12 NEW partners are ‘tops’ for women execs

12 NEW partners are ‘tops’ for women execs

12 NEW partners are 'tops' for women execs

A dozen Network of Executive Women partners were recognized by the National Association for Female Executives as 2016 Top Companies for Executive Women. Noted for their efforts to retain and promote female employees were NEW partners Accenture, American Express, Colgate-Palmolive, Diageo, EY, General Mills Inc., Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg Company, Procter & Gamble, Target Corporation and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women survey is completed by for-profit companies with at least 1,000 employees and two women on the board of directors. The survey tracks employee access to programs and policies promoting women's advancement and the number of employees participating, management training promoting women's advancement and manager accountability for the advancement of female employees.

At Accenture, where high-potential diverse candidates are identified in every business unit, the development of female talent is addressed with several programs. High-potential employees are provided mentors, sponsors and assignments to encourage professional growth. Accenture’s leadership team, which is 47-percent female, is committed to creating a thriving workplace culture, with keen focus on women and multicultural employees.

At American Express, 41 percent of employees at and above the level of vice president are women. Executives' compensation is rated in part by their success in hiring, developing and advancing female talent. The company's Global Women's Conference for senior execs has recently been expanded to form the Spotlight on Women event series, a networking and development platform for female employees at every level.

Ten employee network groups, three diversity councils, training programs and sponsorship of cross-cultural women's symposiums demonstrate the emphasis Colgate-Palmolive places on collaboration, inclusion, equal opportunity and women's leadership advancement. Flexible, family-friendly scheduling gives parents an extra measure of professional and personal freedom.

At Diageo, women at and above management level participating in the Transcend Leadership Mentoring program receive a year of career counseling from senior executives – providing them with guidance and insights for positions at the VP level. Diageo also offers advanced leadership development for women in line for the company's top 200 roles. The company honors gender equality and diversity through networks including Diageo's Spirited Women and LGBT, Asian and African Heritage groups.

At EY, flexible workplaces, women's leadership development programs and an emphasis on mentorship, sponsorship and inclusiveness promote a supportive work environment. The company recently interviewed 400 global industry leaders for the report "Women. Fast Forward," which made its debut at the World Economic Forum in Davos and made the case for female-friendly policy changes. Men at EY are engaged in women’s advancement through Inclusiveness Steering Committees, which promote frank discussion about professional gender issues and experiences.

Each quarter, female and junior partners at General Mills are paired with senior partners on the company's corporate operating committee. The senior partners gain insights on the emerging professionals' lives and career journeys, while the junior counterparts learn from veteran leaders' wisdom. Ten women's network groups include Women in Leadership, where female employees at and above the director level receive training and sponsorship for career advancement.

Focus on female leaders

Intel has made a goal of achieving full representation of women and minorities in its U.S. workforce by 2020, going so far as to invest $300 million in its new Diversity in Technology initiative. Adding to its ranks of female leadership, the company ended 2015 with 21 senior principal engineers and fellows, up from 12 in 2014. Onboarding programs and dedicated networks encourage hiring and leadership development of female executives, and anyone referring a female tech to the company earns a bonus of $8,000.

In addition to numerous on-site daycare and fitness centers, Johnson & Johnson offers a wellness program, $10,000 in annual tuition assistance and up to 17 fully paid weeks of parental leave after a birth or adoption. Nearly half of all promotions to and above management level are earned by women.

At the Kellogg Company, diverse executives in the consumer goods industry can take part in the Cross-Cultural Leadership Development Program. The initiative highlights and develops the skills of female and multicultural employees, with classes that emphasize the importance of career strategy, personal branding and emotional intelligence. Advanced mentoring with diverse senior leaders is offered Kellogg's through Global Leadership Team.

At Procter & Gamble, 45 percent of management roles are handled by women, as are 30 percent of senior executive positions at and above vice president level. Women's leadership efforts include the talent development program Athena in Action; the 10-month Women Empowered Accelerator, which helps midlevel women develop the leadership skills to pursue top jobs; and Kellogg Women’s Business Association, which empowers its members throughout their MBA journeys.

Women at Target earn 53 percent of management-rank promotions and 49 percent of the company's top salaries. More than 10,000 team members participate in six diversity and inclusion councils, including one specifically for women, with more than 4,000 members. The company also offers daycare discounts, $5,000 in adoption aid and the Red-Hot Mamas affinity network for women with kids.

At Wal-Mart Stores Inc., where women earn 45 percent of promotions to and above manager-level, female associates are provided with resources to develop their careers, including mentorship and sponsorship programs, workshops and networking opportunities. Diversity-related summits, conferences and award galas encourage and celebrate an inclusive workforce. In 2015, the company held its inaugural Global Women's Forum in Bentonville, Arkansas, broadcast to 5,200 locations in 29 states.

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