Challenge: One of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world by both market cap and sales, showed low levels of female representation in leadership positions. Both, patients and the health professionals, needed to see a matching representation of female leaders. Increasing regulatory demands are being placed on global organizations and while legislation varies, and continues to evolve, more European governments are considering introducing binding quotas for the proportion of women on corporate boards.

 

Solution: Cook Ross developed a global female executive development program to increase the number of women in leadership positions at the company throughout the world. This program, designed to address issues women face when striving for senior leadership positions, included 3 in-person sessions lasting 3-4 days each. These classroom sessions were experiential to enable participants to replicate some of the situations they face at work each day, impacting not only the participants of the program, but also their teams, managers, and the senior management of the organization. Webinars were rolled out focusing on business and leadership topics including strategy and innovation, addressing gender dynamics in the workplace, talent development, and unconscious bias. In addition to external coaches, executives were given the opportunity to attend portions of the in-person programs, many of which were handpicked to serve as mentors to participants. Each participant was assigned to project teams tasked to solve contemporary, significant business problems resulting in an additional business benefit to the company. This program allowed for the increased visibility of participants and their strategic capabilities to executive committee members.

 

Results: The full year program focused on innovation, strategy, talent management, executive presence, and other topics using executive partnered teams to solve significant global challenges, executive mentoring, and coaching. The company was awarded an Innovations Award for Excellence by Diversity Journal in recognition of the company actively addressing their female leadership gap. Cook Ross’ interventions achieved a number of impressive results for the company: