"Gender Catalysts" in Action

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After fielding original research in 2016, we launched the California Leadership Collaborative to bring together leaders from the business and political sectors to innovate new ways to advance investment in women’s leadership initiatives.  Despite the cultural narrative in our country about the lack of diversity in leadership, we continue to struggle to see the investment we need to truly prioritize the advancement of women leaders in both sectors, in both politics and business.

Mine The Gap coined the term “Gender Catalyst” after working with a number of women, and sometimes men, inside of companies who were taking action and making cultural, policy, and programmatic changes to build a climate where women thrive.  The term “Gender Catalyst” describes individuals who work within institutions and use their influence, reputation, and expertise to advance changes that help promote gender balance in the leadership of the organization.

On September 27, 2018, we held our third Innovation Team meeting for the California Leadership Collaborative.  There we further defined what a Gender Catalyst possesses to make an impact, including attributes that give her/him the influence to make change real. By identifying how catalysts use their abilities and skills, we were better able to identify how we can support Gender Catalysts operating in every sector. With the right tools we can help these change makers have a real impact for women across sectors.  You’ll see more from us on this important project in the months ahead.

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Third Innovation Meeting - Launches this Month

The California Leadership Collaborative is holding its third Innovation Team meeting on Thursday, September 27th, 2018 in San Francisco, California.  The Collaborative is a cross sector, multi-partisan effort innovating new strategies to increase investment from the private sector in women’s leadership projects, activities, and corporate external initiatives.  The project was conceived and is led by Mine The Gap.  The Innovation Team meetings launched following preliminary research which identified major barriers impacting the growth and scale of women’s leadership efforts in California.  This project has had initial private sector support from PG&E and Facebook.

Focusing on tech, entertainment, and energy companies and networks, the project is centered on tackling the lack of financial support and corporate buy-in from companies, in these sectors, to increase their investment in women’s leadership initiatives. This project aims to develop best practices and solutions that can be replicated in other regions of the United States. 

For the third meeting, the Innovation Team will identify “Gender Catalysts” within the three industries. The term “Gender Catalyst” was coined by Mine The Gap and describes individuals who work within institutions and use their influence, reputation, and expertise to advance changes that help promote gender balance in the leadership of the organization and/or work to build a more equitable work experience for people who traditionally are not in positions of power. 

The project will continue to introduce and build relationships between corporate and political women leaders to galvanize private sector funding towards projects supporting women in business and women’s political organizations. 

For more information about the project, please contact the project lead and Co-Founder of Mine The Gap, Jessica N. Grounds at jessica@projectminethegap.com. 


Why More Women in Politics Will be Good for Business

Re-published from The Mercury News, on July 27, 2017.

What if we told you that we have the key to better government? Government that is more efficient, responsive, productive and civil? Would you be willing to invest? Would you be willing to get involved?

This isn’t a carnival show. We do have the answer. Get more women into the over 500,000 elected offices in this country. It is that simple.

Decades of research proves that the presence of women as political leaders means a positive impact on legislative culture, policy, efficiency and civility — something we could really use these days.

And women are eager to lead. In the seven months since the election, She Should Run’s Incubator Program, built to inspire and support women to act on their own political leadership potential, has had a 1,700 percent increase in the number of women sign up. Organizations across the nation that encourage, support, train and elect women, all experienced an incredible surge of interest.

We also know that when women run, they win at the same rate as men. So better government — more responsive and civil government, is within our grasp.

The interest is there but with the United States ranked 101st in the world in women’s political representation, we need powerful partners to achieve the government that we deserve.

Business is doing better than government at elevating women to positions of influence. Some companies are seeing that more diversity brings innovative solutions to complex challenges, while others act on research that says companies with more women result in higher profits. Regardless of the motivation, we know that gender diversity inside companies leads to more innovation, more efficiency, and more profits.

Thankfully, a few companies have recognized those benefits both in business and government and are investing in strategies to encourage more women to shape policy and serve in elected office.

The first steps were taken this past March with the creation of the California Leadership Collaborative, with support from PG&E right here in the Bay Area.  The purpose of this project was new and strategic – to get business and political women together to collectively develop new approaches to encourage companies to get more women elected to public office.

This included helping women’s political organizations make a business case about their work.

But we can’t stop there. The insights and partnerships from the California Leadership Collaborative must serve as a catalyst to business and political sectors around the country to work together to value and support women leaders (from all political parties) in elected office.

Because,  just like business, when women are at the table, they get things done.

For the United States to have the most efficient and effective government possible, corporate America needs to step up and support women candidates at all levels and through a variety of organizations.

We challenge the corporate leaders in this country to invest in the future of our government. Join us for the California Leadership Collaborative. Support women’s organizations. Encourage your employees to get involved. Invest in a future of more efficient, more civil and more productive government.

We ask them to take a successful business strategy and help us apply it to government — because more women in office means better government and better government is good for business.  Now that’s what we call a business case for investment.

Jessica N. Grounds is the co-founder of Mine the Gap,  a consulting and advocacy firm specializing in developing gender strategy for companies and organizations. Erin Loos Cutraro is the CEO and co-founder of She Should Run, a nonpartisan, national organization aiming to get 250,000 women running for office by 2030. They wrote this for The Mercury News.

Early Research

On March 8th we gathered an incredible group of Californian women from business and politics as the first innovation team. In an effort to get all of the participants on the same page, we compiled our research into a background presentation. 

Inaugural Meeting Recap from PG&E

Re-published from PG&E Currents, a publication of news and events from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company

On International Women’s Day, PG&E joined other business leaders and women’s leadership organizations for a call to action: More women are needed in California politics.