Female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies now top 5 percent. What, you’re not cheering? | Center for Leadership | Florida International University | FIU
Skip to Main Content

Share / Save   

Female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies now top 5 percent. What, you’re not cheering?

According to the Pew Research Center, the share of female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies topped 5 percent for the first time in the first quarter of 2017, with 27 women heading major firms. General Motors, headed by Mary Barra, is the largest U.S. company with a female chief executive.

Five percent seems such a dismal number, to people of both sexes. In 1995, the number was zero … which means it’s taken 22 years to reach five percent. Does that mean a measly 10 percent equity won’t be achieved until 2039?

“Leadership training for women becomes more important than ever to help women navigate the challenges of being recognized for their leadership excellence and achieving the promotions they want and deserve,” says Dr. Joyce Elam, one of the developers of The Women Leaders Program offered by the Center for Leadership at Florida International University. Now in its 10th year, this highly-regarded program is designed for established or emerging women executives, enabling them to more efficiently take charge of their own personal and professional growth.

At this season’s program, offered May 8-11, 2017 at the Atton Brickell Miami, professional women from across the world will gather to dive deep into this fresh approach of life-long leadership development based on a contemporary leadership competency model developed by The Center.

“Senior managers, directors, vice presidents, and executives who have expanded responsibility and want to catapult their leadership development in new directions will find that the two pillars of our programs – self-sight and practical developable skills – will help them take their career to the next stage,” says Dr. Mayra Beers, Center Director.

Dr. Elam points out that attending The Women Leaders Program is an excellent way to “step out of the rat race” for four days.

“Women leaders get the potentially life-changing opportunity for heavy self-insight as they examine where they are and where they want to go next,” she says. “Just as important, they get the tools they need to leverage their strengths and manage any weakness, all to achieve an action plan that they develop at the program.”


Exciting changes in upcoming program

“Because research is the foundation of all the programs at The Center, The Women Leaders Program offered this spring will incorporate new research as to what today’s women leaders need to develop their full potential,” says Dr. Beers.

Dr. Beers will be conducting two new sessions: “The Role of Values in Leadership” and “Personality and Decision-Making.” These will be in the front portion of the four-day program.

“Understanding how you show up for your leadership role is vital information to know,” she says.

“Three separate assessments are part of this program, as women develop a deeper understanding of what drives them.”

Following the self-realization sessions, The Women Leaders Program then moves into developing practical skills that can catapult a good leader into becoming an outstanding leader. A new session on “Strategy and Innovation” will be presented by Kaihan Krippendorff, a top business strategy speaker and author of multiple business books, most recently Outthink the Competition.

Dr. Elam will present a new session on effectively transitioning to a new position. “Our program attendees are highly likely to advance in their career after participating in our program,” she points out. “I will share fascinating new research about successful transitioning, including a case study.”

Highly-effective sessions by Dr. Elam on “Strength-Based Approach to Leadership” and “Leadership Point of View” continue as key components of the program. The popular session on “Leadership Presence and Storytelling” will also be part of the Spring program- sharing the art – and power — of storytelling to move people in the direction the leader wants them to go.

Dr. Samantha Paustian-Underdahl, a FIU professor and researcher whose work is dedicated to enhancing employee and organizational well-being, will present “Navigating the Labyrinth” which helps women leaders understand and overcome implicit bias in the workplace.

Sessions are complemented by experiential exercises, a roundtable with an experienced C-suite women leader, one-on-one peer interaction, and an individual executive coaching session in preparation for developing an action plan for returning to work.

“This spring’s Women Leaders Program is entirely customized for today’s women leaders and the situations and challenges they face,” says Dr. Nathan Hiller, academic director for The Center. “The result will be a significant positive impact on not only the careers of the participants but also on the organizations they serve.”