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Last night, I addressed the San Francisco chapter of the Healthcare Business Women’s Association (HBA) on trends and insights related to diversity and inclusion coming out of the 37th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, which took place in the city earlier this month. This was especially meaningful to me as I recently was selected to sit on the HBA’s Global Board of Advisors. This is a huge honor as HBA is dedicated to improving gender parity to achieve meaningful progress for women in business and optimize the benefit to business.

As the founder and CEO of W2O, one of the things I’m most proud of is our dedication to gender parity at all levels of the firm. It is without a doubt the reason for our continued growth and success.

In sharing insights on JPM 2019 – the annual conference that brings more than 9,000 healthcare investors, media and business development teams together for five days – I based my observations on presentations made by more than 450 executives from the world’s leading drug and biotech companies, who set the tone and expectations for performance over the year to come.

I’ve been attending this conference for more than 20 years and have witnessed an incredible amount of change in the industry. This year, my three main takeaways were:

  • Companies are positive about business in 2019.
  • Pipelines are a priority.
  • Margin expansion and investment are strategic imperatives.

Having said that, I focused my remarks last night, not on financial forecasts and outcome predictions of failures and success, but on what makes a business successful from the inside out. Additionally, in partnership with my W2O colleague, Senior Director of Analytics, Meredith Owen, I talked about how to leverage W2O’s analytics capabilities to measure and model just how critical it is to have the right balanced workforce where everyone’s ideas are heard and people can reach their full potential regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

The W2O Healthcare Relevance Index is an annual report that looks at approximately 60 Fortune 500 companies in the healthcare industry and applies a proprietary analytics model to determine the relevance of organizations on the topic of diversity and inclusion. In this age of social and digital, Relevance is the new Reputation. If your organization is relevant, it’s engaging with key stakeholders on terms that are mutually beneficial. The outcome impacts sales, profitability, recruitment, retention, innovation, leadership and valuation.

The 2019 W2O Healthcare Relevance Index includes the following topline findings:

  • Healthcare organizations are not making the progress necessary in diversity and inclusion as demanded by key stakeholders.
  • Diversity and inclusion must be a CEO mandate. (My experience alone reinforces that notion.)
  • Employees are moving the dialogue to diversity and inclusion and signaling its importance to their productivity.
  • Innovation remains an elusive elixir as we heard at JPM 2019. Yet, a remedy is about adding new and different voices to ideation.
  • Diversity and inclusion is not a communications problem but an organizational issue that must be addressed at the C-Suite level. Commitment to change is key

As I shared with HBA, my mother shaped my thinking with regard to diversity and inclusion at a very young age. She was the CEO of a business and was very successful breaking all kinds of barriers at the time and instilling in me a belief in a better approach and system based on the human spirit and ideal. It’s how I ultimately built my firm and why dialogue, discussion and debate rule, and why multiple voices are respected and heard.

As we look at the healthcare industry in 2019, one could argue that things are moving in the right direction regarding diversity and inclusion. But, there needs to be a sense of urgency. A commitment that accelerates improvement.

To that end, all of us must voice our opinions and challenge the industry to do better. Our collective futures depend on it!

Jim


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, go to our About or healthcare page. 

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Large Agency 

W2O

Location: San Francisco

W2O received the highest marks in this category for general workplace and employment considerations. The firm provides weekly learning opportunities and invests in training and development for staffers. Leadership at the firm is transparent with communications, openly sharing information with employees.

For new staffers, the agency serves as a welcome and warm environment. Each person at the firm has a mentor and can meet with them each week to share their feelings and question. Team directors and managers also meet with their employees biweekly.

“Viewing their organization as collaborative, fast-paced, and fun, W2O employees are also pleased with the ability of women to advance,” noted one judge.

The agency boasts an impressive benefits package. A newer part of that is the Your Fourth Trimester program, implemented in 2017. The program provides employees with a career coach as they become working parents. Those who have participated in the program said it helped them smoothly and successfully transition into the working parent role.

“Having a coach when I returned from maternity leave was a game changer,” noted one employee. “It solidified how much my company supports working moms.”

Additionally, the agency supports outside-of-the-office team building events, including participation in a weekly kickball league, and regular team happy hours. “People love to hang out together and participate in team sports, volunteerism, company events, and more,” said one staffer.

This post was originally published via PRWeek.


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, go to our About.

We’re hiring! Check out open positions.

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2018 was an incredible year for our firm. The partnership between our amazing clients and W2O teams enabled us to build unfair advantage in ground-breaking and disruptive ways. However, it was not only our work that made this year so special, our thought leadership was the icing on the cake. Showcasing what our people value, how their passion impacts our work and moves the industry forward, not only made us proud of who we were as firm in 2018, but who we look forward to being in the year to come.

So, before the clock strikes midnight we wanted to take a look back at some of our favorite posts from the past year. From the DNA of W2O to women in healthcare to the marriage of marketing and data, our people discussed it all. Take a read below, reflect on the insights and milestones 2018 brought us, and be inspired about the amazing year to come!


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About page. Want to chat? Drop us a line

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Finding a job after college is stressful, especially when competition gets fiercer each year. Internships are the perfect way to build relationships before graduating, and turning your internship at W2O into a full-time job is an amazing way to ease the transition from life as a college student to a professional.

While I was an undergraduate student at Northeastern, I spent my six-month co-op working at W2O’s Boston office as a digital health intern. After finishing my co-op, I moved to an account associate position working with clients in the biotechnology industry. At this point, I had already spent six months immersed in the culture and the client work at W2O, which helped relieve the stress so many of us may feel when embarking on a new chapter after graduation. Keep reading for 10 tips on how to turn your W2O internship into a full-time job!

1. Be on Time

One of the easiest ways to make a good impression at your internship is to show up on time. It’s important to stick to the schedule you agreed upon with your supervisor. Arrive early and don’t rush out the door as soon as the clock hits 5:00 pm! Maintaining a consistent schedule lets your coworkers know that you’re reliable, and shows them the time management skills you established in college by juggling classes, extracurricular activities and socializing.

2. Stay Informed

Keeping our clients informed is what we do at W2O. This means we need to stay informed ourselves, so making sure to stay on top of industry news is key. Whether it’s reading newsletters every day on your morning commute or listening to a podcast while you work, be a voracious consumer of information and find the way that works best for you to stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and developments.

3. Get Ready to Wear Many Hats

As an intern at W2O, you have the opportunity to work with dozens of different clients, from digital health to big pharma to startup biotechnology companies. This is a huge part of what makes W2O exciting! Every day brings something different, and as an intern, you can try out many projects working with various teams and clients. Take on different roles and figure out what you like best.

4. Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes

As we’ve all been told, “everyone makes mistakes.” Oversights and slip-ups happen, and all your coworkers have been there before! The most important thing is how you deal with your mistake. Admitting when you’re wrong or when you’ve made a mistake on a project is the first step to making it right. Acknowledge the mistake to your team, offer a recommendation on how to correct, and align on how to fix it. Which brings us to…

5. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Don’t let a minor error ruin your outlook on a team or a project. Try not to be so hard on yourself—just continue doing your best and show your willingness to improve, and your coworkers will forget all about it. Just be sure not to make the same mistakes repeatedly!

6. Get Involved in Company Culture

Every W2O office has a Culture Committee that plans fun team-building events for you and your coworkers. As a co-op in the Boston office, I joined the “Small Events Committee,” which includes shopping for and decorating our bi-weekly happy hour cart, and planning activities like our pumpkin-carving contest, Cinco de Mayo party and Thanksgiving potluck. Joining Culture Committee is a great way to get to know your coworkers’ interests outside of work and helps you feel like part of the company.

 7. Make Connections

The W2O Boston office is small enough that we all know each other’s names, but large enough that we have an impressive range of career paths and skill sets. Take advantage of the diverse backgrounds and experiences of your coworkers by setting up meetings to pick their brains. Developing personal relationships with them will help your network grow and will help you learn more about the clients and projects across the agency network. For me, this was how I was able to successfully transition from a digital health co-op to an account associate focused on biotechnology. When you figure out what area of healthcare you’re most interested in—for me, it was early-stage biotech companies—ask around to find out who you can talk to about getting involved.

8. Go Above and Beyond

Showing your willingness to go the extra mile will definitely impress your manager and coworkers. Whether it’s staying late to help a client through a major milestone or sharing relevant news stories with your team, going above and beyond is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the internship role and engage with coworkers and clients.

9. Make the Most of Company Resources

Working at W2O means you’re part of a global network of communications, marketing, digital and analytics experts. With 13 offices in three countries, the W2O team stretches beyond Boston across continents and time zones. We think of the W2O teams as working along a “long hallway,” which refers to the ease with which we can connect and collaborate with coworkers around the world, almost as if they’re just down the hall and not thousands of miles away. Get to know coworkers beyond the Boston office in order to expand your network and learn tips and tricks from colleagues around the globe.

10. Ask for (and Respond Appropriately to) Feedback

Fostering an open line of communication with your manager and coworkers is an important part of learning and growing as an intern. Be sure to ask for feedback on each of your projects, as it will help you learn what you did well and how to improve moving forward. Part of receiving feedback is responding appropriately, so remember that your W2O coworkers are sharing their thoughts because they want you to succeed. Try not to take the constructive feedback personally, and instead, use it to grow as an employee! 

Bonus: Get to Know Boston!

Our Boston office is right downtown, making your internship a great opportunity to learn your way around the many neighborhoods of the city. Take advantage of the “T” after work and on the weekends to explore all that Boston has to offer, from cannoli in the North End to the foliage in Arnold Arboretum to kayaking in the Charles! Getting to know the city is a great way to have some fun while you’re here and to ease the transition from college to your post-grad job.


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, go to our About.

We’re hiring! Check out open positions.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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You often hear, especially in sports and business, the refrain that teams and companies are “competitive.” Usually this means an ability to operate at a level that achieves better than expected performance but doesn’t result in sustained winning.

We all know competitive teams — the Green Bay Packers, Houston Rockets, St. Louis Cardinals  — and competitive organizations — Lowe’s, Reebok, Airbus, and GM.

But they differ from truly Winning organizations like the New England Patriots, Golden State Warriors, Google, Nike, Tesla, and Amazon.

The difference between the two can be explained in one word: Attitude

Winning organizations and brands possess an attitude or mindset that permeates the entire enterprise, resulting in a system, culture and set of operating principles that recognize one thing: Accomplishment. Consistent Accomplishment. Championships in sports and Relevance in business.

Being Competitive is akin to convincing yourself you don’t need to get better in any significant way. As long as you are in the game, so to speak, it’s enough.

Competing typically involves three things:

  1. Me-Too” Capabilities – Competitive organizations replicate key capabilities providing a solid alternative
  2. Competent Skills – Staff is knowledgeable and well-rounded
  3. Clear Identity – There is a specific purpose and position in the marketplace

To rise above, consistently Winning organizations and brands follow a different set of rules:

  1. Differentiated Offerings – Always ahead of the curve in terms of client needs and market expectations
  2. Innovation – Upending the status quo constantly introducing new thinking and approaches
  3. Unmatched Expertise – Staff consists of people with noted experience from myriad backgrounds
  4. Strong POV – Conveying a multitude of ideas, arguments, and perspectives

In the end, Winning organizations are disrupters. They never rest on their laurels. Each successful year or engagement is dissected for improvement. They don’t adhere to industry conventions and take risks smartly if it results in advantage.

The little secret in all of this is that it’s not perfect. Far from it.

Winning companies set the bar, but may not form the foundation.

Competitive organizations may have a better system or process, but not truly move the needle. Competent in delivery, Competitive companies can sustain a long-running track record of performance. And therein lies the deception. You may think you’re Winning.

In today’s hyper-challenging environment, Winning requires a seismic upending of the conventional. It begins with an attitude that defines how the business will stay ahead, making the right decisions and investments, and measuring success at the highest plane.

If you haven’t figured it out, W2O adheres to the Winning model as evidenced by its innovations and people.

YOU make the difference in all we do and being here means you are not simply a Competitor, but a Winner — always playing to Win, not just to Compete!

It certainly demands a high level of engagement and development, but the benefit is being part of a Winning team – one that is respected and revered.

And so I’m very grateful at this time of year to be alongside each and every one of you seeking answers and solving problems to keep our clients successful.

Let’s Keep Winning . . . Together,

Jim


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About page.

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As we enter the official season of gratitude and giving thanks, I’ve been working on my annual “what I’m grateful for” list to share during my family’s Thanksgiving celebration. Of course, I’m grateful for my amazing family and incredible friends, and I express gratitude for them not just at Thanksgiving but every day. However, equally as impactful to my daily life and happiness are my work colleagues. Considering the large portion of waking hours I spend at work, I’m grateful for all of the colleagues who have become extensions of my family throughout my career. These are people I rely on day in and day out. We work as partners and teammates to collaboratively meet our collective goals. In reflecting on my work family, I have been thinking about how gratitude is expressed in the work place and what a difference a simple “thank you” can make to someone’s work experience and connectedness and how that can translate into productivity and career growth.

I did some research on the topic and found some fascinating results showing that simple, yet authentic, gratitude offers significant benefits for both the individual and their organization:

  • Boosts Job Productivity and Performance – According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, leaders who express thanks tend to motivate their employees to be more productive. Another study showed a strong correlation between employee performance and managers who regularly recognize and thank their teams. In that study, almost 40 percent of employees said that more personal recognition would encourage them to deliver a higher level of job performance.
  • Strengthens Teams – According to UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons, author of “The Little Book of Gratitude: Creating a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing by Giving Thanks,” gratitude “takes people outside of themselves and to a place that is part of a larger, more intricate network of sustaining relationships that are mutually reciprocal.” By recognizing the contributions of your colleagues, you can help foster a positive team-based environment in which people are more trusting and reliable.
  • Leads to Higher Job Satisfaction and Retention – Employees who are part of a workplace culture that encourages gratitude experience higher levels of overall job satisfaction. A 2015 report by TINYpulse comprising data from more than 30,000 employees across 500+ organizations, showed that employees who receive regular recognition are more likely to rate their workplace as “fun.” Additionally, Globoforce, an employee retention firm, found that 55 percent of workers would leave their current job for a company that recognizes its employees’ efforts and contributions.
  • Improves BusinessA study conducted by Deloitte found that companies with well-established employee recognition programs are 12 times more likely to have strong business results.

So how do you infuse gratitude into the workplace? Following are my go-to tips. Yes, they are simple, but they can be profoundly impactful:

  • Be Authentic: Sincerity is key. If the expression of appreciation is not perceived as being honest and real, the gesture will fall flat.
  • Be Specific: Don’t just offer a generic “thank you for all your work.” Use concrete examples to describe what the person did and why you are grateful.
  • Be Consistent: Express thanks on a regular basis – acknowledge the work and effort contributed to a goal – no matter how big or small. A quick email reply goes a long way. At the end of each day or week, think about those who have had a positive impact on you and take the time to thank them. Take 5 to 10 minutes to handwrite a thank-you note to show your appreciation.
  • Be Public with Your Acknowledgement: Share your appreciation in a team meeting. Public recognition and acknowledgement of your team members’ talent creates a sense of work family that can help you exceed your individual and collective goals.

Recognizing with gratitude the efforts of your colleagues and their unique contributions shows that you value them and they matter to you and your organization. Expressing thanks can transform our work lives for the better. I know. I’ve seen it happen first-hand and it’s an amazing feeling.

Sending a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has positively impacted both my personal and professional lives and wishing you all the best for a wonderful holiday season filled with gratitude.


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Culture pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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The recent hate-driven Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting is clearly a tragedy.  In spirit, we are all members of the Tree of Life Congregation.

As we read of hate crimes all too often, it is easy to get frustrated as we wonder “what can we do”?  This is exactly why I co-wrote Countering Hate with Haroon K. Ullah and have remained on the path of asking and answering this question over time.

Here is one simple and powerful preventive measure that we can enact as quickly as we like and one important debate that we still need to have as a nation.

The Bad-Actor API (application programming interface)

(first published in Techonomy.com with Dr. Victoria Romero)

In the aftermath of 9/11, investigators, federal agencies, and Congress realized that the information we would have needed to detect and thwart the plot had been available.  What was missing was a systemic ability to connect the dots, see patterns and view the big picture.

Since 9/11 the government has made great strides in sharing data between law enforcement, defense and intelligence organizations, but meanwhile, the world has moved. The new battlefield is cyberspace. And much of the most critical data in cyberspace are controlled not by government, but by internet and social media companies.

The efforts that such companies, particularly Facebook and Twitter, are undertaking to battle orchestrated efforts to spread disinformation, hate, and extremism are admirable, but their approaches have a fatal flaw.

The platforms are each working in isolation, seeking out bad actors based on activity on their own platform, then removing them and the content they created. It is laudable that they want to halt the spread of these actors’ messages, but their approach is leading us down the same path that resulted in 9/11.

Sophisticated bad actors’ strategies are cross-platform. You may not even be able to identify a bad actor if you are looking only at their posts on Facebook. It is not possible for any one platform to identify sophisticated adversaries by examining only data from their own platform. Critical patterns emerge only when data from a wide range of sources are combined. Limiting the search to only one (or even a few) sources is like trying to examine an elephant through a soda straw.

The 9/11 Commission Report emphasized that the critical tool to implement was a better system of information sharing. Government entities clearly heard and implemented this message. But 17 years later, we are at another inflection point of equal importance that requires partnership and cooperation between the public and private sectors.

In the recent hearings on social media in the House and the Senate, the focus was mainly on the past election and identifying fake content. What was missing was a proposal or any specific idea that could improve how we see patterns, gain insights and protect our citizens. That would allow us to make the next big leap.

We have an idea that is very simple, powerful, and easy to implement. It doesn’t require social media companies to do anything extraordinary. It does require an attitude of cooperation, a willingness on all sides to tone down the rhetoric and a desire to build positive partnerships.

The idea is to ask each social media channel that attracts bad actors to build and make available to certain partners a “bad actor API,” or application programming interface. Currently, when social media providers identify a bad actor’s account, they delete it and all the data with it. This makes it impossible for others to study these accounts’ behavior and learn from it. A bad actor API would allow third parties to access extensive public data about these wrongdoers for research purposes, and ultimately prevention.

It’s not a new concept since APIs are already routinely used by social media channels to share user information with third parties. They help advertisers build plans and help an array of partners understand what customers or potential customers may be doing. It’s a widely accepted way to learn together.

When we want to promote or sell something, we fully embrace the use of APIs and the data that comes with it. For some reason, however, we don’t do this for bad actors.  Instead, we applaud social media platforms for merely deleting accounts and information which is thus never seen again.

This information should be retained, and the companies should make the API available to third parties whose mission would be to combine these data with other data sources to identify patterns.

Data scientists will be able to see those patterns more quickly and they should help us understand behavioral signatures, potential plans of action and other significant information.

If the public and private sector are to accomplish this goal, both will need to place more attention on the power of doing something right together.

Deleting accounts, today’s primary tool, is not the answer. If fake content reaches us for a few days and then is stopped, does that negate its impact? The answer is no. People have already been disinformed. The damage cannot be undone.

We don’t buy more Kleenex to treat the flu. We do research and develop vaccines. Society needs to build systems that enable us to act more like an R&D team. We can make much more progress in battling hate if we work as one team.

We need one leader in Government and one in the private sector to agree on this point and get us started.  Who will it be?

Then, let’s pull up the 9/11 Commission Report and read the section that discusses “a different way of organizing government to unify the many participants in the counterterrorism effort and their knowledge in a network-based information sharing system that transcends traditional government boundaries.”

A Conversation We Need to Have

It is a conversation about privacy and how we identify and track those who are escalating on the continuum from bias to hate to extremism and, in some cases, violent actions.

In the U.S. today, law enforcement can track social media behavior, but they cannot act on it alone unless a super clear threat is made.  We are taking the view that we cannot do anything to stop someone in advance of a negative action, simply because they said something.

The only problem with this approach is that extremists don’t explain their next actions in advance, so we can catch them.  It’s never worked that way and never will.  We must be able to take action of some type when we know someone is either about to break or has simply crossed into the world of extremism.

In general, I understand this right to privacy.  But when a person is escalating over time in their use of hate speech and they are showing behavioral changes that are symbolic of those who may take action, could there not be a level of “alarm” where either police or mental health professionals or others may get involved?

It is rare for a hate-filled extremism action to occur without any prior evidence.  It can happen, but it is unusual.  Normally, we can see a journey similar to how we map out a customer journey where a person is progressing from bias to hate to extremist views.

Since privacy is very important and is viewed as a personal right or privilege, depending on how you look at it, it deserves a larger conversation on what we are willing to accept and what we are not.

As we have these conversations, let’s remember to not let the fake news discussion or partisan politics divide us.  The disinformation wars will continue, but we can all keep our heads on straight and debate and decide on key societal issues that can decrease hate with time.

We are experiencing a new type of risk that requires new thinking.

We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to the memories of our friends and we owe it to the Tree of Life Congregation.


You can visit us at www.counteringhate.com for more information

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I was thrilled to learn that our very own Andy Boothe was named as a In2 Innovator of the Year this past week.

Andy is the longest tenured analytics professional at W2O, initially hired as an analyst at W2O after an engineering stint at IBM. He spent his early days at W2O producing online influencer reports, a process and deliverable we have longed-called, “The Meme”. Back then, this process took nearly 8 weeks and involved an absurd amount of manual labor, such as pulling Google search results into thousands of rows in Excel, manually reading through each result to make sure it was relevant, and manually matching up each online influencer to their respective social media properties.

Andy, being the engineer that he is, found our manual processes to be a tragic waste of human time and ingenuity. So he created a series of tools that automated nearly every painful part of the Meme process. Within a few years, the time to produce a Meme has gone down about 80% through the clever use of ML techniques and distributed workload through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

Andy has had an outsized impact on W2O’s “speed to data-driven insight” by creating a system of systems and tools known as our Analytics Operating System (AOS). These tools free analysts from rote, manual data collection and cleansing exercises. Today, analysts spend most of their time testing hypotheses and making sense of patterns in data that tell us how to better connect our clients to audiences that matter to them. It’s one of the key things that has allowed us to scale the practice to over 100 analytics professionals today and impact nearly every single W2O client.

Andy’s innovative qualities go beyond scaling and automation. For many of us at W2O, he is the first person we go to when facing what appears to be an insurmountable data and analytics problem. His competency as an Engineer might only be exceeded by his problem solving skills and creative approaches to research design and data analysis. In fact, I’ve only once heard him say, “no, that can’t be done” – the time I tried to get Andy (a true blooded Texan) to try barbecue in San Francisco. His hacker’s mindset has been an inspiration to me and my colleagues at W2O for years.

So please join me in congratulating Andy on the great achievement!


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Analytics pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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Gender diversity continues to be an important topic in the daily news cycle with the hiring and firing of female CEOs, the passing of laws regarding the number of women in corporate board rooms and C-suites, and new initiatives aimed at promoting more women into leadership.

The healthcare industry is certainly not immune to these gender parity challenges.In fact, one of the most talked about stories coming out of this past year’s JP Morgan Annual Healthcare Conference focused on the fact there were more speakers named “Michael” (22) at the event than the combined number of female CEO speakers (20). To further reinforce this point, female senior executives represent only 17 percent of management teams at the top 20 pharmaceutical and medtech companies in the United States.

This is disappointing, as studies have shown that organizations pursuing gender parity and diversity reap the benefits of increased revenue, decreased costs, maximized profits and more effective employee recruitment, improved retention and an enhanced corporate image. Juxtapose these two sets of conflicting statistics and it leads one to ask, “What can and should we be doing regarding gender diversity for our businesses, the next generation of leaders and, most importantly, the patients, caregivers, physicians and healthcare industry at large that we serve?”

For more than 40 years, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) has been working to advance the impact and influence of women by providing leadership development and networking opportunities to individuals. With 50,000 members and 125 corporate partners, HBA’s purpose is simple yet impactful – to further the advancement and impact of women in the business of healthcare. I am proud to have been selected to sit on the organization’s 2019 Global Board of Directors, where I will serve on the Executive Committee as secretary/treasurer. This is a tremendous honor and benchmark in my career, but I am most excited about the opportunity to work with so many esteemed women to take an active role in accelerating gender parity and transforming our venerable industry for the better.

Last month, HBA launched the Gender Parity Collaborative, a consortium of healthcare companies committed to achieving the top-down system and organizational changes that are critical to advancing gender parity. To date, 12 healthcare and life science companies have signed on as partners to support internal women’s leadership networks, offer progressive diversity and inclusion programs, and represent a collective global workforce of more than 750,000 employees. The Collaborative will accomplish its goals through:

  • Analyzing and tracking data and general perceptions that feed industry and company performance
  • Defining and implementing strategic priorities that are in-line with overall business results
  • Sharing and evaluating proposed solutions via regular leadership summits

There’s no question that real, actionable change is needed. As senior executives press forward with their own gender equality initiatives, they can make headway by following several key principles, a few include:

Build a Culture of Inclusion

It would make sense that success starts with building a culture of inclusion in which all employees can realize their full potential. By building a foundation that values diversity, companies can create an organizational environment grounded in trust that creates the culture to support talent to flourish. This requires encouraging participation from everyone, critically the CEO, to demonstrate the support and importance of addressing unconscious bias. This requires creating a core competency around gender partnership, which requires making gender parity the highest priority in selection, retention, training and promotion. Holding senior leaders accountable for considering a gender-balanced slate for open positions and ongoing mentoring and sponsorship programs is also essential.

Be Accountable for Change

Holding an organization and its leaders accountable for race and gender targets is another important tool for change. Tactics include publicly sharing diversity statistics and goals, measuring gender and diversity recruitment and retention efforts, and requiring leaders to develop diverse teams and successors. Study after study finds greater numbers of women “disappearing” at each successive level of most organizations. A LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company study of 222 companies in the United States illustrated this phenomenon. For every 100 women promoted to manager, 130 men are promoted. By the time women reach the SVP level, they hold just 20 percent of the roles that are most likely to lead to the C-suite.

Ensure Success Begets Success

Hiring a diverse workforce isn’t the end – it’s just the beginning. McKinsey reports that advancing women’s equality would add $12 trillion to global growth by 2025 – roughly the combined size of the economies of the United States and China. But making progress on gender equality requires not just that women be placed in senior roles, but also that they are successful in them. Focused mentorship and leadership programs are essential to filling this gap.

While we still have a long way to go in creating gender parity in the workplace, we’re moving in the right direction. I’m thrilled to be serving the HBA at the global level and look forward to the day when ALL companies across ALL industries adopt a culture where everyone’s ideas are heard, and ALL people can reach their full potential. Let’s work together to make this a reality!

Learn more about HBA and this year’s Board of Directors and Nominating Committee Leadership here.


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About page.

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