“Any woman in a c-level position or in a seat at the board table fought tooth and chipped nail to get there”, says AllBright co-founder Anna Jones.
She’s not wrong.
While the status quo is glacially changing – The Australian Institute of Company Director’s (AICD) latest gender diversity report shows that the number of women on ASX 200 boards has increased by 2 percent per year since 2019 – there’s a long road ahead to equality.
The good news? Australia has smashed the ’30 percent target’, with 34.2 percent of board positions held by women at the end of 2021. And that’s not only good news for women, but for the companies themselves. “Research shows that companies with the most diverse ‘C-suites’ are 21 percent more likely to outperform on profitability”, says Jones.
But that still leaves us with boardrooms which are overwhelmingly male, and therefore (consciously or not) biased. The odds are stacked against women with C-suite ambitions– which is one of the central reasons Jones and her AllBright co-founder Debbie Wosskow first founded the women’s career network. It’s also the driving force behind the launch of the company’s latest offering, the Elevator program.
For Jones, the former CEO of Hearst UK, and the first woman to hold the position in 100 years, the program is the answer to all the obstacles she faced in her journey to the corner office.
“There has never been an elevator to success for women, so we built one”, is the AllBright message. “The curriculum combines invaluable one-on-one sessions with technical masterclasses, custom workshops and an unparalleled quality of content — all the things I wished for as I rose from department head into C-suite roles, and ultimately on to a board”, she explains.
AllBright Elevator launched in the UK in mid 2021, to roaring success. “It gets lonely at the top and already in this programme I have found new friends and life changing skills”, participant Monah Shah said. Within two months of the first four-month-long series beginning, another participant had landed her first leadership role.
The Australian launch of the program, in October last year, quickly reached capacity. With a limited number of women in each cohort, numbers are strictly capped to ensure each participant has in-depth access to their personal coaches and to the rest of the group, for maximum value.
With one study finding that 75 percent of executive women suffer imposter syndrome during their careers, having a coach to help you analyse and release self-limiting beliefs is crucial to breaking through those glass ceilings.
And with the Elevator program designed specifically for women with 10 or more years of management experience, it’s the obvious next step for women with their sights set on the top floor. “I think women at this level are desperate to find this developmental opportunity that is congruent with their needs”, AllBright Elevator coach Gillian Fox remarks.
“It’s a program that speaks to them, that understands their journey, their pain points, and also that treats them like a senior leader, and gives them the skills to help them rise.”
On the way up yourself? Come claim your seat. Or better yet, as Fox points out, “if you truly believe that you deserve a place at the table, you will bring your own chair, figuratively speaking.”
The next cohort begins ahead of International Women’s Day in early March. Only a couple of spaces remain. Find out more about the AllBright Elevator program here.