A study released today by UC Davis on California Women Business Leaders reinforces the commitment of Seed 2020 organizers to provide networking opportunities for women owned businesses.

Of the 400 public California companies surveyed a few key facts  came to light from the study.

  • 118 have no women board directors and no women executives
  • 15 have female CEOs

It’s interesting to note that this study has been conducted for the past 5 years and there has been little change in the numbers  10.6% of top positions are held by females.

This indicates that there is still a corporate cultural reluctance to move women up the ladder.  This article discusses the study.  Wendy Beecham, chief executive of  Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Executives talks about why the upward mobility has stalled.

The most interesting point Ms. Beecham makes is:

Women don’t always have role models or mentors to help them advance in corporate careers.

That is a distinctive disadvantage.  I agree with Ms. Beecham’s statement that people tend to hire like people.  Thus there exist multiple obstacles  to overcome in the continued struggle to move into powers of position.

Seed 2020 is designed to connect women and minority owned businesses to other business people who can help them grow.   This movement offers live networking opportunities.  As the program evolves and our supporters voice their needs and share their struggles our purpose will evolve to meet those needs and shared expectations.

One event we will be planning for in early 2010 is an event designed to allow small groups to solve real problems presented by our members.  We hope that as we listen and design programs that meet real needs, the connections we make will help women owned businesses overcome the challenges that their counterparts in California experience.

Mentoring is one of our goals.  It’s amazing to me that as far as women have come since the suffrage movement began there is still so far to go.  No, I’m not a rabid feminist, I still like it when doors are held open for me.  Nevertheless, I want my work to be judged on my ability, my intelligence, and my client’s satisfaction.  I want to accomplish what my male counterparts accomplish, especially if I’m putting in the same effort.

Giving voice to methods women can use to break the glass ceiling and succeed in the corporate world makes being a part of Seed 2020 exciting and inspiring.  I have had and continue to meet great role models, both male and female. Using their  knowledge and experience and learning the ins and outs of how to relate with all levels of company workers has been invaluable.  Seed 2020 offers the opportunity for women to benefit from the collective knowledge and experience that has allowed our members to succeed in much the same way.

Matching members to mentors, providing methods to navigate the corporate minefield and offering practical advise that is easily applied is just one more way for Seed 2020 to contribute to the success of women and minority owned businesses.

Constance Ard November 19, 2009