Monthly Archives

June 2014

Leveling the Leadership Pipeline

By | News, Rebecca Self

Trestle Group FoundationThe Trestle Group Foundation’s mission is to empower women entrepreneurs in emerging economies as they drive economic opportunity, growth and social progress. Our flagship Empowering Women Entrepreneurs Partnership Program identifies qualified female founders and business owners in emerging economies and partners them with established professionals who help build skills, strategies, practices and networks needed to create new opportunities, fulfill potential, and achieve long-term success.

We are often asked why we focus on women:

“Why only women entrepreneurs? “
“Why only women executive coaches in sponsor organizations?”
“Can men play a role in the partnership programs?”

Connecting women entrepreneurs in emerging markets, women executives, and diverse, cross-functional teams in sponsor organizations addresses global inequality in the workplace in several ways at once. And yes, men play vital roles as team members and volunteers!)

Serving women entrepreneurs in this way supports their success and social progress in emerging economies — it also simultaneously supports female executives struggling to reach the highest levels of corporate leadership.

The challenge today is not one or the other — it is one of integrating women fairly and completely into the global economy.

The challenges are daunting. For female filmmakers, founders, entrepreneurs and executives alike, the leadership pipeline is not level. Though women outnumber men worldwide in University enrollment and graduation rates — and outperform men academically — we are underemployed, underpaid, and underrepresented in business leadership, funding, and ownership.

This is not due to women’s choices. It is systemic, cultural inequality on the brink of transformation the world over.

Our approach to empowering women entrepreneurs has always been underpinned by a deeply held belief in driving economic inclusion, personal and professional development, and social change. One of the main things we’ve discovered over the last 8 years is that working together we can accomplish this for entrepreneurs and executives simultaneously and a world apart.

This week’s event at Oxford University: Power Shift Forum for Women in the World Economy has reinforced and reinvigorated our stance on economic empowerment and inclusion. In the coming days, we’ll be sharing recent research on this topic.

For further reading, here are several recent articles on the topic. Some refer to female founders, others to executive leadership. We are broadening out perspective here at the Trestle Group Foundation, as we see we are addressing multiple  demographics simultaneously in the effort to level the leadership pipeline worldwide.

On executive representation:
Catalyst 2013 Census of Fortune 500: “Still No Progress After Years of No Progress.” New York, 10 December 2013.

Zander, Christina. “Even Scandinavia Has a CEO Gender Gap.” Wall Street Journal online. 21 May 2014.

On empowering entrepreneurs:
Melanne Verveer & Kim Azzarelli. “The Other Gender Gap: How Women Entrepreneurs Are Getting Screwed Out of Funding.” Fast Company. 7 May 2014.

Nobel, Carmen. “Venture Investors Prefer Funding Handsome Men.”  Working Knowledge, Harvard Business School, 30 April 2014.