Recap of Why there Aren’t More Women at the Top…Examining Key Takeaways

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Leslie Grossman, Faculty Director, Women’s Leadership Programs, GW Center for Excellence in Public Leadership & Founder, Her Circle Leadership

On September 13th, CommPRO featured a webcast The Truth about Why There Aren’t More Women at the Top…and the Steps Companies and Women Can Take to Make a Giant Shift.   A panel of leadership experts offered their strategies and actions to solve this pressing issue.

Hosted by The George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership in preparation for their upcoming Women’s Leadership Program Oct. 24-26  in Washington, DC., it was a dynamic conversation featuring:

The panel agreed that  while organizations need to change,  there are key tactics and strategies women can take to influence decision makers and heighten their leadership abilities to be recognized and promoted to the highest levels.

You can hear the webcast in its entirety here.

Here are a few of the takeaways from the discussion:

  • The Everest Project, which interviewed 132 senior-level womenoffered a roadmap for how women are creating cultures poised to innovate. Senior women leading change in corporations effectively combine humility with confidence to build trust and buy-in effecting positive change in organizations.  The study confirmed the women’s leadership style of collaboration impacts organizations and teams positively.  Marked by excellent listening skills,  leadership by collaboration is not consensus.  Women don’t abdicate their authority.  They listen carefully, take into consideration all they hear and then make their decisions on moving forward.    (Lisa Friedman)
  • Unconscious bias in the early stages of many women’s careers is common in many organizations. While not purposedly done to hurt women, it impacts women’s future success. For instance management may choose to give a man an assignment which requires travel, thinking they are doing something benevolent for a   woman who is newly married or a new mother. Such an assumption  – not offering her an assignment –  could impact her career for years to come.  It’s important that management ask and not assume.  It is also vital that women make it clear to management what they are willing to take on and explore how their choices may impact their career.  (Joseph Santana)
  • Women should acknowledge themselves for the good work they do, and build their own confidence knowing what they have accomplished. Women should not assume because they haven’t been praised by management that their work is not recognized.  In other words, praise thyself.     To ensure they continue moving forward with their careers, women should also surround themselves with a group of supporters, who become voices for their success. (Cary Broussard)
  • Nurturing new habits are necessary to build a strong career and business. Two new habits are (1) claiming your career vision and (2) developing trusted relationships.  When identifying one’s career vision, a woman should consider her desired lifestyle and what fulfills her personally and professionally. Women can have a vision as big as their ambition, but they have to share it.   Once they have a vision, even if it’s in flux, the next step is to build trusted relationships with influencers who can support that vision, offering advice, opening doors and making connections. The most successful relationships are collaborative, which means being willing to contribute to others, while they are helping you.  (Leslie Grossman)

To hear the complete webcast,  click here. 


The Center of Excellence in Public Leadership at George Washington University (GW CEPL) offers programs for women at every level of their leadership journey to help address the early socialized habits, as well as the workplace and life challenges that often hold women back from pursuing increased responsibility, while supporting their growth and development.

Live online programs are known for their interactive discussions and networking among the participants, as well as its critical, career-changing content. Click here to learn more:

Women Leaders on the Rise Program (#WRISE) gives high-potential women leaders at the start of their careers the tools to enable management success, while addressing limiting beliefs that may be holding them back.Executive Women’s Leadership Program (#EWLP) is designed for experienced executives who have potential for greater leadership responsibilities. Topics covered include executive presence, negotiations, resilience, growth mindset and more!

Global Women’s Leadership Program (#GWLP) provides game-changing leadership strategies that will transform your mindset and expand your sphere of influence as a woman leader. Program is designed for global executives.

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