Together, We’re Chipping Away at the Glass Ceiling

Some may cheer the fact that the number of women CEOs is at an all-time high. But before you break out the champagne, there’s a sobering reality behind this statement. Just 32 of the Fortune 500 companies—15 percent—are led by women.

Yes, the glass ceiling is showing chips and cracks, but we still have work to do.

What can you and I do to help build momentum so that more of us and our peers—and the next generation of women—are in position to hold C-suite roles, and serve on public boards and in other executive capacities?

First, master the landscape. The career path to the C-suite may not be straight, but it is very narrow—and full of twists and turns. You’ve got to take every opportunity to outperform, build strong relationships, sharpen your leadership skills, and learn as much as you can. Pursue the difficult jobs and do them to the best of your ability.

Be a strong but humble servant-leader, challenge the status quo, bring innovative solutions to the table, and take the risky assignments that give you the chance to demonstrate your talent and stand out from the rest.

Second, support and open doors for each other. I’m grateful for the women who challenged the status quo and paved the way for me to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. This is true in the business world, as well. Though we still face our challenges, we are walking through doors today that, in many cases, were opened by women who came before us.

Third, lean in. Don’t be intimidated by louder voices or stronger personalities. Recognize that your biggest challenge is to look inside and ensure you’re bringing the best version of you to the job every day. Ask questions. Take a seat at the table. Participate in the discussion. Find ways to contribute in new and meaningful ways.

Remember, we’re on the same team—one that definitely has room to expand! Let’s celebrate the wins of other women. And by all means, when you take a hard-earned swing and see the shattered glass fall all around you, celebrate your achievement, toast those who came before you, and do your part to widen the entryway for the next generation.