The Future of Women in Business is the RISE of Women in Business
by Dr. Katie Sandoe, Founder of Light Echo Co. and Executive Director of Girls on the Run Lancaster
“Please help others rise. Greatness comes not from a position, but from helping build the future. We have an obligation to pull others up.”
~ Indra Nooyi
The business landscape is transforming.
Of all the statistics and reports emerging from the pandemic, one study that I found both sobering and galvanizing revealed that women are demanding more from the workplace and are prepared to leave for better opportunities (2022 Women in the Workplace).
Women at all levels in business are choosing to step out of hustle culture and into work that enriches their lives, provides greater equity, offers flexible and inclusive workspaces, and appreciates the talents and perspectives that women have to offer. This includes more equitable opportunities for leadership and pay.
And this “Great Breakup” of women with the workplace doesn’t appear to be ending soon, as the younger generation of women possess the ambition, energy, passion, and wherewithal to manifest their vision. They’re speaking with their feet. My hope is that more speak with their voice too and that business listens. If not, we risk losing women in leadership roles and in the pipeline. The risk is even greater for losing women of color and intersectional identities.
But with great challenge comes incredible opportunity.
Opportunity to transform work culture. Long have women led the way in the DEI space, especially BIPOC women. Women are attuned to recognizing bias and inequities in the workplace and providing creative solutions to address them. Women also confront the traditional notion of power (control). Instead, we bring a unique energy that fosters empathy, balance, and connectedness. We believe in power to another, power within ourselves, and power with (alongside) each other. And this inclusive thinking benefits the entire workplace.
Opportunity to advance women in leadership. A key step to the rise of women in business is giving them the opportunity to lead. And for those in leadership positions (men and women alike), we have an opportunity to mentor younger women, which not only lends them support and guidance, but raises their profile in their workplace, industry, and community. I’ve benefitted greatly from women and men champions who were willing to share their platform and social capital with me. It’s adopting an abundance mindset—there IS enough for all of us.
Opportunity for women to support each other. Women need psychologically safe spaces to share openly about their challenges and triumphs. We desire authentic connections and transparent conversations that honor our unique lived experiences. And frankly, we need men to join that dialogue. The rise of women in business cannot and will not happen in a vacuum. The future looks brighter when we hold inclusive and expansive conversations.
Opportunity for women to shine their brave light! I envision a world where women live into their boldness—their boldness to take up space, their boldness to take risks, their boldness to speak with confidence, their boldness to shine. This sounds simple enough, except women have historically been penalized for being “too much”. Many of us internalize that message and calibrate our boldness to appease others. It’s time we bravely shine our light.
So, the business landscape is transforming. My hope is for business to become a space that supports and celebrates the RISE of women, which undoubtedly will contribute to a thriving Lancaster County for all.
Dr. Katie Sandoe, Ed.D.
Founder, Light Echo Co.
Executive Director, Girls on the Run Lancaster