When she worked as an executive for a large telecommunications firm, Julia Geisman created a new product. Her idea opened a new revenue stream for the company and brought in huge profits. Geisman asked her manager about a bonus or promotion and was told that wasn’t possible. Realizing she’d hit that glass ceiling she’d heard so much about, Geisman struck out on her own and hasn’t looked back.
Today, Geisman heads up CareerAgility. Using their proprietary software, the L.E.A.P. (Leadership Equality Advancement Process) Scorecard, the company delivers evidence-based, actionable recommendations to help organizations make gender equality a reality in their workplaces. Their five-step process enables CareerAgility to:
- Establish a baseline to measure the quality of a company’s work environment
- Analyze the quantitative and qualitative data to detect overall trends and potential risks
- Recommend practical and cost-effective actions that align with a company’s needs
- Review the client-designed implementation strategy to identify potential pain points
- Monitor the company’s progress quarterly to prevent and resolve problems and ensure their success
“That last step is essential,” said Geisman. “We use the data to create a sustainable solution and then monitor the implementation of our recommendations. We want to be sure executives and employees understand the plan, are accountable for its implementation and realize a return on their investment.”
When asked if her process could work for other underrepresented groups, Geisman was enthusiastically positive. “We’re counting on it. Working for gender parity is a starting point. Once organizations acknowledge bias exists, they set a process in motion that will change the culture within a company and help everyone. We’re concentrating on women for now, but our aim is workplace equality for all.”
CareerAgility uses their online survey, the L.E.A.P. Scorecard, to gather data to identify areas in which a company is successful as well as areas that need attention. They tailor their recommendations specifically to address the needs of a company. Often, as part of the implementation step, Geisman and her team help set up leadership and mentoring groups within an organization to prepare women for leadership roles. “We’ve designed these programs to increase women’s success in advocating for themselves and achieving their personal and professional goals. This increased confidence and visibility enhances their careers and improves the ability of their companies to attract and retain women.”
In seven years of building and conducting the CareerAgility process, Geisman has seen acceptance for her program grow. “In the beginning, some executives pushed back, but these days, they’re seeing the value of a more diverse leadership to improve productivity and retain key employees. Let’s face it. When no one looks like you in the C-suite and that fact never seems to change, you get the message and move on. Executives and boards are starting to realize the cost of losing good people.”
At this point, creating equality in the workplace may seem like a slow, daunting process, but with people like Geisman and her company providing solid data and advice on how to move forward, organizations have the tools to succeed. Then, everyone thrives.
Geisman added, “My passion for giving women an equal voice permeates everything I do and is the filter through which I see the world.”