12 Women Turbocharging the C-suite

Only a handful of females run large corporations. These extraordinary women are determined and poised to rectify that.

“Every single one of our women in our C-Ahead program has thepotential to be a CEO.“
— Kimber Maderazzo, C200 chair

The Fortune 500 consists of only 34 female CEOs. Just one in five C-suite leaders is a woman; one in 25 C-suite leaders is a women of color. Further, nearly 80 percent of the female C-suite leaders are concentrated in legal, finance, and HR, not in operating roles that lead to CEO opportunities. And women continue to be underrepresented at every level in the corporate pipeline even though an equal number of men and women start out in entry-level positions.

McKinsey/LeanIn’s Women in the Workplace 2019 Study shows that the biggest obstacle women face is at their first manager-level position, with only 38 percent occupying that role. The number declines for each subsequent management level, such as senior manager/director, vice president, senior vice president, and C-suite. This is referred to as the “broken rung” problem. The only way to move the needle at the C-suite level is to invest in dramatic growth of the pipeline of female leadership.

Kimber Maderazzo is the chair of C200, a preeminent membership organization comprised of female leaders with operating responsibility of at least $250 million in annual revenues. Targeted to high-potential women leaders who have line management responsibility or are on a track to take on such responsibilities, the organization’s C-Ahead Program provides access to tools and mentors that expose women in management ranks to growing portfolios of P&L responsibility.

“Many more women need to enter the pipeline for management,” says Maderazzo. “Even when women do have that P&L responsibility, such as a division president, they are not generally in line for the CEO job. If men are hiring, they usually hire a man. And in the case of a man and a woman vying for a C-suite position, in which they both have the same position in a company, even when the woman has greater P&L responsibility, the man will usually get the job. He will be hired on perceived ‘potential,’ by a preponderance of male decision makers, not on achievement and performance.”

C200 is working to change this narrative by educating and developing future female chief executives. Among other experiences, C-Ahead participants are each paired with mentors representing the distinguished C200 membership. C200 has developed a number of women who are now C-suite ready. It does the same for entrepreneurs through its Protégé Program, which is aimed at high-potential women entrepreneurs who own multi-million-dollar businesses that are poised for growth at scale.

“Every single one of the women in our programs has the potential to be a CEO or an increasingly effective CEO fostering significant growth and value creation,” Maderazzo says. “We are committed to making sure she is prepared and is exposed to every possible opportunity.”

In these pages, you will meet 12 women at major companies who are C-suite ready. All have led the development of significant value creation for their organizations, demonstrating best practice leadership skills and competencies throughout their illustrious careers. Each has her own remarkable story and perspective on how more women can follow her lead to reach the pinnacle of their profession.

 

Dawnet O. Beverley
Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Global Capital Markets • Donnelley Financial Solutions
Dawnet O. Beverley, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Global Capital Markets, Donnelley Financial Solutions, has been a leading executive and manager at the company for more than 25 years and has held many senior leadership positions in operations, finance, business development, sales, and marketing. In her current role, she is a strategist who manages sales, marketing, finance, operations, and service delivery, and oversees more than 750 employees. She has served as a board member for such organizations as Water.org, the Pacific Institute, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Beverley holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology/business education and an MBA from Pepperdine University.

Why is it critical for women to have P&L roles and responsibilities?
Leadership in Corporate America is, by far, dominated by men, and [one of the] reasons there are so few women in leadership roles is because we have not been socialized around the importance of financial literacy. For that reason, it is important for women to understand and become competent in all things financial, including the P&L.

My mentor, Ron Lustbader, who is one of our finance directors, said the P&L is like the report card of a business. You need to understand whether your business is passing or failing. The health and well-being of any company starts and ends with the scorecard of its performance—the P&L. [This report card] is what your investors, bankers, analysts, and competitors look at. It’s important for you to know it and understand that these metrics are being monitored.

What would you recommend to women who want to obtain P&L experience?
Intentionally educating yourself in accounting, finance, and economics [is key]. Take intro courses—at minimum—or invest in books to educate yourself. Also, be sure you have a mentor whose job it is to prepare P&L and balance sheets. Ask questions about [the profitability] of the work that you are doing. You can sit with a finance director, for example, and volunteer to do the report. A lot of learning comes from asking questions and doing.

Request assignments that are outside your comfort zone. I think there is something to not becoming stale in one job, especially when women are just starting out. It’s important to be intentional about moving or changing positions and asking for new assignments.
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Caress Kennedy
President, Northeast Region • Allied Universal
Caress Kennedy, President, Northeast Region, Allied Universal, has oversight of more than 26,000 security professionals in eight states. She previously held executive posts at Global Employment Solutions, Xerox, and COMSYS, among others, and is a board member of several organizations, including NYPD Law Enforcement Explorers and Citizens Crime Commission of New York City. Kennedy is a graduate of Fordham University and holds an MBA from Pace University.

Why is it critical for women to have P&L roles and responsibilities?
In order for women to reach the CEO or COO level and have the best chance for success, at some time they will need to have had responsibility for bottom-line performance—the profit or loss of their organization. Although other roles might contribute to end results, there is no better indicator of someone’s ability than to deliver the bottom line.

Leading an organization with multiple departments and responsibilities is a great learning experience and will develop your expertise and marketability.

What would you recommend to women who want to obtain P&L experience?
Start immediately. Don’t be afraid by taking less measurable roles. Also, learn from the bottom up. You will have the respect of your subordinates when they know that you can do the job yourself and you have been successful at it.

Do not be afraid of failing. [You won’t] always meet your [goal] every single quarter with aggressive stretch goals. Learn from your mistakes and fix the issues to achieve success during the next period.
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Mithu Bhargava
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Professional Services • NCR
Mithu Bhargava, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Professional Services, NCR, is a seasoned executive who, before joining NCR, was SVP of global commercial presales for Dell-EMC. She has held several senior leadership positions at Akamai Technologies across functions, including professional services, presales, account management, customer experience, corporate finance, and business operations.

Bhargava holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai, India, a master’s degree in computer networking from North Carolina State University, and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Business.

Why is it critical for women to have P&L roles and responsibilities?
[Women] are naturally empathetic, are gifted at multitasking, and have an inherently collaborative approach to leadership. Most ambitious women bolster these inherent skills with hard work and mastery of their functional domain, with the goal of excelling in their careers and shattering the glass ceiling. However, this alone is not sufficient to set yourself up for limitless professional success.

The foundation of every business is its financials. Being able to understand the inner works of how to set up, operate, and grow a business from a financial perspective is absolutely critical to ultimately allow you to leverage your strategic value to its true potential. Having P&L responsibility gives you this opportunity.

What would you recommend to women who want to obtain P&L experience?
Know that you are working against an unconscious bias where people are more likely to assume that you are not interested in P&L ownership. Thus, it is really important that you emphasize your desire to take on P&L responsibility, along with your supporting experience and accomplishments that make you a good potential candidate. You need to have someone to bet on you that first time, so work to position your best self.
Next, seek opportunities that provide stepping stones toward that ultimate goal of P&L ownership. Owning the business operations to run a P&L, as an example, is a good way to gain exposure. Taking roles within a business unit that operates as a P&L is another way to get closer to gaining P&L experience.

Finally, educate yourself. Ensure that you are investing in yourself when it comes to understanding the financials.

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Monica Cole
Executive Vice President and Regional Head of Commercial Banking • Wells Fargo
Monica Cole, Executive Vice President and Regional Head of Commercial Banking, Wells Fargo, is a leading executive who has a background in credit and risk management. She has held managerial positions at Wells Fargo Capital Finance and Wachovia Bank and has been a leader in the areas of relationship building and collaboration across stakeholders in the C-suite. Cole is a graduate of Christian Brothers University and holds an MBA from Clark Atlanta University.

Why is it critical for women to have P&L roles and responsibilities?
The opportunity to advance in an organization and assume more robust leadership responsibility is often heavily weighted toward an individual’s demonstrated ability to successfully grow revenue and generate sustainable profitability in the company. Also, P&L responsibility provides the opportunity to develop and fine-tune key skills, such as talent development, executive presence, and strategic and tactical planning. [Statistics support] the [positive] impact a diverse board and executive leadership team has on profitability of an organization, thus women with P&L experience create a diverse pool of talent for companies to leverage in critical executive roles.

What would you recommend to women who want to obtain P&L experience?
Women should make their career development goals known to managers and leadership. Working with your immediate manager to create a development plan that provides the most opportunities to prepare for the responsibility of driving a business is important. Networking with those leaders currently running P&Ls—to understand the challenges and opportunities they face—can serve as valuable information in achieving career objectives.

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Lori Dickerson Fouché
Chief Executive Officer, TIAA Financial Solutions
Lori Dickerson Fouché, Chief Executive Officer, TIAA Financial Solutions, is responsible for the strategy and leadership of meeting the financial services needs of TIAA institutional and individual clients. Among her previous posts are head of individual solutions for Prudential Financial, CEO of Prudential Group Insurance, and president of Prudential Annuities. She also has experience in underwriting and product management, strategic marketing, and other leadership roles at Chubb and worked in management consulting at EY-Parthenon. Fouché has served as a trustee of Princeton University and on the boards of Girls Inc. and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. She is a graduate
of Princeton University and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Why is it critical for women to have P&L roles and responsibilities?
Nearly every path to the C-suite requires P&L experience, yet women are underrepresented in P&L roles. This is a primary reason women make up only 6.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.

Women in P&L roles are helping organizations thrive by bringing diversity of thought, collaboration, drive, innovation, and determination that translate to the bottom line. Studies show that companies with women in top leadership roles enjoy higher profits. Landing an entry-level P&L role is an opportunity to have accountability and to lead, with all the aspects of team building, operational know-how, financial acumen, and strategy development required to profitably grow a business.

Begin with a clear vision of where you want your career to go. Take classes or hire a tutor to round out your financial knowledge, and hire a career coach to help you set a solid plan. Seek out multiple mentors and sponsors both inside and outside your organization, and know specifically what you want before approaching them.

Know that getting P&L responsibility may require that you raise your hand for risky assignments that no one else wants—those may be the only opportunities that come your way. Sometimes, the smartest move you can make is to run toward the fire rather than away from it. This can be especially challenging for women who—according to the Pew Research Center—are typically more risk averse than men.

[Furthermore], seek out organizations that actively create opportunities for women and support your development. And as you succeed, remember to pay it forward to other women who are also on their own journeys to the top.

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Kate Goodman
Co-President • ATCO Properties
Kate Goodman, Co-President, ATCO Properties, has more than 20 years of leadership experience in commercial real estate, lease administration, real estate development, and property management. The Brown University graduate oversees ATCO’s Human Resources Department, Residential Management Division, Essential Design + Build, and Commercial and Residential Brokerage divisions. She also serves as the asset manager for ATCO’s legacy portfolio, handling the negotiation of leases, leading consulting, and overseeing design implementation.

Why is it critical for women to have P&L roles and responsibilities?
When women are at the helm of companies and are therefore responsible for the P&L statement, they are in a position to lead with authority and clarity. Without this responsibility, women cannot properly shepherd a company to success. It is crucial for any leader in the C-suite to understand the ins and outs of the company’s P&L statement and be able to comprehend and defend line items. The P&L represents how the company is actually performing, and it’s critical that women play a significant role in this domain.

What would you recommend to women who want to obtain P&L experience?
Begin with hands-on exposure to the budgeting process. Understand that planning ahead—from both an expense and a profit perspective—gives you the foundation to truly understand the P&L statement. Many times, the step-by-step process of creating a budget, even if you are basing it on previous years, gives you an in-depth understanding as to how the business is run down to the smallest details. Women need to fully immerse themselves in all the financial processes of running a company. Budgeting and P&L responsibilities are just two important examples.
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Kathy Ross
Senior Vice President • ADP
Kathy Ross, Senior Vice President, ADP, leads a rapid-growth, BPO (business process outsourcing) business at ADP. She previously held positions in major ADP divisions and launched three start-up businesses within the company. In the past nine years, Ross has led P&L operations for small, medium, and enterprise-sized client segments. She sits on the boards of the Atlanta Women’s ERG consortium and the Conference Board Council for driving diversity in the workplace. Ross is a graduate of Cornell University and holds an MBA from Northwestern University.

Why is it critical for women to have P&L roles and responsibilities?
It is important for women who ultimately want to run a company to pursue responsibility for a P&L due to the diverse range of responsibility that P&Ls require, such as sales, marketing, finance, strategy, service, account management, HR, legal, product, and more. This broad set of knowledge also [calls for] a self-awareness of where one’s leadership and business acumen are strong and where experts are needed to fill gaps. Beyond the mechanics of running a P&L, business leadership requires the ability to motivate, inspire, influence, create followership, drive employee engagement, and shape culture, which [calls for] a set of skills that leaders hone over years of running P&Ls.

While there is no singular path to the CEO office, the experience of having driven a business to success, or failure, remains a dominant test for ascending to the top.

What would you recommend to women who want to obtain P&L experience?
Spending time with finance partners and pouring through the financials to understand them in depth is one of the best ways I prepared for P&L responsibility. Additionally, being able to translate financial trends into strategic initiatives is critical to driving a clear path forward and a vision that the organization can rally behind.

[Define] what your values are and what your nonnegotiables are, i.e., the behaviors or actions you will not tolerate. These are critical to success in any business in order to stay true to your leadership and personal brand through the upward and downward cycles of running P&L. With clarity on these fronts, your team will be able to align better with your style, and they will know the operating standards in which they are empowered to succeed.

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Sarena Lin
Executive Vice President, Global Marketing, Corporate Strategy & Transformation • Elanco Animal Health
Sarena Lin, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing, Corporate Strategy & Transformation, Elanco Animal Health, is a global C-suite executive who has had P&L responsibility for multibillion dollar global B2B businesses, and has expertise in manufacturing and supply chain–driven industries. She previously worked in executive and management positions at Procter & Gamble and McKinsey & Company, among others. Lin is a Harvard University graduate and holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Why is it critical for women to have P&L roles and responsibilities?
People who eventually continue to get promoted in their organization typically have that P&L experience. As leaders become more senior, ultimately you have the goal of making sure that you are making money on behalf of your shareholders and stakeholders. P&L gives you the exposure to understand the finances of an organization, how you’re going to make money, where you’re going to save money, and how you’re going to drive the bottom-line goals.

What would you recommend to women who want to obtain P&L experience?
Make your intentions known. Being able to articulate your intentions is important. Also, build the various skills and experience that will set you up for success. You need the leaders around you to [feel] confident that you are able to demonstrate, through various experiences, that you can do [the job]. Volunteer for projects. Sign up for work that is commercially driven and gain exposure outside your usual functions at work to demonstrate your versatility.
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Katherine Glasser
President, Rescue Group • IDEX Corp.
Katherine Glasser, President, Rescue Group, IDEX Corp., helms strategic responsibility for the global Rescue brands of Hurst Jaws of Life®, Vetter, and LUKAS. She also leads the company’s fire and safety businesses in China and India. She joined IDEX from the Dow Chemical Company, where she held management and executive roles for a decade in product marketing and global business leadership. She has held posts at US Airways/America West Airlines and has worked as an English language consultant in China and Japan. Glasser holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Why is it critical for women to have P&L roles and responsibilities?
The P&L leader is the one who will set the direction for the team. These roles are at multiple levels within an organization, and they all share the characteristic of being on the front line. Having to take in and sort through information—sometimes too much and sometimes too little—then make and live with the decision is what builds a key leadership muscle and centers you to have that seat at the table for any business discussion in the future.

The more women within a pipeline who have significant P&L responsibility, the more likely women [will be] at the senior executive table making bigger decisions for the entire business. These are the decisions that include determining strategic business direction, culture, corporate social responsibility, and practices for employee hiring and development.

What would you recommend to women who want to obtain P&L experience?
Push for any role that allows you to make critical commercial and/or cost decisions, even if it is lateral or not in an exciting part of business. It is necessary to get used to being the one held accountable for making hard decisions on pricing, cost cutting, contracts, and strategic direction. You learn to advocate and defend your position as well as get comfortable with making decisions when you do not have all the data.

[Also, get] broad knowledge of the organization by taking roles in corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, or
other experiences that [can] help you see both how senior management makes decisions and how the greater organization works.

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Jennifer Jackson
President • Capital One Canada
Jennifer Jackson, President, Capital One Canada, brings more than 15 years of experience to her current role leading a team of more than 1,200 professionals. She previously served as managing vice president, vice president, and senior director at Captial One. She has had responsibility for a number of areas of the company’s business, including strategy development, new customer acquisitions, and end-to-end customer experiences. She has also held leadership posts at Xerox and McKinsey & Company. An engineer by training, Jackson is a graduate of Yale University and holds a PhD in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Why is it critical for women to have P&L roles and responsibilities?
For most companies, P&L roles are stepping stones to becoming a leader of the organization. Experience owning P&L, or aspects of it, enables women to be better prepared for senior roles and increases their likelihood of advancement. As women, we need to raise our hands for P&L responsibilities, and as leaders—women and men—we need to consciously offer women opportunities to gain that critical work experience.

What would you recommend to women who want to obtain P&L experience?
Begin by investing time to understand the economics and finance of your organization, as well as the business drivers and challenges within the market context. Find a friend in finance, spend time with the CFO, or take a course in financial management if your education was in another field. Pave your own path by proactively seeking out opportunities that will give you the experience, knowledge, and skills to ultimately run your own P&L. Make your intentions known about the opportunities you want and ask for specific P&L projects or roles. This will aid in you being considered for the role you want.

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Stasia Washington
Senior Vice President and Managing Director • First Foundation Inc.
Stasia Washington, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, First Foundation Inc., has more than two decades of experience in trust, investment management, loans, deposits, and philanthropic services. She previously served in executive and leadership roles at the Union Bank, Northern Trust, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She also serves as treasurer for Women in Film’s board of directors and served as a member of the Corporate Advisory Council for the Girls Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. Washington holds an MBA from Pepperdine University.

Why is it critical for women to have P&L roles and responsibilities?
It’s essential for women to see other women in leadership roles driving revenue. We can be what we see, which helps women persevere despite obstacles one may encounter on the road to success.

I am grateful to the women executives with P&L experience who sponsored me. The financial services industry is male dominated. Every woman executive I’ve encountered over my 30 years in the industry was primarily the only one in their role, and very few had P&L responsibility. [Those few] embraced my drive and volunteered to sponsor me. They encouraged me to move from cost-center leadership roles to P&L responsibility.

What would you recommend to women who want to obtain P&L experience?
Identify women with P&L responsibility and develop a relationship. It’s always good to first understand what’s important to that executive and build on a relationship of trust. One approach that has worked well for me is that of netweaving. This win-win form of networking is other centered, while networking is self-centered. You may not be able to do a lot for the woman executive you’re seeking to build a relationship with. Your intentions most likely will endear you to that executive, which will help your relationship move from one of an acquaintance, to mentorship, to ultimately sponsorship. Check out netweavinginternational.com for more information on this.

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Cindy Kent
Executive Vice President and President •Senior Living
Cindy Kent, Executive Vice President and President, Senior Living, is a health-care executive and corporate director with more than 25 years of experience in the health-care industry. She has held leadership roles at Eli Lilly, Medtronic, and 3M. In 2018, she was named to Best Buy Co.’s board of directors. She has dual master’s degrees from Vanderbilt University—a masters of divinity in pastoral care and leadership and an MBA—and holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.

Why is it critical for women to have P&L roles and responsibilities?
First, P&L roles help leaders understand the fundamental business levers of how value is created and captured in the marketplace. Second, P&L roles help leaders become more familiar with different functions of the business. Every function either increases or dilutes profitability, and understanding this is an effective lens for the trade-off decisions that leaders must make. Finally, with the exception of the CFO role, P&L roles are the most likely talent pool from which CEOs are selected. So if women aim to advance to those top jobs, P&L roles are a perfect training ground.

What would you recommend to women who want to obtain P&L experience?
Ask for the roles you want. One Southern saying I recall hearing growing up is “a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” Also, be prepared to express why you want P&L experiences—not only in terms of your personal development but also stating the benefit to the company. Since early in my career, I have had mentors and sponsors who helped me define and articulate my career goals. Once [my] goals were defined, my mentors helped me with my pitch. By having a compelling and consistent message, combined with delivering results in the current role, I found leaders began to choose me for bigger assignments.
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Janell Hazelwood is a journalist, speaker, editor, and consultant who has worked for the New York Times, Black Enterprise, and Condé Nast, among others. She is fluent in women’s issues, global news, and minority entrepreneurship.
Profiles written by Janell Hazelwood

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