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Of companies surveyed that track the impact of gender diversity in management, 74% observed profit increases of 5 to 20%, according to the International Labour Organization’s 2019 global report on Women in Business and Management.
Studies by Pepperdine University, S&P Global Market Intelligence and the Peterson Institute for International Economics also have revealed a similar trend.
That doesn’t surprise Lessie Price, an Aiken City Council member and the manager of government affairs and community relations for Amentum.
Women are important contributors to financial success because “they are transformational leaders,” she said. “They lead with a vision, but they also want to help develop talent within an organization. They want to see others advance to higher levels.”
In addition, Price believes, women in charge are passionate, creative and dedicated.
“Once they are focused on an organization’s goals, they work with everything within their means to achieve them,” she said.
Liz Stewart, who has lived in Aiken for more than 30 years, formerly was the vice president for Xerox’s Southeast region.
In 1984, Stewart founded Stewart and Associates Inc., a national consulting firm whose clients over the years have included Xerox, 3M, IBM, Atlantic Broadband and the Florida Power & Light Company.
Compared to men, “women as a general rule tend to have more intuition and more emotional intelligence,” Stewart said. “Those things help us decode verbal clues and body language so that we can defuse situations. We understand what motivates people and gets them excited about working together.”
Stewart was the Aiken Chamber of Commerce’s Woman of the Year in 2008, and she also is a past chairman of the Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors and a past president of the Rotary Club of Aiken.
“Women are very good about sharing the credit,” she said. “It doesn’t always have to be about them. Their focus is on let’s get it done. It’s not about promoting that I’m the one that did it. And because of that, women are able to develop strong teams. As a general rule, they inspire employees rather than order employees to do things.”
As leaders, Stewart continued, women also are compassionate and loyal.
Another reason they can be effective leaders is because “they are good risk takers,” she said. “Between 60 and 65% of entrepreneurs in this country are women.”
During President and CEO David Jameson’s tenure at the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, there have been four women chairman in addition to Stewart.
“The way they communicated was often different from the men, but they were all very effective in what they brought to the table,” Jameson said. “Women are smart, and they’re skilled; and many of them are just plain hard workers.”