The Encore – Walmart: Unlocking the Potential of the U.S. Retail Workforce

The retail sector plays a key role in contributing to the American economy, supporting one in four American jobs – a total of 42 million, according to the National Retail Federation. Additionally, we know that retail sales person and cashier is the most common job in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At The Forum, hosted by the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) in Washington, D.C., we joined the workforce development community from around the country to discuss a new program we are supporting.

The Walmart Foundation is investing $10.9 million in the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) to build retail career services among local workforce development boards (WDBs). These WDBs will help create clear entry points into the retail industry for job seekers, while also enabling incumbent workers to advance along career pathways. Additionally, they will work together to share learnings and pilot and test ways to provide value to the retail sector as a whole.

The Walmart Foundation is investing in The Partnership and WDBs across the country because we know the essential role that WDBs play in training the next generation workforce. We also know that the training this grant will facilitate can benefit sectors beyond retail by developing workers whose pathways start in retail but end up in another sector.

The grant is part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s $100 million commitment to help retail and adjacent sector workers across the country advance their careers and ultimately achieve greater economic mobility. The continued work of NAWB and collaborations like that of the Walmart Foundation and The Partnership are unlocking the fullest potential of the U.S. retail workforce.

We invite you to read more about the Walmart Foundation’s work with The Partnership to build retail career services here.

Blog contributed by Kathleen McLaughlin, President Walmart Foundation & Chief Sustainability Officer, Walmart

USA Today- Women on corporate boards: quotas won’t help

European governments have been making headlines for adopting ground-breaking quotas designed to give more women a seat in the boardroom. Embracing new mandates to close the disparity gap among female and male leadership roles, countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Germany have adopted quota laws as a powerful tool for ensuring equality.

There’s no denying that Europe’s quotas are helping bring more women into the top ranks of business, specifically the boardroom, and are accelerating change.

While still woefully lacking in equality, the share of female CEO’s doubled to 4% in Europe over the last seven years, a recent study shows. Data from the European Commission show the number of women holding board positions has increased materially since the quotas were first enacted in 2013, with Iceland currently in the lead for all EU countries at 44%.

While the lack of equality at the top is not disputed, and study after study shows positive outcomes for having women in leadership roles, the question becomes: could quotas work to accelerate gender diversity on boards in the United States?

In recent decades, the United States and its leaders have been skeptical of, and oftentimes openly hostile to, the idea of quotas. Quotas in the U.S. would be open to attack because they don’t directly advance the goal of corporate leaders — better corporate governance. This was a primary concern for Swedish opposition parties who in effect killed a board equality quota proposal. In the U.S., leadership diversity is (in most circles) acknowledged to result in better decision making, and thus better governance and performance, so if we want to see real change, we have to push for ways to work with corporate leaders on their terms.

Click here to read more.

2O2O Women On Boards: Analysis


Larger companies score better on boardroom diversity than smaller companies. In GDI F100 companies, 273 women now hold 24% of the board seats, an average of 2.9 women directors per board, up from 2.7 women last year. In GDI F500 companies, 1020 women hold 21% of the board seats, an average of 2.3 directors per board, up from 2.2 directors last year. In smaller GDI F501-1000 companies, 659 women hold 17.9% of board seats, an average of just 1.8 women directors per board, up from 1.7 last year. What’s more, 17% of GDI companies have 30% or more women on their boards; 4% have 40% or more, and 1% have reached parity.


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The Encore – Chubb: Social Engineering Fraud

As an employer, you seek smart, helpful, and trusting people with which to grow your business.

Unfortunately, this means you or one of your employees may be more susceptible to being targeted and tricked into releasing confidential information that could be used to hack into the company’s network by someone who has manipulated them into helping them commit fraud–otherwise known as social engineering fraud.

Think this couldn’t happen at your company?  Think again. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complain Center (IC3)*, exposed losses for U.S. companies totaled more than $960.7 million, and more than $3 billion worldwide between October 2013 and May 2016, through a social-engineering fraud called the business e-mail compromise. Victims ranged from small businesses to large corporations.

Chubb shares that by becoming more aware of the different types of encounters that could be socially engineered, as well as practical tips and preventative measures, you can make sure employees within your company are never unwittingly helping the wrong person.

*Source: FBI Public Service Announcement, June 14, 2016

WPO would like to thank Chubb for providing this week’s sponsor blog content.  


Fortune:How This Program for Entrepreneurs Is Fostering Female Talent




Women start more businesses than men, but are less likely to break the $1 million revenue mark.

For millennial entrepreneur Rita Gurevich, the collapse of a major financial institution spawned a startup.

Gurevich, who was working as an assistant vice president in messaging at Lehman Brothers when it went bankrupt in 2008, managed to turn her ill-timed experience at the bank into a burgeoning cyber-security business. Her firm, SPHERE Technology Solutions, has grown over 600% in the last four years by focusing on financial services and now is considering expansion into other industries.

Looking back at her tenure at Lehman, she recalls having an “aha moment” during the bank’s demise. “I was 24 at the time, I had a few pennies to my name, and I lost them all,” says Gurevich, whose business is based in Jersey City, NJ. “It was really, really scary. At the same time, I knew I had a job to do.”

This year, Gurevich, 32, got some training in her new endeavor through EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, which selects a group of high-achieving female entrepreneurs in the U.S. and Canada to mentor every year. It’s part educational opportunity, part networking opportunity. It gives participants access to advisers and lessons in leadership, scaling, and financing. This year, the women met for a two-day orientation session in late October in New York, and are meeting again this week at EY’s five-day “Strategic Growth Forum,” which brings together high-growth companies in Palm Springs, California.

EY started the program in 2008 with five women. Its overall goal is to help increase women’s rate of business success. In the U.S., women start businesses at 1.5 times the rate of men, but male-owned businesses are 3.5 times more likely than women-owned firms to break $1 million in revenue, according to data provided by EY. “Women and minorities both receive less funding than male entrepreneurs,” says EY Americas Chairman Steve Howe. More women are starting up businesses, but they need more help, he says. “They are not as readily attracting capital and resources,” he explains.

The EY initiative has sparked rapid growth for its participants. According to the Babson College Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership, 2014 revenue for participating firms was 54% higher than before they joined the program.

Click here to read more.


Harvard Business Review: Why Women Aren’t Making It to the Top of Financial Services Firms

By Astrid Jaekel and Elizabeth St-Onge

Financial institutions have been employers of women for decades: historically as tellers, secretaries, and junior administrative staff. In the 1980s, however, pioneering women began moving into management roles and into frontline business areas, such as investment banking. Today 47% of management and professional roles in American financial firms are occupied by women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But this seemingly impressive statistic disguises an underlying lack of progress of gender equality in financial services. Women still aren’t making it to the top. An analysis that we conducted of disclosures made by 50 American financial services companies revealed that women occupy only 20% of executive committee roles and 22% of board positions. Only 12% of the chief executive officers of large U.S. financial firms are women.

Career progression analysis also shows that at each level, men are promoted at materially higher rates than women. Women are far more likely than men to leave the industry or to reduce their level of ambition just at the point in their careers when they need to make the effort to push on to the top. As a result, women’s prospects are significantly worse in financial services than in other sectors, A recent study conducted by our sister company Mercer discovered. One young female banker we interviewed for our 2016 report “Women in Financial Services” even told us, “I came into my career in financial services with aspirations to make it to the top. But now, five years into it, I am planning my escape.”

What explains the poor career prospects of women in financial services?

To find out, Oliver Wyman surveyed 850 financial services professionals from around the world (both men and women), interviewed over 100 senior female executives globally (C-suite and board members), and held focus groups with Millennial women working across a number of financial institutions in the U.S. Responses revealed a culture that has changed surprisingly little over the last 30 years. The overt sexism of earlier times may have been stamped out, but unconscious biases and gender-role expectations that disadvantage women have not.

Click here to read more.

The Encore- IBM on Redefining Competition: Insights from the Global C-suite Study – The CEO Perspective

CEOs say we are at a watershed moment. Technological advances are creating massive upheavals, with industries converging and new ecosystems emerging as never before. So how are the trailblazers guiding their organizations through this turmoil?

In the first installment of our latest C-suite Study, we interviewed 5,247 top executives to find out what they think the future will bring and how they’re positioning their organizations to prosper in the “age of disruption.” This report probes more deeply into the perspectives of the 818 CEOs who contributed to our research. We’ve also focused on what the CEOs of the world’s most successful enterprises in this study do differently.

Click here to read more.