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Changing the Corporate Conversation: The Value Proposition

As women, including African-American women, continue to serve in the C-suite as CEOs, executives, and leaders, they make unique contributions to their companies and consciously or unconsciously, change the corporate culture during their tenure. Female leadership has been shown to innovate in various ways and increase profits compared to male-dominated companies.

First African American Female Billionaire:

Oprah Winfrey

She is the first woman to own a television network She's the first black woman to own and run a television network, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network which launched on January 1, 2011. She has said of herself, "I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism and that's how I operate my life."

Customer-Centered and Innovative: Mary T. Barra Mary T. Barra became CEO of General Motors in 2014. She has led GM's innovations in electric cars, autonomous driving, and connectivity. She has also made GM more customer-centered.

Influencing Science and Technology Development Across Industries: Ursula Burns

African American Ursula Burns spent seven years as CEO of Xerox, including spearheading the acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services that represents over 50% of its current revenue. Burns also serves on the board of American Express, ExxonMobil, and the Ford Foundation, as well as providing leadership to the White House STEM programs, MIT, and others.

Mentoring Others: Meg Whitman As the President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard and former President and CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman has nearly 20 years of executive leadership experience, which she has used to mentor other female C-suite executives like Stacy Brown-Philpot. She also has served as a board member of Hasbro, Stride Rite, and Walt Disney. She currently serves on the boards of Procter & Gamble and SurveyMonkey.

Influencing the Nation's Capital and Public Policy: Shuanise Washington

A. Shuanise Washington is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF). Ms. Washington oversees CBCF’s public policy, research, educational and fund raising initiatives, most notably the Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), a five-day, policy gathering in Washington, D.C., that draws prominent figures from across politics, business, entertainment, academia and other sectors each September. Scaling Up: Stacy Brown-Philpot Stacy Brown-Philpot moved from COO to CEO of TaskRabbit in April. She is building partnerships to benefit the Silicon Valley sharing economy powerhouse that matches freelancers to one time tasks. She is the only African-American female CEO in Silicon Valley, paving the way for others to join her.

Insisting on Diversity: Rosalind "Roz" Brewer

Rosalind Brewer is the CEO of SAM's Club, the first woman and African-American to hold that position. Brewer has innovated by launching an option on the app to pick up groceries in the parking lot. She also has confronted leadership about increasing diversity throughout SAM's and Wal-Mart with varying degrees of success.

Contributions of C-Suite Women

Women like Cynthia Marshall, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at AT&T are known for several traits that bring tremendous value to the companies they lead. Female Executives are collaborative, finding solutions through working together and building consensus and partnerships with other organizations that are mutually beneficial. Another trait of many female Executives is to help others around them, including serving on multiple boards and mentoring other women to take C-suite positions as they gain experience. Female Executives are also skilled at integrating different skill sets, products and types of employees into new and innovative solutions. The value offered by C-suite women has contributed to the enhanced profitability of their companies, which have been at least 15% more profitable if they have 30% or more female leadership.

Register for the Ron Brown Business & Economic Summit and Women's Symposium to get support in reaching your business goals. If you missed the first blog in this series, check out Women in the C-Suite.

Tara Lynn Gray

Chamber Foundation Board of Directors

President & CEO YADARI Enterprises

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