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When companies work to inspire leadership and confidence in both working moms and their daughters, it’s a win-win.
Blog post by Wendy Lund, CEO, featured on workingmother.com
Our daughters are the future of gender parity and workplace success.
My teenage daughter inspires me to be the best I can be. And I try to inspire her. But we do that in very different ways because of who we are, our daily influences and the ways we communicate (I’m a paper and pencil gal with a growing admiration for all things social, and she’s a whiz at everything digital). At the end of the day though, we care about the same things when it comes to our growth and development. She is a product of her generation—feisty, unswerving in her beliefs, clever, unwilling to back down. And I’m a product of mine—serious, hard-working, intense and fairly obsessed. Recently, I realized I can learn as much from her as she can learn from me, and she has inspired me to make that my goal.
Supporting Women Employees and Their Daughters
I’m a strong believer of companies fostering the growth of their employees through creative and contemporary ways. So I’m impressed and excited that one of my clients, Astellas—a global pharmaceutical company dedicated to solving the hardest-to-treat diseases (think cancer, rare diseases, infection and others), and a 2015 Working Mother 100 Best Company—is taking this to a whole other level. The company has created a first-of-its kind conference, Women in Action 2016 (July 14 to 15 in Chicago). The event will connect its women employees and their teenage-girl guests in a forum focused on inspiring leadership and the confidence to lead their best lives, overcome challenges and succeed by making meaningful contributions that improve the global society. Central to the success of this event is the sharing of experiences with these girls and developing lasting mentoring relationships.
The agenda includes two interactive skill-building tracks, one for women and one for teens, designed to build skills. It also features a wonderfully diverse cast of inspirational speakers, including Malala Yousafzai, Amy Cuddy, Robin Roberts and Ronda Rousey.
I’m particularly struck by this conference’s emphasis on the sharing of experiences. Just as I try to share and learn from experiences with my daughter, Women in Action creates a foundation for mentorship that looks to create meaningful and hopefully lasting relationships for these women and their daughters. Efforts like this will truly empower women like my colleagues, myself and our daughters to succeed.
Gender Parity—What It Takes
But what will it take to effect meaningful change? It will take more than women standing up and demanding recognition and appreciation for what they bring to the table. It will take partnership and support. Along with other women, family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, we women should look for opportunities to grow and get our voice out. We need to find ways to band together and share experiences. Learn and grow from each other’s experiences. Learn from our male counterparts.
The World Economic Forum’s (WEC) 2015 Global Gender Gap Report notes that it could take 118 years before women achieve economic equality in the workplace. At the same time, a report from McKinsey & Co. indicates that companies with at least 30 percent female leaders have net profit margins up to 6 percent higher than companies with no women in the top ranks. I know that my daughter, and many like her, will see these statistics and take them as a challenge to prove the WEC wrong and drive their success and equality. And I commend companies like Astellas, and like Working Mother Media, that are creating an environment that encourages and empowers women to face their challenges.
My daughter’s strength and intelligence makes me confident in a future where women will be as successful as they want to be. Until that day, I will continue to look for opportunities to empower women and encourage my friends and colleagues to do the same.
Wendy Lund is the CEO of GCI Health, an award winning healthcare public relations agency with PR professionals across the United States, Canada and Europe. She’s the proud mom of Jesse, 23, and Zoe, 19. Wendy was recently inducted into the 2016 PR News Class of Top Women in PR, was named one of PRWeek’s True Women Champions of PR and was a finalist for PRWeek’s Agency Professional of the Year. Additionally, GCI Health has been nominated for Healthcare Agency of the Year for the 6th year in a row by the Holmes Report, with wins in 2011 and 2015 for North America and 2015 for Global.