It is mind-blowing that we still don’t have gender equality in the workplace.   Women have come a long way, but it is still not equal! In Brandon Hall Group’s 2016 Women in Leadership Study, only 12% of responding organizations said they see gender parity when it comes to C-level executive roles. shutterstock_247120585However, 97% of survey respondents say that the interest in having women advance to executive positions, including CEO, has remained the same or increased in the past few years. But that interest has not led to enough targeted development opportunities for women leaders.

Our findings also showed:

  • 81% of organizations do not offer a core women-in-leadership program focused on critical skills training.
  • 76% do not provide a mentoring program aimed exclusively at grooming women leaders.
  • Three times as many organizations have none or few women in C-level roles than have at least an equal number of men and women in those positions.

However dismal the data appears, we see some companies making a significant effort to help empower women and create opportunities that are beneficial to women and the organization to initiate better more productive working environments. In the latest edition of HCMx Radio, I interviewed Cyndi Sax, Senior Vice President of Consulting Services at Caliper, and Tom Schoenfelder, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Caliper, as they shared their behavioral research related to the differences between genders. Caliper’s study examined the relationship between personality and leadership, and specifically about the unique barriers that women may encounter as leaders.

Topics covered during the interviewed included:

  • Transformational vs. transactional leadership; traits that are found to be key to transformational leadership, and how study participants scored
  • If a woman does not possess these attributes, does that mean she cannot be a successful woman leader?
  • Natural vs. mindful compensating strategies – situational leadership
  • Potential challenges unique to women who occupy or aspire to leadership roles.
  • Organizational savvy, perceptions of performance, work-family balance.
  • The impact of stereotype threat and how women can overcome these barriers.


To listen to our interview, you can download the podcast anytime at the HCMx Radio site.


Rachel Cooke, Chief Operating Officer, Brandon Hall Group


Rachel Cooke

Chief Operating Officer Rachel Cooke Rachel is responsible for business operations including overseeing client services, research events and project management. Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Rachel was the Chief Operating Officer Co-founder of AC Growth. Rachel has over 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, business development, and sales performance management. Prior to AC Growth, she held several senior management roles and was on the leadership team at Bersin & Associates, a pioneer analyst firm in e-learning and now industry leading HR and talent Research Company. In her Senior Director role, Rachel developed the strategy and led the commercial execution of the solution provider vertical, and grew the vertical into the company’s largest market segment. In her role as Director of Sales, Rachel developed and led a team of senior account executives focused on acquiring global strategic accounts. Rachel was solely responsible for developing key business relationships with over ninety companies including industry icons, such as: Adidas, Hewlett-Packard, Toyota, Oracle, Starbucks, Avnet, Boeing, Kaiser Permanente, Safeway Inc., Wells Fargo, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Clorox and Affiliated Computer Services. Rachel began her career in the banking, media and hospitality industries. In these industries, Rachel held several key senior management and executive sales positions. Rachel received a BA in social science and interdisciplinary studies with honors from Florida Atlantic University. Rachel continued her postgraduate education by completing a series of executive management education courses from American Management Association.