As many of you know the “MEN” in our name, is an acronym for Mentoring, Education and Networking. These three pillars have formed the foundation of our strategy since we began over 20 years ago.
Also, fundamental to our strategy and to the success of our corporate partners is the integration of these pillars well beyond the women who are involved in our programs. By taking an organization-wide approach, our corporate partners complement their business and talent strategies and enjoy results that positively impact growth and profitability. We have a long track record of statistical and anecdotal evidence that shows how broad-based benefits accrue when Mentoring, Education and Networking are embraced organization-wide.
Let me give you just a few examples
- Managers: When male managers (who comprise over 60% of those to whom our participants report) are actively engaged in the development process for their high potential women, they gain critical insights that help them understand the problems that women undergo as they transition to leaders. They become “educated” to a new way of thinking. They gain a better understanding of the differences in how women perceive and are perceived by the organization. Additionally, during their engagement with the program, managers may become aware of their unconscious bias and discover how to provide feedback that women can understand. Bottom line –managers learn how to more effectively develop the high potential women on their team.
- Mentors: Women in our programs develop the critical business skills of cultivating mentors and of actively creating relationships that are truly productive to their careers. As a result, they learn how to form strategic business alliances in a variety of contexts and, following graduation, continue to seek out these career-supporting relationships. However, it is not just our women participants who benefit. Over and over, both male and female mentors have told us that being involved in the mentoring process has been a growth and education experience for them. They have a better understanding of how to engage future mentees. They learn about the specific hurdles women face. They leverage these findings into better managing and developing female talent back in their own workplaces.
- C-Suite Executives — A recent study of CEOs found that while the CEOs were committed to creating an organizational environment supporting women’s advancement, middle managers were unclear on the specific actions they needed to take. Often, when realizing this disconnect, CEOs and C-suite executives have taken a more defined role in making their position clear, including requiring metrics on female talent development and advancement.
That’s why at WOMEN Unlimited our approach to Mentoring, Education and Networking is an inclusive one. We work with Human Resources to help pinpoint the best candidates for our programs…we have regular calls and conversations with our participants’ managers to support the manager’s continued development…we encourage executives to become mentors and help them effectively mentor and guide emerging and mid- career women …we provide ongoing support to our alumnae so they stay connected to their network of multi-functional, multi-organizational peers.
It is our pleasure to provide resources, and to be seen as an organizational solution, to our corporate partners as they seek to ensure more women make their way to the highest levels of their corporations. Leveraging these resources creates an impact across the entire organization.
Dr. Rosina L. Racioppi
President & CEO
WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.