March 19, 2013 |

More women becoming company leaders but still not as many as men

I was watching a piece on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday, March 10 regarding Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who spoke to Norah O’Donnell regarding women in the workplace.

The two women conversed about how few women are at the helms of Fortune 500 companies and all companies, for that matter, but what really caught my attention was Sandberg’s statements on being called “bossy” when she was younger.

I thought back to my days as a youth and even my 13-year-old daughter now and how many times people have told us we are “bossy”.

I would laugh it off, as I tell my daughter to do, reminding her that often times people who say that are insecure or maybe even a little jealous of her strong personality.

Sandberg, however, really cleared things up when she stated, “I want every little girl, when someone says ‘you’re bossy’ to be told instead, ‘you have leadership skills’”.

That hits the nail on the head! I know that many of my female friends, right here in Lake Stevens, who hold management or upper management positions have most likely been told that they too were bossy when they were young.

But look at them now, leading and managing

important pieces of this community.

We have a female School District Superintendent,

City Administrator, City Councilwomen,

school board members, principals, business owners and service organization presidents.

I have found that people are either leaders

or they’re not—gender plays no role in leadership qualities and skills. This works the other way as well, just because you are

More women becoming company leaders but still not as many as mena leader doesn’t mean you are a good one —again, gender plays no role in failing as a leader either.

Did you know that a record number of women are Fortune 500 CEOs and that women are launching businesses at 1.5 times the national average? There are also 8.2 million American women running their own companies.

Debora McLaughlin, the best-selling author of “The Renegade Leader: 9 Success Strategies Driven Leaders Use to Ignite People,

Performance and Profits” said, “From 1997 to 2011, the number of U.S. women-owned businesses increased by 50 percent and in 2011, the median compensation for female CEOs was 13 percent more than for male CEOs,” according to NerdWallet Financial


The non-profit organization Catalyst notes that, “as of Jan. 1, there were 21 women running

Fortune 500 companies, including IBM and PepsiCo, That’s up from seven in 2002-2003. Among the Fortune 1000 companies, there are twice as many, including the CEOs of Neiman Marcus Group, Cracker Barrel and Dun & Bradstreet.”

“Nonetheless, business women still face hurdles,” McLaughlin notes. “Keep in mind, while 21 are Fortune 500 CEOs—a record high—that’s only 4.25 percent of the total and the figures hold for Fortune 1000 companies,

less than 5 percent have a female at the helm.”

I am sure that these numbers will continue to rise as women continue to lead the way in business. The concern is that according to Sandberg, the Women’s Movement has stalled.

My hope is that when my daughter, and other girls like her, are seeking jobs, her leadership

skills, or bossiness as some people see it, will make her the rising star I know she is.

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