Women CEOs — what it takes?

May 21, 2013

Women CEOs — what it takes?

womenWonderful post by Pattie Sellers of Fortune fame today. She answers the question on her blog Postcards about what it takes to be a female Fortune 500 CEO. Here’s the answer (and mind you that this is not a huge sample size here!): “More than half of the 20 female Fortune 500 CEOs graduated with so-called STEM degrees.” STEM stands for science, tech, engineering and math. A few examples:

  • IBM’s Ginny Rometty (computer scinece and electrical engineering)
  • Xerox’s Ursula Burns (mechanical engineering)
  • DuPont‘s Ellen Kullman (mechanical engineering)
  • PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi (chemistry, physics and mathematics)
  • Avon’s Sheri McCoy (textile chemistry, chemical engineering)
  • Mondelez’s Irene Rosenfeld (marketing and statistics)

 Why is that? The post posits some thoughts but the theme is that these women come to their jobs with the background, training and discipline of analytical thinking.  Many of these women also have advanced degrees. From what I can tell too, none of them attended Harvard which seems to be a requirement of many top notch male Fortune 500 CEOs. Revealing difference.

Great insight into what it takes to build a highly admired female CEO reputation.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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