Women — and leaders of all genders — must advocate for themselves if they want to move their careers forward, but women in particular often face leadership challenges that are embedded within larger systems.
In a 2022 paper, “‘Potential’ and the Gender Promotion Gap” written by Meredith Somers at MIT Sloan School of Management, researcher Danielle Li found that on average, women received higher “performance” ratings than male employees, but received 8.3% lower ratings for “potential” — the metric that is the strongest indicator for a promotion — than men. The result was that female employees on average were 14% less likely to be promoted than their male colleagues.
To dive a bit deeper into the data, relative to men with the same scores for “potential,” women outperformed their previous year’s score, yet they were still given lower potential ratings heading into the next year. “The result I found most depressing in the paper is the result in which women outperform their stated potential,” Li said. “Women have to hit a higher threshold of future performance in order to justify the same potential score.”
And this is just the tip of the inequity iceberg. So, what do we do? We lift each other up. We provide guidance and teach each other lessons we’ve learned along the way. We make sure there’s a seat at the table for other women to contribute and lead. We search for the potential in women and empower them in a way that they can truly shine.
Many times, women already have champions in their networks but aren’t sure how to leverage who they know and how they can help.
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT
Women across Central Indiana are invited to come together at an upcoming Women Equity Brunch Indy (WE Brunch) event to explore the topic of mentorship and the power of leveraging your network. The WE Brunch team is bringing together women who 1) lead a professional mentorship program, 2) act as powerhouse mentors in our community, and 3) who have also been mentees to explore some clear ways that we can empower one another.
“It’s important to explore this particular subject in the inclusive space we’ve cultivated,” WE Brunch co-founder Amanda Bonilla shared. “I’ve personally learned so much from connecting with and learning from other Latino professionals about navigating the business world, and that motivates me to bring these diverse perspectives together to guide one another on how to empower more women in our community.”
Bonilla went on to emphasize that mentorship is a regular part of many cultural norms. She firmly believes that connecting through the power of storytelling helps provide culturally relevant mentorship that empowers women — and specifically, women of color.
The brunch event will be hosted at Tinker House Events on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, beginning at 10:30 a.m. WE Brunch Indy will release tickets for this event on Oct. 27 at 7 a.m.
Find ticketing information and register to attend on the WE Brunch website.
MEET THE SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS
In her full-time role at the Morales Group, Tiffany Hanson is building a program to leverage their Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification and develop strategic relationship building opportunities. She also engages in a number of community initiatives, working with the Women Equity Brunch team to produce events that bring women together to focus on opportunities to drive equity in our community.
With a heart for servant leadership, Hanson volunteers as an editorial board member for Indy Maven, a member of the board of directors for the Indiana Latino Expo, and serves as a mentor, both informally as well as in formal programs like the AXIS Leadership Program hosted by the Indiana Latino Expo and the City of Indianapolis.
Hanson also takes on consulting projects, which include delivering diversity, equity, and inclusion training, inclusive communication strategy training, and marketing and communications work. Her most notable role through her consulting business was working as the Indy Pride Director of Marketing and Communications for four years.
“I navigate a wide variety of networks through my work and daily life, and I get excited when I can create an overlap in those networks that benefits the women around me,” Hanson said. “I love connecting the dots to help others solve problems and thrive!”
Before starting The Darden Group, Akilah Darden managed nearly $2B in construction over her 21 years of experience. She currently works as Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Indiana University Health Design and Construction. In service to the community, Darden serves on five boards that focus on creating pipelines in architecture, engineering, and construction for high school students, mentoring women, civic engagement, business development, and community engagement.
Darden has earned several awards and distinctions, including the 2015 Class of Building Design & Construction “40 Under Forty,” 2020 CLD Award winner in Business and Industry, 2021 IBJ Women of Influence, and a 2022 MIRA Award winner for Community Impact. She has also written a book inspired by her four kids, “My Mom is a Construction Manager,” showing other children and minorities how they too can have a career in construction.
On mentorship, Darden said, “Being able to encourage, empower, inspire, and ignite one’s greatness by assisting other women through adversities and most importantly cheering them on to reach for their full potential is super gratifying and fills my cup.”
Kathy Cabello has been a leader in the Indianapolis business, philanthropy, and higher education communities for over twenty-five years. She started her career as a computer engineer in corporate IT before earning her MBA from the University of Notre Dame and founding her own company, Cabello Associates — a marketing and strategic consulting firm focusing on health and economic mobility.
Cabello is an active member of the community and serves as the first Latina Chair of the Board of Trustees for Indiana State University, as a member of the Fifth Third Bank Regional Board, and through her leadership on Project Stepping Stone of Indiana, a college access and success program for Indiana’s top Latino youth. She has also served on the Indy 500 Festival Board, Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, and has been President of the Indy chapters of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and National Society of Hispanic MBAs (now Prospanica).
On why mentorship is important to her, Cabello shared, “My true passions are ensuring social and economic mobility for women and Latino communities, and mentoring women and entrepreneurs as they navigate higher education, the professional world, the boardroom, and everything in-between.”
Driven by a mission to serve and empower her community, Luz Flores works as Director of Marketing at the Morales Group with over 10 years of marketing experience. She holds degrees in Business Marketing and Spanish from Marian University, as well as a Transformational Leadership Certificate from the University of Denver.
Flores serves on the Board of Visitors of Latino Initiatives for Marian University, leads as the Executive Vice President of Prospanica Indianapolis Chapter, and devotes time to mentoring Hispanic youth for Project Stepping Stone of Indiana. She also plugs into organizations close to her heart throughout the year, like trueU, Flourish Gathering, EDGE Mentoring, and Pass the Torch for Women Foundation, among others.
“As someone who is first-generation, mentorship has been critical to my growth, not only academically or professionally, but holistically,” Flores shared. “It’s opened doors, and beyond that, mentorship has opened up new ways of thinking about the future, spoken truth into who I am, and really allowed me to build a community of support around me,” she added.
Samantha Burke is a passionate professional who has dedicated her career to helping others feel inspired and empowered to reach their full potential. As the Executive Director for Pass the Torch for Women Foundation, she has had the honor to successfully create and implement national mentoring solutions to enhance and implement diversity and inclusion initiatives for universities and corporations.
Burke is a founder of a non-profit, a motivational speaker, and an upcoming published author, most highlighted as a leader who motivates through authenticity, vulnerability, and servant leadership tactics. She is driven by personal and professional aspirations, noting that starting her own orphanage in the Dominican Republic is at the top of her list! Burke is a proud Purdue University alumna and has recently completed a certificate program from Harvard Business School.
On the importance of mentorship, Burke shared: “Mentorship is a beautiful reciprocation of pouring into someone else’s cup and having the result of your own cup being filled — an overflow of wealth of knowledge and inspirational transfer between two people that lead us all to be better leaders, better people. I believe that mentorship is the catalyst needed to invest in our community and lift one another higher than perhaps we ourselves have been lifted before; what an incredible gift that is to give and to receive.”
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