I read some disheartening news this week: Even though there has been a lot of momentum around the advancement of women into senior leadership roles at companies lately, men still hold the vast majority (95 percent) of CEO positions at the largest American and European companies, at least according to a new report from executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles.

Clearly, there’s much more work to be done. But what can we do, specifically? Anne Lim O’Brien, vice chairman of Heidrick & Struggles’ New York office and a member of the global Consumer Markets and CEO & Board of Directors practices, said in a press release about the report that companies need to get serious about succession planning and making sure they’re developing women and diverse leaders to become CEO-ready. After all, the report shows that more than two-thirds (67 percent) of current CEOs rose to the top position from an internal promotion. Furthermore, almost half (47 percent) have previous experience as a member of a C-suite leadership team.

Another thing you can do? Join the Women in Retail Leadership Circle (WIRLC)! Our mission, after all, is to help enterprise-level women in the retail industry learn, connect and grow. The more our members grow and develop as leaders, the more ready they will be to take the reins at their companies when the time comes. Want to learn more about WIRLC? Check out our website here.

Do you have any thoughts around how to get more women into the C-suite? Are your companies doing anything interesting or innovative in this space? If so, please let me know by dropping me a line at mcampanelli@napco.com.

Melissa Campanelli
Women in Retail Leadership Circle