As the Founder of the Key Women’s Leadership Forum and a Tampa based executive coach, I was delighted to hear that Tampa was rated the No. 2 city for business women pursuing a successful career according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Citrix Systems developed the report and used criteria such as the number of women owned businesses, executive positions, wages and buying power as they rated the 50 largest cities in the US.
Of all the sub- rankings, I was particularly excited to see that Tampa scored 4th on the percent of women business executives (32%). We are building a critical mass for executive women as well as for women more junior in their careers. Having role models is so important especially at critical points in our careers.
Our Key Women’s Leadership Forum brings executive women together to focus on pressing issues, leveraging their influence and aligning their career with what is purposeful for them. I can tell you from leading this program over the last four years that executive women have unique needs that if addressed and supported, the growth they achieve is tremendous. For example, we’ve had about 20% of our members nominated for Executive Women of the Year in their industry category.
Studies show that organizations with more senior ranking women have a competitive edge. Recent research also indicates that women in business who seek out peer support groups are more successful and happier than those who do not. “It gets lonely at the top,” as the old adage goes. When a person feels isolated and doesn’t have strong ties to the right people, their career gets waylaid. Having a trusted group of like-minded advisors frees women to make better and informed choices. Just as one of our members observed, “Being in an executive women’s forum is like being with your best girlfriends, but they get what you do.” Peer support is essential.
I envision a business environment in Tampa where executive women grow stronger together. As they succeed, they guide the next generation of leaders and we continue to be a winning community that supports growth and development for all.