As the economy starts to emerge from this period of slow growth, leaders are looking for opportunities to make up ground. For some, this is about technology driving innovation – investing in new ideas, wearable computers or even robots. For others, opportunities for growth will come from leveraging data – or what we already know about our customers, suppliers and products.

But there is a much larger opportunity for leaders and it – or should I say – she – is staring you right in the face.

As I have discussed previously, there is a strong and clear correlation between having women on the board of a corporation and out-performing your competition. Yet, as shown in this infographic, while women have strong representation in management, professional and related roles – claiming 52% – only a paltry 5% of women are reported as CEOs on the Fortune 1000. That’s 50 out of 1000. And the percentage of women leading tech startups is even lower – only 3%.

If we want growth – and clearly we do – it’s time for boards, and for leaders across the spectrum – to begin rethinking what is needed to be successful. At a time when the economy is looking for growth, business leaders should be looking to unleash potential. And it strikes me that shifting the dial on women executives is one of the lowest risks open to organizations of all size, shape and focus. I’m not saying 20%. Or even 10%. But what would it take for us to move from 5% to 6% during 2014? Just 10 additional women CEOs in the Fortune 1000. You wouldn’t think that would be such a challenge given the depth of executive talent available.

So tell me – who are the ten women that we should be watching out for? Who’s making a mark in your world?

 

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