Business leaders and experts convened today for the 2007 Catalyist Awards Conference to learn about innovative initiatives that successfully advance women in business and to participate in workshops on critical issues of leadership and inclusion in today’s workplace. Since 1987, Catalyst has annually honored strategic business initiatives that result in the advancement of women in business. 2007 Catalyst Award-winning initiatives from The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., PepsiCo, Inc., PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Scotiabank were featured during the conference. Karen Katen, Vice Chairman of Pfizer and Chair of the Pfizer Foundation, addressed the approximately 500 conference participants in her keynote luncheon address, “One Woman’s Journey to the Top.”
“In the history of the Catalyst Award, we’ve seen a dramatic evolution in the complexity and integration of our winning initiatives,” said Ilene H. Lang, President of Catalyst. “Especially against the current backdrop in which women are still vastly inderrepresented in senior leadership positions and on the boards of Fortune 500 companies, we celebrate these triumphs and encourage others to embrace women’s advancement as a strategic business imperative.”
Catalyst Award-winning Initiatives Presented in Plenary Session
Goldman Sachs designed its Senior Women’s Initiative to increase the number of women business leaders globally. By supporting women in their career growth through recruitment, engagement, advancement, and retention, the initiative works to eliminate potential barriers to advancement. It enhances networking opportunities for senior women and dramatically adds resources to and improves the process by which advancement decisions are made. Thus far, Goldman Sachs’ Senior Women’s Initiative significantly increased the number of women managing directors (MDs) and partners: among the successes, globally, the number of women partners has doubled from 2001 to 2006.
A strategic support and resource group, PepsiCo’s Women of Color Multicultural Alliance focuses on attracting, retaining, and developing women of color in the middle and senior management ranks at PepsiCo. This initiative highlights women of color as a strategic priority and works on building deeper, more authentic relationships across all levels. The success of the program is clear: key findings include that, from 2002-2006, the number of women of color at the senior management/director/VP level has increased.
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Unique People Experience (UPE) was created to reduce turnover, maximize value for PwC’s clients, and increase the productivity of the firm’s staff. All PwC partners and staff are held accountable for UPE and are responsible for fostering a culture of inclusion for all. A major element of UPE is redesigning the traditional way work gets done to a more team-based approach where groups of partners and staff serve a portfolio of clients. This new structure has resulted in greater satisfaction and lower turnover rates. The initiative paid off: among the results, women’s representation at the partner level has increased 30 percent from 2001 to 2006.
Through research which demonstrated that women had the skills, proven performance levels, and aspirations to contribute at more senior levels, Scotiabank found a strong business case to support the creation of its Advancement of Women Initiative (AoW). The organization’s most senior women started this business-focused imperative that improved women’s representation by leveraging existing processes, programs, and platforms, thereby reinforcing the business value of the work. Through this initiative, Scotiabank has significantly improved senior women’s representation at the bank: the number of women at all senior levels – from vice president and above – nearly doubled from 2003 to 2006.
Conference Workshops Cover Key Issues on Women and the Workplace
The workshop on Global Women’s Networks addressed key factors that an rganization should consider when initiating a women’s network in a global organization. Through a panel discussion and round-table conversations, attendees learned both theoretical and practical steps necessary to take women’s initiatives across borders and regions. Attendees also heard from companies that have successfully rolled out global women’s initiatives.
A workshop session, Changing Realities: Building a More Agile Workplace, dealt with the need for organizations to address the contemporary realities of today’s 24-7-365 workplace. Participants learned about factors that drive demand for flexibility, advantages to organizations and employees of the agile workplace, and strategies to help build business success.
In the workshop Cultural Contexts in Global Organizations: Women of Color, participants examined the unique cultural implications for women of color working in global organizations. After reviewing the framework of cultural differences and similarities, this workshop highlighted cultural complexities and challenges through case vignettes and personal stories.
In a workshop entitled Leveraging Diversity through Performance Management, attendees heard about critical steps to maximize the performance management of a diverse workforce and had the opportunity to exchange ideas with each other about ways to counter gender stereotyping and improve how performance is defined, measured, and rewarded.
Sponsored by General Motors Corporation and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the full-day conference took place at the Grand Hyatt in New York. Following the Conference, Tony Comper, immediate past President and CEO of BMO Financial Group, chaired the 2007 Annual Catalyst Awards Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria, which honored this year’s Award winners. The dinner was sponsored by Shell Oil Company, winner of the 2004 Catalyst Award for its initiative which changed the environment for women’s advancement and increased women’s representation at the senior and middle management levels.
For information on the Catalyst Awards Conference, please visit www.catalyst.org.
Catalyst is the leading research and advisory organization working with businesses and the professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women at work. As an independent, nonprofit membership organization,
Catalyst conducts research on all aspects of women’s career advancement and provides strategic and web-based consulting services globally. With the support and confidence of member corporations and firms, Catalyst remains connected to business and its changing needs. In addition, Catalyst honors exemplary business initiatives that promote women’s leadership with the annual Catalyst Award. With offices in New York, San Jose, Switzerland, and Toronto, Catalyst is consistently ranked No. 1 among U.S. nonprofits focused on women’s issues by The American Institute of Philanthropy.
About the Catalyst Award
The Catalyst Award is presented annually to companies and firms with outstanding initiatives that result in women’s career development and advancement. Catalyst’s rigorous, year-long examination of initiatives and their measurable results culminates in intensive, on-site reviews at finalist companies. The Catalyst Award provides the business community with replicable change models that are good for business and good for women. For more information about Catalyst and the Catalyst Award application process, please visit www.catalyst.org.
About The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
Goldman Sachs is a leading global investment banking, securities, and investment management firm that provides a wide range of investing, advisory, and financing services to a diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high net worth individuals. Originally organized as a partnership, today Goldman Sachs is a public company with over 23,000 employees around the world that promotes a distinctive corporate culture, placing our
clients’ interests first and emphasizing integrity, commitment to excellence, innovation, and teamwork.
About PepsiCo, Inc.
PepsiCo is one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies with annual revenues of more than $35 billion. Its principal businesses include Frito-Lay snacks, Pepsi-Cola beverages, Gatorade sports drinks, Tropicana juices, and Quaker
foods. Its portfolio includes 17 brands that generate $1 billion or more in annual retail sales.
About PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is the U.S. member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited. PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders. More than 140,000 people in 149 countries across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice.
Scotiabank is one of North America’s premier financial institutions and Canada’s most international bank. With close to 57,000 employees, Scotiabank Group and its affiliates serve approximately 12 million customers in some 50 countries around the world. Scotiabank offers a diverse range of products and services including personal, commercial, corporate, and investment banking. With C$379 billion in assets (as at October 31, 2006), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (BNS) and New York Exchanges (BNS). For more information please visit www.scotiabank.com.