Top 50 Companies for Female Executives 2011

3 May
As someone once said, Gingers Rodgers did everything Fred Astaire did – only backwards and in high heels!!

The world is a fraught place for the contemporary women. However the latest figures show that we are now slowly but surely breaking through the glass ceiling. It is just that some day’s it certainly doesn’t feel that way! There are certain companies that definitely stand out from the rest when it comes to helping female execs climb the corporate ladder.

The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), annually recognizes organizations whose policies and practices encourage the advancement of women’s careers with their Top 50 Companies for Executive Women list. This year, they report a milestone: “At our winning companies, women are running 23 percent of the operations that bring in more than $1 billion in revenue.”

At the companies that made the top 50 list, women hold 23 percent of board seats (versus 16 percent at Fortune 500 companies) and represent 14 percent of CEOs (versus 2 percent of all companies nationwide). According to NAFE, “the winning companies are advancing women whose personal brands combine acute business acumen with collaboration, listening and people development.”

Some of those assets, characteristic of female leaders, are considered ‘soft-skills,’ Daniel Goldman argues that Emotional Intelligence drives excellence which is more than IQ.  In fact in his book ‘Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ’ Goldman says that our view of human intelligence is far too narrow, and that our emotions play a far greater role in thought, decision making and individual success than is commonly acknowledged.  Emotional Intelligence includes ‘soft skills’ such as self-awareness, impulse control, persistence, zeal and motivation, empathy and social deftness.  Research shows that these qualities mark people who excel in the workplace.

It would seem that those who made the list understand this. Here is an overview of the companies honoured and what they did to make the list.


Abbott’s Women Leaders in Action (WLA) is a dedicated program that focuses on the development of women leaders.

Find Abbott Jobs


Accenture created the course “Developing Client-centric Women” to help female senior managers qualify for senior executive positions.

Find Accenture Jobs

American Express

American Express offers a program called Pathways to Sponsorship, which helps pair women with sponsors who serve as advocates for their work.

Find American Express Jobs


DuPont has a P&L initiative committed to sponsoring and advancing 36 women within two years.

Find DuPont Jobs


At public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard, women run half the half the U.S. office and serve as four of the seven regional presidents.


IBM launched the “Building Relationships and Influencing” initiative (BRI) to target key “nuggets” that hold women back to help them progress in their careers.

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KPMG created a Diversity and Inclusion Scorecard, which helps identify women stalled in the progression of their career.

Kraft Foods

Kraft Foods offers the course “Efficacy for Women,” which helps women improve skills they often lack, such as influencing, risk-taking and building networks.

Find Kraft Foods Jobs

Marriott International

Last year, Marriott International selected women to fill five of their 12 newly created VP positions.

Insider’s Guide to Marriott

Find Marriott Jobs


At Walmart, the President’s Global Council of Women Leaders focuses on developing female leaders and championing their opportunities internationally.

Insider’s Guide to Walmart

Find Walmart Jobs


WellPoint has improved gender fairness by offering a job-positing tool that makes succession planning transparent.

Find WellPoint Jobs

Top 50 Companies for Executive Women 2011

1.     Abbott

2.     Accenture

3.     Aetna

4.     Allstate Insurance Company

5.     American Electric Power

6.     American Express Company

7.     AOL Inc

8.     AstraZeneca

9.     AT&T

10.   Bank of America

11.   Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceutical USA

12.   Bristol-Myers Squibb

13.   Cisco

14.   Citi

15.   Colgate-Palmolive Company

16.   DuPont

17.   Eli Lilly and Company

18.   Fleishman-Hillard Inc.

19.   General Mills

20.   HCA Virginia Health System – Richmond Market

21.   HSBC North America

22.   IBM Corporation

23.   Intel Corporation

24.   Johnson & Johnson

25.   KPMG LLP

26.   Kraft Foods, Inc.

27.   Macy’s Inc.

28.   Marriott International, Inc.

29.   McDonald’s Corporation

30.   McKinsey & Company

31.   Merck

32.   MetLife, Inc.

33.   New York Life Insurance Company

34.   Northern Trust

35.   Office Depot

36.   Pfizer Inc

37.   Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

38.   Prudential Financial, Inc.

39.   Sodexo

40.   State Farm Insurance

41.   Texas Instruments Incorporated

42.   The New York Times Company

43.   The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

44.   The Principal Financial Group

45.   The Procter & Gamble Company

46.   Verizon Communications Inc

47.   Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

48.   WellPoint, Inc

49.   Wyndham Worldwide

50.   Xerox Corporation
2011 NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women Non-Profits

1.     Bon Secours Richmond Health System

2.     March of Dimes Foundation

3.     Mercy Health System

4.     MidMichigan Health

5.     Moffitt Cancer Center

6.     Northwestern Memorial HealthCare

7.     TriHealth

8.     VCU Health System

9.     WellStar Health System

10.   Yale-New Haven Hospital


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