Why Aren’t Women a Full Part of Community Leadership in Jacksonville?

Women LeadersIn a recent Times-Union opinion piece, Judy Ham answers editor Frank Denton’s question, “Why aren’t women a full part of community leadership in the Jacksonville area?”  Here’s an excerpt:

If CEOs and presidents of the major companies in Jacksonville are convinced they need to increase the number of women in leadership roles, it will happen. It would be very enlightening to hear from some of our Jacksonville CEOs and presidents on why it has not happened. If they say they cannot find good candidates, I say they are not earning their keep. They are paid to solve problems; it all boils down to how important the problem is to them.

I was once told by a major real estate company in Jacksonville that very few women pursue careers in commercial real estate because this is a “good ol’ boys” town. Is it? Are there other careers impacted by this attitude? Is Jacksonville a city living up to its full potential, or is it a city stuck in old traditions?

In another Denton article (April 25) titled, “What if women made the decisions?,” he lists study findings outlining the benefits of having women on corporate boards. Some of the benefits mentioned were: “more accountability, more effective communication and greater emphasis on such non-financial aspects as customer and employee satisfaction, innovation and corporate social responsibility.” What organization doesn’t need more of that?

My experience on small, local boards mirrors these study results. Both genders bring certain strengths to the table, and both are critical to the ultimate success of an organization.

Jacksonville is a beautiful city full of potential and interesting people from all over the world.

However, if Jacksonville wants to live up to its full potential — be all that it can be — it needs to at least catch up with the rest of the country when it comes to women’s participation in community leadership.

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