News and Announcements

General Motors Donates $300,000 to Sponsor New Catalyst Study of Women in Corporate Leadership

General Motors Corp. today announced it will donate $300,000 to fund the Women in Corporate Leadership II (WICL II) study produced by Catalyst, Inc, a New York–based research and advisory non-profit that works with corporate America to advance women in business. The 20-month study of women’s advancement strategies will update the groundbreaking 1996 Catalyst study of the same name that profiled successful women above the glass ceiling and their blueprint for climbing the corporate ladder.

The study is expected to be released in late 2002. GM’s sponsorship of the study strengthens its relationship with Catalyst and illustrates the corporation’s continued commitment to creating a diverse workforce that makes the best use of its talent.

WICL II will update and expand upon information previously collected on women’s advancement in U.S. corporations, including challenges women face and strategies used to overcome and remove those challenges. CEOs and women at the vice president level and above in Fortune 1000 companies will be surveyed and interviewed to assess what has changed or stayed the same since 1996.

GM and Catalyst announced the sponsorship at a “Meet the Author” event where Sheila Wellington, president of Catalyst, discussed her new book, Be Your Own Mentor. More than 200 women from GM attended the event, which included a panel discussion with Kathleen Barclay, vice president of Global Human Resources; Maureen Kempston Darkes, president of GM Canada; and Wellington. During the panel discussion, these leading women shared stories of their advancement and offered advice on how to navigate the corporate world.

GM Chairman John F. Smith Jr., who also serves as the chairman of Catalyst’s board of directors, was present at the event and personally endorsed Catalyst’s work by sending copies of Be Your Own Mentor to all Fortune 500 CEOs.

“Catalyst has had a tremendous impact on the business community through its efforts to advance women in business. Women in key positions help drive the strategic direction of their companies and shape their futures by integrating diverse perspectives into how business is conducted. At GM, we know that companies maximize their potential when barriers to women’s advancement are eliminated,” Smith said.

“This groundbreaking research will be the first time a study will track how key career issues have changed for women who’ve made it to the top,” Wellington said. “It will tells us how much diversity initiatives have chipped away at the glass ceiling and how far we still have to go. General Motors should be commended for looking toward the future of women in corporate America.”