Tipping point for women in leadership

“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”  ~ Malcom Gladwell

Since the women’s movement of the 1970’s, women continue to create meaningful change regarding women’s rights, bias, and gender pay gaps. Today, women are still breaking barriers and gaining momentum as they work to advance in the workplace and challenge inequities.   

A growing body of research shows that the ‘tipping point’ is near. In 1968, per Pew research, only 30% of managerial and professional occupations were held by women. By 2013, that rose to over 52%. Progress is rising despite the fact that women continue to lag behind men in senior management positions. Women have steadily increased their participation in business as well as politics and are currently getting more education than men. According to the Census Bureau 2015, 38% of women have a bachelor’s degree or higher, while only 30% of men do.

As companies strive to expand diversity in the workplace, both men and women are increasing their awareness and support to bridge the gender gap. Recent research by Gallup suggests that gender-diverse teams outperform single-gender teams and gender diversity can lead to financial benefits and help a company realize its full potential.

Is your company ready to embrace and incorporate these changes which are soon to spread like wildfire? The University of Florida’s Continuing Education unit is ready to meet this ‘magic moment’ with professional development opportunities designed especially for women that will help them create, grow, and sustain the necessary leadership skills to optimize their performance and improve their business profitability. Strong female leadership has proven to positively influence financial performance.

The development of leaders across all levels of the corporate enterprise has been the cornerstone of the University of Florida’s Continuing Education unit for over fifteen years.  Continuing Education is one of several units that comprise Distance & Continuing Education at the university. Continuing Education provides customized corporate training and through a collaborative process with the customer, a unique hands-on, action-learning approach is developed, where participants are highly engaged in acquiring knowledge and skills that improve the effectiveness of the individual and the organization.

For the first time, Continuing Education is introducing a series of workshops especially designed for women at all levels including: those who are looking for professional development; those who want to refresh or enhance their skills; and those who might just be starting their careers and trying to be as prepared as possible as they enter the workforce. These workshops are placing a focus on the tools and skills women need to effectively navigate today’s ever changing political, economic, social, and technological business environment.

The quarterly series kicks off during Women’s History month on March 8, 2017, which is International Women’s day.

Then in March 2018, Continuing Education will host the first annual Aspiring Women Leaders conference in Gainesville.  

The Aspiring Women Leaders conference is designed for women who aspire to be or do more with their lives and careers. This event will equip women with the tools and the skill set necessary to transform them from a good leader to an outstanding leader. They will learn how to expand their impact and influence, navigate the business landscape, develop and leverage their talents, and step into roles of greater influence, allowing them a larger impact on their community, career and home.

This two-day conference with interactive sessions, and panel discussions is aimed at women who may be graduate or postdoctoral students and women who have been employed 10 years or less and are looking for ways to advance in their careers.

University of Florida Continuing Education is taking the lead in providing critical learning opportunities that afford women the ability to think strategically, act responsibly, and achieve exceptional results both locally and globally in businesses across all industries.

Companies looking to build their competitive edge should consider tapping into the available female talent that is supplied throughout their organization. Women can break-through groupthink, improve communications, and energize companies in ways that maintain competitiveness and improve the bottom line. Research consistently shows companies that have gender diversity among their top leaders have significantly better financial performance.

In fact, it can only improve and benefit a company when all employees are encouraged to broaden their abilities and contribute their skills, confidence, and fresh perspectives that will in turn add more value to the company and integrate the benefits of improved diversity across the organization.

No matter where someone finds themselves in their career, fine tuning their leadership skills prepares them for a rapidly changing work environment. A professional career is a journey, one which requires the continuous development of professional skills to help us keep pace and make a meaningful contribution to our organization. University of Florida Continuing Education can help you choose your next step as you seek to progress and achieve higher levels of proficiency, satisfaction, and success in your career. For more information, contact Laurel Brown, Continuing Education, (352) 294-0856, lbrown@dce.ufl.edu.  

By Laurel Brown

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