Women's Leadership: RWJBarnabas Health's Michellene Daivs

As part of our "Women's Leadership" series, Michellene Davis, Executive VP & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, RWJBarnabas Health, shares successes and challenges for women leaders in and out of the C-Suite and state of women business leaders today.

12/11/17 #2090






"We are thrilled to welcome our good friend, Michellene Davis, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, RWJBarnabas Health. And also the President of Executive Women of New Jersey. How you doing? I am well. How are you? Good. Let's talk women in leadership. We did a panel discussion for the Business and Industry Association of New Jersey, Unlocking the C-suite, but also the other piece of this is that your organization came out with a report called A Seat at the Table, what's it all about? Oh, a Seat at the Table is the report that is issued annually by Executive Women of New Jersey, in order to measure the progression of women into the C-suite and on corporate boards in the state of New Jersey. How are we doing? Well, there is room for improvement. That's what I will say. Listen, we just released a list recently that talked about and named 22 companies that have three or more women on their board, incredibly important. And so we applaud them. But it's also to let other companies now... Put on the so-called honor roll? Absolutely, they're on the business honor roll, right? They are acting in an honorable fashion in making certain that there's diversity. Was it hard to find them? So... it wasn't hard to find them. Sorry. The research and data is there. I will tell you that we had hoped to be able to name 50. We named 22. The bar is high? The bar should be, right? Okay so here's the thing. When we had this discussion with our friend, Michele Siekerka of the Business and Industry Association, one of the things we talked about... I was honored to moderate this panel, Michellene was a key part of it, one of the things we kept talking about is women in leadership. There are white women in leadership, and then there are women of color, and I asked, "Is it any different? If so how?" So it is different, Steve. I think that everything has nuance to it right? But diversity in any area is usually, right, have been proven to be better for business. For women of color in particular, you asked the question during that panel, which was a ton of fun, about being assertive sometimes. Yes. Our presence is literally looked at as almost being aggressive, and so... Not assertive? Not assertive. What's the difference in people's minds? So some of it has to do with an unconscious bias my friend, which we all have. It is part of being human and being in this world, and we need for people not to be afraid of that. As a result of that, many..."