20th Anniversary Reflections

April 18th marks WOMEN Unlimited Inc.’s 20th anniversary. That’s when the dream of our founder, Jean Otte, to help talented women reach the top of their corporations became a reality. The first LEAD program was attended by 18 women from AT&T, PSEG, Colgate-Palmolive Company, and Volvo to name a few. And today, thanks to our more than 160 corporate partners and over 10,000 talented alumnae, the successes keep racking up. You’ll be hearing more about those successes in the months ahead.

I couldn’t be prouder of this phenomenal organization and of our corporate partners. We have worked together diligently, many from the earliest days of WOMEN Unlimited, to be true partners. Our relationship is an on-going give and take where we adapt and update our programs to align with their corporate needs and with the growth and development of their talented women. But it’s not in my DNA to rest on our laurels. I am excited to look at what still needs to be done and how we can continue to help talented women and their corporations achieve new levels of success.

3 Ways the Corporate Landscape Needs to Change—
And How We Plan to Help

WOMEN Unlimited has never shied away from being in the forefront of productive change. Starting with Jean, we have continually advocated for diversity and inclusivity, because it was the right thing to do and the smart business thing to do. In the near future, I see three areas where we will continue to push the envelope of opportunity for talented women and the global corporations for whom they work.

  1. Help organizations embrace the power of diverse styles and opinions
    In studies from Catalyst, Harvard, the Wall Street Journal (and the list goes on and on) the numbers keep reaffirming that diversity at the top improves the bottom line. For the past 20 years, WOMEN Unlimited programs have proven to be successful vehicles for helping organizations find, develop, promote and retain their talented women. We will continue to reach out to organizations both nationally and internationally so that more of them reap the benefits of diversity at the top.
  2. Change forever the conversation around women “having it all”
    It’s arbitrary and it’s a distraction. I would like to see the conversation reframed (and we do it during our programs) so that women focus on what they want for their careers; on what makes them feel fulfilled both personally and professionally. Focusing on goals and the areas that support those goals is key to a woman’s professional success and to her having an integrated life. We will continue to stress, more fervently than ever, that success is not about having it all; it’s about having what you set out to accomplish.
  3. Help develop expansive mind sets at all corporate levels to fuel growth and innovation
    When employees, managers and leaders rely solely on their own view, they not only miss understanding how others see the world, they miss the opportunity to leverage the “power” different points of view can have on organizational as well as personal growth. Because the stakes are higher and the consequences of myopia greater, clinging to a limited point of view at the top levels of corporations is especially detrimental. It’s our on-going goal at WOMEN Unlimited to support our participants, our alumnae, our existing partners and our potential ones in abandoning outdated pre-conceived notions, and in developing instead an authentic appreciation of different styles, strategies and approaches.

As we look forward from our 20th anniversary we’d love to hear from you. Please post your comments on how YOU want the corporate landscape to change. Be sure to follow us on Twitter as well – @womenunlimited_

Dr. Rosina L. Racioppi
President & CEO
WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.