The Centre for Leadership is a Bermuda-based organisation focused on fostering better opportunities for women in business. We work with local and international organizations to promote on-going research to advance the development of women and to provide women with opportunities for networking and fostering professional relationships. 
 

Our mission is "to inspire and create successful leaders in boardrooms, classrooms, storerooms and living rooms of our community. We aim to change the face of leadership by promoting the contributions of women."

      The Centre was founded by five professional women who were brought together by a common mission and passion.  We started in 2007 and inside of one year have conducted a major research study on women at work, held a major leadership conference with 400+ attendees; a workshop on negotiations; and two small roundtables with senior executives on 'moving the corporate gender dial'

            So, what does all this mean?  We've heard that there is a strong business case for retaining and promoting women, but we've also heard that current market and economic conditions make this difficult to achieve. As businesses adjust to this new global economy and continue to struggle in the war for talent - why should they work hard at recruiting and retaining women  - why should they act?   Here's why -

The talent pool is getting smaller - the population of 35-44 year olds projected to fall by 7% by 2012.  With a shrinking labour pool of which women comprise 50% - can businesses sustain growth and profitability if they can only recruit from half of the labour pool.  The costs of attrition are huge - now the cost of replacing key talent ranges from 93%-200% of a departing person's yearly compensation.

Companies that do well by women have a return on equity (ROI) 5% higher than those that do poorly.   Global trends show that approximately 55% of students seeking college degrees are women - 57% in the US.  Only 17% of this talent pool globally is white men.   83% of consumer decisions these days are made by women.  The Next Generation of employees -Gen Y and the Millennials will demand change and want to work in different ways

            This is by no means a one-way street.  Women have a responsibility to make their own contribution not only to their employers and themselves, but also towards the promotion and development of other women at work.   Success factors cited by Women at work include:

Building Your own "Power Tools" Kit - understanding what you need to succeed and developing the tools to help you get there.   Building and Navigating your Relationship Map and Network.   Enhancing Your Organizational Intelligence.   Developing Your own Personal Brand - understand how you are viewed and define what you want to be known for. Building Strategic Alliances - investing the time to build the relationships that will help.   Having not one but several mentors.   Spending time mentoring others.   Taking a lead role in gender equity workplace initiatives.

            In addition to the extreme job phenomenon - as companies become more global they are flattening their hierarchical structures and seeking new and innovative means of production.  Businesses now have fewer corporate officer positions which means there is now more competition for fewer senior jobs; outsourcing and offshoring provides a less expensive 24/7 access to high quality labour; global expansion brings the need to oversee work in multiple time zones increasing managers travel requirements and the length of their work day.  Add to this, new technological advancements which have quickened the pace of business demanding more hours, tighter-than-ever deadlines and unpredictable work flows.

            Whilst these factors effecting business appear to make it more difficult to recruit and retain women in senior positions, studies show that now more than ever there is a case for business to retain and  to promote women to leadership positions.  According to a recent study conducted by Catalyst (a leading global organization dedicated to expanding opportunities for women):

Women leaders correlate with better financial performance, signify a broader and deeper talent pool, are encouraging to women in the pipeline, signify "employers of choice," are a feature of inclusive workplaces.

            Tom Peters, one of the leading management guru's in the world, has been espousing the women- value proposition for over 10 years - he, along with others, makes the case that women's strengths match the New Economy imperatives.