How Do You Get More Women into SVP or EVP Positions?

There is a limited number of positions available for women in senior leadership. Only 8% of women are arriving at the senior leadership tables. So, how do we raise that number? How do we get more women at the leadership table? Bethany Williams explores the answer to how to get more women into EVP and SVP positions in her show 3DaystoaRaise.

There are characteristics that women innately have that are holding us back. By some slight adjustments to our natural characteristics, we can move more women into leadership.

1) Encourage women to risk more. Women are natural born non-risk takers. By not risking anything, you remain in the status quo. You remain in the lower level positions, not advancing and missing your opportunities to scale the corporate ladder. If you risk nothing, you gain nothing. You will not lose everything by taking a risk. You will make mistakes—yes, but risk will be necessary on the journey if you choose to advance in the corporation.

2) Network, network, network. You need to hear what is going on in the market. You need to know what’s new. Listen to the chatter. Hear what other companies and executives are encountering in their journey. Learn from other companies’ mistakes. Build relationships that will aid you on your journey.

3) Be willing to take stretch positions. These positions will push you to new heights and challenge you. You will move into a place where you have a chance to develop new skills and be noticed for even higher level positions.

Pam Stoyanoff is the EVP and COO of Methodist Health System in Dallas, TX. While working in Chicago, IL, in a position that she had held for 16 years, she received a call from a CFO in Little Rock, AR. A CNO had remembered her from years earlier and had mentioned her name. Her two daughters were 5. She was offered a CFO role in Little Rock and decided to move her family there to follow her career path.

Then, years later, that same CEO moved to Dallas and called and offered her a COO role. It was a stretch position. She hadn’t been a COO. She was fearful of the move. She said no 3 times. She feared failing and thought that she may be risking it all, and ‘what if’ she lost everything.

She took the role and moved her family to Dallas when her girls were in middle school.

“Even though I was scared at my current job, I still felt nervous about making a move and taking a risk,” Pam Stoyanoff said. “It was the best decision I’ve ever made. I wanted to grow. My goal is to be a CEO at a big system.”

Her advice to other leaders taking on new roles: “Never let them see you sweat. If you don’t know what you are doing, go find the information and get the answers. As a woman, you can’t be a wallflower. You have to be heard. You can’t talk for the sake of talking, you need to add value. Do what it takes to be heard and add value to the conversations and your organizations.”

The advice Pam would give her daughters and early careerists is this: “Be independent and successful in your own right, don’t rely on others. Be kind, don’t put others down or step over others to get somewhere. When you’re done with your career, you still have your friends and family, and you will have to work hard to balance it all. Don’t do things that will embarrass yourself. Build a solid legacy that you will be proud of.”

To see the full show and interview, click here:

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