When no one looks like you at the top, it's hard to picture yourself there. According to Catalyst.org the proportion of women in senior management roles globally sits at 29%, the highest number ever recorded. As you continue to climb to the Executive level that number drops to 23%. Even with the numbers growing, It's safe to say there's still a lot of work that needs to be done to shrink the gender leadership gap.
One way your organization can help is to amplify the voices of female leaders by creating a monthly fireside chat. Seeing women in Executive leadership positions will inspire your female employees to think and dream bigger.
Here's how I made it happen:
1. Get buy-in & support from your leadership team. I went straight to the head of HR and pitched my idea. A monthly speaker series where we'd invite a female executive either from our company or the community to come in and share her story. The outcome, more women would be able to picture themselves in a leadership position.
Important: Ask if there's budget available to compensate speakers. If not, ask if you can secure $50- $100 to send them a small gift to thank them. We sent local restaurant gift cards!
2. If you receive push back feel free to share these resources : Seeing is Believing: Female Role Models Inspire Girls To Think Bigger & How Live Streaming Enhanced Our Corporate Video Approach - My Story around this idea.
Tip: Tap into your network & the network of your Executive team (they'll be even more bought into the idea if they are helping to secure speakers) & female leaders in your industry/community.
4. Reach out to potential speakers explaining your mission and invite them to connect over a quick virtual coffee to see if the partnership makes sense. Before the meeting do your research so you're prepared. LinkedIn & Google is where I start.
5. Make the ask & secure a time for the interview during your call. Once this is set, let them know you'll send a list of questions two weeks before the event so they have plenty of time to prep answers. Your questions will differ depending on who you're interviewing.
Tip: I always asked every speaker to share their "Super Power"everyone loved this question!
6. Promote the event!
7. Record the event using ZOOM, another conference tool or live streaming service. This will enable employees unable to attend to access the recording. You can also pull out powerful quotes & snippets to share with employees for motivation throughout the year.
8. Measure and report the impact. After each event be sure to recap number of attendees, send out a post event survey for feedback, and check the recording every few weeks to see how many people accessed the on-demand version.
Important: Present this information to your Executive team on a quarterly basis so they are aware of the impact and reach. If the series is attracting a large percentage of attendees and receiving positive feedback you'll likely be able to advocate for a larger budget to go bigger and better!
For other ideas around building a more diverse, inclusive and equitable work environment continue to follow my blog & social channels
About the Author: Tara is a seasoned software sales professional with experience creating and supporting Women's Employee Resource Groups at both HubSpot & Brightcove. She's using her experience to help businesses and organizations build diverse, equitable and inclusive cultures for all of their employees to thrive.