Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why High Tech Needs Women Executives

From ACM Career News Alert for Tuesday September 22 2009.

Why High Tech Needs Women Executives
Computerworld, September 8
Joyce Brocaglia, founder of the Executive Women's Forum, takes a closer look at the opportunities available for women in high tech and explains why gender diversity at the IT executive level matters. As Brocaglia explains, many companies are beginning to recognize that gender balancing is good for business. In short, the corporations that are taking actions to identify, promote and retain high-potential women are reaping the benefits. According to recent studies, Fortune 500 companies with three or more women on the board gained a significant performance advantage over those with the fewest. Moreover, those companies with the most women on their senior teams showed superior growth in equity, operational results and share price.

The issue of women as leaders is no longer simply about equal employment opportunity, it's also a matter of smart business. In 2003, Brocaglia responded to the needs of executive women in the fields of information security, privacy and risk management and founded the Executive Women's Forum. What began as one-on-one conversations about gathering like-minded women together to build a trusted network has evolved into a community of more than 500 of the most influential women in their fields who have attended national conferences, regional meetings and interact through an online community. The community has been so successful since it is a "safe place" where women gather and are willing to be authentic in sharing their successes and challenges and discuss issues that they are wrestling with.

The Executive Women’s Forum has created a culture that is confidential, inclusive, empowering, inspiring and supportive. Each year the EWF holds a national conference where nearly 200 women gather for candid conversations, interactive panel discussions, and formal and informal networking events. It all leads to women getting to know each other at a much deeper level and building lifelines that last long after the event is over. Active members of the EWF are exposed to other women that have chosen not to "opt out" and have created their own path to the executive suite. Their career ladders more often resemble career lattices and members gain insight into how other women balance and attain professional success and personal fulfillment.

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