Inspirational Women in the Workplace & Appointed Female CEOs in 2021
Inspirational Women in the Workplace
By Natalia Kochut
Women in the corporate workplace are often overlooked, however, these six inspirational business women are all great role models for women in business and other minorities.
Sonia Syngal, the CEO of Gap, inspires through her role in making Gap an inclusive workplace. Gap, being the first Fortune 500 company to implement equal pay for men and women, was named one of the top five most diverse companies. As the CEO, Syngal hosts diversity and inclusion training as well as mandatory racial and equity training. Similarly, Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, is a role model in the field of corporate change. She is the only Black woman on Amazon’s board and similarly to Syngal, she prioritizes equity in the workplace. For example, Brewer shut down all Starbucks for mandatory racial bias training after an incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks. Brewer previously served as chief operating officer at Starbucks and president and CEO of Sam’s Club. Likewise, Deborah Liu is a pioneer of inclusivity in the workplace. As the president and CEO of Ancestry, she noticed the lack of women and racially diverse employees at her office. Liu responded to this disparity by launching Women In Product in 2016, an organization that advocates for equal representation in business. In parallel, Ingrid Otero-Smart teaches us about the importance of loyalty and pride. As the president and CEO of Casanova/McCann, she says that loyalty helps build lasting relationships in a tough industry. Another trail-blazing woman, Carla Vernon, the vice president of consumables at Amazon, realized the pressing need for equity in business. The death of George Floyd’s in 2020 served as a wake up call for Vernon. Since, she has implemented diversity, equity, and inclusion in her business strategy. Alicia Enciso, chief marketing officer of Nestlé USA is another inspirational business woman. Her team is 65% female and is ⅓ people of color. Alicia Enciso says that her career was about taking risks. Without risk takers like these inspirational women, we would be nowhere close to inclusivity throughout corporate America. Each day these women inspire us to take risks and to take pride in being ourselves, while demonstrating the importance of racial inclusion and discrimination awareness.
Why the Number of Appointed Female CEOs Doubled in 2021
By Marin Yearley
Marked by a pandemic, climate change issues, and a plethora of social movements, 2021 has not only impacted our personal lives but the future of women in business as well. Due to economic shifts and evolving needs of companies, this past year has ushered in a search for a “new kind of CEO,” leading to more women appointed to top positions than ever before.
So what qualities characterize this new type of leader and how have they been determined? In a recent Forbes interview, Bonnie Gwin, author of the study on 2021’s rise in female CEOs, broke down the recent push for cultural change within companies and how this new approach has emphasized characteristics such as empathy, communication skills, and resilience. Of the most significant cultural changes within business, Gwin highlighted increased attention towards caring for all individual stakeholders from employees to customers to suppliers as well as considering the needs of communities affected by the company through a focus on ESG––environment, social, governance. As a result, in order to carry out these adjusted corporate goals, CEOs must have strong interpersonal skills so that they can inspire, ground, and guide the people they work with through these unstable times. Gwin also commented on the need for fresh and diverse perspectives in leadership:
“Diversity matters. Building diverse boards, building diverse suites, ensuring you have diversity. And I mean, in the broadest sense, it’s not just gender, it’s every aspect. It’s life experience, it’s geographic, it’s age. I mean, there’s a wide range of things that go into diversity. I think diversity matters and companies realize that very clearly” (Need For ‘Different Kind Of CEO’ Led To Twice As Many Women CEOs In 2021, Heidrick Report Finds).
Though more work must be done to further diversify top business positions, 2021 offers hope that women will continue to gain power and recognition in the corporate world.