In December 2000, General Electric conducted a two-day session assembling more than 80 percent of its U.S. executives who were women of color (with African- American women comprising the largest group). The purpose was to address the issues women of color face at GE and devise recommendations and action plans to aid in their advancement. Building on the thinking of this group, GE launched a Multicultural Women’s Initiative to help advance multicultural women across GE. One component of the Initiative is an intensive two-day training offered annually to high-performing multicultural women. The 2003 workshop was organized as a nuts-and-bolts, hands-on series of workshops that covered topics such as seeking performance feedback, mentoring, sponsorship, and networking. The sessions addressed many of the challenges these women face day to day. Participants learned how to identify and approach potential mentors and encourage a relationship if a participant feels she is being tapped as a possible mentee. Additionally, participants engaged in a variety of activities, such as role-playing and simulations, to help develop networking and other skills. The workshop also addressed more controversial subjects in a candid and fact-based way. The session included in-depth discussions about specific stereotypes associated with women of color from different ethnicities and how to deal with them.
Feedback from the session has been extremely positive, with several participants rating it as the most impactful training they had ever attended. Internal tracking of participants revealed that at least three attendees were promoted within six months of the training.
- Dr. Addie Perkins Williamson, President and CEO of Perkins Williamson Associates and owner of the wokshop
Excerpt taken from The Catalyst Report