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6 Ways to Recognize Leaders Who Commit to the Advancement of Women Leaders

June 30, 2020 Katharine Panessidi

After years of focus on women in the workplace, women are still not advancing at the same rate as men. Women are entering the workforce at equal rates to men, and women are promoted to their first and second job at equal rates, but between manager and director-level, we see a decline in women advancing compared to men.

If you are lucky, you will come across executives who recognize this problem, and know that it’s to everyone’s benefit when women advance and there is gender diversity throughout the organization. Companies with a higher share of women at the executive committee level outperform those with fewer women. Gender-balanced teams generate better client retention, organic growth and more gross profit. These are the facts.

The executives who commit to the advancement of women leaders should be celebrated—in big and small ways. If someone in your network has helped you or other women advance in your career, here are just a few ways that you can recognize them:

  • Ask them what you can do for them. How can the relationship be reciprocal? How can you contribute to their success? Sometimes the executive is so accomplished and connected that they will not take you up on it, but keep offering to return the favor.
  • Close the loop. If someone has influenced your growth in a positive way, be sure to let them know. Often someone will make an introduction for you, and then never learn how it turned out. Acknowledging the outcome will be meaningful for them.
  • Honor them by passing on their teachings—always recognize and acknowledge who has taught you, both verbally and by extending the support they have shown you to other women. This will have a long-lasting ripple effect…and then refer to number two above!
  • Donate in their name to a cause that is personal to them or that speaks to the ways in which they have affected you.
  • Gift them something physical. Sure, you could go the traditional route: chocolate or wine. Or you could spend time with them over lunch or coffee—where you pick up the tab. If you are short on funds, or prefer a different route, a simple, heartfelt card can go a long way. I recommend going “old school” with a physical card over digital—it is sure to surprise and delight.
  • Nominate them for Linkage’s Women in Leadership Executive Impact Award, which recognizes exceptional executives who have demonstrated their commitment to the advancement of women leaders, and who have ignited lasting and impactful change for women through their leadership. Publicly honoring their crucial work toward gender parity will not only commemorate their effort but has the potential to amplify their message and mission.

Leaders who commit to enabling women’s advancement in the workplace deserve to be recognized and celebrated. The broader their impact, the faster women will ascend the ranks of leadership…and the better off we all will be!

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