The Importance of Gender Diversity in the Workforce
Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., President and CEO, New Jersey Business & Industry Association, to discuss how women leadership roles have changed over the years and the importance of gender diversity in the workforce.
"We're joined by our good friend, Michele Siekerka, President and CEO, New Jersey Business and Industry Association. Otherwise known as NJBIA. Good to see you. A pleasure to be here. Women's leadership. Last September, we did a... you did, you brought together all kinds of women leaders, others like myself, who were honored to be a part of it, called Empowering Together. What was it about? And why does it matter even today? So it was an incredible program. Women's leadership is so important Steve, and it's not just about getting women in a room and talking about, "What are the issues affecting women?" It's about hardcore leadership skills, and helping these women attain those skills and even more so, creating visibility to the women who have those skills. What kind of skills are we talking about? Oh, we're talking about the ability to negotiate and influence. We're talking about good communication. We're talking about how to walk in a room with confidence, how to exert your confidence, how to be proactive, but not too aggressive. Where did you learn all that? I mean I've been teaching leadership for years, and still struggling to try to really understand how it works. Mm hmm. But you and I have known each other for more than a few years. You walk in a room, you carry yourself a certain way. Where did you get that? Yeah, I would say life experience. You know. Really? Yeah. Absolutely. I think about, you know, I was a young lawyer, so I was a woman in somewhat of a man's world, coming up. You know, there were women in the courtroom, but as litigation, I was one of the few. I always tended to find myself in and around communities where it was predominantly men. I sat on a publicly traded company. Yup. You know. Predominantly men in the room. And by the way, speak about boards, what percentage of... insignificant, well I don't... It's in the teens. It's still only in the teens. No it's not. It's gotta be... Yeah. ...in the 20s now? No, we didn't hit the 20s yet. We're getting closer. The number of women? Yeah. On boards? Yes. In the teens? Yes. Significant progress in the last ten years? Yeah. No... Or have we been in the teens for a while? No. Each year. Each year it rises. So I love when I come... this was our fourth annual this year. Yeah. You know and I kick it off with a little bit of statistics and I use the statistics, the f... it sounds sad, but it's actually a good percentage increase year over year, and if we keep the..."