Female CEOs have come a long way, but there’s still a ways to go. While women make up over 50% of the population, only about 38 of them run a Fortune 500 company. That number has grown steadily over the past few years, with women gaining a little bit of ground each year.
Women are good for business
“Fortune 1000 companies with female chiefs outperformed the S&P 500 index over their respective tenures,” Fortune’s Caroline Fairchild wrote.
In 2014, women only led 5% of Fortune 1000 companies, but represented 7% of the total revenue generated. In case after case, companies show massive growth in revenues, stock value, and customer base with women CEOs.
The reasons for this can be debated, but what seems most apparent is that women contribute a new perspective to business. In general, 80% of female CEOs are wives and mothers. A female presence, whether it’s on the C-level or even as a daughter, seems to change how business is done.
Three women changing business
Every female CEO has a story to tell. Many of them are quietly changing how business is conducted. Here are three of our favorites that are making a massive impact well beyond the company’s wall or the stock market floors.
Mary Barra of General Motors
Mary Barra started with GM in 1980 as a co-op student. She worked her way up the corporate ladder and became CEO of the world’s largest auto manufacturer in 2014.
She is leading the way at GM to creating a greener, more socially responsible company. She has committed to making GM carbon-neutral by 2040.
Under her leadership, GM just launched a new line of delivery vehicles that are 100% electric.
The company has set a goal of offering at least 30 new electric vehicles by 2025.
They’ve even created their own battery, Ultium, that costs 40% less than the batteries being used now. They project that the second-generation of Ultium batteries will be 60% less expensive and will allow the user to travel even farther.
“Climate change is real, and we want to be part of the solution by putting everyone in an electric vehicle,” Barra said.
“General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world,” Barra said in a news release. “We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.”
Given the broad reach of General Motors in the global vehicle market, this move, guided by Barra, will change how the world drives and will have a massive impact on the world’s carbon emissions.
Tricia Griffith of Progressive
Having worked her way from claims rep to head of HR to CEO of one of America’s largest insurance companies, Tricia Griffith leads one of the most diverse staffs in the country.
“Being Progressive means moving forward, promoting change, and constantly improving. We live up to our name, not just by being an innovator, but by embracing our different backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and ways of thinking.” – from the Progressive website.
Griffith sees diversity as the asset that analysts have said it is. In study after study, researchers have shown that companies with a more diverse leadership team make higher profits than companies with all white and male leadership.
In in an interview with Time, Griffith said:
“I’ve had the opportunity to hire several members from my board of directors in the last several years. And I think having a board that is diverse is as important because they’re guiding me. And I think we’re the only Fortune 500 company that has a female CEO and a female chairwoman. And I have 12 board members: half men, half women — and one of the women is a person of color.”
Courtney O’Donnell-Pereless of OnMyWay and Social Responsibility
Courtney Pereless is the CEO and Founder of OnMyWay, a texting and driving app that actually pays people to not text while driving. The company has recently launched a new non-profit, Social Responsibility, that handles corporate social responsibility campaigns and uses the proceeds to promote safe driving, including not texting and driving.
Car accidents are the number one cause of death for young adults aged 16 to 25. While that’s not a new statistic, the impact of texting and driving has become larger every year.
OnMyWay pays drivers to not text and drive. It tracks the miles they drive without sending a text and pays them money they can use with a sponsoring business. Since inception, OnMyWay has saved over 145 lives and prevented over 22,500 accidents!
Social Responsibility is the first non-profit marketing agency dedicated to creating a company’s social responsibility program. Even the act of purchasing the Social Responsibility’s services is an act of social responsibility because the proceeds are used to save lives and reduce vehicular deaths.
“Every company has to have a social responsibility program,” Pereless said. “By sharing our global reach with other companies, we can help them make real changes in their own communities. In the same motion, they can help us with our efforts to reduce accident deaths due to texting and driving.”
“Companies have a responsibility to make the world a better place. As a mother, I share the responsibility to help make the world better for my children. We are in a unique situation to help companies create a social responsibility campaign that will save lives.”
SocialResponsibility.io has the ability to reach millions of people around the world using cutting edge marketing strategies through multi-language radio, news articles, display ads, and millions of OnMyWay users.
Women are good for business and the world
As these three CEOs demonstrate, women in leadership are not only good for business, but are great for the world around them. There’s an increased awareness among women leaders that the corporations of the world are now the most powerful forces in society. Taking responsibility for that power is making the world a better place.