This global health-care company places particular emphasis on moving women into profit-and-loss (P&L) jobs. The payoff: Women now run 27 percent of major divisions or country operations with $500 million-plus revenues. In addition, the number of female managers has increased 90 percent within five years. Abbott’s Women Leaders in Action network (WLA) not only focuses on building leadership skills but also stresses community involvement. Through a strategic alliance between the company’s philanthropic foundation and a community clinic for the medical underserved in Waukegan, IL, near Abbott headquarters, WLA launched a diabetes-focused preventive-care workshop-which has since been replicated in other locations, including Puerto Rico.
Recognizing the critical importance of sponsorship to career success, this financial giant launched the workshop series “The Sponsor Effect” to help women find and maintain these relationships. Amex’s first Global Women’s Conference gave senior executives the opportunity to learn about pathways to sponsorship, receive gender-intelligence training and build their networks. A major new initiative called “Women in the Pipeline and at the Top” focuses on propelling midlevel and senior managers to the highest ranks, and the Women’s Interest Network has 21 chapters with three executive networks that stress preparation for senior leadership.
Bank of America
An extraordinary group of women hold key positions at this Charlotte, NC-based bank. Two on the CEO’s management team, Barbara Desoer, president of Home Loans and Insurance, and Sally Krawcheck, president of Global Wealth and Investment Management, were among Forbes’s “100 Most Powerful Women in the World” and Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business.” Candace Browning, who was snagged in the Merrill Lynch acquisition, is president of Banc of America Securities—Merrill Lynch Global Research. Working to ensure that more women rise to the top, the LEAD women’s affinity group is now 29 chapters strong.
The world’s sixth-largest food company ranks first when it comes to advancing female employees. Women presidents outnumber men and run four of the seven major retail divisions. Half of those promoted from the U.S. directors to officers in 2009 were women. So were 59 percent of participants in the General Mills Institute for Leadership Development.