One of the most common questions we get when strategizing programming for women’s initiatives with companies is, “What are other companies doing with their women’s groups?” And while we of course understand why this information is relevant and interesting, we are careful not to share what other companies are doing without their consent.
Diversity and inclusion initiatives of any kind should be personal to that organization. There is no cookie cutter way to better engage, retain, and build into a diverse workforce- needs vary by industry, company size, and company culture. For those personal reasons, we believe that it should be up to the company and leaders of that company’s initiatives whether or not to share.
With that being said, we also know that sharing what has and has not worked previously for others is one of the most effective and impactful way to create a growing, community-wide culture of inclusivity and women’s empowerment in the workplace. So, if we weren’t willing to share other companies’ secrets, we knew that another solution was needed. Enter:
The Women’s Initiative Roundtable.
The Gild Collective Women’s Initiative Roundtable’s mission is to provide a safe setting where leaders of women’s initiatives from a variety of Cincinnati companies can come together to celebrate their efforts and strategize against roadblocks to advance women as leaders in the workplace.
The Women’s Initiative Roundtable was developed to build a supportive, honest community where we can:
- Discuss our unique ideas, compare notes, and give constructive feedback.
- Share our challenges and successes: what has worked well, and what has not?
- Provide one another emotional support.
- Establish best practices for engaging and empowering the women that we lead.
We held our first meeting of the roundtable in May, and are already looking forward to digging in deeper next quarter. We plan to structure the roundtable so that all participants (we currently are keeping the group size to about 30 women representing close to as many companies, spanning across diverse industries) are able to learn and engage in both large and small groups. After the initial meeting, we sent out a purposeful survey that will help us to divide the women into groups that will enhance their experience and ability to learn from one another based on their personal and professional experiences with managing women’s initiatives.
While the Women’s Initiatives Roundtable is currently not a public group, we share this information because we would love to know if you are interested in learning more or joining us. We also hope that you are encouraged to reach out to another woman, whether you know her well or not, and ask her to share her experiences with you.
In our 2+ years of experience running a business, the biggest takeaway has been just how willing and open women are to helping one another advance. Forget what you think you may know the “catty woman” stereotype– we are here to help one another, and so far we are yet to see any woman reject another’s plea for help due to competitiveness or rank.
We are proud of this initiative, and excited to learn more about how to better engage, retain, and develop women in their respective workplaces. If you’re interested in learning more about what we do or joining our Roundtable, let us know.