Get More Women in Leadership Roles – How We Can Take Action Now

WomenHelpingWomen (1)Recently I was asked to be a panelist for the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) town hall in Silicon Valley. The @NWBC is a non-partisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners.

The purpose of the NWBC Town Hall and panel was to assess how regional economies support high growth women entrepreneurs, identify opportunities for future action and build relationships within the regional economy. Fellow panelists were:

  • – @Lisa Falzone, CEO, Revel Systems
  • – @Kat Manalac, Partner, Y Combinator
  • – @Sharon Miller, CEO, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center

Separately I was just named one of the Top 100 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. One of their background questions to all the honorees was “What needs to happen to get more women in leadership roles?”

While one of my areas of focus throughout my career is supporting and encouraging women in business, both these recent events caused me to think even more strategically around this subject. I’d like to share a few suggestions on how to get more women in leadership roles, and let’s build more momentum behind these and other initiatives.

Have more conversations about how to get women into leadership roles, and bring these conversations to the forefront.

Encourage women to help women. Develop a more connected (vs silo’d) community.
This can take many forms, including mentoring or “simply” by women helping each other. (This is supportive philosophy is a core underpinning of @Women In Consulting, @WIC).

Dispel the notion that only one woman can succeed in leadership at a time.

Make men part of this conversation – starting with fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands.

Address the many areas of unconscious bias.

Make a concerted effort to give visibility to women role models in leadership. This includes the working moms who are role-modeling for their children (daughters and sons).

Offer more business/entrepreneurial programs for girls in their formative years (especially ages 12-15).

Teach women how to self-promote – effectively and authentically in their own style. Build up comfort levels around self-promotion, and distinguish self-promotion from “bragging”.

Invite women into leadership roles.

I’d like to hear from you as to which of these (or others you suggest) can make the greatest impact, how can we build momentum and congruency of focus to move these forward, and get more women in leadership roles? (I also want to credit @Charlene Li for inspiring me to write this post after listening her superb talk about Digital Transformation at  WIC’s February 18 General Meeting.)

About Deborah Siegle

Deb Siegle, Past President of Women in Consulting and Principal of Strategic Marketing Solutions, is an astute marketing leader and strategist with a talent for aligning a company’s products, solutions and messages with the customer’s needs. Deb was named one of the Top Women of Influence in Silicon Valley. She delivers practical and actionable insights to business executives and entrepreneurs. Deb is a recognized consumer and business marketing leader, problem solver and communicator who is an authority in market research, strategy, market and product development, and customer loyalty and experience. Deb is also the former president of Women in Telecommunications (WiT) and has also held leadership positions in other industry associations. Deb holds a M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.B.A. from the University of Michigan.

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