[NOTE: First published on ZoomInfo's Insight Report in May 2007, this article is now republished on The Consultant's Desk in order to preserve its access.]
Developing the Talent
As to developing a pool of qualified candidates, one recommendation is to put in place a mentoring program so that women have role models to watch, learn from, and receive coaching insights. Mentoring provides opportunities for insider education about the traditional way plus small nuances that can be applied in sticky situations where rote is not the route.
The more companies get employees involved in governance and ethics training, the more they will be developing leader thinking, and therefore, candidates qualified for the upper echelons.
One of the reasons women leaders are not recognized is because women are not allowed to express themselves as knowledgeable authorities on meaningful subjects. Open the door to more challenging responsibilities and concepts and you open the door to developing the leadership that’s required.
All of these are wonderful exercises in developing that elusive difference to serve. It isn’t helping us in the here and now to find the names.
Where to Look
Where should we be looking for these untapped leaders, the ones who are not part of the small and evaporating pool? There are government registries of qualified candidates. What I loved about working with ZoomInfo’s PowerSearch is that it allowed such ease of filtering in order to find these types of people.
One way of searching is to start by looking at the industry and then using some of the filters to limit the results by gender and position. That’s a terrific system. You achieve thousands of hits. But on a search for Finance expertise, I discovered I had a lot of women lawyers. I wanted Operations and Audit experts. Customer Support was able to offer a suggestion on how to filter these types of records out of the results.
On yet another search, still in Finance, I found it very easy to narrow results from over 11,000 records to about a dozen by simply inputting the name of an association from which I wanted to cull talent. And the extremely helpful online Customer Support helped me identify an even more efficient way of going after the pearls in the sea. Start with the name of the organization from which you want your candidate to be trained.
The other place to look is development foundations where leadership skills are taught and developed, placement statistics are maintained, and a registry of qualified candidates is held for making recommendations and facilitating connections. One obvious organization that keeps such information is Catalyst’s Corporate Board Service. The International Alliance for Women is a great source for finding qualified nonprofit candidates. There are also geo-specific organizations that serve multiple industries in training, supporting, and connecting qualified women with organizations. And then there's the Secretary of State's registry of minority candidates.
Yet another, and obvious, place to search for these elusive ladies is at MBA programs and alumni associations.
PowerSearch provided an additional advantage in finding literally thousands of hits for women who are in mid-management positions. This is where many think tanks recommend beginning your leadership development process and culling the talent that’s desired. Sometimes finding the right candidate is as easy as looking just below the surface, where the most ripe are hitting the ceiling.
Use of the PowerSearch is easy. And for someone who comes from a legal background and deep familiarity with online research through legal databases, many things made sense. So I quickly found that I’d moved from a simple search to something much more sophisticated. Customer Support made me aware of this. The professional suggested that to refine my skills and results, I may want to consider the Advanced Search training. “Is there an additional cost for this?” I asked. No, it’s included in the subscription price. What a gold mine!
I think we’re going to have a lot of Pelosis who proliferate the landscape. It’s simply a matter of knowing where to look.
[back to The Elusive Difference, Part 1]