Although women are sorely underrepresented in the corporate boardrooms and top executive offices of the 400 largest public companies in California, there are firms that incorporate a significant percentage of women in their leadership.
Our Top 25 list highlights the companies with the highest percentage of women leaders. As in recent years, the top companies with the highest percentage had 50 percent women leaders. This year two companies tied for the top spot: organic food maker Annies Inc., led by CEO John Foraker, and home furnishings retailers Williams-Sonoma Inc., led by CEO Laura Alber.
These companies’ success demonstrates that achieving balanced gender leadership is far from impossible. We encourage companies of all sizes to follow their example. Read on for insight and advice from both enlightened corporate leadership and thought leaders focused on boosting the number of women in leadership.
President, Chief Executive Officer, Director, Williams-Sonoma Inc.
Ranked No. 1 in 2014–2015 Study
Williams-Sonoma Inc. is proud to be a leader in diversity and consider this to be at the core of our business practices. We work to create an environment that attracts great talent, and we seek to motivate, inspire and recognize high performance among all employees.”
Ann Huff Stevens
Dean, UC Davis Graduate School of Management
The ‘California 400’ are leaders in their sectors, shaping global markets and fueling our nation’s economy. Together they represent more than $4.5 trillion in stock market value, up more than 30 percent over last year. But women’s voices are largely absent from top leadership.
“While it would be easy to declare defeat, it is critical that government, education and business leaders keep this conversation alive to move the needle forward. Today’s corporate leaders need to change their thinking, moving beyond close circles to find talent for open board seats and top executive positions.”
—Dean Ann Huff Stevens
There has been significant discussion recently about women “leaning in” and an outpouring of executive leadership support for greater gender equality. A new women’s movement is emerging in which women advocate for one another and have the ability to influence at the highest levels.”
John D. Goodman
Chief Executive Officer, Wet Seal Inc.
Ranked No. 1 in 2013-2014 Study
As a retailer of women’s apparel, Wet Seal is committed to empowering, developing and recognizing women whether they are our customers, employees or members of the communities in which we operate. Our people are our lifeblood and it’s the rich diversity of our employees and customers that set us apart—at Wet Seal we are passionate about creating opportunities for people at every level.”
(Davis, Calif.) – With a joint goal of speeding the transfer of new technologies from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories have announced a new partnership for researchers to develop their entrepreneurial skills.
What opportunities, decisions, events have shaped your professional life?
My career path has been a climb across a jungle gym rather than a tangent up a corporate ladder. As a child, I used to thumb through the three-inch JCPenney catalogue, picking out the professional women who I would grow to be. I wanted to rule the world from a corner office in a suit and heels. I wanted to shed my humble origins and become Corporate Barbie.
Agilent Technologies’ Electronic Measurement Group is a $3.6 billion business that over the past decade has seen a dramatic shift in its customer base from U.S., and Western European customers to predominantly Asia-based customers. Today, the majority of the division’s revenues are generated outside of the U.S., with an increasing concentration in China.
(Davis, CA) — The UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s full-time MBA program has been ranked among the top six percent of AACSB International-accredited programs nationwide, according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest graduate business school rankings released today.