This year, there are a record 103 women serving in Congress and 24 female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. While these numbers are comparatively small, it’s important to notice the trend: more and more women are breaking new ground to close the gender gap.
As business leaders, it’s important to take responsibility for mentoring the next generation. Consider who you will be passing the baton to and what you are doing to prepare them for a more senior-level role in your organization. Thinking about these future business needs is as critical to your company’s success as tackling more imminent issues such as the economy and the environment.
That’s where the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) really steps up. This organization recognizes the importance of providing opportunities that foster diversity in tomorrow’s workplace. In fact, the WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP) supports young women studying Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) or Business in a STEAM field through mentoring, business case competitions, visits to corporations and exposure to the WBENC National Conference and Business Fair. Students’ applications for the 2015 SEP are due Friday, March 20 before midnight EDT.
“Corporations tend to spend a lot of time and effort coaching current women business entrepreneurs, many of whom have already found some level of success,” Brian Hall, manager of Supplier Diversity & Outreach at Shell Oil, told me during a recent conversation. “As the sponsor of WBENC’s SEP, we are connecting today’s leaders with tomorrow’s innovators. Creating a pipeline of talent will better prepare industry to face challenges in the future.”
As the founder and president of Vitiello Communications Group, a woman-owned business certified by WBENC and the State of New Jersey, I know firsthand how important it is to nurture others to reach their potential. And, I am proud of the role we play in empowering young business women through mentoring and other activities.
Visit the WBENC SEP website to find out how you can help prepare future female entrepreneurs for successful business careers.