This is the last in my series focusing on the three major players helping women achieve their full potential. We’ve previously looked at managers and mentors. In this blog, I’ll focus on the women themselves.
Every year WOMEN Unlimited engages with hundreds of women who participate in our programs throughout the United States and in Asia Pacific. Plus we continue to provide development resources to our over 11,000 alumnae via The WUN – alumnae network. Through both formal and informal research, we identify the current opportunities and challenges women face as they strive to reach the highest levels in their organizations.
Over and over high potential women tell us that, as they look to advance their careers, they are seeking strategies to:
- leverage their existing talents
- develop new leadership skills
- deal with corporate culture and attitudes
- increase their corporate visibility
- ensure a work/life balance
Our development programs—with the help of our WOMEN Unlimited team and our participants’ managers, mentors and peers in the program –address these challenges both by developing the leadership skills of talented women and by helping them deal with ingrained corporate cultures.
We ensure that what the women experience during formal program sessions is just the beginning. We help them understand how to apply their new insights and revamped strategies and how to look at themselves and their organizations from the perspective of a leader. As a result, the women become more empowered to reach their career goals by aligning with corporate ones.
High Potential Women Pinpoint Needed Changes
It is always so heartening for us at WOMEN Unlimited to hear from our participants and alumnae how they and their organizations have benefitted from our approach. For example, our alumnae have pinpointed these areas of growth and development as a result of participation in our programs:
- Drive business results by successfully navigating the corporate landscape
- Navigate the organization for successful career management
- Communicate effectively with people across the organization
- Seen as a strong leader
- Understand how to shift behavior to be more successful
- Willing to speak up or step forward for opportunities
- Think strategically about business challenges and opportunities
- Cultivate a broad network of colleagues and mentors
- Understand how to establish relationships with key individuals
Additionally, we see that 50 to 60 % of our participants receive promotions or expanded responsibilities during the course of their program experience…with 70% reporting an expansion of their roles as well as promotions within a year of program participation.
In Their Own Words
Following each program, we ask our participants to let us know “how you are perceived differently as a result of the program.”
These are the areas most frequently mentioned:
- More confident in relationships at all organizational levels
- Greater executive presence
- More focused on the bigger picture
- More strategic
- More visible
- Less of a micromanager
To recap: Our approach of mentoring, education and networking achieves the results it does because it actively involves managers and mentors with the development of high potential women; while ensuring that the women themselves are engaged in shifting the attitudes and behaviors that may be holding them back. As a result, we have helped hundreds of corporations create a diverse pipeline of talented female leaders…improve decision making at all levels…and enjoy improved bottom line results that benefit all stakeholders.
Dr, Rosina L. Racioppi
President & CEO
WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.