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Do Women Rise to the Top by Chance or Choice?

ees as a way of doing business is woven into the fabric of the company’s culture.

Community American Airlines and American

the Face of Leadership: By Chance or By Choice? to emphasize that leaving change to chance hasn’t delivered good enough re- sults; companies must choose to implement a strategy for bring- ing more women into leadership roles. At the same time, women who aspire to leadership roles cannot leave their careers to chance—they must choose to build the specific skills and experi- ences needed for top jobs and they must choose to invest time and energy in establishing professional networks both inside and outside their organizations. While recent trends suggest some progress for women, a


n its 11th annual Women on Boards Report released recently, The Forum of Executive Women chose the theme Changing

year-to-year look at the numbers shows how difficult it has been to bring about robust change in the upper ranks. The executive suites and board rooms at the region’s largest companies have a greater share of women than they did six years ago, but a stepped- up commitment to change is needed for the number of women in those positions to continue to grow. Deloitte LLP assisted with research and served as Trailblazer

Eagle employees – as individuals and as groups – volunteer their time and talents to a wide variety of charitable organizations and causes. American Advocates, a volunteer program launched in 2004, has 10,000 volun- teers who participate in various initia- tives. Employee volunteerism is important to American employees because it is the right thing to do and because it increases employee loyalty and pride to see American involved in the community. Customer loyalty is also increased, as customers see Amer- ican as an airline that goes beyond the services it sells to enrich the entire

Sponsor of the Women on Boards Report, which showed that the proportion of women in top executive positions at the Philadel- phia region’s 100 largest companies increased 17 percent from 2005 to 2010. During that same period, the proportion of women directors increased by 4 percent. More women also are among the companies’ “top earners.” Last year, though, women held just 11 percent of board seats

Consulting Inc. FARIS

at the 100 companies included in The Forum’s analysis—a pro- portion unchanged from the year before. Women held 10.1 per- cent of senior executive positions, down from the 11 percent share the year before. Women accounted for 9.6 percent of the top earners in 2010—up from 9 percent the year before. Further, 66 of 100 companies counted no women among their

top earners—a figure unchanged from 2009. Only six companies had three or more women directors, down from eight in 2009. Only six women of color held board seats in 2010, compared to seven the year before. “As The Forum enters its 35th year, we are certainly pleased that the longer term trends are moving in the right direction—but we see quite clearly the challenges in making substantive prog- ress from year to year,” said Autumn Bayles, President of The Forum of Executive Women, and Senior Vice President of Stra- tegic Operations at Tasty Baking Company. “One thing seems resoundingly clear—that the path to success for a woman leader is one that rarely just ‘happens,’ but rather is a confluence of deliberate, thoughtful acts on the part of both the woman and her employers.” “The theme for this year’s report, Changing the Face of Lead- ership: By Chance or by Choice?, is quite appropriate, as it is

Committed to Diversity

31562 Old San Juan Capistrano Rd. San Juan Capistrano,CA 92675 An Equal Opportunity Employer m/f/d/v

WWW.PROFESSIONALWOMANMAG.COM 44 CELEBRATING 11 YEARS OF DIVERSITY Celebrating over 15 Years of Embracing Diversity


community and promote inclusiveness. Many employees at American vol-

unteer time to projects ranging from those around the corner to around the world, many of which benefit minority groups. In any given month, Ameri- can’s employees may be involved in building houses supporting Habit for Humanity, rebuilding an AIDS orphan- age in Nairobi, Kenya, or participating in a relief mission to Haiti. American Airlines is also a major contributor to Airline Ambassadors International, a non-profit organization that provides humanitarian aid to chil- dren and families in need as well as relief and development to under-privi- leged communities worldwide. Employees have also helped raise

funds for UNICEF and Red Cross through Disaster Relief Funds and par- ticipated in Susan G. Komen® Race


time to realize the advantages of deliberately cultivating future leaders for the executive suites as opposed to the all-too-com- mon approach of having leaders who emerge by chance,” said Tara L. Weiner, Managing Partner, Greater Philadelphia Region, Deloitte LLP.

About The Forum of ExecutiveWomen Founded in 1977, The Forum of Executive Women is the the

for the Cure events around the country. In 2008, American Airlines announced an expanded relationship and the air- line’s new role as Komen for the Cure’s inaugural Lifetime Promise Partner. American pledged to raise $8 million and is the first funder of Komen’s new category of grants, Promise Grants. The first American grant is funding a five-year study of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) at The University of Texas M. D. Ander- son Cancer Center.

Greater Philadelphia region’s premier women’s organization, a network of more than 360 of the most influential women leaders in the region. The Forum actively works to promote its mission to leverage the power of executive women to expand the impact and influence of women leaders.

Suppliers American Airlines’ Supplier Diversi-

Source: BusinessWire

ty Program was designed to bring the added value of diversity to its purchas- ing process by proactively seeking minority- and women-owned enterpris- es (M/WBEs) and providing the oppor- tunity to participate as potential suppli-

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