The retail industry is increasingly prioritizing diversity in the executive suite — especially as the benefits of doing so become better known. Global leadership company DDI found that organizations with women holding at least 30% of leadership roles are 1.4X more likely to have sustained, profitable growth.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done to make true diversity a reality — and education plays a critical role. During the 2019 Retail Innovation Conference, May 6-8, two targeted panels will focus on the accomplishments and lessons of female leaders, and will offer insights into how retailers can support women leaders in their own organizations and beyond.
On May 7, Remodista and Women2Watch founder Kelly Stickel will host a panel of women executives who are passionate about mentoring and empowering up-and-coming executives. The session, titled: Strategies For Strengthening Businesses By Empowering Women Leaders, will spotlight the different ways organizations can develop and sustain a strong focus on female leadership and empowerment.
“Women make up 50% of the workforce, but only 6% of the CEO roles in retail,” Stickel said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Those numbers need to change, and we are building out conversations like this to get the ball rolling.”
Panelists will touch on ways this mission can extend across all areas of the business, with support in employee hiring, training, progression and even community building. Participants include:
- Amy Shecter, CEO, Glamsquad;
- Monika Tockstein, Senior Manager of PMO & QA, Retailwinds; and
- Lindsey Bleimes, Engineering Director, Wayfair.
Stickel noted that many companies have seen success prioritizing equality in the workplace because they garner support and advocacy from senior leadership. “Inclusion and diversity are top-down initiatives,” she explained. “PayPal’s CEO mandated a salary comparison study and righted the equal pay. It cost a few million dollars and they have to revisit this study every year, but profits went up, not down, following the investment.”
While having strong business programs and practices in place is critical, it’s only half of a very important puzzle. Executives in the industry must have greater empathy and understanding of women leaders and their unique journeys in the business. That is why on the final day of #RIC19, three executives at varying stages of their careers will share the events that have shaped them into the leaders they are today. Panelists include:
- Traci Inglis, President, TechStyle Fashion Group;
- Cynthia Sandall, CEO/CMO, ROAM Fitness; and
- Ekta Chopra, VP of IT, e.l.f. Cosmetics.
“It is important for the male team members to understand what sorts of company gains come from the strong character traits of women leaders,” Stickel noted. “It is panels and discussions like these that educate our teams on the values of having opinions and ideas that are different and varied from our own.”
Beyond these panels, the conference will have more than 30 women leaders taking the stage to discuss how their brands are thriving in a disruptive climate. Touting various roles — from founders and CEOs to senior-level executives — these women undoubtedly will offer invaluable insights and lessons learned for the attendees.
Visit the Retail Innovation Conference web site to learn more about the expansive list of speakers and the many other sessions. There are only a few weeks until the big event, so register while there’s still time.