Charles Schwab & Company, the IBM Corporation, and the Northern Trust Company have each won the 2000 Catalyst Award for their exemplary initiatives to advance women through their corporate ranks. Each initiative has proven successful, effective, and measurable. Schwab’s initiative, Building a Culture: No Ceilings, No Barriers, No Limits has shaped the organization’s philosophy since its inception twenty-five years ago. IBM’s Global Women Leaders Task Force: Creating the Climate to Win specifically targets women and minorities for leadership development, both nationally and globally, through a variety of programs. Northern Trust Company’s Sustained Leadership Commitment: Diversity at Work initiative succeeds by targeting high-potential individuals and focusing on specific performance management programs and mandatory diversity training.
General Electric Chairman and CEO John F. Welch will chair the Catalyst Awards Dinner and CNBC Business Center and Market Wrap co-anchor Sue Herera will present the awards to the CEOs of the three companies during the annual awards ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on March 21, 2000.
According to Catalyst President Sheila Wellington, "This year the Catalyst Award appropriately recognizes three forward-looking companies. Their innovative approaches to women’s advancement—and the results they have achieved—set the highest standard for 21st century business."
The results of the award-winning initiatives are impressive—at Schwab, women comprise 36 percent of corporate officers; two of the company’s five vice chairmen are women. At IBM, women’s representation at executive levels has increased since 1995 from 1 percent to 8 percent in the Asia-Pacific region; from zero to 5 percent in Latin America; and from 2 percent to 8 percent in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In North America, women executives are up from 14 percent to 20 percent. Northern Trust’s women officers are up from 39 percent in 1990 to 49 percent in 1999 (24 percent of those are women of color); women vice presidents are up from 23 percent to 39 percent (12 percent are women of color); and the number of women at the Executive Vice President level and above has gone from zero to 14 percent.
About the Catalyst Award
Catalyst annually honors companies for outstanding initiatives to advance women since 1987, evaluating senior management commitment, measurable results, accountability, replicability, and originality. According to John F. Smith, Jr., Chairman and CEO of General Motors Corporation and Chairman of Catalyst’s Board of Directors, "Catalyst’s evaluation process is well respected, and the Award at the end of the road is prized by American business. And indeed, corporate America is strengthened by the competition."
About the Catalyst Award Conference
For the second year, Catalyst will host a full-day conference prior to the awards ceremony. Sessions will include an in-depth analysis of the winning initiatives by company representatives; a candid discussion of personal success strategies with high-level corporate and professional women executives; and a workshop on strategies companies can employ to better recruit, retain, and advance women.
About the 2000 Catalyst Award Winners
Charles Schwab & Co.
Charles Schwab’s Building a Culture: No Ceilings, No Barriers, No Limits creates an inclusive and open environment. The core of Schwab’s values-driven culture is a truly equitable workplace. This unique culture is supported by a host of recruitment, development, advancement, and work/life programs that encourage all employees, irrespective of gender or race, to achieve their maximum potential. New employees attend a two-day orientation that introduces them to Schwab’s values; daily updates on the firms’s intranet as well as company-wide emails and voicemails from the co-CEOs keep employees informed of activities and events; and an open-door policy among senior management reinforce the top-down support for their culture initiative. Managers build action plans based on employee surveys – these surveys are part of the accountability section in the performance reviews of managers. Hiring, retention, turnover, time in grade, and participation rates in training programs are tracked by race and gender. Results are shared with the co-CEOs and at each quarterly business unit update. Women comprise 36 percent of corporate officers and two of the company’s five vice chairmen. Ultimately, 77 percent of Schwab’s employees report to a woman.
The IBM Corporation
The Executive Women’s Diversity Task Force, formed in 1995, began by asking executive-level women about their perceptions regarding the barriers to advancement at IBM. The result was the creation of numerous subcommittees with an emphasis on global concerns. These programs were as varied as the Women of Color and Women in Technology subcommittees, the Mentoring and Employee Development Program, and the Global Women’s Leadership Conference. IBM’s CEO and Chairman has championed the initiative with a "top-down, bottom-up" approach, communicating his personal commitment to employees through letters, e-mails, and intranet postings. Managers are required to attend diversity training courses, conduct departmental diversity meetings, and promote attendance at diversity town-hall gatherings. At the same time, constituency groups are encouraged to drive the culture change by identifying their needs and opportunities for change. Managers are accountable to the CEO for meeting diversity goals; the CEO reports progress directly to the Board of Directors. Performance evaluations for executives and managers include diversity efforts. Women’s representation at executive levels has increased from 1 percent to 8 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, from zero to 5 percent in Latin America, and from 2 percent to 8 percent in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In North America, women’s representation has grown from 14 percent to 20 percent.
The Northern Trust Company
Senior management of Northern Trust sees diversity as a way to deliver unrivaled client service and superior financial performance. The core of the Sustained Leadership Commitment: Diversity at Work initiative is the Corporate Diversity Council (CDC), a management group that recommends goals and strategies for meeting the organization’s diversity challenges. Working closely with the CEO and Human Resources Department, the CDC focuses on areas such as performance management, diversity training, retention and development, representation, and communication/awareness. Each major business unit has its own diversity council, with unit heads reporting directly to the CDC. Key components of Northern Trust’s initiative include mandatory diversity training for all employees; Talent Identification and Development Systems (TIDeS); and Partners in Performance (PIP), a performance management program. Accountability for the initiative’s goals is company-wide: 25% of managers’ bonuses and/or salary increases are linked to the PIP program; business unit heads report results to the Chairman who, in turn, reports to the Board of Directors. Women officers are up from 39 percent in 1990 to 49 percent in 1999 (women of color account for 24 percent of those); women vice presidents up from 23 percent to 39 percent (12 percent are women of color); and the number of women at the Executive Vice President level and higher increase from zero to 14 percent.
A nonprofit research and advisory services organization, Catalyst works with business to advance women. Its dual mission: to enable women in business and the professions to achieve their maximum potential and to help employers capitalize on the talents of their female employees. Catalyst’s solutions-oriented approach has earned the confidence of business leaders, who count on Catalyst to help them address women’s workplace issues and develop cost-effective responses.