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Achieving Gender Balance in Senior Leadership

Leaders from Novartis, Sodexo, Johnson & Johnson and Marriott International provide insights into critical factors that enabled their companies to make progress in gender balance in senior leadership.

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Novartis, J&J, Marriott and Sodexo have made significant progress in increasing women representation in senior leadership. Four years ago, these four companies, on average, had 13% and 6% more women in levels 2 and 3, respectively (one and two levels below CEO and direct reports), than the Top 50. Now, they have 25% and 36% more women in those levels than the Top 50. 

This panel discussion from the 2017 DiversityInc Top 50 Learning Sessions will give you insights into critical factors that enabled these companies to make progress in gender balance in senior leadership.

Panelists:

• Caryn Parlavecchio, Head of HR and US Country Head HR, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

• Wanda Hope, Chief Diversity Officer, Johnson & Johnson

• Marisa Milton, Regional VP Human Resources, Marriott International

• Moderator: Sandy Harris, Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion, Sodexo

Wells Fargo's Le Nette Rutledge Talks Transferrable Veteran Skills and Why it's Important to 'Show Up'

Rutledge, a Senior Learning & Development Consultant at Wells Fargo, talks about her journey transitioning from the U.S. Navy and why it's important to allow your authentic self to show up whether in the military or Corporate America.

Le Nette is a Learning & Development Sr. Consultant within Talent Development & Organization Effectiveness (TDOE) at Wells Fargo. She facilitates courses and programs providing leadership coaching that reinforces the vision and values of the Company for team members across all levels of the organization. Le Nette's 'why' in life is "…to courageously and compassionately impart excellence in every life, place and situation" presented to her.

Le Nette joined Wells Fargo in 2009. Prior to that, she served as a leader of learning teams for Fortune 100/500 companies to include QVC, Inc.; Lowe's Companies, Inc. and Family Dollar Stores, Inc. She retired from the United States Navy after ten (10) years of service. During that time, the fields in which she focused included Leadership Development, Facilitation/Instructional Design, Career Counseling (specifically recruiting) and Anti-submarine Warfare.

Le Nette holds a B.A. in political science from Norfolk State University in Norfolk VA and has begun work on a M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. She holds Lean Six-Sigma green belt, Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and various coaching certifications.

DI: Tell us a little bit about what it was like transitioning from the military to Corporate America.

Overall, it was fair. I had served in the US Navy for close to ten years. Prior to that time, I had held (what I refer to as ) my first 'real' job as a Bank Teller. The thought of re-entering corporate America and now having a son for whom I needed to provide was a bit intimidating. Thankfully I had a really good Transition Assistance Program experience that equipped me with information and resources to begin seeking employment. I was unemployed for approximately one year before finding continuous employment.

DI: Were there any skills you developed while in the military that have been useful in your current role?

While my primary area of expertise (rating) in the Navy was not directly applicable to most occupations in the corporate sector, the opportunities to direct teams and hone my leadership skills proved to be a great asset. Additionally, collateral assignments provided exposure to and experience in various HR disciplines. For example, since I was a Naval Instructor I learned about facilitation techniques, principles of instructional design and evaluation program effectiveness. As a result, I was able to easily transition into Learning & Development as a civilian occupation. The time I spent as a Naval Recruiter exposed me to recruiting practices, policies and experiences that were helpful when coordinating/supporting mass recruiting efforts (i.e. job fairs, seasonal hiring, conferences, etc…) in the corporate arena.

DI: Were there any ERG's, programs, or even some personal methods used to help with the initial transition of getting acclimated to a new workplace?

Great question! This is where for me there was a most noticeable void. Prior to Wells Fargo, employers with whom I worked offered nothing to assist Veterans with the initial transition. If I found an external resource that could help in my transition, my employers were typically supportive. But again, they offered/developed nothing. It would not be until several years later when joining Wells Fargo that I would (for the first time since I exited the military in 1998) have an employer who offered internal resources/programs to assist members of the military community within the organization.

DI: Also, did you always have an idea of what career or industry you wanted to pursue post-military life?

This question makes me smile. Actually, I credit the Navy with helping me realize that creating consistent and compelling learning experiences was my sweet spot; the point at which what I can do, what others need me to do and what I love to do converge. Since exiting the military, no matter the position or employer, some component of Learning & Development has been a critical component of my job responsibilities. So, a huge 'shout out' and "thank you" to the Navy for helping me discover my passion.

DI: Lastly, there are stereotypes that women can't handle the mental strain of combat or aren't strong enough. In what ways have you personally opposed these gender stereotypes in the military and continue to do so in your new role?

People will think what they think until they are willing to be open to new and different perspectives. For me, it's not so much about challenging stereotypes but rather ushering in a paradigm shift. Reality is, yes. For some women the mental strain of being in combat is more than they can bear. AND, the same is true for some men. Whether I failed or succeeded at points in my military career, it wasn't because I am a woman. It was because I am human and imperfect. This is not to say that others have not had experiences tied to gender stereotypes. It is to say that adversity due to gender was not my reality.

That being said, it is no secret that (generally) women disproportionately face certain dynamics in corporate settings than our male counterparts do (e.g., glass ceiling, equal pay, etc…). How do I usher in a paradigm shift/challenge stereotypes? I simply show up. As my best, authentic, unrelenting self – I show up. I do my best. I challenge the status quo if there is viable challenge to be made. And, I focus on helping others realize and walk their full potential. I'm a woman. When people see me, they know that. So, just in my showing up in this authentic yet results-oriented way, I offer the opportunity for others to reconsider gender stereotypes and shift their paradigm. As my mom would say at times, "Sometimes you have to show 'em rather than tell 'em."

I heard one Wells Fargo leader share this, "The military is a microcosm of society." This is so true. The same stereotypes that abound in society exist in the military…because those who serve in the military bring with them the life experiences, assumptions and beliefs of the societies of which they were previously a part.

The Informal Sisterhood: Why Women of Color Bond Through the Barriers

"These women have walked a mile in my shoes, they understand the struggle," says Michelle Gadsden-Williams, Managing Director of Inclusion and Diversity for North America at Accenture, and panelist at DiversityInc's 2018 Women of Color and Their Allies event.

Produced by: Alana Winns
Videography by: Christian Carew

Marriott's Erika Alexander: The Best Leaders Cultivate the Best Teams

"There is no way to have an extraordinary team that drives outstanding results where women of color are not represented," says Erika Alexander, Chief Lodging Services Officer at Marriott, and panelist at DiversityInc's 2018 Women of Color and Their Allies event.

Produced by: Alana Winns
Videography by: Christian Carew

Promoting Diversity's Not a Career Killer

Sodexo top leader saw her career flourish after being tapped to head up women's diversity effort.

Lorna Donatone was appointed Sodexo's Region Chair for North America and CEO of Schools worldwide in January, overseeing 133,000 employees and all Sodexo business in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

Her rise in leadership at the company has been impressive, but she wondered early on if taking on a diversity role at the company would hurt her career. Clearly, it did not, and it actually helped propel career.

Here is the first in our new video series, Leadership Career Advice, where Donatone shares a story about taking on the role of leading Sodexo's Women's Network Group in 2002.

And the following is a Q&A with Donatone conducted by DiversityInc's CEO Luke Visconti.

LUKE VISCONTI: Studies show that women and minorities who support and promote diversity at their organizations often pay a career price. Clearly, that wasn't the case at Sodexo. Why?

LORNA DONATONE: The whole question about paying a career price for being focused on diversity and inclusion, I think, exists. I think I would be naïve to believe that it didn't exist. It was exactly the opposite for me, though, and I want to tell you a story, because it was a big concern of mine. I first got on the executive committee as a new division president in 2002, around the same time as we were starting our diversity and inclusion initiatives, and really getting focused on that, and Rohini [Anand] was here. And I was asked to chair our Women's Network Group. And we were launching. And I had never done any work in the diversity space. And I was concerned that being new on the executive committee, I was going to be labeled.

VISCONTI: Right.

DONATONE: That was a big concern of mine. And so I went to my boss at the time, Michel Lendel, and I asked him, because by that time in my career, I knew if I have a question I just need to ask. And I said, “I am concerned I am going to get labeled as just focusing on diversity issues. And I want to be known for results." And he looked at me, in probably one of the shortest meetings in my whole life, and he said, “If not you, then who, Lorna?" And we concluded the meeting. I walked out. And I became chair of the Women's Network Group. And it was fantastic for my career.

VISCONTI: Now I don't want to minimize the role that Michel Lendel had in this. Not every boss is going to get it.

DONATONE: No.

VISCONTI: So you have a global CEO who truly does understand the subject.

DONATONE: Yes, and I think it's why Sodexo has become the organization that we have become, because he has been laser-focused on that. He saw it early on. He pushed the organization. We hired a fantastic chief diversity officer who made us take a hard look at ourselves, at our processes, our procedures, our hiring practices, the inclusive nature of our organization or the lack of inclusiveness. And then he made it a safe space to do that. I could easily have had a CEO who didn't want that. And he was like, “This is the only way we are going to change, you know. You are sitting at the executive committee; who better to role model this behavior?"

VISCONTI: Well in essence, he was mentoring you. And so that goes to the second question: how do your mentors and your sponsors help you in your career? And were you a good mentee? And could you have advanced without a sponsor?

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Career Advice for High Potential Women (Part I)

Women executives from Johnson & Johnson, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Marriott give career advice from mentoring to work/life balance to women working to ensure they are paid the same as their male counterparts.

Wanda Hope, Caryn Parlavecchio and Marisa Milton participated on the Achieving Gender Balance in Senior Leadership panel at the 2017 DiversityInc Top 50 event. The panel was very well received and the information these women provided was so rich, we decided to bring them back. This time, we wanted them to give career advice to high potential women, based on what they learned throughout their successful careers.

Listen to the webinar in its entirety – it is great! And don’t skip the Q&A session – that’s great too!

Webinar Panelists:

• Wanda Hope, Chief Diversity Officer, Johnson & Johnson

• Caryn Parlavecchio, Head of HR and US Country Head HR, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

• Marisa Milton, Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition & Employer Brand + Communications, Marriott International

 

• 0:01:27 – Introduction

• 0:03:55 – Q1: When you began your career, what did and didn’t you know about managing a career in a corporate environment?

• 0:13:04 – Q2: How did your mentors and your sponsors help you in your career? Could you have advanced without a sponsor? What advice would you give on having a successful sponsor/sponsoree relationship?

• 0:23:46 – Q3: What attributes must a person have to become a high potential, and succeed as a high potential?

• 0:32:53 – Q4: When being promoted or hired into a role, what can women do to ensure or work towards getting paid the same as their male counterparts?

• 0:40:00 – Q5: Can professional and personal life be balanced? If so, what advice would you give to women on how to successfully do so?

• 0:51:39 – Q6: What advice would you give to your younger self?

• 0:56:47 – Q&A

Wanda Bryant Hope Shares Her Best Piece of Career Advice

Wanda Bryant Hope, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Johnson & Johnson, and panelist at DiversityInc's 2018 Women of Color and Their Allies event, shares the best piece of career advice she once received from a mentor. #DiversityIncWOC

Produced by: Alana Winns
Videography by: Christian Carew

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