Lessons from the Women’s Initiative Leadership Forum
You can’t break the glass ceiling without a few cuts.
This was the theme of the Annual Leadership Forum put on by FTI Consulting Women’s Initiative, a program dedicated to developing, mentoring and connecting female professionals. The featured panel discussion at the FTI Forum event took place this past February in Denver and featured former journalist, Kyle Dyer, HFF’s Mary Sullivan, Denver Health Medical Plan’s Robin Wittenstein, CenturyLink’s Laurinda Pang and FTI Consulting’s Carlyn Taylor.
With conversations ongoing across industries about the figurative glass ceiling that women are breaking their way through, it only seemed fitting that this idea would guide the evening. It was a great opportunity to network and discuss the challenges and risks women encounter throughout their careers, and how to combat these obstacles. Considering how far women have come professionally, and the momentum right now behind equal pay and opportunity, it’s surprising to hear how far we have yet to go.
Here’s the thing – We have no shortage of intelligent, supportive women (and men!) at INK, and I learned very quickly that there is nobody cheering louder for me than my colleagues. But as I sat listening to the conversation among some of the most established female leaders in the Denver community, it became more and more apparent to me that what we have going at INK is unfortunately closer to the exception than the rule. I found myself continually wondering why, and if we truly hope to break through that elusive glass ceiling, why are so many women trying to do it alone?
Instead of trying to solve every single problem ourselves, imagine if we tapped into our networks, shared resources and collaborated on strategies to come up with the strongest, most effective solution we could? Not only would we be exponentially more likely to succeed, we also would have someone to help dust us off if we still fell a bit short.
While it is not always without opposition, we are all fortunate to live in a time that has brought forth some of the strongest, smartest, most passionate female leaders we have ever seen, at every level. From Denver-based companies like Women in Kind and P2Binverstor, to national players like Female Founders, we are seeing the emergence of organizations that are working harder than ever to invest in women and encourage them to join in this conversation.
One of the most promising takeaways from the FTI Women’s Initiative Leadership Forum was that while there is certainly still work to do, more women than ever before are looking for new ways to support their peers and help lift them up professionally. I was inspired by the words of Denver’s female leaders, and I don’t think I was alone. It’s my hope is that we all can take a little more time to invest in each other, share advice, and cheer a little louder for all the women around us.