The 2013 Catalyst Award will be presented tonight to three global companies-Alcoa Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, and Unilever-for exceptional initiatives which expand opportunities for women and business in ways that are successful and locally relevant within their workplaces and communities.
The initiatives will be celebrated at the Catalyst Awards Dinner, which is expected to draw close to 100 CEOs of major multinational corporations and firms as well as nearly 1,600 guests, including leaders of corporations, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations.Denise Morrison, President and Chief Executive Officer of Campbell Soup Company, will chair the Dinner, which is sponsored by RBC and Shell Oil Company.
"These companies are challenging assumptions about how work should be done, and they have come up with innovative solutions to create workforces brimming with skilled and experienced women," said Ilene H. Lang, President & CEO, Catalyst. "Their leaders have the vision to recognize that advancing women in the workplace goes hand in hand with advancing women in society. They have not only accelerated opportunities for their employees, they've gone beyond the walls of their corporations to produce change for women in their communities."
Alcoa Inc.'s initiative, Building Opportunities for Women in a "Hard Hat" Company, breaks down barriers in a male-dominated industry and achieves greater gender representation through an aggressive diversity agenda that develops women supervisors and leaders in Alcoa's refineries, smelters, and factories worldwide. "Talent is the only truly sustainable advantage," said Alcoa Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld. "To get the best talent, you must have diversity of thought, experience, skills and background. We are extremely proud to be one of the first 'hard hat' companies to earn the prestigious Catalyst Award, and we plan to build on this achievement and extend diverse talent deeper into our organization in the future."
The Coca-Cola Company's Global Women's Initiative: Women as the Real Drivers of the 21st Century is a strategic, internal and external initiative focused on fueling the advancement of women as dynamic leaders and entrepreneurs across the organization and in communities throughout the globe. "We are truly honored to receive this prestigious award which validates that we are on the right track toward empowering women inside our company and across our value chain," said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. "We are proud to be recognized for our accomplishments, but we realize there is still a great deal of work to do to reach our goal of achieving true diversity."
Unilever builds on its strong foundation of cultural diversity and multinational expertise with its Global Reach With Local Roots: Creating a Gender-Balanced Workforce in Different Cultural Contexts initiative, which accelerates the advancement of high-potential women across different regions by promoting a culture of inclusion and creating flexible "anytime, anywhere" work-life programs. Unilever CEO Paul Polman said, "We are delighted to be recognized by Catalyst for our long-standing commitment to gender balance. From our successful mentoring program to our rollout of flexible working, I am very encouraged by the progress we are making to help both men and women at Unilever reach their full potential. To achieve our company's ambition of doubling the size of our business while reducing our environmental impact and increasing our positive social impact, it is crucial that we build a diverse and engaged workforce where everybody can develop to his or her full potential. The benefits of having a gender-balanced organization are plain to see; it helps power creativity and innovation, deepens the talent pool and allows us to better serve our diverse consumer base."
With the theme "Ready for Change," the 2013 Catalyst Awards Conference earlier in the day invited the 600-plus participants, including leaders from the Catalyst Award-winning initiatives, to shape the dialogue related to women's leadership, focusing on how the corporate community can more effectively capitalize on the talents of its women employees. Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of Xerox Corporation, provided insights into her career in a luncheon keynote conversation with Lang. The lead sponsor of the Conference is Walmartand the supporting sponsor is AT&T.