Follow the leadership Featured

10:25am EDT April 25, 2005
Think about the pool of people from which you draw your employees. Now picture that pool cut in half and consider how much harder it would be to develop leaders out of the group that remains.

In some businesses and professions, women have been less than equal participants at the leadership level, in effect shutting out at least half of the talent pool those segments. Fortunately, the business community has made tremendous strides in bringing women into the workplace, although not without the wrangling that often accompanies major change.

Overall, women still earn less than men in comparable positions, but there is evidence that the gap is closing and that social and demographic forces are evening the score for all workers.

The obstacle for women and their employers to overcome, it seems, is the leadership gap. Human resources experts agree that one of the major challenges of U.S. businesses is to develop enough effective leaders to guide their enterprises profitably into the future.

One way to kickstart the leadership engine is to make sure that women have access to both the skills and the inspiration required to develop the leadership savvy they'll need to take the helm. That's why Smart Business has chosen to sponsor the "Women in Leadership Summit," a day-and-a-half program presented by Linkage Inc. May 16-17 at the Omni William Penn Hotel.

"We bring the skill-building sessions and the deep renewal and reflection, which can't be underestimated," says Jacqueline Lewis, vice president and co-director of Linkage Inc.

On the inspiration front, Charlotte Beers, former U.S. undersecretary of state for public affairs and former CEO of J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather; best-selling author Dr. Mark Hyman; and Susan Taylor, author and editorial director of Essence magazine, will be the keynoters. Breakout sessions offer guidance that will give aspiring and existing women leaders practical help and advice to hone their leadership skills.

To find out more about Women in Leadership Pittsburgh or to register, go to www.linkageinc.com or call (781) 402-5555.