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Women at the Top of the Org Chart

Women at the Top of the Org Chart
By Cheryl Stein
Monster Business Coach
The expression “It’s lonely at the top” takes on a whole new meaning if you are a woman CEO.

Although women have made great strides in the business world, there is still a huge imbalance in the number of women who have made it to the top of fortune 500 companies. In fact, according to the Economist, (July 2011) only 15 women run companies of that magnitude. Do not despair, however, because there is hope. Women are making inroads and despite the fact that some countries are starting to legislate that women must make up a greater percentage of boards of directors, it is happening naturally.

There are factors that can impede a woman’s career that can’t be ignored. Women are the ones to have babies and by virtue of the fact that it is their bodies that do the work, they become the default family member to take time off to take care of their children. This often results in a search for balance as women try to juggle their family responsibilities with their career goals. What it often means is that women’s careers suffer.
All is not lost however. There are some incredible women who have found a way to have it all. If you are looking at who to look up to, below is a short list of some amazing women who have made it to the top.
Heather Reisman - Chapters/Indigo
One of the best known Canadian businesswomen, Reisman is the founder and CEO of Indigo books . Reisman is no one trick pony. Formerly the president of Cott Corporation, Reisman is no stranger to the top office. Running a corporation that is the merger of two major Canadian booksellers, Reisman runs Chapters/Indigo with all the strengths of her convictions.
Indira Nooyi – Pepsi
Chairman and CEO of Pepsico, this Indian born woman has been climbing the corporate ladder since her career began at Johnson and Johnson. Her career history reads like a who’s who of corporate America. An integral part of Pepsi’s restructuring, Nooyi has been named one of the most influential people in the world and has been named the most powerful woman in the world. Nooyi is proof positive that women can make it to the top. She is a shining example of what any woman can do if she sets her mind to it.
Ursula Burns – Xerox
Ursula Burns is the first African American woman to head a Fortune 500 company. As CEO of Xerox, she is the daughter of immigrants from Panama and was raised in housing projects in New York. Burns started off as a summer intern slowly moving her way up the ranks to take the top spot in 2009.
Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg was made famous by the movie the social network but not so behind the scenes Sheryl Sandberg is making a huge impact at Facebook. With the title of Chief Operating Officer, Sandberg began her career working for the U.S. treasury and was hired away from Google by Zuckerberg in 2008. Her mission was to make facebook profitable, something that was achieved in 2010.
Bonnie Brooks -HBC

Canadian CEO of Hudsons Bay Company, Bonnie brooks has the difficult task of changing the image of this very Canadian, 340 year old company. Brooks has had tons of experience in the retail industry and is expected to be able to work her magic on this Canadian institution.

The curtains aren’t down on great women CEOs. Slowly but surely they are making their way to the top spots of top companies. For all those little girls out there who wonder if they can have it all, these women prove that they can.