An incubator of women leaders

Celebrating 5 Years of Advancing Women in Leadership

11/10/2017 4:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

CLUB Members & Supporters –

Many of you joined us last night as we celebrated the 5th Anniversary of the CLUB’s launch and the impact our members have made on one another and the broader community of women leaders in the Bay Area. The change is real and it’s truly inspiring to see such power and passion converge in support of our mission. I left the evening energized for the future and grateful for the support this community brings to one another.

Five years ago, five women and 150 friends, colleagues and supporters launched The CLUB at an event not unlike last night’s. These women, our founding board including Annie Rogaski and I, were fed up. Through personal experience and published studies, it was clear that women’s advancement in the workplace had stalled and, by some metrics, regressed from the advancements made in the '70s and '80s.

Marissa Mayer had just taken the CEO role at Yahoo with headlines that focused more on her gender, her pregnancy and her clothing choices than her capabilities and accomplishments. Sheryl Sandberg had yet to publish Lean In. Women comprised just 14% of executive officer positions and 16% of board directors in the Fortune 500. The proportion of females graduating with degrees in computer science had actually decreased over the prior three decades as women were discouraged from pursuing interests in STEM. And yet we found that not enough people were talking about the issue.

Annie, the other founders and I, spent nights and weekends combing through statistics to evidence the stall in women’s advancement and to help prove that having women in leadership is a good thing for companies--how improved diversity is shown to increase corporate returns and lower risk, and how many traits considered ‘feminine’ were starting to be held up as management best practices.

I think back to that time and it seems almost comical to me now how much time we spent just framing the issue, before we could even get to work on fixing it. It felt like we were starting at square one.

While we still have a lot of work to do, I am thrilled at the increase in awareness and dialogue we have today.  I’m not spending my nights and weekends framing what the issue is and why it’s important. Individuals and companies are standing up like never before to say this isn’t OK and pledging to do better.  HeForShe. The Decency Pledge. Mandatory Targets in the EU for Women Leaders. Paradigm for ParityWomen Serve on Boards.  The broader movements to speak out against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. These movements and many others are a testament to the progress we’ve made.

Collectively, we’ve achieved step 1 – which is broad acceptance that there’s a problem. We are now getting to step 2 where we are seeing companies establish policies and training to improve the situation, combined with the public pressure to actually make it happen.  And through that awareness we are seeing more allies, male and female, stepping in to help pull qualified women up through the ranks.

The CLUB helps to fill the crucial gap between the problem statement and policy. Our community of talented women leaders and mentors is now more critical than ever to help position women with the skills, confidence and network to actually get there.  

One way we measure the impact of THE CLUB is through an annual survey called the CLUB Effect. In this year’s survey we found that, because of The CLUB:

  • 73% of members do more networking as a result of their membership, whether that is at a CLUB sponsored event or outside the CLUB. As members, they gain lessons and experience on building their network at CLUB events and then take them beyond into their individual professional spheres.
  • 69% of members are inspired to grow their career.
  • 70% are more likely to make an “ask” of someone to advance their career.

2017 in particular has been a phenomenal year for CLUB members receiving recognition. Highlights include:

  • Anuradha Gali and Leedjia Svec were recognized in the Silicon Valley Business Journal 2017 Women of Influence Awards
  • Leedjia Svec was also named STEM Influencer of the Year at the 4th Annual Global Women in STEM Conference (WiSTEM)
  • Joselle Deocampo-Gautam was included on the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Class of 2017
  • Olga Mack and Heather Jerrehain were honored with Watermark's “Make Your Mark” Awards
  • Erin Sawyer was featured in Haute Living San Francisco as one of the Top 10 Bay Area Boss Ladies.
  • Megan Jones was featured in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal as a Top Women Lawyer.
Additionally, we heard from members about dozens of speaking opportunities, appointments to advisory councils and boards, promotions, job placements, raises, business and consulting referrals, press citations and more! The power of this community truly amazes me and it goes to show when we come together, nothing can stop us. It’s only a matter of time!

Get More Out of the CLUB

One of the ways our members get the most out of the CLUB is by volunteering in a leadership position with one of our committees or on our Board of Directors. We find that members who volunteer are generally those who form the deepest connections with other members and have the best success stories from their CLUB interactions. We are currently running our 2018 leadership drive for volunteers at all levels through November 15th. Click here to learn more and apply online.

Our Incubator program is also accepting applications for the 2018 program through November 30th.  The Incubator helps a select group of talented women propel their career growth and personal potential. Our annual program begins in January and brings participants through a structured path of action steps that include: furthering your career development, refining your personal brand, expanding your public profile, building out your network, giving back to the community of professional women, and preparing to sit on boards. Unlike a mentoring or coaching program, the Incubator designs actions on behalf of participants to enable recognition for their expertise and leadership. Click here to learn more and apply.

Lastly, I’d like to thank our event sponsors PwC and Procopio for their continued support of the CLUB’s mission. Both of these organizations have sponsored our Anniversary party for the last four years in a row!  Another huge thank you goes to Jennifer Dulski, our keynote speaker, for sharing with us a fresh perspective on ‘movement starters’ and how they find success, both in the form of social movements as well as corporate leadership. Jennifer’s book along the same theme will come out in mid 2018.

Stay Fabulous,

Kristiane Koontz

CLUB President & Founding Board Member


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