Stories of Inspiration & Impact about Women in Business
There’s an important conversation happening right now around the role of women in leadership and what it looks like when organizations fully embrace equality. When She Leads is a 5-part podcast series from the Center for Creative Leadership that aims to further that conversation by highlighting how When She Leads, individuals grow and organizations flourish.
In this series, we’re talking to executives who are making a difference by supporting women’s leadership initiatives in a wide array of industries around the globe. We explore the unique yet universal challenges women in business have faced — and are overcoming — in this important work.
Episode 1: The Mother Putting People First
Length: 36 minutes 20 seconds
CCL’s Kelly Simmons speaks with Divya Ghatak, an active board member for Watermark, a community of executive women who are building networks to help more women in business accelerate their careers. Divya has built her career in HR leadership positions at a number of tech companies, including Cisco and Good Data. When we spoke with her, she served as the vice president of people at Nevro, a global medical technology company. She was recently named the chief people officer at computer & network security firm SentinelOne.
In this episode of our women in business podcast, Divya talks about a variety of challenges she’s faced:
“I was pumping milk in all kinds of rooms and getting milk with me through airport security,” she tells Kelly about adjusting to life as a working mom. “It was not fun. That year was really hard. And a lot of times, people see only the success. They don’t see what you had to go through.”
She also issues a call-to-action for more mentorship of women:
“I think if each one of us who is in a leadership role or a position of influence spends 10 to 15% of their time setting this intention and fulfilling that intention, we can make real change in our society, in our communities.”
Episode 2: Trailblazing Leadership, From Spain to Peru
Length: 25 minutes 16 seconds
CCL’s Laura Santana talks with Marta del Rio Villanueva, who has spent more than 20 years in executive positions for major brands such as Proctor & Gamble, Burger King, and American Express. She is the co-founder and president of Wasi Organics, a Peru-based organic snack company that sources all of its ingredients from local Andean farmers associations. Marta has been honored by the United Nations for her work.
In this episode of our women in business podcast, Marta talks about the various ways she’s been a trailblazer throughout her career, including an early experience where she pioneered job-sharing to help keep women in the workforce:
“In Spain, I remember 20 years ago, nobody was thinking about two women doing the same job,” she tells Laura. “What I did was to look for two women to do one job, part-time. They were highly complementary, and so I thought why not hire in two of them for one job? It was something that was never done before in the industry.”
She also shares details of her current experience in successfully retaining millennial women:
“Millennials — in general, all over the world — they jump from one job to another, like 6 months, a year, 2 tops,” she says. “In our case, we have people that last 3 years and counting because no one is leaving.”
Episode 3: Empowering Women in Business: Healthcare & Philanthropy
Length: 39 minutes 59 seconds
CCL’s Jennifer Martineau talks with Karen McNeil-Miller, the president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation. Karen previously served as the president of the health-focused Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and worked as a teacher and school administrator. She describes social and human impact as the center of her life’s work. She also serves on the board of the Center for Creative Leadership, where she previously worked.
In this episode, Karen talks about her unexpected career trajectory, and how she’s changed as a leader over time:
“I’ve forgotten now how certain I was when I was 32, how all my sentences ended in an exclamation point…Now,” she says, “most of my sentences end in a question mark.”
She also shares her insights about the importance of mentorship and leadership development for women in business, especially women of color:
“I do think until women of all races and ethnicities get equal opportunities and access to leadership and mentors, until it becomes just institutional DNA, it has to be intentional. These kind of programs and efforts will continue to exist until — and unless — it just becomes part of the air.”
Episode 4: How a Manufacturing Company Stepped Up for Women in Business
Length: 26 minutes 48 seconds
CCL’s Jennifer Martineau talks with Hugo Martinho, the Asia-Pacific human resources director for Schindler Group, a global engineering and manufacturing company. In this episode, Hugo describes the specific challenges that women face in the industry and region, and also explains several steps his company has taken to address gender inequity.
In one example, he describes how removing names from résumés helped cut back on implicit gender bias from hiring managers at the company:
“In many cases, to their surprise at the time, they would end up short-listing 3 CVs, and all of them females,” he says.
“It was not about discriminating against men, but it was about not letting people make decisions based on gender.”
Episode 5: Teaching Teens to Code, and Beyond
Length: 24 minutes 14 seconds
CCL’s Laura Santana talks with Tsegga Medhin, the founder and president of the Pearl Leadership Institute and the president of United Nation Women USA’s North Carolina chapter. Tsegga has a background working in tech and finance, including about 20 years at IBM. She describes herself as an equity accelerator and champion for women’s empowerment and leadership development.
During this episode of our women in business podcast, Tsegga describes the wide range of impactful projects she’s working on to empower women and girls, including a partnership with Apple to teach teenage girls to code:
“We have 25 girls that are from marginalized communities coming in and do an hour of coding,” she explains. “And then another one that is boys and girls of the same age to make sure that we’re going to be breaking the unconscious biases that are formed early.”
“If a girl sees another girl doing it, definitely she will be confident. If she also comes in at a platform where the boys and girls are doing the same kind of work, that’s going to be powerful.”
About the Hosts
Learn more about our faculty interviewing these women in business.
Emma Flack serves as a Leadership Solutions Partner at CCL, designing and delivering custom leadership programs for managers and senior leaders across various industries. Her focus areas include change leadership, and equity, diversity and inclusion programs for women in business and leaders of color.
Jennifer Martineau is Senior Vice President, research, evaluation, and societal advancement at CCL, where she is responsible for global research and evaluation initiatives and our work focused on leadership development in the social sector. She recently co-authored, Kick Some Glass, a guide for motivated working women in business who want to take charge of their own success.
Laura Santana is a Senior Leadership Solutions Partner at CCL, working across sectors with global clients to address the challenges created by disruption and globalization. She designs customized solutions for leadership development, with impact beyond the classroom. As a consultant, speaker and author, Laura’s focus is on vertical development, cultural agility, globalization and addressing the challenges facing women leaders.
Kelly Simmons is Global Portfolio Lead for organizational development solutions in CCL’s San Diego campus. She oversees the design and delivery of custom leadership solutions for CCL’s global corporate clients, and has lead faculty on the design of CCL’s Advancing Technical Women program.