The Connected Leadership Podcast

Fostering Inclusion and Equity in the Workplace with Jennifer McCollum

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Episode notes

In this episode of the Connected Leadership Podcast, Andy Lopata’s guest is Jennifer McCollum, CEO of Catalyst, a NY-based nonprofit focused on accelerating progress for women in the workplace. Andy and Jennifer discuss issues of gender equality, professional relationships, and ally ship in the workplace. Jennifer McCollum is on a mission to create better leaders and workplaces by advancing women and promoting inclusivity. She’s an accomplished CEO, speaker, and consultant, and the author of the new book "In Her Own Voice: A Woman's Rise to CEO." Using data and personal stories Jennifer sheds light on the unique challenges women face on their journey to leadership and providie actionable insights for aspiring leaders and organisations. Jennifer was the first female CEO at Linkage, a global leadership development firm dedicated to "Changing the Face of Leadership."

Jennifer also shares insights from her journey to CEO, reflecting on the challenges faced by women in the corporate world, including pay inequity and the internalisation of external biases. She emphasises the importance of recognising one's value, advocating for oneself, and making bold requests to advance in leadership roles.

The conversation examines the concept of ally ship, highlighting the role of sponsors in supporting women's advancement. Jennifer explains that while mentorship provides guidance and advice, sponsorship goes further by leveraging influence and networks to create opportunities for advancement.

Andy and Jennifer explore the nuances of ally ship, emphasising the need for men to actively support women in the workplace. They discuss the importance of men recognising and amplifying women's contributions, as well as stepping up as sponsors and advocates.

The importance of surrounding oneself with diverse talents and viewpoints to expand opportunities is another important area for discussion.  Andy and Jennifer emphasise the importance of creating a culture of inclusion and equity, measuring and ensuring fairness in talent systems, and gaining executive commitment to sponsorship and ally ship. Jennifer emphasises that these efforts not only benefit marginalised groups but also enhance the organisation as a whole.

The episode concludes with a discussion on the importance of transparency and accessibility in formal sponsorship programmes, integrating them into the organisation's DNA for meaningful impact. Jennifer stresses the mutually beneficial nature of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, enriching not only the organisation but also the individuals involved.

Connect with Andy Lopata: Website | Instagram | LinkedIn | X/Twitter | Youtube

Connect with Jennifer Mccollum: X/Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

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