DB: Where are you?
AD: In Manhattan, on Wall Street. I’m at the headquarters of Catalyst Inc., which is a nonprofit organization that represents the gold standard in terms of research on women in executive leadership positions.
DB: What brought you to New York?
AD: I spoke at a dinner hosted by PepsiCo Inc. The group included their top female leaders from around the world. I also met them for breakfast this morning. As you know, PepsiCo’s chairman and CEO, Indra Nooyi, sits on the board of Catalyst. Some of the key messages from my remarks stemmed from themes in my (new) book, Powering Up! Pepsi is always looking at the next generation of consumers, and one aspect of the ongoing changes is the right corporate culture for the times. Pepsi and other corporations are trying to learn about the best work environments, how they can appeal to Generation Y, and how best to develop all of their talents.
DB: How has the book been received?
AD: It’s been going great, but you just never know. All you can do is your best work, and then put it out there and kind of hold your breath that it is relevant and that it resonates with people. We kicked off the book in March at an Inforum luncheon (in Detroit), and we’ve been marketing the book through the media and through speaking engagements. I’ve been to New York four times this year, as well as Dallas and Los Angeles.
DB: Has the glass ceiling been shattered, or merely scratched?
AD: There is no question that women have more work to do, as do men. Right now women hold just 18 percent of the top leadership positions, on average, across all business sectors. But when you look at the graduation rates, more than 50 percent of all women are graduating from college today. The pipeline is exploding in terms of women who are ready and willing to lead, and that is what Pepsi and other companies are starting to see. In the next 10 years, I believe we are going to see a tremendous smashing of the glass ceiling. Women now represent 50 percent of the workforce, and the number of women working full time, their education levels, and their years of experience represent a huge talent pool. db