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On our path to 40 percent: Aspire to Lead equips future female leaders

Christi Krautbauer  Senior Manager, Talent & Development

Christi Krautbauer  Senior Manager, Talent & Development

The Fifth Annual Aspire to Lead conference provided training for the professionals who will help Thomson Reuters meet its 2020 goal of 40 percent female leadership.

This March, Thomson Reuters CEO Jim Smith announced that Thomson Reuters had committed to reaching a minimum of 40 percent female representation in senior leadership roles, globally, by 2020.

It’s energizing to work for an organization that values diversity and is willing to publicly state a specific goal around female leadership. It’s even more important this commitment is more than just words.

This month, Thomson Reuters hosted an event aimed at giving more women the tools and confidence they need to step into those leadership roles. Our Fifth Annual Aspire to Lead Women’s Leadership Conference brought together 600 attendees to hear from inspirational speakers, participate skill-building workshops and network with other leaders.

We know nothing inspires like examples

Women who see other women successfully holding senior leadership roles have greater confidence in their ability to hold those same roles in the future. In fact, according to KMPG’s Women’s Leadership Study from 2015, seeing more women in leadership is one of the leading indicators of whether female employees feel encouraged about their own leadership potential.

That is why it is so important that attendees at Aspire to Lead were able to hear from accomplished women leaders from various industries. Our opening keynote speaker was Dr. Doris Taylor, a pioneer in heart research who leads two research departments at the Texas Heart Institute. She encouraged the women in attendance not to think outside the box; instead she challenged us to think like there is no box. The ideas that seem completely crazy to you? Those are the ones she recommended following if you want to leave your mark on the world.

We also heard from Twin Cities-based female leaders Sharon Sayles Belton, vice president for government affairs and community relations for Thomson Reuters Legal; Pahoua Yang Hoffman, acting president of the Citizens League; and Becky Roloff, president of St. Catherine University.

But we know that inspirational examples alone aren’t enough

Aspire to Lead offered workshops to provide the chance to develop and practice critical leadership skills.  During our first workshop of the day, all 600 attendees made a commitment to change one thing in their daily routine that would enable them to be even more effective in their personal and professional lives.

Later in the day, attendees chose from four workshops aimed at supporting their individual goals. These workshops included public speaking, negotiation, connecting community leadership to your career, and pursuing your professional passion.

At the end of the day, it’s all about building an inclusive community

There is something incredibly powerful about spending a day with 600 other people who are all focused on helping women advance in their careers. Attendees had the chance to make new connections, expand their networks, and renew their belief that we can achieve gender parity in the workplace.

Aspire to Lead sends a message to our employees as well as the Twin Cities business community that Thomson Reuters is serious about our commitment to creating an inclusive workplace. We are serious about achieving 40 percent female representation at senior leadership roles by 2020. And we are publicly taking steps to achieve those goals.

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