How do women build reputations that get them to the top? What’s the secret sauce or what’s the recipe for getting there? (Enjoyed using those cooking metaphors). On a near annual basis, we investigate top conferences for CEOs and other senior executives. For this year’s study, the firm examined speaking engagements, board memberships and honors of the most powerful women in business, based on Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women (MPW) U.S. list.
One of the ways to get to be a successful businessperson in the U.S. is by proactively connecting with external audiences. We are finding that speaking engagements are increasingly important and we are not the only ones who have noticed. If you read this article that appeared on the booming conference business, you will agree that the podium is the new LIVE MEDIA channel.
In our research and as you can see in this infographic, we found that the majority of women (72%) on the list spoke at one or more conferences in 2012, and, on average, had 2.1 speaking engagements during the year. The leading speaking forums in 2012 for these most powerful women included Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit*, The Wall Street Journal’s Women in the Economy, MIT Sloan Women in Management, Catalyst Awards Dinner, Fortune Brainstorm TECH and the World Economic Forum in Davos. A categorization of all of the conferences found that, by far, these women spoke at more industry-focused events than other event types. (*Not every woman who makes Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business list has a speaking role at its annual conference.)
Weber Shandwick’s research also shows that these executives are being acknowledged for their roles as leaders. On average, these female business leaders sat on 2.6 boards, the most prevalent type being industry/professional. Six in 10 women received an award or a place on a rankings or “best of” list. Of the honors bestowed upon the most powerful women in business, most (72 percent) were rankings compared to awards.
My colleague and friend Carol Ballock who runs our conference business had this to say: “Conferences, rankings and awards are essential for company storytelling. Women business leaders are leveraging these tools to communicate their companies’ messages and reinforce their company brands.”
Glassdoor just released their most popular CEOs list for 2013. They selected CEOs who had at least 100 ratings from 2/15/12 to 2/24/13 and at least 40 ratings from the year before. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook had the highest rating with a 99% approval rating. He was basically tied with the duo SAP CEOs –nBill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe. Of the top 50 CEOs, only one woman made this year’s list — Victoria Secret’s Sharen Turney. Of course, you had to have at least 100 employees rating you so that defined whether you were considered or not but 49 men made the list. Last year, Glassdoor listed the top 25 most popular CEOs among employees and only one woman made the list, Meg Whitman of HP. Let’s hope that next year we see some more women being nominated (two?) but considering how few female CEOs there are, that’s a hard ask.
What a day for female CEOs. Marissa Mayer becoming the CEO of Yahoo! and lo and behold, she is having a baby. Talk about agita. I thought it would be interesting to see how many mentions of pregnancy came up when searching for Marissa Mayer and Google or Yahoo! So I started by first looking at Marissa Mayer and Google or Yahoo! There were zero mentions on the days leading up to the announcement (good to hear that there are some secrets in this world) but on the day of the announcement (7/16), there were 125 mentions and 449 one day later (7/17).
What about when we add on “pregnancy.” On Day 1 and 2, there were 70 mentions of Marissa Mayer and Yahoo! and pregnant or pregnancy. It felt like that is all I read about so I was surprised that there was not more.
However, what would happen if we looked at Marissa Mayer and Yahoo! and pregnant or pregnancy compared to Marissa Mayer and Yahoo! and “qualified” or “qualifications” or “qualification”? Oops, there were only 9 mentions. So the PREGNANCY of new CEO Mayer at Yahoo! outweighed mentions of her QUALIFICATIONS about 8 times over. That sounds like a story in itself.
As my colleague Liz said to me, “She really blows the first 100 day CEO model out of the water. Maybe this is a new book for you to write, Leslie. Your new model can be segmented by trimesters.” That certainly got me laughing.