Closing the Leadership Gap

The Institute for Women’s Leadership exists to address the leadership gap and to take progressive steps to narrow the breach.

Leadership by the Numbers
Center for American Progress

  • Women have outnumbered men on college campuses since 1988. They have earned at least one-third of law degrees since 1980 and accounted for one-third of medical school students by 1990. Yet, they have not moved up to positions of prominence and power in America at anywhere near the rate that should have followed.
  • In a broad range of fields, their presence in top leadership positions—as equity law partners, medical school deans, and corporate executive officers—remains stuck at 5 percent to 20 percent.
  • Overall, there is an enormous gap between the fortunes of a small number of prominent women at the very top of their fields and the vast majority of women nationwide.
  • A gulf is widening between American women and their counterparts in peer nations as well: Although the United States ranked first in women’s educational attainment on the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Index of 144 countries, it ranked 19th in women’s economic participation and opportunity and 96th in women’s political empowerment.

The Center for American Progress also makes recommendations for advancing gender equality at home and abroad by leveraging women, peace and security (WPS).

A big step was President Biden’s executive order on the establishment of a White House Gender Policy Council, of which a primary goal is:

Increasing economic security and opportunity by addressing the structural barriers to women’s
participation in the labor force and by decreasing wage and wealth gaps.

Like the Council and the Center for American Progress, UW-Green Bay’s Institute for Women’s Leadership has been established to  “develop and promote affirmative solutions to ensure that all women can participate fully in our economy and live healthy and productive lives.”


One such affirmative solution is the creation of an Advanced Certificate Program, designed to help women counteract the documented stall that can occur between middle management and executive leadership. The certificate program not only identifies concrete steps a woman can take to outbalance the factors of stalling, it enables women to create a social network across industries vital to their advancement. The program is a blend of online and in-person work, now enrolling for Fall 2021. Register by September 21. Learn more at the Institute for Women’s Leadership.


The Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action. Our aim is not just to change the conversation, but to change the country.

Institute for Women’s Policy Research
We win economic equity for all women and eliminate barriers to their full participation in society. As a leading national think tank, we build evidence to shape policies that grow women’s power and influence, close inequality gaps, and improve the economic well-being of families.

Embracing a Circular Economy

Companies are merging supply chain management with sustainability initiatives to reduce waste and carbon emissions by embracing a circular economy. That is, transforming the make-use-dispose cycle into a new cycle of make-use-recover-reuse-reclaim.

Key to this transformation is keeping products, equipment and infrastructure in use for longer periods of time. Companies are also tackling different parts of the cycle, depending on the nature of their operations, as they create a sustainable loop.

Gaining momentum is the Anheuser-Busch InBev 100+ Accelerator, a global incubator program, working to accelerate the world’s shift toward sustainable solutions and to do business “the right way, not the easy way.”

Earlier this year, the Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company and Unilever joined the Accelerator to further fund and pilot sustainable innovation in supply chains.

Tony Milikin, chief procurement, sustainability and circular ventures officer of AB InBev, had this to say about the three companies joining the Accelerator:

“Together, we are striving to supercharge adoption of sustainable solutions by funding and accelerating fantastic innovations that will change the world by making all of our businesses more sustainable. Sustainable business is smart business, and we are working to solve huge problems that no one company can handle alone.”

In addition to funding, the Accelerator provides hands-on support to startups, seeking innovative solutions to supply chain challenges. A few of their success stories include:

  • Implementing green cleaning solutions to reduce water and energy use in brewing operations
  • Collecting more than 1,000 tons of glass waste
  • Piloting returnable packaging
  • Upcycling grains from the brewing process to produce nutritious foods
  • Harnessing solar thermal energy

Other name brand companies have shared strategies that contribute to a circular economy. IKEA has launched a program to buy back used furniture to refurbish and resell. Nike is starting to refurbish sneakers returned by customers to resell at a cheaper price.

Closer to home, Belmark, Inc. in De Pere is one of the top names in the U.S. for manufacturing premium-quality labels, flexible packaging and folding cartons. The company serves a wide variety of industries, including dairy, snack food, durable goods and pet food. Founded in 1977, Belmark has grown four times the industry average with nearly 1,000 employees working in six facilities across three different locations. The company is leading the industry with mindful solutions that advance the field of environmentally responsible packaging, including responsibly-sourced and post-consumer recycled content packaging and ready-to-recycle packaging.

Bruce Bell, founder of Belmark, is quoted as saying, “We make things happen at Belmark.”

For supply chain sustainability, let’s hope more companies also make things happen.


You can play a role in supply chain sustainability with a certificate program designed to provide a multidiscipline exposure to logistics, transportation, packaging, operations planning, inventory management and enterprise resource planning, among other functions. Learn how to develop supply chain solutions as you increase your knowledge of how to use supply chain networks to secure, produce and deliver products to a global marketplace. Now enrolling for ongoing dates.


Forbes. “The Circular Supply Chain: A Push for Sustainability.” Steve Banker. June 29, 2021.
Yahoo Finance. “AB InBev 100+ Accelerator Partners with the Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever for Sustainable Startup Innovation

The Link Between Storytelling & Mentoring

The Star Wars Saga famously uses Joseph Campbell’s monomyth framework of storytelling. Sometimes called “the hero’s journey,” the protagonist begins with a “Call to Adventure,” and proceeds through seventeen stages, including “Supernatural Aid.” That is, once the hero – through a few stops and starts – is committed to their quest, they are aided with a magical helper or supernatural mentor.

Think Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. Obi-Wan trains Luke in the ways of the Force, ways that benefit Luke on his quest. Yoda appears as another mentor for Luke later in the saga.

In science fiction and fantasy movies, mentors can be wizard-like as is the case in the Star Wars Saga and the Harry Potter Series between Professor Dumbledore and Harry.

They can also be teachers or coaches as in the examples of Professor John Keating and his students in The Dead Poet’s Society and Coach Ken Carter and his basketball team in Coach Carter or Gordon Bombay and his hockey team in The Mighty Ducks.

Not to be excluded are family favorites The Karate Kid between Mr. Miyagi and Daniel and Mary Poppins between Mary Poppins and the Banks children.

We also see this mentor relationship play out in animated movies in examples such as the genie and Aladdin in Aladdin, Mushu and Mulan in Mulan, and Mufasa and Simba in The Lion King.

The fact is, mentoring is elemental to storytelling. We are primed to look for guidance and lend advice, depending on where we are in our story. Once you gain awareness of this dynamic in storytelling, you will see mentors everywhere.

See how universal mentors are by reading this list of the top 25 mentoring movies of all times from The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring.


Mentoring Certificate Program
Where are you in your journey? UW-Green Bay offers a structured mentor training program to enable business leaders and HR professionals to maximize the benefits of mentoring for both mentor and mentee with tips for implementing, enhancing success in any field or level. Now enrolling for a virtual session in September. Certificate can be completed in three weeks. Each session is four hours long – 2 hours of self-study content and 2 hours of online live discussion and activities.


Assisted Living Summer Camp

As things returned to more normal, Evergreen Place Assisted Living in Champaign, Illinois, brought back their summer camp for residents, an annual event, designed for residents and staff to grow closer and be “kids at heart” together.

This year’s theme is “Break Out of the Outbreak,” and every day started with a mock “press release,” previewing the day’s activities, which included watching funny YouTube videos, games, games, arts and crafts, singsong, a staff canoe race, meals over the fire along with a closing campfire and awards.

“Anything you can do with a 5-year-old, you can do with a 95-year-old. With some modifications, of course,” said Evergreen’s life enrichment coordinator and camp director, Emma Jane Glick.

According Psychology Today, there is mounting evidence for the positive effects of laughter. It reduces pain, allowing us to relax with discomfort. It reduces blood sugar levels, offering relief to diabetics and nondiabetics. Most importantly, laughter brings people together, creating a sense of connection and a positive emotional climate.

Glick talked about her goals for the camp. “If we laugh every day this week, if we have fun every day, then that’s just… a great reward and that’s really a great goal of our camp.”

Laughter really is the best medicine.


Committed to Healthy Aging

We are approaching a milestone in the aging population. By 2034 for the first time in U.S. history adults 65+ are projected to outnumber children under 18. This milestone will affect healthcare in a dramatic way, creating a demand for a new approach to healthy aging and specialized knowledge of the complex needs of older adults.

Wisconsin Caregiver Academy has created a noncredit Certificate Program in Geriatric Healthcare in order to meet this demand. The certificate comprises four core courses and two electives, including “Mental Health” and “Generations and Diversity in an Aging Society.”

The certificate is relevant to nurses, social workers or case managers. Learn how you can play a larger role in patient-centered care for older adults.

WCIA/WCIX. “Residents ‘Break Out of the Outbreak’ at Evergreen Place Assisted Living.” July 14, 2021
Psychology Today. “Laughter: The Best Medicine. Hara Estroff Marano, Last Reviewed June 9, 2016

The Leadership Manifesto Challenge

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown is a #1 New York Times bestseller. In the book, Brown applies and builds on the principles from her other books — Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness — in a new context of leadership and culture-building that is “daring.”

Brown says, “One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100 percent teachable, observable, and measurable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart. Easy? No. Because choosing courage over comfort is not always our default. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and our work. It’s why we’re here.”

Now Dare to Lead is a podcast and a dedicated hub with links to an assessment, a workbook, organization book reads and downloadable resources.

One of the available downloads is a “Daring Leadership Manifesto.” According to Merriam-Webster, a manifesto is:

a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer

This idea of putting on paper a statement of what you stand for as a company and a team is a great way to become more “daring” and leading with your whole heart.

We challenge you to adopt the Daring Leadership Manifesto or craft your own.


Daring leadership is teachable and begins with self-awareness. Our Supervisory Leadership Certificate Program includes a diverse course curriculum that will enable you to evolve as a leader and make a difference. The program includes a core course “Develop Yourself and Others” but also covers other critical topics like “Coaching for Performance,” “Change Management,” “Supervision and Human Resource Functions,” “Interpersonal Communication,” “Helping Your Team Achieve Organizational Management,” along with a Capstone Course that integrates all the learning and knowledge. Now enrolling for the fall session, starting in August.