We find ourselves now in the midst of a powerful maelstrom of headlines covering recent sexual harassment allegations and subsequent firings, resignations, and board reshufflings. These have resulted in an uproar of responses, pledges, and reaffirmation of our collective efforts to upend the current system of gender disparity in the workplace. Unfortunately, these occurrences are not new and have always been part of our system, from large corporations to the earliest of startups.
Here at Primary, we have been preparing our own response to these issues. Over the past few months, we have been incubating a new venture, Chief, led by Carolyn Childers, an experienced operating executive in NYC Tech. Still in early development stages, Chief’s overarching goal is to help women progress in the workforce by leveraging the power of network effects, and giving members the resources and support system to help each other excel.
Equal gender representation at senior levels in business is a cause for which we should all be fighting. Consider, for instance, the following statistics: A move from 0% to 30% of female leaders is associated with a 15% increased net margin, while companies with 50% of women in senior operating roles show 19% higher return on equity, on average. Where do we stand now? According to a McKinsey study, only 29% of VP positions and 19% of C-suite positions are currently held by women, while on Fortune 1000 executive teams, less than 10% of the top-4 C-level positions are women, and fewer than 7% of CEOs are women. As Carolyn puts it, “Chief’s goal of gender balance in the C-suite is not driven purely by a social mission. It’s also just good business!”
There are many organizations doing great work to bring exposure and resources to the gender gap. However, most traditional women’s organizations tend to focus on event-based networking, without creating the right context to foster meaningful relationships. Chief is building something different. The platform targets senior-level women who have already demonstrated a level of success in their career and who are poised to step into the leadership positions where the biggest gaps exist. Through a number of highly curated and structured services focused on networking and professional and personal development, Chief aims to foster the right dynamic for women to help each other excel.
The platform will be launching with its Peer Groups service, which will focus on bringing together groups of 10 to 12 women - on a monthly basis - to talk through their most pressing professional and personal issues with a group of like-minded, high-powered women. Think of it as a mash-up of an executive coaching session, a dinner with your closest friends, and a brainstorming meeting with a roomful of highly engaged business peers, all of whom are committed to helping you succeed.
Chief is dedicated to addressing women’s advancement in the workplace in an innovative and highly impactful way. We are proud to be developing this important initiative with Carolyn and her team, and we can’t wait to provide more detail in the coming months. If you would like to be a part of the passionate team behind Chief, or if you are interested in participating in early test groups before its official launch, please reach out to Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org.