EY-logo-horizontalThe World Economic Forum in its Global Gender Gap Report 2014 estimates it will take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity in the workplace. That means it would be 80 more years until men and women equally lead companies and governments.

The report offers three actionable steps to accelerate gender equity: Illuminate the path to leadership, speed up company culture change with progressive corporate policy and build supportive environments and work to eliminate bias.

EY had a difficult time understanding why it would take 80 years for gender parity to be achieved and released a report called “Women. Fast forward.” The global firm, led locally by Cleveland Managing Partner Julie Boland, is working towards an environment in which men and women have an equal opportunity to participate and advance in the workplace.

EY continually releases new thought leadership into the marketplace to help support this work. As the leading adviser to entrepreneurs worldwide, EY understands how critical it is to have seasoned role models in order for entrepreneurs to accelerate growth. Through EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women, the firm uses its resources and convening power to help women entrepreneurs achieve the full potential they envision for their companies.

This program identifies and celebrates high-potential female entrepreneurs and provides them with personalized one-on-one business insights and advice, as well as insider access to strategic networks of established entrepreneurs, executives, advisers and investors. An independent impact study shows that participants’ companies have grown almost 50 percent each year on average, with a corresponding average annual job growth rate of more than 25 percent.

Grants Plus

GrantsPlusLauren Steiner watched women colleagues struggle and sacrifice in order to climb the corporate leadership ladder. Determined to forge better career options for herself and other women, she founded the grant writing consulting firm Grants Plus in 2007. Since then, the company has helped raise more than $70 million for nonprofits across Northeast Ohio and around the country, connecting them with resources to strengthen communities and change the world.

Through Grants Plus, Steiner, who serves as president, has helped generate skilled job opportunities and filled a need in the nonprofit sector for high-quality grant writing expertise. Today the company employs 16 employees, including 15 women, making it the largest professional grant writing firm in Ohio and one of the largest in the country.

The firm is also one of the fastest-growing small businesses in Northeast Ohio: from 2012 to 2015, the staff nearly tripled and revenues grew 170 percent. Grants Plus won a Weatherhead 100 Upstart Award for three consecutive years and an Inside Business Northeast Ohio Success Award in 2014. Steiner was named one of Northeast Ohio’s Top 25 Under 35 in 2007.

Steiner believes that women should not have to sacrifice personal wellness to achieve financial independence and do meaningful work — and puts that belief into practice at Grants Plus.

Employees work flexible schedules with the option to work from home or from the company’s office. Grants Plus’ staff receive competitive salaries, company-sponsored health coverage and annual bonuses. Each staff member is allocated 50 paid work hours per year to attend professional development training. Team meetings regularly include exercises and presentations to build emotional, physical and personal wellness on topics including stress reduction, personal goal-setting and achieving work/life balance.

In recognition of these and other family-friendly practices, Grants Plus won a Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award from the Ohio Psychological Association.