That was a 2003 headline in USA Today. Another headline from 2011 sounds hopeful - "Number of female 'Fortune' 500 CEOs at record high" until you realize that a "record high" is only 3%. Whoop. Dee. Do.
Ugh! Well, at least you know. It's better to live in reality than a fairytale. And, there are several take-aways for every woman in business who wants to build her own bodacious career.
Take-away #1: The number of women in junior executive ranks is rising and poised to move into more senior levels. Women have invaded the entry-level ranks, we've heavily populated middle management, and we've made in-roads to the executive positions. If the 21st century is indeed the women's century, more women must be players as CEOs and in Board Rooms. Fortunately, the article states that there are a good number of mid-level female 40-something executives who are still rising through the ranks and may be more on the radar screen in the next 5 to 10 years.
Take-away #2: Going for a top shot in corporate America is a choice that not every woman wants to make.The essence of being bodacious is knowing you have choices. The career level you choose affects everything: time, relationships, activities, where you live, and more. To attempt to get to the top, women need to be clear about those demands and be willing to meet them. For every woman willing to do just that we need to respect her and cheer her on. It takes a lot of guts and the last thing she needs is to be judged and criticized.
Take-away #3: No matter your career, a huge key to your success is how you contribute to what's most important to the organization. Whether you're in human resources, corporate communications, or business development, what's often missing in a woman's career growth strategy is a focus on business results. During my years at AOL in charge of corporate training, my effectiveness was largely due to the line management perspective I brought from my 7 years in the company's call center unit. The closer you can tie your contribution to the bottom-line and demonstrate performance, the more you've set yourself up for personal success.