Column: Women continue to lead


It’s inspiring to hear the story of women’s suffrage and how it took 72 years of efforts for women to gain the right to vote. As we celebrate 100 years of women’s voting rights, we are reminded that the women who made this possible had the same leadership qualities that we see in the women leaders today. They take risks, bounce back and celebrate diversity of thought.

In a recent Wall Street Journal report on women in the workplace, the headline announced, “The first step is the steepest,” adding that before women hit the glass ceiling that prohibits them from being CEO, president or on a corporate board, they have to master the first rung of the management ladder. Men outnumber women nearly 2 to 1 when they reach the first step up — the manager jobs that are the bridge to more senior leadership.

Our own Eli Lilly Co. was featured in the article for tackling the diversity problem head-on. About 400 women in management went through a fast-track leadership process that resulted in the number of women in Lilly management increasing from 38 percent to 44 percent in three years.

A few of our local women were mentioned in a recent Fortune magazine featuring the most powerful women in business and politics. Gail Boudreaux is president and CEO of Anthem, and Seema Verma is the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Simon sisters – Deborah and Cynthia Simon-Skjodt – were mentioned as major political donors. Good for us!