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TD Magazine Article

Removing the Glass Ceiling

These companies made significant strides in 2023 with programs to create more women leaders.


Fri Jun 14 2024

Removing the Glass Ceiling

The BEST Awards recognize organizations that demonstrate enterprise-wide success as a result of employee talent development. The winners use learning as a strategic business tool to get results. View the entire list of 2024 BEST Award winners.

LifeNet Health and ZS Associates each made significant strides in 2023 with programs to create more women leaders. Last year, LifeNet Health, a global provider of transplant solutions, introduced a Women in Leadership lecture series to spotlight women in leadership positions. The series covers leadership styles, personal stories, advice, and how to overcome challenges.


The response has been immense. Since the training department's inception in 2015, leadership programs have typically drawn between 12 and 20 attendees. However, each of the three 2023 Women in Leadership lectures drew more than 140 attendees, marking an astounding 460 percent increase in attendance over LifeNet Health's typical programs.

"One of the most moving examples of feedback we received from our Women in Leadership series was shared after an internal leader told the story of her career progression," says Jean Neubauer, vice president of the BioSciences Learning Center. "She spoke about finding the nerve to go to another state to continue with her research project. An employee shared with a relieved smile, 'I am facing a crossroads in my career and have been stuck about what to do. Now I know which way to go.'"

In addition to the lecture series' overwhelming attendance numbers, it has garnered an overall satisfaction rating of 4.75 out of 5.

The company also launched a Women in the Workplace site on its intranet, offering resources to support women in navigating gender-related issues (such as bias and harassment), leadership, and various life stages (such as maternity, motherhood, and menopause).

LifeNet Health has continued to prioritize emphasizing women's success through the formation of people culture committees in each facility. The committees, comprised of representatives from different levels from each department located in that facility, choose how to celebrate differences. For example, in acknowledgment of International Women's Day in 2023, the committees highlighted a successful woman who made an impact each week, enabling a month-long celebration of women's contributions.


Management consulting company ZS Associates' Path to Principal (P2P) is a leadership program specifically for women managers to proactively prepare them for future leadership roles in the organization. P2P also aims to empower women to be more effective and engaged in their roles.

The initiative has been instrumental in getting more women into senior leadership roles. The company reports that women have a stronger presence in community leadership, particularly with women employees mentoring junior women leaders.

"We aim to broaden the program's offerings to cater to diverse career paths and skill sets while providing advanced leadership development components to nurture future leaders—like a yearlong mentoring program and job rotation assignments—to help 'application of learning,'" says Nitu Pathak, director of talent development.

The program is divided into two parts: training and application. Training takes one week, while application takes three to six months, depending on the projects.

"The observation of higher attrition rates among women at senior management levels within our organization has underscored the importance of prioritizing diversity and inclusion," explains Pathak. "Addressing this disparity has become a focal point in our efforts to create a more equitable and inclusive workplace."


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