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Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn supports Latina entrepreneurs at 2021 WEES 

Latinas in Business is honored to welcome Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn as a guest speaker at tonight’s 2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards Ceremony as part of the THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit. 

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Assemblywoman, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is the Assemblymember and State Committee Woman/District Leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District representing Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn. She is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), which serves to promote economic diversity in New York State.

A champion for small minority and women owned businesses

Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn is an accomplished leader, a former Wall Street banker, engineer and small business owner who has leveraged her experience in the free market to push public-private partnership initiatives across the state. She has sponsored legislation in the Assembly which reauthorized the MWBE program for five more years under article 15-A; raised the personal net worth cap for MWBE applicants from $3.5 million to $15 million, making more businesses eligible for the MWBE program; increased discretionary purchasing thresholds from $200,000 to $500,000; and created mentorship/workforce development programs as well as a pilot program that expands contracting opportunities for small/MWBE businesses with a total value of up to $20 million. Bichotte Hermelyn has established relationships with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Dept. of Design and Construction (DDC), School Construction Authority (SCA) and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY); and all have set MWBE hiring goals. 

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, surrounded by fellow Assemblymembers and members of the Women’s Builders Council, speaks about MWBE legislation and opportunities that exist for women. December 6, 2017 (Image source)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she championed bills to jump start the economy and improve equity for minority and women-owned small business owners. Bichotte Hermelyn hosted a webinar and participated in several panels with MWBE stakeholders to help them navigate the Coronavirus crisis and access resources, including grants and loans, and helped with strategies to reduce the spread of the virus. She provides annually, a platform that promotes networking, education, and resources for existing or potential MWBEs through a series of workshops at the National Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Conference. Under her leadership, the number of certified MWBE firms in New York State has more than doubled. The state has also set a goal of utilizing MWBEs for 30% of all state contracts, the highest rate in the nation. 

Her lifelong commitment to public service

Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn is also incredibly committed to public service. Since her election in 2010 as District Leader, she has used her position to facilitate and sponsor a number of community events in Flatbush, such as the first voter’s forum, which promoted fair elections, voters rights and voting demonstrations with the Board of Elections; the largest candidate forum in Brooklyn; annual senior luncheons; safe streets initiatives; and the largest Brooklyn funding forum to help non-profits learn how to access government funding.

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn and other community members gather together for a food distribution at the Flatbush Garden Community Center, June 12, 2020. (Image source)

Her advocacy centers on providing resources on affordable housing and home ownership, financial literacy of her communities, public safety initiatives and better relationships with law enforcement, affordable healthcare, high-quality public and private education, and economic development, especially for individuals seeking to open small businesses. She has lobbied in New York City, Albany and Washington as a District Leader for affordable housing and healthcare, against cuts for special education programs, an increase in the minimum wage, and growth in the small businesses and tech sector.

Now in her fourth term, it is Bichotte Hermelyn’s mission to continue to help those underrepresented and underserved in the business world recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, gain access to capital, access mentorship programs and business networks, and get opportunities to develop their business skills.

2021 WEES

Last chance to REGISTER for today’s must-attend event for all entrepreneurs, business owners, and career oriented professionals. Get the tools you need to THRIVE! post-pandemic.

Professionally, Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn has worked in a number of different capacities such as a New York Math teacher in the public school education system; an engineer in the telecommunications industry where she traveled to Japan and China on assignments; and an investment banker in the financial services industry structuring corporate finance deals. Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn was an MIT Fellow: Mel King Co-Lab Project. She earned and holds an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, an MS in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, a BS in Electrical Engineering from SUNY Buffalo, a BS in Mathematics in Secondary Education and a BT in Electrical Engineering both from Buffalo State College.

women in charge

Women in Charge: An ongoing human quest for equity

Pilar Avila and Ashley Hayes of Renovad discuss the role of women in leadership throughout history and today in the ongoing human quest for equity. 

As we organize our upcoming Renovad retreat in Blue Osa Yoga Retreat & Spa in Costa Rica, co-hosted by Latinas in Business, we cannot help but notice the variety of leadership roles held by our group of women travelers from the U.S., and the wide representation of industries and sectors. Their roles range from chief executive officer to president, founder, doctor and director; they are entrepreneurs, corporate, and foundation executives – they are leading and effecting change in the world. 

Ocean Tree at parque Nacional Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica. (Photo by Luiz Cent on Unsplash)

Coincidentally, when researching about matriarchal societies, at the top of the list is a small indigenous society called the Bribrí, in Costa Rica. The Bribrí culture is matrilineal, meaning that women inherit the family property, generating great respect for those women in charge. It feels that we are literally heading in the right direction. 

Looking back at world history, we are normally directed towards learning about the great patriarchal societies of the Byzantine and Roman empires. During ancient times in most of Greece, women were separated from men and were not permitted to participate in government or appear in public. The gender separation was so stringent, that men even played female roles on stage. 

By contrast, in Sparta, women were seen as equal to men. Spartans believed strong intelligent women would bear strong intelligent children, therefore, women were educated and trained to fight. 

Spartan running girl. (Caeciliusinhorto, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

An extraordinary example of matriarchal societies in Mesoamerica, Mayan women were highly regarded for their ability to bear children. They were also as equally active as men in farming and leaders in political and economic discussions. 

Women in charge

As we consider the role of women in charge around the world today, there are some who continue to ponder why nations led by women have been most effective in reducing the coronavirus spread and protecting lives during the ongoing global pandemic. 

Women in charge, women in leadership

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern (Ministry of Justice of New Zealand, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been successful at eradicating the virus through stringent life-saving lockdown measures. President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen has led one of the most successful efforts in the globe to contain the virus through testing, tracing and isolation measures.

Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of Finland, leads the country with a coalition of four female-led parties and the nation is coping far better than its neighboring Nordic countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has not only been successful at navigating the epidemic and faring much better than most European and world nations, but she has dominated the political scene in Germany for the last 16 years.

There may be some answers in the findings of a study conducted by researchers at Lehigh University, Maastricht University in the Netherlands and University of Antwerp in Belgium. It found that institutions seek more change and less risk when women are in top management teams. 

Women in charge of making company decisions are more likely to look beyond the decision and also take into consideration the effect on company performance. Having women in top management positions is the best way to not only diversify perspectives but also to diversify outcomes.

Women leading the country

The U.S. political stage looked like never before during the recent and first address to the nation by President Joe Biden since his election last November. Two women were behind the Presidential podium, Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, serving in this role since 2019, and previously 2007-2011, while serving as representative since 1987. 

women in charge

VP Harris joins the 2021 JSOC with Speaker Pelosi and President Biden. (Office of Vice President of the United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

It is indisputable that in the nation that denied women the right to vote until the 19th Amendment of the Constitution in 1920, women today are rising to leadership across every sector, industry, and geography in the land. 

Although we believe we are heading in the right direction, we do not intend to suggest that the right direction is a world dominated by women in charge, but a world where all humans, regardless of gender, can learn, grow, lead, thrive, and live free. And as such, we continue to take steps towards equity for all. 

About the authors:

Pilar Avila is founder of interductus | Renovad, a change management firm providing business advisory to institutions, and professional development and wellness to global leaders. Over the last three decades, Pilar has provided leadership at institutions across the private equity, hospitality, and nonprofit sectors, earning a strong reputation as a business and civic change leader. She is regarded as a strategic, innovative, multidisciplinary, results-oriented change agent passionate about the rise of diverse leadership, promoting equal access to economic opportunity and investing in education. 

Ashley Hayes is the director of global operations and programs at interductus | Renovad. As such, Ashley’s goal is to promote diversity and equality while also helping to embolden and elevate global leaders to success – whether it be in wellness, intellectually, professionally, or in their philanthropic endeavors. She is committed to magnifying the capacity and impact of current and emerging generations of leaders around the globe.

2021 WEES Speaker Maria Piastre: A Latina leader excels in a male-dominated industry 

In 2017, after only 12 years working in this male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre was appointed Metallix Refining Inc. President. Ambition had always been a driving force fueled by a passion for the industry, but never did she imagine to be made President.

The 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit motto is THRIVE! with our panels and workshops focusing on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners and give them the tools and insights to propel forward and thrive post-COVID19. 

Our women’s panel,THRIVE! Women Turning Adversity into Success”, will feature guest speakers: Maria Piastre, Marvina Robinson, and Jessie Gabriel as they share insights learned on their journey to success while fighting the odds of being a woman and reinventing themselves during the pandemic. Below, Maria shares her story with us of how she rose through the ranks and excelled in a male-dominated industry as a Latina, eventually becoming company CE

 

“The leap of faith never fails”

Maria Piastre was born and raised in Cali, Colombia. She came to the USA in 2000, the start of a new millennium, one that would unveil marriage, a young family, graduation, and professional achievements in business. 

woman in a male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre

Maria Piastre, President of Metallix Refining Inc.

As her career path was still uncharted, Maria’s tenacity for success and recognition would prove to be her armor against the many inequalities she would encounter. Later these inequalities would form the foundation for future campaigns.

Maria graduated from Kean University in 2004 with a degree in Economics thanks to the unconditional support of her family.  She then entered the world of business and commerce. Over the next two years, the motivated Latina immigrant excelled in business management, marketing strategy, aesthetic value, with an aptitude for communication at all levels. 

With the end of 2005 insight, Maria reflected on both her achievements and looked towards new challenges that would be more aligned with her goals and those of the organization she would represent. This new chapter of discovery would lead Maria to Metallix and a career in the male-dominated industry of precious metals where her future would soon unfold and be a platform for success.

“Facing new challenges can often be very daunting and come with their own set of risks but taken intelligently, they will open doors to countless possibilities where the rewards can be high,” Maria asserts. 

And she continues, “The leap of faith never fails because you learn something valuable about your decision and the events in your life, bringing growth and confidence.  Survival makes you strong and it is an understanding of failure that makes you realize this is not the end of the line, but just the beginning of a new chapter.” 

Achieving success as a woman in a male-dominated industry

In 2006 Metallix Refining Inc., a precious metals recycling company in New Jersey, announced they were recruiting for an inside sales position to cover Latin America. 

Maria, a native Spanish speaker, fluent in English with a background in sales and marketing, applied for the opening and received an interview offer from Eric Leiner, owner and then President.

For any profession, being prepared for whatever situation you face is crucial; it is a professional obligation to your colleagues and suppliers to answer their questions fully and present them with the best, most relevant, and actionable recommendation.

Maria applied the same professional approach to the Metallix interview. Reading precious metals and refining trade magazines, researching product supply to the industry from gold-plated connectors to solar industry production, all of which made for credibility and confidence during the interview process and responses.

woman in a male-dominated industry

Maria during her tour of Asia meeting with our Technical Director Claudio Ferrini and the General Manager of Metallix Refining Asia Mr. SB Sangbae Kim. (Photo courtesy Maria Piastre)

There is always a voice of doubt and moments of anxiousness when you want something which is almost in touching distance, and for Maria, this was no exception. 

However, instead of a second interview, she received a job offer. The strategy had worked, and Eric Leiner was thrilled when Maria accepted.

The best place to work is the place you can be at your best and this was true for Maria.  Maria started to learn the business and soon fell in love with her job and became fascinated by the industry. 

With increasing industry knowledge and eagerness to grow within the company, Maria assumed additional responsibility bringing in new business, developing good relationships with industry partners and leading the way for improvements within Metallix.

In 2007, following the birth of her second son, Maria took a short career break from Metallix.  In a competitive and male-dominated industry time away can often result in missing significant opportunities.  “The progressive mindset of Metallix and their appreciation for my professional achievements and value to the company, secured my time away from the industry – a luxury many working mothers do not enjoy. I will always be grateful for such important consideration to my family,” Maria explained.   

Upon her return, she continued to achieve recognition within Metallix, taking on significant responsibilities assigned by Lerner.  

“The only limits are those you set yourself”

In 2017, after only 12 years working in this male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre  was appointed company President.  Ambition had always been a driving force fueled by a passion for the industry, but never did she imagine to be made President. This was both a pleasant shock and honor. 

woman in a male-dominated industry

Maria interacts with every member of the Metallix Team, making an effort to engage with every employee on her many frequent visits to the Refinery. (Photo courtesy Maria Piastre)

The sense of humility that Maria brings to the position transcends not just gender but embraces a new generation of values, of learning and reward based on individual merit, with the only limits being those you set yourself.

“As an immigrant to the US, I know only too well the challenges we all will encounter, especially for minority groups. The road will not always be smooth, and regardless of your cultural background, you should believe in yourself, your self-worth, your ability to succeed and that your qualities will always shine through to achieve rewards,” Maria advises Latinas in Business readers. This ethos is ingrained in Maria’s leadership.

One of the most important responsibilities as President was to establish a vision, a long-term mission with short-term objectives.  These will ultimately determine the expectations for the company’s culture and core values that will lead Metallix at multiple levels ensuring alignment throughout. Equally, recruiting talent and nurturing Executive growth for succession planning is key to building sustainability and industry expertise.  

Now guardian of a prestigious and respected precious metals recycling company, with locations in New Jersey, Greenville, and Maxton, North Carolina, the pattern of reinvestment and growth is set to continue. 

In 2019 the company embarked on a significant expansion program establishing Metallix Refining Asia Ltd in South Korean and Metallix Refining Europe Ltd based in the UK. 

These two new facilities secured the recruitment of the industry’s most experienced and respected personnel, opening up new and untapped revenue sources to add to the diverse industries already served by Metallix.

You might be interested: Martial Arts Sensen Marieangelic Martinez defeats industry stigma and work-life balance

Evolving with the times

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Maria has witnessed and experienced many changes over the last 12 years and has been influential to many changes herself. Through Maria’s values, Metallix is a multicultural employer with promotions based on ability, not gender, and an environment where there is no place for discrimination or bullying. 

As 2020 has seen the impact of COVID-19 on businesses globally, Metallix has been no exception. 

Maria at the Precious Metals Refining meeting the Metallix Trucks arriving back to the Refinery (Photo courtesy Maria Piastre)

“Business models once tried and tested no longer applied, and the way to survive and grow in this new economic market would be through technology, Maria said.”Metallix has always made a significant investment in equipment and applied sciences resulting in the Metallix Precious Metals Refinery becoming a world-class facility. We now needed to apply the same approach to sales and communication,” Maria explained. 

In addition to travel and face-to-face meetings no longer possible, video conferencing and social media platforms have been tools in which to maintain stability in the supply chain.  Metallix has an experienced team of buyers providing materials management guidance and support, managing social risks to protect our employees, suppliers, and the community. 

Under Maria’s leadership, Metallix Refining Inc. strives to provide exceptional customer service with world-class facilities that continue to achieve excellence for our customers.

Healing Leadership

Healing Leadership: A conversation with Dr. Ginny Baro about the need for great leaders

Author of the #1 Bestseller, Fearless Women at Work, delivers her second book, Healing Leadership, that explores the secrets of healing leadership and recommends high-performance habits for improving self-leadership and developing a growth mindset and resilience. 

Ginny Baro

Dr. Ginny Baro, #1 bestselling author, award-winning international motivational speaker, certified leadership coach, and career strategist

Dr. Ginny A. Baro is an award-winning international motivational speaker, certified leadership coach, career strategist, and #1 bestselling author of Fearless Women at Work. Named one of the Top 100 Global Thought Leaders, she delivers coaching programs, trainings, and keynotes to global audiences to develop individual women and leaders and helps Fortune 500 companies build inclusive leadership dream teams. Prior to starting ExecutiveBound®, Baro, who holds a Ph.D. in information systems, an MS in computer science, an MBA in management and a BA in Computer Science and Economics, was a director at Lord, Abbett & Co., LLC. She also worked for Alliance Bernstein and Prudential. She immigrated to the U.S. at age 14 from the Dominican Republic and speaks fluent Spanish. Healing Leadership (Bavaro Press) is her second book.

You might be interested: Changing leadership after #METOO a conversation with executive coach Dr. Ginny Baro

The genesis behind Healing Leadership: A conversation with Susana Baumann and Dr. Ginny Baro

Latinas in Business CEO and President, Susana G Baumann, sat down with Dr. Baro to discuss her upcoming book, Healing Leadership, which comes out April 14th, 2021. 

The highly anticipated book did not start out as a book at all. Originally it began as a series of interviews with five leaders that Ginny conducted for her Fearless Leaders Challenge, a five day training event for Fearless Women At Work, back in the middle of the pandemic during May 2020. The focus of the interviews was to explore three main questions: What are the critical skills that leaders need right now in the middle of a pandemic, where there’s so much uncertainty? What can companies do to develop their leaders and their talent during this time when people are virtual? And what can leaders do to develop a unique edge?

Healing Leadership

Dr. Ginny Baro’s upcoming book, Healing Leadership. Out April 14th.

Ginny Baro 

Those were the three questions that I was very curious about. So I went through the five interviews. And when I finished, I started to write out a framework for the Fearless Leaders Challenge….Well, what I realized is that intuitively, what I wrote out was the table of contents for a new book, not for a five day challenge. There were way too many subjects to be covered in five days. And that was the genesis of Healing Leadership….I know the last 30 years that I’ve been around working, I have been exposed to so many different types of leaders and I knew  from that experience that leaders make or break an organization, and that so many of us leaders never received a manual of how to be great leaders. And so this became my goal to not only talk about my experiences, but also bring other leaders’ experiences to be part of this project. And that’s how you got involved in this book and 40 other leaders along with you.

Susana G Baumann  15:29  

Yes. And I thank you very much for the opportunity. It was fun to do the podcast and then to read the result of the interview was really very, very humbling. Now, Ginny, what is the core topic of healing leaders leadership? What do you think leadership needs to be healed?

Ginny Baro  15:54  

So yes, by the title Healing Leadership, it implies that there’s healing to be done. So that the healing to be done, from my perspective, is that there dis-ease, disease in leadership today. And like I mentioned, there, we were never taught, we were never trained to be good or great leaders and inclusive leaders. If we’re lucky to have a good role model, then we lucked out. But if we don’t have a good role model that we can emulate, we end up doing a lot of things that create the toxic work cultures that marginalize people at work. And that, quite frankly, doesn’t do justice to the talent that we are leading. And so that is really the core of all the topics that I discussed in the book have to do with: how do we show up as leaders in a way that, rather than create a toxic culture, it cultivates the type of inclusive culture that allows all of our talent to flourish based on their qualities and their abilities? How can we as leaders cultivate those talents, so that we can coach, mentor, and develop them and so that those that have what it takes can rise to the top and continue the leading legacy and be able to lead our teams to higher productivity, to be more cohesive, to collaborate, to innovate, and do all the things that we need our businesses to do to survive and thrive.

Susana G Baumann  17:35  

Very, very interesting. Now, you mentioned that you started with five interviews, right? And then you ended having 41. So how did you select the people who were going to be part of your book number one? And second, what was the reaction when you extended the invitation?

Ginny Baro  18:00  

So number one, I just want to say that if you have any project where you’re thinking of involving other people, people, I think, by nature, meet their need for contribution when they say yes to you. And so number one is I made sure that the topic was interesting, “healing leadership”, everybody said, ‘I’ll talk about that.’ Right? Everybody has an opinion about what critical skills leaders need. Everybody has an opinion as to how they should be developing leaders. And everyone has an opinion about how to develop a unique edge, because the leaders that I asked, they had all done all of those things. So I went out with the goal of finding diversity. I wanted to include the voices of leaders who were just emerging, and leaders who had retired. So I speak to Nicole who’s only been in business for four years out of college. And I speak to Jerome and Nick Donofrio who ran IBM, and who also were the CEO of Sealed Air, the inventor of bubble wrap. So everything in-between, including Susana Baumann, the leader of Latinas in Business, of course, and Pilar Avila, who as we know, or everybody who knows Pilar, she’s running Renovad, and she is really transforming how women show up as leaders in business. And so when you get such a beautiful array of people from different sectors, profit, nonprofit, from different industries, from financial services to pharma, all over the place, I believed that that was going to give the book nice texture and background and speaks to the value of diversity and inclusion.

experiential retreats

Pilar Avila, Founder and CEO, InterDUCTUS and Renovad

Susana G Baumann  20:21  

Which gives you a fantastic opportunity to showcase like you said, a very, very wide range of opinions and attitudes towards leadership, and also different modalities and different styles of leadership, which is important for people to be able to choose, ‘Well, this is my my type of leadership that I can follow and service.’ 

Ginny Baro 20:45

Absolutely. Yeah. 

Susana G Baumann 20:47

So Ginny, tell me, just to end this interview: What is the main takeaway? Why do I have to buy the book? 

Ginny Baro  21:16  

For me, it’s really about what I mentioned, we did not get a leadership manual when we became leaders. And I believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed, like anything when it comes to self development, when we take ourselves and our development seriously, and we identify what are those leadership skills are: communication, empathy, empowering our team, setting the vision, being the conduit for change and transformation, leading with flexibility, all those skills that are so important as leaders, that once we know what they are, we can become that type of leader.

Dr. Ginny Baro on leadership: “I believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed…and when we identify what are those leadership skills are: communication, empathy, empowering our team, [etc]…we can become that type of leader.”

And if we’re not leading in our business roles, right now, guess what? We are all leaders in our own life. So my biggest takeaway and desire for this book is for people to have this roadmap. And they can assess, ‘how am I doing against these critical leadership skills?’ And if they don’t have one of those skills, they now know and they have the tools in the book to acquire the skills, and the resources, because I’m also creating a wonderful community of leaders, where they can reach out to any of the 41 leaders, including myself, and learn more, and continue to expand their network. And this is one of the topics that I discussed at length in the book: How to build an inclusive network of allies and supporters that will support your career and that will help you reach your full potential, because we cannot do this alone. And if we even try, we will find out that we will fail really fast.

Susana G Baumann  22:58  

Correct. Yes, we have to create these networks of collaboration among leaders, among businesses, among women, among all the qualifiers and labels that you can imagine, because that’s when you get the momentum that is necessary to develop the type of leadership that we want for our children, for our employees, for our communities. That’s the attitude of service that you have had for many, many years. And I commend you extremely for that. I think you’re a really brilliant professional in what you do. And congratulations on the new book.

Ginny Baro  23:51  

Thank you, Susana, and I’m always so grateful to you.

To get your copy of Healing Leadership, out April 14th, and access everything related to the book from bonuses to downloads and become part of the Healing Leadership community, visit HealingLeadership.com

benefits of women in companies

7 Benefits of having women in companies

Did you know, companies that decide to employ women are able to increase their productivity, adapt better to changes and have a more stable workforce?

According to UN Women, companies where three or more women hold senior executive roles benefit from higher performance in organizational effectiveness.

The participation of women in the workforce decreased from 51% in 2000 to 48% in 2019, globally; and in all countries, they face wage gaps, according to World Bank data. In addition, although women represent 40% of the global workforce, and many of them manage to have their own businesses, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), 48% of their productive potential is not used, compared to the 22% of men.

Against this background, James Hernández, president and co-founder of Trust Corporate, and a consultant on financial, legal, and organizational issues, states: “It is time to advance in favor of gender equality, where both men and women are guaranteed equal access to work, with emphasis on recognizing women as agents of growth and sustainability in organizations.” 

The consultant mentions below some of the top benefits of having women in companies. 

7 benefits of having women in companies

  1. Increase in creativity and productivity: Having diverse work groups in which men and women coexist encourages creativity. Women are able to bring together people, group opinions, and proposals, which favors the creation of teams, encourages participation and enhances decision-making.
  2. Cooperativity and responsibility: Women are more skillful when it comes to delegating and organizing tasks. They are more responsible, they are more open to change and they work with a greater orientation to success.
  3. Building trust: Female leaders are perceived in work environments as more honest, understanding and ethical. This aspect is fundamental since leading with honesty affects the success of the entire company, based on the satisfaction of the work team.
  4. Multitasking: Most women can perform more than one task at a time and focus on the goal. This is why companies can train them to perform new functions or entrust them with a new position.
  5. Work environment: Women contribute to conflict resolution thanks to the fact that they are often more empathetic and are more willing to communicate and receive feedback. This helps generate a better work environment in companies.
  6. Higher education than men: Young women of the Millennial generation have a higher level of studies at the time of starting their professional career, which guarantees growth and contribution of knowledge to companies.
  7. Better performance: According to an ILO report, incorporating women into management positions can result in an improvement of up to 20% in business profitability, in addition to accelerating innovation and attracting talented professionals. The study found that of 13,000 businesses, 60% benefited from the work of women in managerial positions in terms of earnings, as well as creativity and reputation.

According to UN Women, studies carried out in OECD countries and in some non-member countries show that increased participation of women in the labor force triggers faster economic growth. However, globally, the gender pay gap is 16%, which means that women earn on average 84% of what men earn.

You might be interested: Recent survey data reveal the effects of COVID-19 on women’s careers

“Although the role of women has been increasing in recent times, much remains to be done to achieve greater participation of women in the workplace. Incorporating women into a company, and promoting leadership positions for them, is a wise decision for organizations since there are many benefits obtained from having female talent in their workforce, for example, greater organizational performance and effectiveness,” concluded James Hernández, president and co-founder of Trust Corporate.

Change is HER: Inspire women to run for public office 

Currently, women are underrepresented at all levels in the 500,000+ elected offices across the U.S. In fact, women make up 51% of the U.S population, yet less than a third of elected positions. Change is HER is working to change this by inviting and encouraging women to run for public office. 

change is HER

Change is HER campaign is inspiring women to run for public office. (Graphic courtesy She Should Run).

The Problem

One of the factors that prevents women from running for public office is that they simply do not consider themselves qualified. Additionally, women are less likely to be invited and recruited to run for office than men. 

“Being invited or encouraged to run for office leads many individuals who otherwise might never consider the option to suddenly throw their hat in the ring. And women are just as likely as men to respond positively to recruitment as men, but they are asked much less often.” 

Percentage of women and men who are recruited to run for office. (Graphic source: 10 Things to Know about Women’s Representation in the United States)

The Solution

To combat these setbacks, She Should Run, in partnership with award-winning advertising agency BBDO Worldwide, have launched a nationwide public awareness and action campaign to reach 5000 diverse, change-making women who are not yet thinking about running for office but should be. The “Change is HER” campaign targets women who already contribute, every day, to the wellness of their communities, through action, support and care. 

By highlighting their accomplishments, the campaign aims to inspire them to run for public office. Change is HER believes that if a woman has changed someone’s life, they could be one run away from changing many others. If they care, they are already qualified.

The campaign is running across social media using hashtags #changeisher and #sheshouldrun on Instagram and Twitter

People are encouraged to the stories of the influential women in their lives and invite them to run for public office. 

Inspire the women in your life, or take the leap yourself 

Change is HER highlights three incredible women in their campaign video; Alexis Sanchez, Olympia Auset and Ebony N.Mayo, who have dedicated themselves and their time to help others, as they are celebrated and encouraged to run for office by those who have witnessed their actions. 

Olympia Auset, Ebony N. Mayo, and Alexis Sanchez are three incredible change-makers in their communities who have been encouraged to run for public office. (Image courtesy Change is HER campaign). 

Olympia Auset dedicates her time to the health of her community, in South central LA, through a low-cost organic grocery program. 

Ebony N. Mayo is an actress and founder of a cigar company who volunteers every weekend with the Brown Bag Lady organization, to help the homeless people of their communities.

Alexis Sanchez is a trans activist who is dedicated to empower transgender youth among other fights.

Their stories are inspiring and uplifting reminders that women have and deserve a place in leadership. Women already occupy workplaces and professions that have the most direct consequence for our daily lives, such as healthcare and education, yet they still are underrepresented in elected positions.

If you know a woman who would be great in elected office, invite her to consider the possibility. It could make all the difference! 

You might be interested: 12 Latina leaders honored in 2020

She Should Run is a nonpartisan nonprofit working to increase the number of women considering running for public office, by identifying and tackling the barriers to elected leadership.

Their programs unveil the many pathways to leadership, guide women toward discovering their “why,” and connect them with a supportive Community who are in varying stages of their own journeys, ultimately building their confidence toward a future run for office.

leadership

Impact Consulting LLC a Latina-owned firm aims at disrupting leadership status-quo

Lucy Sorrentini is the founder and CEO of Impact Consulting LLC, a management consulting firm that focuses on disrupting the status-quo in leadership diverse representation.

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Lucy Sorrentini with Impact Consulting LLC team, a management consulting boutique firm that aims at disrupting the status-quo of leadership diversity

The firm designs and executes programs for women and multicultural professionals, offering organizational development and talent consulting services, professional and leadership development training and executive and small group coaching services.

Lucy created her consulting firm after more than 20 years in corporate executive human resource roles, most recently as Diversity & Inclusion Leader at Booz Allen Hamilton.

Throughout her years working in the corporate world, she witnessed a lack of diversity in leadership roles and the many challenges and struggles women and multicultural individuals faced. As a corporate leader herself, Lucy felt compelled to use her position and resources to help others.

Lucy’s strong feminine role model in leadership

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Lucy Sorrentini, founder and CEO at Impact Consulting LLC

A Puerto Rican Latina born and raised in the South Bronx, Lucy grew up surrounded by strong hardworking individuals, her biggest inspiration being her mother. Widowed at 33 and left to raise seven children, Lucy’s mother worked long hours as a bodega owner.

“Never once did I see her complain about having to work 12 to 14 hour shifts 7 days a week,” Lucy shared. “By far she was one of the most resilient women I have ever met.”

Lucy’s childhood and upbringing formed her strong passion for helping others and her devotion to her fellow “sisters.” As a young girl she loved to volunteer at church and community events. Her experiences growing up in a women-centered household and attending both an all-girls high school and all-women’s college showed her the benefits of being part of a “sisterhood.” These experiences also revealed the challenges faced by smart, talented, and caring women.

“I’ve always had the aspiration to start a venture of my own and I always knew it would be in a space that empowered women and girls.”

Once she entered the corporate world, Lucy used her influence to raise awareness of the conscious and unconscious biases that stood in the way of equal opportunity and advancement of minorities in leadership and she also worked to improve businesses and human resource systems.

These issues were only one part of the problem though. What Lucy began noticing was that many diverse potential leaders were “opting out” of leadership and not because they weren’t qualified or interested.

“They did not feel valued for being themselves,” Lucy explained, “and they did not want to compromise their authenticity for the sake of advancing to the next level.”

It was then that Lucy had a “light-bulb moment” which prompted her decision to create her own firm focused exclusively on solving these issues.  

Trials and tribulations of a Latina entrepreneur

leadership

Lucy Sorrentini is an active advocate for women and other minority individuals thorugh Diversity & Inclusion, Leadership Development and Executive Coaching strategies and solutions.

Her entrepreneurial journey has been both challenging and rewarding. The biggest initial challenge for Lucy was translating her plan and mission into a sustainable and profitable business.

“I underestimated the level of effort that comes with being an entrepreneur,” she said. “Although I was prepared with knowledge, expertise, solid networks, and capital funding, I did not think through all the details involved with going from business plan to execution.”

She participated in Goldman Sachs 10K and Tory Burch Small Business Programs for early start businesses, which helped Lucy rethink and further develop her business and move past these challenges.

Main strengths that also helped set her apart from others are her values based leadership, expertise, and results with impact.

Her biggest advice is to know your client and be clear on what problem you are solving for them. “I work diligently to support the values of clients and make the client’s mission, my mission.”

Her expertise in the field allows her to deliver solutions with the maximum impact to her clients and she is focused on results. “Strategy without implementation is just as bad as implementation without strategy. My experience brings both to my clients in a way that is achievable, measurable, and sustainable.”

Not everyone starting out has the years of experience that Lucy does, but she recommends to look at those who came before you and have achieved success and study their methods.

“Expand your network and sphere of influence to include others who will provide you with feedback and support you on your entrepreneurial journey.”

You might be interested: Ileana Musa developing ALPFA Latina leaders for a global society

Lastly she hopes others take the time to enjoy the journey. “Always remember why it is that you went into business for yourself in the first place. This will by far be one of the most challenging and exciting times of your life!”

Lucy holds an Executive MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, and a B.S. from the College of New Rochelle in New York. She is a Certified Coach with the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching and the Myers Briggs Foundation.

Johan De Nysschen, president of General Motors Co.'s Cadillac unit, left, Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors Co. (GM), and Mark Reuss, executive vice president of global product development at GM,

Women in leadership redefining corporate America

Corporate culture has been identified as an underlying issue for lack of women in leadership positions in the workplace. Within the USA, gender and race discrimination clearly still exists and unfortunately it inevitably leaves minorities feeling isolated. However, a recent study entitled The Everest Project is throwing some hope into this controversial topic.

Johan De Nysschen, president of General Motors Co.'s Cadillac unit, left, Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors Co. (GM), and Mark Reuss, executive vice president of global product development at GM,

Johan De Nysschen, president of General Motors Co.’s Cadillac unit, left, Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors Co. (GM), and Mark Reuss, executive vice president of global product development at GM, attend a Cadillac event at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Are women in leadership truly redefining corporate America?

The Everest Project seeks to find answers. In their 2016 Eve of Change: Women Redefining Corporate America report, researchers analyzed two years of interviews with 132 women in senior leadership roles – including Hispanic, Black, Pan-Asian, White and LGBT women in over 80 Fortune 500 corporations within different industries and regions in the US.

For a more comprehensive perspective, the report was amplified by conducting an other 260 interviews with executive level personnel to whom these women reported. Women interviewed as well as their managers were selected predominantly within zero to three levels of CEO role.

Among many findings, the study highlighted that 57 percent of the strategic changes within the companies researched were directed by women, identifying that women are leading change and transformation within US organizations. The research concludes that women have used their cultural and gender qualities as leadership strength to create innovations in the boardroom.

As exciting as these results might sound, it is hard to believe that female influence can cause such a strong impact in corporate America. A study by CNNMoney shows that only 14.2 percent of the top five leadership roles in businesses within the S&P 500 are held by women. Even more concerning is the fact that out of 500 companies involved in this research, only 24 CEO seats are occupied by females while only 16.5 percent of chief financial officers, chief operating officers and other key roles at major companies are held by women, a small pool of leaders to draw from.

“Yet current corporate leaders are still a long way from reflecting the diversity of their employees,” The Everest Report says. “One [interviewed] Everest executive’s manager (also a woman) observes, ‘We experience change, but have women gotten to the top? Looking at the top there are only white men… It’s like you have a glass ceiling and then you have lead above a glass ceiling.’ Women occupy 53% of all professional-level jobs, but they represent ever-slimmer wedges of the pie closer to the top. When race and ethnicity are added to the mix, the imbalance is even greater, with numbers almost too small to analyze. And despite a changing landscape, 53% of LGBT workers nationwide still have to hide who they are at work at the cost of individual employee engagement and retention.” (The Everest Report, pp. 28-30)

What do executive women bring to the table?

Pamela Carlton and Lily Tang, co-founders of The Everest Project

Pamela Carlton and Lily Tang, co-founders of The Everest Project

Gender diversity at a senior management level is a topical yet controversial subject. In 2011, a report called “The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance And Women’s Representation On Boards” clearly defined a positive link between gender diversity at board level and financial performance.

The report highlights that a diverse, inclusive environment at senior management level is not just essential to improve opportunities for women but also benefits economic results and profits as a business.

Measuring return on sales (ROS), return on invested capital (ROIC), and return on equity (ROE), findings in this report include:

  • Companies with the most women board directors (WBD) outperform those with the least on ROS by 16 percent.
  • Companies with the most WBD outperform those with the least on ROIC by 26 percent.
  • Companies with sustained high representation of WBD, defined as those with three or more WBD in at least four of five years, significantly outperformed those with sustained low representation by 84 percent on ROS, by 60 percent on ROIC, and by 46 percent on ROE.
  • Encouraging a corporate culture that is focused on equality could help develop and attract talented and ambitious women while increasing levels of employee satisfaction and motivation.

The Everest Project approaches the issue from another perspective. “Effectively bringing together diverse individuals in a workplace requires what’s known as cultural intelligence—or the capability to bridge the gap with people from other cultures and even subcultures within your own group. This is an ability that Everest women possess in great measure, and they demonstrate its known contribution to team, leadership, and managerial effectiveness. They’re remarkably comfortable leading diverse groups, drawing upon their knowledge and experiences of their difference to connect with employees and relate to clients.” (p. 33)

They are conducting corporate culture change by applying their own gender strengths to leadership: embracing smart risk, practicing humility as a critically important strategic skill, bringing collaboration as new reality of hyper connected environments, and understanding that bringing in differences means having more to contribute.

Companies must invest in analyzing their cultural issues, in order to successfully address and overcome bias opinions within the workplace. The businesses that fail to adapt to these demands will find that they also fail to attract the best talent, retain their employees and ultimately struggle to keep up with society’s expectations of them as an employer.

How does corporate America deal with gender discrimination?

A lack of opportunities for ambitious and talented people might force them to look elsewhere to develop their career, especially within certain industries that lack the ability to cater to their career aspirations.

See in this interactive graph how gender and minority diversity are represented in the Tech industry.

See on this interactive infograph how gender and minority diversity are represented in the Tech industry. http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/20/9179853/tech-diversity-scorecard-apple-google-microsoft-facebook-intel-twitter-amazon

For example, within the technology industry, lack of diversity is common. Some women in leadership feel uncomfortable within their work environment. Gender discrimination but also issues facing their age, sexuality and race or ethnic backgrounds have been highlighted as the main reason why many were leaving the technology industry.

To improve upon these issues, training, cultural assessments and distinctive career paths for every employee should be considered. These solutions offer heightened visibility and transparency of a business’s workforce, whilst creating processes that extinguish any unconscious bias existing within America’s corporate environment.

“When powerful women take on the status quo, the very definition of leadership changes. Risk becomes investment in learning, and being different means having more to contribute. The mantras for collective genius and shared value replace the win-lose, in-or-out mentality. Women today are designing a new corporate culture for a time of rapid change.” (p. 36)

Diversity is an opportunity for businesses in corporate America to develop their competitive advantage, while attracting, retaining and developing talented people. There is still more work to be done to improve women in leadership representation within corporate culture. Society is adding more and more pressure for corporate organizations to overcome these challenges. Businesses that invest in gender diversity now will see improvements in their financial, economic and workforce performance as they train and mentor the future leaders of tomorrow.