Forbes: Improving The Workplace – What Top Companies For Women Share In Common

By: Georgene Huang 

Every year, the women of the Fairygodboss community (disclaimer: a company I co-founded) anonymously review their employers and as a result of their feedback, companies are ranked by female employees based on how they rate for job satisfaction and gender equality.

This year the following employers were included in the top 25 best companies for women:

  1. Boston Consulting Group
  2. Dell
  3. Accenture
  4. PepsiCo
  5. General Electric
  6. Salesforce, Deloitte and PwC (tied)
  7.  Vanguard Group and Apple (tied)
  8. American Express Company
  9. Kaiser Permanente
  10. Thomson Reuters
  11. Time Inc.
  12. Cisco Systems
  13. Microsoft
  14. Google and Bloomberg (tied)
  15. McKinsey & Company
  16. KPMG
  17. EY
  18. Wells Fargo
  19. Goldman Sachs
  20. JP Morgan Chase & Co
  21. Target Corporation and The Home Depot (tied)
  22. IBM
  23. Dow Jones
  24. Liberty Mutual Group
  25. Intel Corporation

Most of these companies are well-known American corporate brands, but whatever opinion you may hold of their products and services, the reasons for why they are good places for women to work is probably less clear. This is unfortunate because the reasons women enjoy working at these companies is probably the most important takeaway of the list.

Reading women’s job reviews of these employers, one sees certain patterns across industries, professions and employers. Not all of these patterns paint a happy picture of what it’s like to be a woman in the workplace. However, among the best employers certain striking patterns emerge that all other companies can learn from.

Virtually all of these employers have invested significant resources in employee and diversity initiatives that specifically support women. Whether it’s adopting better-than-average maternity and parental leave policies, launching formal sponsorship and mentorship programs targeting high-potential women, returnships or workplace flexibility policies that allow women to adjust their workload to work-life balance needs and life events, these investments cumulatively make a difference.

Interestingly, it doesn’t appear just to make a difference to those women who actually take advantage of the programs personally. These investments also matter to the women who will one day do so or benefit from the presence of more senior women who have greater company tenure / retention as a result. In other words, everyone (including men) at the company is watching and it impacts the culture of a company when these programs exist.

Sometimes people observe to me that new or improved policies that women tend to support or need, are simply not enough on their own. While I agree, I think this is somewhat of a reductive point. Obviously it is true that policies and programs are not enough if the culture doesn’t support, or even stigmatizes, their use. For example, it doesn’t advance women’s standing in the workplace if only mothers take parental leave when fathers or partners don’t take their full allocation, or if making full use of a flexibility policy is viewed as something for someone less committed to their job.

However, I believe policies and programs are a necessary, even if not sufficient, condition for a culture that’s truly supportive of women. Certainly it’s not simply enough to state values and repeat pledges. But putting resources into administering and paying for benefits is a real necessity for those trying to move the needle forward for gender parity on their management teams or even throughout their organizations.

It may in some cases be “easier” to implement a policy (which is about spending money and executing logistics) than to foment a significant change in culture (which is often set by the personalities and attitudes of individuals within leadership roles). But it need not be an either/or choice. This is not simply my opinion; it is reflected in the recognition by many women in their job reviews that things may not (yet) be perfect at their companies but that “there is improvement” or “things are getting better” or “the culture is moving in the right direction.”

Effort, progress and continuous improvement may all sound like squishy concepts but however intangible it might seem, to women in our community, it accounts for a lot more than you might suspect when it comes to why women say their workplaces make them happy. In other words, for better or worse, no perfection is necessary. But working to improve the workplace for women is a big deal, and also why these top rated companies should be celebrated. 


The Mercury News – Women Leaders In Tech: 10 tips to reach the top


Decades after women began entering the tech workplace, relatively few have made it into corporate management.

What’s it take to reach the top? At a Monday night panel discussion at Lyft by its UpLyft Women employee group and organized by a San Francisco-based organization of  professional international women called The Expat Woman, leaders discussed their journeys to success in the tech industry, the gender gap in senior leadership roles and advice for women in ways to forge ahead in their fields.

What they said: Women need to get better with self-promotion and personal branding. They need to build strong networks outside their company, not just inside. They should seek out many mentors, not just one. Learn new skills. Enjoy risk. Setbacks? Failure? Bounce back.

The conversations steered clear of recent revelations about Uber detailed by Susan Fowler, a software engineer who exposed a culture of sexual harassment and sexism.

Rather, the leaders offered practical suggestions to young women in tech — a new pool of candidates who tend to be ethnically diverse and have grown up in a digital world. There is competition for these women as tech companies are under growing pressure to broaden and diversify their workforce.

Specifically, they offered this advice for how to rise through the ranks of technology firms:

  • Be visible, said Nolwenn Godard, director of pricing product at Paypal  “Make sure strategic people know your impact, know your influence…And you need to be known outside your company, outside your immediate circle. This requires networking. Most of the opportunities will come from your network.”
  • Mentors – keep it casual, said Anisha Mocherla of market operations at Lyft.  “Guys don’t have official mentors. They don’t ask: ‘Will you be my mentor?’ ” she said. “Just approach co-workers and say: ‘I’m thinking about this — what do you think?’… Don’t just have one mentor. Different people are good at different things — find them. Find multiple mentors for different topics.”
  • Take risks, said Maire Sogabe, chief of staff to the chief security officer at PG&E.  “For instance, try to take the opportunity to manage people early in your career … and hone those skills. Be persistent — you may not always get the opportunity that is put forward. Sign up for (online) courses through Udemy or Coursera. Use that knowledge to reinvest in yourself and the brand that you want to be — not just what you are right now … Keep at it. You need to work at what you want to do and who you want to be.”
  • A career is a jungle gym, not a ladder, said Yvonne Chen, head of marketing/senior director of marketing at Udemy for Business. “Think in terms of the long game — build a skill set. Not always is each step a step up,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a step to the side. But you’re learning something new or different.”
  • Raise your hand, said Iliana Quinonez, director, solution engineering at Salesforce. “Women tend to be on the shy side. Don’t be,” she said. “Build your brand. If your boss has a project and is super overwhelmed, say: ‘I can help with that.’ Just go for it.”
  • Build a three-minute elevator pitch — about you, said PGE’s Sogabe. “Say who you are, what you want and what you expect from your career. That’s key.”
  • Communicate your business impact, said Paypal’s Godard. ” Women tend to receive less constructive feedback, are less exposed to ‘stretch opportunities’ and get fewer special assignments. Feedback tends to be less factual and more focused on communication styles.” To counter that, describe your results for the business.
  • Volunteer. But only do things that add value to your own career, said Godard. “Don’t volunteer to take notes. Volunteer for something that is recognized,” she said.
  • Compartmentalize, said Salesforce’s Quinonez. “Maybe you didn’t get the opportunity on this project. That doesn’t mean … there aren’t other projects,” she said.
  • Pick the right partner, said PGE’s Sogabe. “I would never be able to devote myself to my career if my husband did not do the laundry, dishes and help out,” she said. “Find a real partner.”

WPO Guest Blog: Equifax Breach – Safeguarding Your Identity and Assets

By: Sue Peterson

As you no doubt have heard by now, millions of Americans’ personal information was compromised in a recent Equifax hack. Here are tangible steps, recommended for all, that you can take to safeguard your identity and assets:

  • Sign up for paid Credit Monitoring. There are a number of options available, we are comfortable with Costco’s option “Complete ID”. Click here for more information.


  • Change your passwords, especially if they contain familial birthdays or parts of your social security number.


  • Enable multi-factor authentication for logins wherever possible.  You have probably seen this when you have been required to receive a text message to your phone or use a token to log into an account. We recommend that you set this up with all of your custodians for your assets as well as with your bank.


  • Engage a robust cyber-security firm who actively monitors, tracks, and takes action on your behalf if/when activities look out of the norm.


  • Freeze credit. While this is an option, it may create some inconvenience if you plan on applying for credit in the near future. Any time you will want to make an application that requires information from the credit bureaus, you will need to unfreeze your credit. (fees may apply; this is very inconvenient if you lease a new car every year or two)

The Encore – Lexus: Enhancing the Customer Experience

By: Peggy Turner, Vice President Lexus Customer Services and Lexus

All businesses need to be attentive to new opportunities and new markets as they expand. When Lexus examined the luxury market in 2014 three major factors with direct impact on the bottom line were identified: the increase in women buyers of luxury products, multi-cultural segments achieving high levels of affluence, and the growing size of the millennial market. Several key statistics made it imperative that Lexus address these target audiences:

  • Women represent 41% of luxury car buyers in the US (2016)
  • Women influence 85% of car purchases
  • Women are growing in affluence and are the main or sole breadwinner in 40% of households
  • Multi-cultural segments are increasing in size and affluence; in the US, African Americans spend roughly $1.2 trillion per year and Asian Americans $825 billion per year (2016)
  • Millennials represent 65 million buyers and influence their parents’ car purchases
  • Millennials are choosing to lease over buy, and Lexus is one of their top 3 choices in luxury cars

A statistic that could not be ignored: more than 90% of people bringing their cars in for Lexus servicing are women. Those women need to feel welcomed and appreciated.

Addressing these markets and acknowledging the need to better provide individualized customer experiences, Lexus developed an initiative called the Lexus Difference, in partnership with Fraser Communications.

Starting at the corporate level and executed locally by dedicated employees, the Lexus Difference helps evolve the overall guest experience. Relationship building is the primary focus, both inside and outside the dealership. While the initiative is largely designed with the aforementioned demographics in mind, Lexus Difference programs enhance the customer experience for allguests and build strong ties to the community. It ensures customers are given individualized treatment and made to feel like guests welcomed into a home. In addition to providing customized education and training for its associates, Lexus created a digital resource center with success stories for peer to peer collaboration and learning, engaged experts for a Speaker Series addressing these audiences and communication topics like Body Language. Corporate relationships with luxury brand Kiehl’s allows dealerships to supply spa like soaps and lotions in guest lounges and @aroma provides Lexus Signature scents for sensory immersion akin to what we experience at the W Hotel or the Four Seasons. All of these elements strive to turn a potentially daunting experience for many into an appealing destination, particularly for women and millennials.

Click here to read more.

WPO Guest Blog – From Oh No to Aha: The Class of 2017 Had the Opportunity to Tell Their Stories

Peace through business blog
From L to R: Zahra Jafari, Ibrahimi, Muzhgan Wafiq Alokozai (Class of 2008), Dr. Terry Neese (Founder & CEO, IEEW), Freshta Sarwaree, Kobra Dastgirzada (Class of 2010), and Parwarish Oryakhail. Photo by: Amanda Harris 


The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women truly operates as an entrepreneurial venture. And like a good entrepreneur, I like to mix it up each year, bringing in new experts and new sessions to further advance women globally. It’s these moments that take business training into the realm of life-changing. It’s what we strive for each year.

This year, the Class of 2017 enjoyed a first of its kind presentation from author Kate Klise. The goal: to get a room full of women unaccustomed in their own cultures to speaking about themselves to write their own business story. I had my reservations: prying painful memories out of women who have survived genocide and war may bring up unwanted emotions. But Kate believes that stories empower their teller, and by the end of the day all class members, coaches and myself were on board with her vision.

Kate presented thoughtfully and thoroughly on the archetypal pathways that all classic tales tell: a heroine must experience an “oh no!” before she experiences an “aha!” on her life’s journey. In other words, each of us has to overcome something challenging before we can truly succeed. To watch each of the 24 graduates of the Class of 2017 bravely take her story to the front of the room and share her hardest moments along with her biggest triumphs was inspiring and meaningful to every one in that room. Many stuck out, but I especially recall the words of Masooma Ibrahimi (photographed above) weaving the tale of a lonely girl who comforts herself with her notebook and then goes on to empower women through film making.

Read Kate’s article about her experience with PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS(r) and learn about the other student stories shared that day in July at AT&T University in Dallas. Each student took home a booklet containing their newly-written story, a diagram of story structure to use moving forward, and a newly-empowered sense of self and direction for her business. Inspiring words from inspiring women, Kate included!

In case you missed it: a very special video message for the Class of 2017 from Afghan Ambassador, Hamdullah Mohib, on the day of their graduation.


WPO Guest Blog: Creating a Mindset of Courage To Step Into a Bigger Arena

By: Marissa Levin

It takes great courage to think big. It’s much safer to stay where we are comfortable, because big thinking requires us to examine what’s holding us back.

It requires us to evaluate the decisions we’ve made in our lives that seemed right at the time, but perhaps ended up not serving our highest purpose.

One of my favorite books is Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” Primarily a business book, Goldsmith asks us to examine all of the elements that we employ at certain levels of business growth, and then assess whether they are still appropriate for our organization as we grow.

This applies to employees, customers, partners, vendors, processes, IT systems, financial systems, capitalization strategies, and everything else that shapes any business.

We can apply this philosophy to our personal lives too. Understanding that everything in life is impermanent and in a constant state of motion, we are creatures of evolution. For growth-minded individuals, it is natural that the people, events, and experiences that defined us and supported us in one phase of our life may not be the same as we personally evolve.

As we grow, our world will expand to include new communities and new opportunities.

Reflecting on the first half of 2016, I’ve embraced three new opportunities and communities for quantum growth:

  • In January, Inc. Magazine invited me to join their community of columnists. As a lifelong writer and entrepreneur, the opportunity to integrate these two passions with a publication like Inc. was like winning the lottery. However, I unknowingly stepped into one of the steepest learning curves I’ve ever encountered.Many times I felt inept and questioned whether I was in over my head. My editorial team never wavered in their belief of me as I grew into the role of a columnist. My mindset has gradually shifted from one of doubt to one of confidence. However, it took many soul-searching conversations with myself and with my inner tribe of support to keep going.


  • In April, EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) Global asked me to join their Global Communications Committee (GCC) to help set the internal communications strategy for outreach to its 11,000 global members. We are responsible for creating consistent messaging across a range of diverse communities & cultures, that unifies, engages, connects, & excites all members. I momentarily questioned my ability to successfully achieve the objectives assigned to me, but once again I shifted my mindset to one of confidence and determination to succeed.


  • In May, Women’s Presidents Organization (WPO) contacted me to consider assuming the role of Chair for its Northern Virginia chapter. WPO is a global organization of several thousand women leaders who run companies that generate an average of $13 million in annual revenues. Their Zenith-level members gross more than $153 million annually.These women represent the very best of women’s leadership. The role of the Chair is to facilitate monthly meetings for groups of 15-20 local women leaders to help them develop their greatest leadership potential. Again, I heavily weighed the responsibility presented to me. I’m being entrusted with a global Brand, and the women I will facilitate bring serious business challenges to the group. All of the women in WPO are incredibly successful. To be a leader of leaders is the highest leadership calling.

In each of these examples, I had to be comfortable with the unknown, and with being the least knowledgeable and/or experienced in the community. I had to embrace being “new.” What almost held me back in each opportunity were the questions, “What happens if I fail?” “What if I am not enough?”

These questions can lead us down a dark path of imagining worst case scenarios that likely will not materialize. I consciously flipped the question to, “What happens if I succeed?”  With this thinking, my potential is limitless. One of the most transformational books of my life is “The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself.”

  • “Contemplate how much energy is wasted resisting what might happen. Since most of the things you think might happen never do, you are just throwing your energy away.”
  • “Stop and think about what you’re capable of achieving. Up to now, your capacities have been constrained by constant inner struggles. Imagine what would happen if your awareness was free to focus only on the events actually taking place, free from the fear of past events or future outcomes. If you lived like this, your capabilities would be exponential compared to what you’ve ever experienced.”

In my last column, I discussed the importance of setting boundaries that prevents others from entering into our personal space when it doesn’t serve us. Now I’ll discuss the importance of recognizing the boundaries you place upon yourself that are self-limiting beliefs.  We all set limits for ourselves, knowingly and unknowingly. When we approach our limits, we begin to feel uncomfortable and insecure. Our internal voice sends us conflicting messages to move forward towards the calling, but to also stay safe.

We can never know what awaits us on the other side until we brush up against the edge of possibility.

  • What are your boundaries?
  • How resistant are you to going beyond your boundaries?
  • How does the fear of the unknown, or fear of failure impact your willingness to embrace opportunities for growth?
  • How are you limiting your access to your greatest potential and joy?

These are important questions to address when we are presented with opportunities to expand any aspect of our life.

Your boundaries are your personal container. As you move through this life, strive to expand the container. Your greatest potential lies beyond its walls.

You are stronger than your boundaries, and more capable than you realize.

You are as strong as the depth of your courage.  

See you on the other side of comfort!



The Encore – UPS: How 3D Printing Could Bend the Cost Curve in Healthcare

By: John Menna

Imagine if any patient could be at the top of any donor recipient list. As Baby Boomers reach their retirement years, policymakers and leaders in medicine are scrambling to find better health outcomes with lower expenses. Additive manufacturing could provide a real breakthrough in treating patients around the world, writes John Menna, Vice President of Global Strategy for Healthcare Logistics at UPS.


UPS Blog

Even as people around the globe enjoy longer, healthier and more productive lives, the rising cost of healthcare threatens to impede such progress.

This is particularly troubling in the United States as Baby Boomers approaching retirement place a greater strain on an overburdened healthcare system.

Policymakers and medical leaders are scrambling for innovative ways to slow expenses, bracing for a demographic shift that will become arguably the central story in healthcare in the years ahead.

A Great Equalizer

However, one of the great equalizers could come in the form of another disruptive technology – 3D printing. Cost is at the center of the debate on 3D printing, with skeptics questioning whether 3D printers are too expensive to find a mainstream audience. But it’s equally as important to examine how additive manufacturing could bend the cost curve in a number of industries, especially healthcare.

It’s expensive to bring new drugs to market, and developing cutting-edge technologies for evolving threats requires significant investment.

Additive manufacturing would bring newfound efficiency to the healthcare supply chain, both at the front and back ends. Right now, the pharmaceutical industry spends more than $50 billion annually on research and development.

But with 3D printing, clinical trials for drugs could be more efficient, preserving valuable research and development budgets for private companies and nonprofits alike.

With developers creating treatment plans on demand, inventory levels would also shrink. U.S. hospitals, for example, generate more than 2 million tons of medical waste each year. Much of that “garbage” is unused medical supplies and equipment. Newer models often replace usable medical products that are destined for the landfill without ever leaving the bubble wrap.

3D Printing Efficiency

But 3D printers could root out such inefficiencies. Already, surgeons are using 3D printing to develop replicas of the human heart for surgery. Prosthetics for children that once cost tens of thousands of dollars now run a few hundred dollars. And 3-D printed tools are reducing error rates in surgeries.

This is just the beginning. With so-called bioprinting, cells could be deposited layer over layer to grow organs. Imagine a 3D-printed liver or even 3D-printed lungs.

The 3D printer would essentially place any patient at the top of any donor recipient list. Fewer people would risk death waiting for that perfect kidney match.

Much testing remains before widespread bioprinting becomes a reality. We must also clear a number of regulatory hurdles – safety and ethical standards should drive this process. This healthcare evolution won’t happen overnight, but 3D printing is providing a glimpse into a brighter future.

With 3D printing, scientists have created a bionic ear that can detect radio frequencies beyond the normal range of human hearing. Three-dimensional printers have created airway splints designed to grow as a baby grows. And researchers have developed 3D-printed skin for burn victims.

This is the ultimate form of personalized medicine, with doctors and surgeons tailoring medical plans to the individual rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Elderly patients in need of a hip or knee replacement could benefit from the 3D printer for specialty implants. Because the process is more exact, these patients would avoid the second or third procedure to replace traditional, less-effective implants.

Manufacturing Better Health

In such a future, patients would live healthier and happier while driving down the cost of specialized and costly medical procedures. But this is more about people than dollars and cents. Picture a patient living in a remote village in the heart of Africa without access to sophisticated surgeries and medicines. What was once too expensive – nothing more than a pipe dream – is now deliverable.

And a logistics provider like UPS can send 3D-printed medical supplies around the globe, connecting all corners of the world faster than ever before. In this 3D-printed future, we’ll treat more patients. And by today’s standards, we’ll do so for pennies on the dollar. And those troubling healthcare spending charts? They’ll start trending in a downward direction.

(Top image: Lawrence Bonassar, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and colleagues collaborated with Weill Cornell Medical College physicians to create an artificial ear using 3-D printing and injectable molds. Credit: Lindsay France, Cornell University.)

This article is part of UPS Longitudes’ Routes to the Future series, which explores the business and technology trends that will shape our world in the next 10 years.