MAKERS 2021 Kickoff Event - Joanna Barsh

MAKERS 2021 Kickoff Event - Joanna Barsh

Video Transcript

JOANNA BARSH: OK, five minutes, shortest fastest ever. Let me give you the facts so we can decide whether we want to keep going. And the answer is hell yeah, we want to keep going.

Here's the story. Women are clearly bearing the brunt of this pandemic and economic downturn. But even before, we had already begun to stall our progress. Some good things were happening in diversity, but also some things were not happening that should have been happening. And like I said, we're in a crisis, but a crisis is great because it creates opportunity and in opportunity there is movement, there is progress. And so let's go.

Here is the first and tough news. Women clearly bore the brunt of the pandemic. McKinsey and Lean In in their sixth Women in the Workplace, fantastic report, basically told us that COVID-19 was threatening all of the progress that we had made. In fact, one in four women were likely to either step back or leave the workforce because of the other things that they have to do, their responsibilities at home.

We also know from the economic data that, you know, well, take a look at December. More than 100% of the jobs were lost by women. And if you look at the whole year, what do you see? You see women losing more jobs, nearly a million more jobs than men because in the industries that women work in.

OK, so that's the first bit of news. But the second bit of news is the talent pipeline. I know you love the talent pipeline. I love the talent pipeline too. And if you take a look at it, what you're going to see is from 2020 to 2017 to 2015 at every single level of the pipeline, is there progress? Hell no, there is no progress there. I don't need to call those numbers out for you. You can see with your plain old eyes that we started to have progress at the very top.

Now, there is some good news here. If we look at boards, we can see that last year, they take the numbers, as you know, a year-- and we'll find out next year whether the pandemic completely screwed this all up, but, nonetheless, all the numbers on board seats were going in the right direction. For women 44% of new board seats, that's an all-time high for us. And on top of that, NASDAQ reported that they want to have two board seats on every board go to a woman and/or diverse person. Isn't this exciting news if the SEC approves it?

Now at the bottom, you can see that people of color seem to have stalled out at 23% of the new board seats. And that's something that hopefully this NASDAQ ruling will help as well.

OK, so that's some good news. Here's some more good news. 41 women CEOs, this is amazing. This is an all-time record. However, it's 41 out of 500. And if you look at Roz Brewer, the only African-American woman out of the entire list, great for Roz, I'm so proud. However, one out of 500, let me repeat. We have a ways to go.

So let's take a look at what's really going on. Women of color are facing a steeper hill. If you look at the pipeline again shown this way, so all six levels are here and you can see white women at the top and then women of color in red, and at the bottom what I want you to take a look at is women of color as a percentage of all women. And you can see that they start at 38% of the entry professional class.

And there are only 14% of the c-suite. So women of color are losing out to white women as we go through the pipeline. Now it's not a zero sum game. But it is just to show you that it's even greater challenges to be a woman of color. But you knew that. And here we can see that if you're a Black woman, it's even harder, the challenges are greater.

So who are the people who identify as an only, the only person on the team or in the room, 70% of Black women are identifying that way, 60% of Asians. But only, of course, 3% of white women identify that way. And, in fact, who are the women who feel watched who are only's? It is over a third of Black women feel that they are being judged and watched all the time.

And if you look at who feels that race has played an important role in losing out on a raise or a promotion or a chance to get ahead, it's half of the Black women. And if you look to the future, the final column, will race make it harder to get those things, it's, again, about half for Black women and only 5% for white women.

So this gives you the stark news of the lack of progress, which is why at MAKERS, we continued the research. If you remember, I talked to you every year about this that I interviewed people in depth. And this year, I've been interviewing men and women who are Black. And they have given me their professional stories and their personal stories so that I could begin to understand how do we resolve this? How do we make progress happen out of this situation?

And I think we found one thing that sets these interviews apart from all the interviews with women that have happened so far. And that is a profound connection gap between Black talent and the system, the leadership, the management of the organization. It is a connection gap that, again, not every individual has, senses this. But on the whole, this is the defining characteristic that sets the challenges for Black men and women so much higher than for others in the organization.

And to fix this, to address it, to restart progress, we do need to create a positive revolution, a positive revolution that does create what I'm calling real community. What is real community? Is it belonging? Is it inclusion?

No, it's that and more than that. It is, if you can imagine, the strongest form of connection at work that builds not just trust between individuals, but trust between you and the system, you and the leadership, you and the bosses and the management, and you amongst the whole community.

That also encourages individual agency so that we can bring our power to work in service of the performance of the organization, resilience, and fulfillment, not just to the company, but to ourselves as well. That is what we are truly striving for. How do we do it? In the remaining two seconds, I'll tell you, OK? So there are four sets of actions that we need to organize and to get going on. And the first is to equip leaders starting from within to change mindsets and behaviors from within, leaders are accountable.

The second piece is that we need thousands in large organizations, thousands of role models to play the new roles that we're setting out to create a support network that helps every individual in the organization who's got the ambition to move forward. We want a new social contract that amplifies humanity, equity, and performance. It's not a patch. It's clean sheet.

And finally, we need a new diversity playbook for this. The old one did its job well. And it's done. But we are recognizing, this is complex, far more complex than anybody ever thought. And so we needed a system of experimentation and learning and adaptation. It's not a matter of sharing best practices. Because almost no one has nailed this at this point. So when you look at all four of these actions together, you can see why I'm calling it a radical reset.

Are you ready for that? I don't think there's another way. But I'm very hopeful that this form of keeping going is going to get us somewhere. So thanks for listening. I know you've got a great conference ahead of you. Let's do it.