WithIt plans Leadership Development Institute
Home Textiles Today Staff -- Home Textiles Today, 1/18/2013 11:40:53 AM
Greensboro, N.C. - Sara N. King, author and principal at Optimum Insights Inc., an executive training and coaching firm, will lead WithIt's first Leadership Development Institute next month.
The institute is scheduled for Feb.28 at the Greensboro-High Point Airport Marriott.
King spent 23 years at the Center for Creative Leadership, a global provider of leadership education and research, before launching her own consulting business. As a thought-leader on executive development and leadership training, she has authored several books, including "Discovering the Leader in You."
At the institute, King will focus on the critical success factors for women leaders. The all-day program is available to WithIt members for $295; the cost for non-members and other Piedmont Triad-based professionals is $325.
WithIt, which was formed in 1997 to encourage and develop leadership, education, mentoring and networking opportunities for women in the home and furnishings industries, noted "recent research indicates there are two good reasons for home furnishings companies to seek out qualified women for top leadership positions, and both reasons point to a stronger bottom line."
King cited a 2009 Harvard Business Review article titled "The Female Economy" that examined the significant buying power of women worldwide. The authors concluded that, without women in senior-level positions to help direct product development and marketing, many companies are missing out, she said.
"This article captured the attention of CEOs like Muhtar Kent at Coca-Cola, who recognized that female heads of households were the main purchasers of his products," King said. "Kent recognized that he had an imperative to both select and develop women for key positions in his organization. Others are following suit. Beyond the financial considerations, McKinsey research (October 2012) is showing that many CEOs believe that having both women and men involved on boards and executive teams results in better decisions than a group dominated by men."
Since the 2009 Harvard Business Review article, more research has been published, more organizations have been created to focus on women's advancement, more internal women's initiatives have been launched and the issue has received attention at the Economic World Forum.
In addition, a report published by Credit Suisse last summer showed that, of the nearly 2,400 companies in the MSCI AC World index from 2005 onward, the companies that had a gender diverse board outperformed the male-only ones by 26% over a six-year period - which, for public companies, is a second reason to address the gender imbalance in corporate leadership.
Still, said King, progress is slow.
"This has become a complex global issue with few simple solutions," she continued. "[But] there have been increased requests for leadership development programs and mentoring and network opportunities for women. There have also been more internal organizational goals set to increase the numbers, and more data about what it will take to create a pipeline of women poised for the C-suite. I believe we are on the cusp of change where the numbers of women in top leadership positions will begin to accelerate."
To reserve a seat, visit www.WithIt.org for registration details, or contact Sara Lyke at director@WithIt.org.
Lodging at the Airport Marriott is available at a discounted rate of $129 on Feb. 27-28.
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