Women finding equal ground in leadership roles can have an outstanding positive impact on companies and the economy. According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality in the workplace. And, the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that organizations that initially had no women in leadership and then increased their women in leadership to 30%, saw an increase of 15% in their net revenue margin.
Sojern Women’s Group
We recently launched Sojern Women’s Group (SWG) which focuses on supporting, developing, and empowering women at Sojern. SWG does this by creating a place of openness and inclusion, wherein diverse perspectives are heard and valued. SWG aspires to create business growth by making community connections and influencing the next generation of Sojern leaders.
“One of the first things that struck me when I came to Sojern was the diversity and caliber of the women that work here, women now represent 59% of our global Sojernistas. Our goal is to build a global network utilizing all of the unique talent we have throughout the company, making SWG the nexus for career development, mentorship, and a spring board for moving more women into leadership positions.”
– Cady Wolf, VP of Strategic Accounts
“Growing up in Iran I was surrounded by restrictive laws that target women, spending my adult life in the US and witnessing the continuous fight for equal rights, equal pay, right to decide for my own body is exhausting, but to so see women overcome adversity and succeed in their careers is the most rewarding part of belonging to organizations that champion women. These pioneers pave the way for other women to move forward, and it is my hope that we can change the world by empowering future women leaders.”
– Mona Ahmadi, Sr Manager Corporate FP&A
Providing Mentorship with Phocuswright’s LeadHER
We are not alone with providing mentorship to women in the travel industry. Phocuswright, the travel industry research authority on how travelers, suppliers and intermediaries connect, debuted their own Women’s Leadership Initiative (LeadHER) during the 2018 Annual Conference.
Before the Phocuswright conference professionals in the travel industry were invited to take part in a survey exploring how companies within the travel technology ecosystem stack up when it comes to promoting women’s leadership. The results were presented at the launch of the women’s leadership initiative program. The Phocuswright survey respondents were mainly from North America (68%) and Europe (20%). Their company sizes were extremely varied – 24% in companies with less than 50 employees and 19% in companies with more than 10,000 employees. A full 67% of respondents were women and while ages were spread out, a large portion, 39%, were between the ages of 41-49.
The results found that 76% of respondents believe that the absence of a plan (leadership track) is an obstacle towards having women in leadership roles—meaning organizations need to support female employees through leadership initiatives like Sojern Women’s Group and the Phocuswright LeadHER program.
The perception of gender parity is also a point of interest. Of those surveyed 41% believe that gender parity in the travel industry is below adequate. Women’s leadership initiatives can help even that perception and reality.
I was honored to be invited as one of the first LeadHER mentors and attended the inaugural breakfast hosting 250+ attendees from the travel industry. This program aligns with my personal beliefs in the importance of empowering women, and Phocuswright’s goal to connect people who are forwarding the cause of women’s leadership within travel technology businesses. Through the LeadHER initiative, women learn how to build leadership skills, identify key attributes for future growth, and help their companies form strategic plans for promoting women into leadership roles.
Being an Advocate for Women in Leadership
Richard Warr, a professor of finance at North Carolina State University and coauthor of the research report, “Do Pro‐Diversity Policies Improve Corporate Innovation?” says “There is a business case for diversity. It’s not just about trying to be nice. It’s good for business. It not only helps in terms of perception. It actually produces better outcomes.”
Creating a diverse workforce can help companies, big and small, in a variety of ways—both from a financial and cultural impact.
As a Board member of Professional Business Women of California, one of the largest women’s organizations, boasting a diverse community of over 35,000 professionals worldwide, I have witnessed first-hand the need and keen interest in personal and professional growth opportunities by women from diverse backgrounds. Whether through attending community events, webinars or conferences for women, having access to development tools, training workshops; mentoring and motivation can help develop the next generation of women leaders. Creating a diverse workforce can help companies, big and small, in a variety of ways—both from a financial and cultural impact.
Interested in building your own leadership initiative? Learn more about Phocuswright’s LeadHER program here.