
The pandemic may make achieving gender parity more difficult and perpetuate economic disparities as focus shifts away from those goals, writes Elisa Martinuzzi. Women have been widely affected by the fallout from this crisis, and businesses and governments can take steps to promote diversity in their ranks and keep women in the workforce.
NEW Rising Stars is the boost mid-level professionals need to advance their careers, and we've just opened registration for an unprecedented second session of this year's virtual program. Registration ends May 25!
NEW Virtual Book Club: "The Woman's Hour"
NEW's Virtual Book Club kicks off next week! Join author Elaine Weiss and NEW for a rousing discussion of her book "The Woman's Hour." This year marks the 100-year anniversary of American women gaining the right to vote. Elaine will draw parallels between the climactic events leading up to ratifying the vote in 1920 and the challenges of female leaders in 2020. Register now.