Women in leadership positions in credit unions: Going up? What do you bring to the table?

When a woman is asked what she brings to the table, the conversation can take many different directions, and the responses can be quite eye-opening. Let’s start out with a few facts that are pretty important to know, to understand and to be aware of … as you might be sitting in front of your next valuable leader.

Just the Facts – If you’re not familiar with the power of the purse, here are some numbers to think about. Women now control some $10 trillion in U.S. financial assets; by the end of the decade, that figure will rise to $30 trillion. They influence 80% of all purchasing decisions and women-owned businesses employ nearly 9.4 million people. Plus, every day 1,817 new women-owned businesses start up and women own 42% of all companies in the U.S.

Nearly 60% of all college graduates are female and 57% of graduate degrees are earned by women. Single women account for 19% of homebuyers in the U.S., vs. 9% of single men. There are more women with experience, finances, and knowledge that they are willing to share with others, and companies can benefit from having them in leadership positions. Women are generating and managing an increasing amount of wealth in the U.S.

Women Know Women – What’s better than having an inside track on your clients, your employees, and your leadership team? Women understand the differences in communication styles, they rally around change, and they bring teams together through collaboration. While women know women, they also can help the connections between men and women in buying, selling and working together. They aren’t afraid of sharing their knowledge and sometimes it’s through what isn’t said, rather than what is. Take the time to observe and listen.

Long-Term Relationships Are Here – While we talk about the differences between being transactional and relational, let’s take that one step further. The result of being more relational will result in long-term relationships, golden referrals, and valuable strategic partners. Women will develop and nurture relationships and that will show up as continuous business in the future. Sometimes the bonds are so deep that you will need a flow chart to see where it all began.

More Than Just a Product – Women tend to look at companies that have more than just a product or service to offer. They want to see how the company gives back to their community or if they have a social cause they believe in. This helps in your customer growth, recruiting efforts, retention, and promotions. Women want to be part of something bigger than “just” a position. They want to give back, support and mentor. Did you know that 65% of women that are mentored become mentors? Imagine what that can do for your bottom line.

There are articles after articles and studies after studies that show the benefits of having more women in leadership positions. I read an article in the New York Times, in which Therese Huston reviews studies that answer the question, “Are Women Better Decision Makers?” The studies show that, under stress, there are gender differences, and women tend to perform better. In stressful situations, women typically take smaller, measured risks and are more able to consider another person’s perspective. Men tend to take bigger risks for bigger wins, even when they are more costly and unlikely. She concludes with a study that revealed large-cap companies with at least one woman on their boards significantly outperformed comparable companies with all-male boards. As a side note, this article could have been from 10 years, 5 years or yesterday, and the conclusions are still reality.

And according to Fortune magazine, “Companies where women held more than 30% of board seats outperformed their peers and companies with more women at the top fared better during the pandemic.”

Think about your company. Is there room for more women at the top? Invite women to be a part of this level. They bring a different perspective and one that compliments what the men are already successful doing. Learning and sharing is part of what makes us who we are. So, when a woman is asked, “What do you bring to the table?”, she can be confident with her response … because sometimes she will bring the table.

Judy Hoberman

Judy Hoberman

Judy Hoberman is President of Judy Hoberman and Associates, a company focused on empowering professional women. Her company combines Sales and Leadership for Women using the philosophies of her best-selling ... Web: www.sellinginaskirt.com Details