In Indianapolis, the community where I work and live, our business journal (the IBJ) recognized twenty Women of Influence who are outstanding leaders in their chosen fields.
Each of these women is in a high-profile position of power in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. For example, Jennifer Pope Baker, Director of Women’s Fund of Central Indiana and one of her board members, Myrta Pulliam, were honored as philanthropic leaders.
And, Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO and Medical Director of Wishard Health Services, was honored for her work in overseeing the third largest safety net health care system in the nation, while also playing a leadership role in building a new hospital from the ground up.
Even with the recognition of Jennifer, Myrta, and Lisa and the 17 other tremendous women leaders, there is still one big problem.
The problem is that women of influence don’t roll off the tongue as easily as do the names of their male counterparts. As an example, who do you think of when I say the word “philanthropist?” Probably Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, the Rockefellers, etc.
Why don’t women’s names roll off of our tongues as easily?
Check out the recent blog by Amanda Ponzar, Director of Communications for Global Corporate Leadership at United Way Worldwide. In her blog, Amanda reminds us that a simple internet search found hundreds of women philanthropists (they DO exist) — but she hadn’t heard of most of them.
I challenge us all to be intentional about recognizing and engaging women leaders and philanthropists and to learn their names in your own communities and around the world.
Don’t forget to check out the most recent research findings about women’s philanthropy in the report Women Give 2010.