Exec. Women of NJ Helps Young Females Break Into the C-Suite

As part of our "Women's Leadership" series, Barbara Kauffman, Executive VP & COO of Newark Regional Business Partnership and President-Elect of Executive Women of New Jersey, explains how Executive Women of NJ mentors and supports young women and female professionals on their paths to breaking into the “C-Suite.” Barbara also shares findings from EWNJ's recent reports about where New Jersey companies stand in terms of equal opportunities for women in leadership roles.

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"Welcome to Life & Living. I'm Joanna Gagis. Women represent only 11% of C-suite executives, which are positions of the highest power in New Jersey's public companies, and Barbara Kauffman says that's not nearly enough. She is the Executive Vice President and COO of Newark Regional Business Partnership, and the President-Elect of Executive Women of New Jersey, an organization that I am honored to be a part of. Barbara, welcome to the program. Thank you Joanna. I'm glad to be here. I gave one statistic, which is just a tiny picture of where we are in terms of women really being in positions of prominence, and what does that mean? Women who are decision makers, right? Paint the rest of the picture for us in terms of where New Jersey stands, and where our nation stands. Well New Jersey is what I can speak to from the research that we've done in Executive Women of New Jersey. And by the way, Executive Women of New Jersey is the organization for women at the most senior levels of their companies, and one of the things that we focused on is research on the status of women in public companies corporate boards, and in the C-suite at New Jersey's public companies. What we've found overall is that we are improving, which is the good news. The bad news is we're not improving enough, and we're not improving quickly enough. So when you say "improving" where do we stand in terms of having women CEOs? And then women in the C-suite? Which is CFO, CIO, Chief Information Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer. The metric that we looked at most importantly was the number of women on the board. And the measure that we used was three or more women directors. And of 95 companies in New Jersey, 22 had three or more women on their boards. What do those positions of influence really mean for companies? Really mean for society? What it means is that when there are more women, and I can name metric after metric that demonstrates that there's better decision making, shareholder prices are better, shareholder opinion is stronger, every metric that you can site, there's less governance, less fraud, when there are more women on boards. Why is that? Are you telling me that women inherently are more honest? Women inherently are what? It's a matter of having diversity of thought. So I would add that it's diversity in general that's beneficial, but most importantly, having..."