Women need opportunities

December 20, 2013
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The statistics in your recent editorial, “Ignoring women leaders fouls the region’s economy” (Dec. 16), are unfortunately the grim reality of women leadership across the country.

It is no longer enough to recognize the value of women in the workplace, or even to encourage growth. To meet our region’s economic development needs in the future, women need to have an environment where they can thrive and have opportunities to build their skills.

We need to reach out to women in our community and provide them with valuable information about the training, resources and networking opportunities available to them. This is how we will ensure a diverse leadership pipeline for future generations.

IBM recently conducted the 2012-2013 Advancing Women at IBM Executive Research Study, with more than 600 IBM executives from around the world, to find out what helped them on their journey to these top leadership roles.

A few key factors of leadership success emerged from the study: 1) Creating a plan; 2) Gaining new skills; 3) Networking; 4) Having a mentor; and 5) Knowledge about available resources.

Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women provides women with all of the “key factors” for success from the IBM study. GROW was founded on the mission of providing education, connections and resources that create and strengthen women-owned businesses.

GROW commends the Grand Rapids Business Journal for bringing awareness to the continued disparity among corporate leadership and providing a platform to highlight our amazing West Michigan women leaders, and we agree wholeheartedly that “such examples must become the norm.”

Amy Light
Director of marketing and communications
Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women

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