The sold-out 2011 Catalyst Awards Conference was held Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at The Waldorf Astoria in New York, with The Coca-Cola Company and Walmart sponsoring.

At the morning plenary, Kaiser Permanente, McDonald's Corporation, and Time Warner Inc. presented their initiatives. Kaiser’s Diane Gage Lofgren discussed how diversity helps Kaiser provide culturally competent healthcare. McDonald’s Tim Fenton shared insight on the value of their women’s leadership network. Time Warner’s Lisa Garcia Quiroz spoke about the business case for women in leadership.

During the luncheon, Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO, Kraft Foods Inc., and Catalyst President & Chief Executive Officer Ilene H. Lang took to the stage for a wide-ranging conversation about Ms. Rosenfeld's career. Some of the topics that were discussed included the importance of mentoring and sponsorship, the power of diversity and inclusion and the significance of taking risks in one’s career.

Following the luncheon, Catalyst experts and guest speakers led three interactive sessions.

Kaiser Permanente—Achieving Our Mission and Growing the Business Through the National Diversity Agenda

Kaiser Permanente’s initiative, Achieving Our Mission and Growing the Business Through the National Diversity Agenda, makes diversity and inclusion central to the organization’s competitive advantage and its ability to deliver culturally competent health care to its 8.6 million members. The initiative demonstrates that an investment in diversity and inclusion can yield continual improvement for women and men. In 2007, women held 47 percent of senior executive positions, and racially/ethnically diverse women held 12 percent of these positions. By 2009, these numbers had increased to 50 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Between 2001 and 2009, the percentage of women board directors increased from 21 percent to 36 percent, and racially/ethnically diverse women on the board increased from 7 percent to 24 percent.

McDonald’s Corporation—Freedom Within a Framework: Global Women’s Initiative

McDonald’s Corporation’s strong commitment to inclusion led the company to build on its successful and longstanding diversity work in the United States by creating Freedom Within a Framework: Global Women’s Initiative. Since its inception in 2006, outcomes to advance women globally have been achieved, most notably in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa (APMEA), Europe, and the United States. The representation of women as restaurant managers—a critical stepping-stone to leadership roles—has increased significantly across all three regions from 2006 to 2009: in APMEA, from 27 percent to 35 percent; in Europe, from 45 percent to 52 percent; and in the United States, from 62 percent to 64 percent. Additionally, the percentage of women in market leadership roles has grown substantially between 2006 and 2010. Between 2006 and 2009, the percentage of women on the board of directors also increased from 14 percent to 23 percent.

Time Warner Inc.—Creating a Unified Culture: Investing in Our Women Leaders

Time Warner Inc.’s initiative Creating a Unified Culture: Investing in Our Women Leaders has resulted in a critical mass of powerful senior women role models. Using a compelling market-oriented business case for diversity and inclusion as a foundation, the initiative sought to formalize employee development policies, unify the siloed culture, and accelerate the development of leaders, including the substantial pipeline of women. Metrics show that Time Warner Inc.’s culture has become increasingly inclusive as a result of this initiative. From 2003 to 2009, women’s representation in executive management rose from 18 percent to 23 percent. The percentage of women in the pipeline (vice president level and above) to top management increased from 37 percent to 42 percent, and the numbers for racially/ethnically diverse women rose from 5 percent to 8 percent.

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