Developing People...
Inspiring Success

"Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will loose your ability to learn new things and move forward with your life." - Dr. David M. Burns

Volume 1, Issue 9-- October 2004

In This Issue

Feature Article  |  Resources  |  Fast Facts 
  Survey  |  What's New  |  About Regina

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Feature Article - Barriers to Advancement Facing Women in Business

Women continue to enter the workforce in record numbers. In fact, almost 47% of the workforce is comprised of women. Yet, despite this fact, very few women hold the top slots.

Take one stroll past the executive suite in your organization and there will probably be a noticeable lack of women to be found, particularly if you exclude the support staff. Perhaps you never took the time to consider this or to even ask the question, but given the number of women in the workforce, does it seem rather odd that there aren't more women ensconced in the executive suites in business? I think so.

I've talked with many women leaders to try to identify the barriers that preclude more women from reaching the corner office. Here's what I've learned.

First, life-balance and family tradeoffs continue to plague women who want to build successful careers. As has long been the case, the bulk of family and household responsibilities still fall on women's shoulders. How each woman, her family, and her place of employment choose to manage and negotiate around this issue will clearly have an impact on a woman's ability to take advantage of those business opportunities that lead to long-term personal and professional success.

Another surprising deterrent is the perception that women lack key business credentials. As a woman with an MBA under her belt and an MA on the way, this one makes me chafe a little. However, having the right business credentials means more than having the right degree. Rather, it means being able to demonstrate in measurable ways a clear understanding of those business practices and the financial aspects that are important for an organizations success. This is what is commonly referred to as business acumen. Women don't lack key business credentials, they just need to do a better job of getting the credit and recognition for using them.

Finally, women continue to lack representation at senior levels simply because they just don't have visible positions. Many women typically follow career paths that lead them into the more traditional female roles such as marketing or operations. The lack of coveted profit and loss responsibility will often preclude them from consideration when the top jobs do become available.

Corporations need to make the case for developing women leaders within their organizations. They must stop overlooking the fact that women have good instincts about business and that they are good managers, delegators, collaborators, and team players. Since most businesses are built on relationships, these are crucial assets to an organizations long-term success.

While there are other reasons why organizations should focus on developing more women leaders, the primary reason, simply put, is that it just makes good business sense. Those organizations that want to reap the kind of financial returns so critical to their long-term success, should begin seeking out and supporting executive women leaders. Over the long haul, that's something that we can all bank on. Don't you agree?

Copyright 2004 Regina Barr, Red Ladder, Inc.


Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Can Women Reach The Top Of Americas Largest Corporations, Anne M. Morrison, Randall P. White and Ellen Van Velsor. This book examines the results of a three-year study of women in Fortune 100 Companies. It discusses the breakthroughs women have made and the glass ceiling that still looms overhead.
This web site features interesting information from the Department of Labor about women's career outlook.
This website advocates women in the workforce and provides interesting facts and statistics from a non-feministic perspective.
"Catalyst is the leading research and advisory organization working with businesses and the professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women at work." (Catalyst)

Fast Facts

In 2003, women made up 46.6% of the labor force and 50.5% of managerial, professional and related positions.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, Annual Averages 2003.

Women make up an average of 29.0% of enrolled full time students in the top 20 MBA programs.
Source: U.S. News and World Report, America‚s Best Graduate Schools, 2005 Edition.

September Survey Results - Feedback on this Ezine

To those of you that responded to last month's survey, thank you for your feedback on Red Ladder's newsletter, Developing People...Inspiring Success. Your input will help us improve our content and focus.


Each month we will be asking for your input on a short survey. This month our survey is on Barriers to Advancement Facing Women in Business.

What's New

Interested in hearing Regina speak? Here are some upcoming programs that are open to the public:

October 29, 2004,11:20 a.m. -- 12:20 p.m. OakBrook, IL
Climbing the Corporate Ladder: Barriers to Advancement Facing Women in Banking

October 29, 2004, 2:00 p.m. -- 3:00 p.m. OakBrook, IL
Leading When You're Not the Boss

November 11, 2004, 6:00 -- 9:00 p.m. Inver Grove Heights, MN
Women Achieving New Direction Pre-Holiday Shopping Extravaganza

Contact us at for information on how to register.

About Regina
Regina Barr, President of Red Ladder, Inc., holds a BBA in finance/management and an MBA in management/ marketing. An advocate of lifelong learning, she is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Human Development at St. Mary's University in Minneapolis, MN. Her focus: leadership and issues facing women in business. Regina has over fourteen years in the financial services industry where she has a broad range of leadership experience in product, sales, and marketing.
Email Regina

What our clients are saying...
"I would highly recommend Regina to any organization looking for an exceptional consultant!" Susan J. Johnson, Executive Vice President, Northeast Bank

Copyright (C) 2004 Red Ladder, Inc.  ~  
 651-453-1007  ~  Inver Grove Heights, MN  55076