Improving Female Representation in Leadership Roles

As part of our Women in Leadership special, Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Michele Siekerka, Esq., President & CEO, New Jersey Business and Industry Association, to examine the progress that has been made in gender equity in business and what still needs to be done to improve female representation in leadership roles.

12/18/2019 #2267






"This is One on One. Everything in this program is dedicated to a very important topic - women in leadership. A woman who happens to be, or a leader who happens to be a very strong woman right now, we have in the studio, Michele Siekerka. Been with us many times. President and CEO, New Jersey Business and Industry Association. How you doing my friend? I'm doing great. We just had... you just had? We did. And some of us got a chance to participate in an absolutely great leadership event involving women. Talk about it. Yeah. So it was our fifth annual Women Business Leaders Forum. We had over 500 incredible women. Steve, you were there. The energy, the passion, the momentum. I mean it was contagious, infectious, and there's still social media going on weeks later. What do you think it was about? What caused it? Well, first of all, we've led up to this. So each year, we talk about, you know, what's another aspect of your own self-development as a female leader that you need to get to? And a few years ago, we talked about empowering yourself, and then we talked about empowering others. And now this was all about bringing it home. And we said this about owning your success. And what does that mean? And it means, you know, being present in the game. It means really unleashing your capacity, your ability, recognizing where your vulnerabilities are, and then leaning into those vulnerabilities and not letting them get in your way. So when we talk about women's leadership, we talk very intently and with purpose about building hardcore leadership skills, and then creating the visibility to the women who have those skills. So we can advance into the C-suite and the boardroom. But you know Michele, what was fascinating to me is... I had the chance to moderate a forum with some pretty great women. Yes. On executive presence? Mm hmm. And there was a whole discussion... what is executive presence? Does it look different in men and women? Should it...? What is executive presence, first? And second, any difference between men and women, executive presence? Well certainly it's about having confidence. Knowing your stuff so that you can feel confident when you show up. And again, being present in the moment. So when you walk in that room, like, have your A game. Every time. Be on every single time. And don't let folks, you know, get you off your game. So the difference between men and women? Harder for women. Why? Because we're not there yet Steve. You know, everyday, you know, I hear from women leaders across the state about..."