Women 2020 examines pathways to leadership
Women. They make most of the healthcare decisions for their families, dominate U.S. consumer spending and are the breadwinners for nearly half of American households. Despite this, women remain underrepresented in the executive ranks. Tackling this issue head on, a new report by the Network of Executive Women took a closer look at the benefits of gender-diverse leadership and examined why the time to drive change is now.
“Women’s leadership has been on the [consumer products and retail] industry’s agenda for decades, but little actual progress has been made. … The report outlines the benefits of women’s leadership and ways organizations and individuals can drive change. The time is now. Not because it’s the right thing to do — it’s always been the right thing to do — but because more diverse leadership helps companies drive growth, fuel innovation and retain the best talent,” said Nancy Krawczyk, VP marketing and corporate partnerships at NEW, in an interview with Drug Store News.
Despite the gains in women’s work-force participation, the number of women leaders still falls short. Citing Catalyst data, NEW’s report, “Women 2020: The Future of Women’s Leadership in Consumer Products and Retail,” noted that, in 2012, women accounted for just 14.3% of executive officers, 8.1% of top-earning executives and 16.6% of board directors positions of Fortune 500 companies. Women represent just 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 5.1% of EVP or higher positions.
At the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Total Store Expo in Boston in August, NEW hosted an industry roundtable to discuss the findings of the “Women 2020” report and how organizations can reap the rewards of women’s leadership. Moderated by Krawczyk, the panel also included Judi Kletz of Procter & Gamble, Jody Pinson of Walmart and Sabrina Weiwel of Hallmark Cards.
Embracing a diverse and inclusive work force has been shown to drive growth and innovation, and this is especially vital for retail and consumer goods companies, as getting new ideas to market quickly is critical to meeting the needs of today’s demanding and complex consumer.
In fact, a 2011 Catalyst study found that gender-diverse firms saw an 84% higher return on sales, a 60% higher return on investment capital and a 46% higher return on equity in at least four of the five years studied, NEW reported.
“Women are very powerful because they understand how other women shop, they understand the dynamics of the family structure, they understand the purchasing behaviors and they understand messaging that will break through,” Weiwel, VP, GM national chain drug at Hallmark Cards, told DSN. “So, I think it is very important to have a balance of women in your senior ranks, making those kinds of decisions.”
Today more than ever, women are uniquely positioned to pioneer change among the upper ranks of the organization by driving collaboration among employees, helping to connect with female consumers and finding solutions to work-life balance. And this will become increasingly important as millennials enter the work force.
“Millennials and women want many of the same things in their careers — flexibility, alternative career paths, meaningful work and greater development opportunities. I always knew that what was good for women is really good for everyone, and ‘Women 2020’ confirmed this,” Krawczyk said. “Smart companies that develop and advance more women leaders will create a culture that will also help them compete for the best new talent.”
While women may not be able to change the workplace alone, they are far from powerless. Women also need to look for strategic allies both inside and outside of their organizations. Mentors are crucial, but when you’re not in the room, it’s important to have an agent to speak on your behalf.
“Women need to reflect on what they want and build a plan to achieve their goals. They need to build strategic relationships both inside and outside of their company. They need to master the job they have and be clear about their career path — where they want to go and the unique value they bring to the organization. They need strategic skills and the ability to motivate and inspire teams,” Krawczyk said. “Next year, NEW will launch a Career Accelerator initiative that will help women get the feedback they need to break through to the next level.”
Weiwel added: “From a peer-to-peer standpoint, I think women can join with other women and support other women. … Men are very good about helping each other, and I think women can do a better job of that. I think that would change the paradigm. … I think women need to take more risks; they need to be bolder; they need to state their point of view; and they need to not be afraid of conflict.”
During the panel discussion at NACDS TSE, P&G’s Kletz told attendees: “We have a huge obligation in our roles as women and women leaders to ensure we are articulating and amplifying what we want, and we are not afraid to do that. That we ensure that we are educating along the way, that we are dispelling any of those traditional roles [and] rumors that are out there, and that, as we articulate that, we are bringing people along.” Kletz also discussed how it is leveraging its brands to help lead the discussion. One example, P&G’s “Always #LikeAGirl” campaign — which helps tackle deep-rooted and often unconscious biases about women being “too nice” or “too bossy” — has received more than 47 million views on YouTube.
While there’s room for further change, there is no doubt that many retail and consumer goods companies have made important strides in breaking down traditional hierarchies and are embracing corporate cultures that favor diversity.
In this special report, DSN takes a closer look at some of the leading women in retail pharmacy to learn what keeps them excited about the business, how they find the right work-life balance and the best advice they’ve ever received about business, leadership — and life.
Report: Market Basket’s CEO debacle sparks ‘corporate soul-searching’
TEWKSBURY, Mass. — As a recent article in The Boston Globe points out, the turmoil and reinstatement of ousted Market Basket CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, no doubt sparked some corporate soul-searching and serves as a reminder of just how rare such a stand by rank and file employees can be.
As The Boston Globe reported, the employee protests and customer boycott crippled the grocery chain over the summer as employee after employee recounted how he paid well, knew their names and asked about their families. The message, the article stated: “Don’t put profits before people.”
According to a report on Boston.com, the firing of Arthur T., as he has been referred to in reports, as Market Basket CEO by a board that favored a rival family member sparked the protest during the summer. Employees — from upper management down to grocery clerks — immediately rallied for his reinstatement, and a few weeks later an organized effort by employees to essentially “shut down the company” was put into play.
Customers also joined the effort by boycotting. Business at the Tewksbury, Mass.-based grocer fell off by more than 90% at some stores, and some vendors eventually cut ties due to the impact of the dispute, Boston.com reported.
In late August, it was announced that Arthur T. had reached a deal to buy the company from rival relatives for more than $1.5 billion.
“As I stand here, there is very little that I could ever add to your brilliant work, your extraordinary display of loyalty and the power of your enduring spirit over the past several weeks,” he was quoted as telling employees after his reinstatement.
CVS Health to open lab in Boston to further ‘explore digital enablement of health care’
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health has confirmed a report that it is planning to open a CVS Health Digital Innovation Lab this winter in Boston that will focus on “building customer-centric experiences in health care.”
As initially reported on BetaBoston.com, the new 15,000-sq.-ft. office space will be centrally located to the medical community in Longwood and the tech community in Cambridge, and will enable CVS Health to further explore the “digital enablement of health care.”
Brian Tilzer, chief digital officer of CVS Health, told BetaBoston.com that one major goal is to connect with start-ups that are developing new healthcare-related products and services. In all, about 100 people will be based in the CVS Health Digital Innovation Lab.
In the article, Tilzer also pointed to another project in development — “lab stores” in Boston, New York and Menlo Park, Calif. Tilzer said the stores will provide a “live environment” and will open next year. "The lab stores will provide a 'live environment' to 'explore whther they can be meaningful,'" Tilzer told BetaBoston.com.