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Home » Closing the Leadership Gender Gap: Susan Colantuono at TEDxBeaconStreet (Transcript)

Closing the Leadership Gender Gap: Susan Colantuono at TEDxBeaconStreet (Transcript)

Susan Colantuono – TRANSCRIPT

Women represent 50 percent of middle management and professional positions but the percentages of women at the top of organizations, like Kathleen Murphy, whom you’ve heard, and Gail Goodman who’s speaking later, represent not even a third of that number. So some people hear that statistic and they ask, why do we have so few women leaders? But I look at that statistic and if you, like me, believe that leadership manifests at every level, you would see that there’s a tremendous, awesome resource of leaders who are leading in middle management, which raises a different question: “Why are there so many women mired in the middle, and what has to happen to take them to the top?” So some of you might be some of those women who are in middle management and seeking to move up in your organization.

Well, Tonya is a great example of one of these women. I met her two years ago. She was a vice president in a Fortune 50 company. And she said to me with a sense of deep frustration, “I’ve worked really hard to improve my confidence and my assertiveness and develop a great brand. I get terrific performance evals from my boss. My 360s in the organization let me know that my teams love working for me. I’ve taken every management course that I can here. I’m working with a terrific mentor and yet I’ve been passed over twice for advancement opportunities, even when my manager knows that I’m committed to moving up and even interested in an international assignment. I don’t understand why I’m being passed over.”

So what Tonya doesn’t realize is that there’s a missing 33 percent of the career success equation for women, and it’s understanding what this missing 33 percent is that’s required to close the gender gap at the top. So if you have listened to Sheryl Sandberg’s TED Talk, get ready for women in leadership 20. In order to move up in organizations, you have to be known for your leadership skills. And this would apply to any of you, women or men. It means that you have to be recognized for using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others.

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