AEBetancourt CEO Art Betancourt and Executive Vice President of Talent Strategy Christa Bird sat down for an impactful webinar session overviewing AEB’s newest consultation service: ElevateHER. 

ElevateHER is a brand workshop led by Christa that highlights not only the profound impact of employment on individuals and communities but also the importance of empowering women in the workplace. The webinar session aimed to shed light on the challenges faced by businesses today but also to provide valuable insights into how a program like ElevateHER can bring about positive change. Continue reading for a deeper delve into the wealth of knowledge shared during this webinar.

Meet Christa Bird

Before diving into the details, here is a little more information about Christa and her journey. Christa joined AEB in 2023, but her collaboration with the organization started about five years ago when she was a client. At that time, Christa led an exceptional Human Resource team and it was clear that AEB needed her expertise. Christa brings a wealth of experience and insight to AEB, earning an MBA in Strategy from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management and holding key roles in various organizations, including the Chicago Tribune and YUM! Brands. Her insights and knowledge have been invaluable in shaping AEB’s talent strategy.

The Business Case for Empowering Women

There are pressing demographic challenges looming over the workforce. With a smaller upcoming generation and the older workforce gracefully bowing out, organizations face significant constraints in their quest to secure a talented workforce. Women, who represent nearly 60% of the US workforce, hold only 35% of senior-level positions. This underrepresentation poses a significant challenge for organizations looking to fill leadership roles in the future.

And moreover, this disparity is particularly concerning when you consider that 60% of current university students are women. However, a substantial drop in college enrollment, largely due to decreasing male enrollment, exacerbates the talent shortage. 

However, research has consistently shown that companies with women in executive positions outperform those without, highlighting the importance of gender diversity in leadership. So, women are indeed the future of the professional workforce, and it's essential to invest in their leadership development.

What is ElevateHER?

ElevateHER is a brand workshop program designed to empower women by helping them redefine their personal brand, boost their confidence, and navigate the challenges they face in the workplace. At its core, ElevateHER focuses on three fundamental principles: Stop, Start, and Continue. These principles are designed to guide participants through the process of shaping their personal and professional brands effectively. Here's a snapshot of what participants can expect:

  1. Establishing Common Ground
    The program's journey begins by creating a safe and inclusive space for women to share their experiences and challenges. This communal sharing is essential in helping participants realize that many of their fears and challenges are shared by their peers. This shared perspective fosters a supportive and empathetic environment conducive to growth.

  2. Identifying and Address Anti-Brand
    ElevateHER encourages participants to introspectively examine their fears and concerns about their professional image. This phase prompts participants to identify behaviors, language, and habits that validate these fears. The program aims to empower participants to catch themselves in these behaviors and, equally importantly, to encourage their peers to make necessary adjustments.

  3. Crafting the Ideal Brand
    Building on these insights, ElevateHER guides participants in the process of defining their ideal professional brand. It provides the tools and strategies required to embody this ideal brand consistently, thereby bridging the gap between aspiration and reality.

  4. Reinforcing the Ideal Brand
    ElevateHER offers concrete strategies to ensure that participants continue to reinforce their ideal brand in their daily routines and interactions. This phase focuses on accountability and support mechanisms that are essential for sustaining personal growth.

  5. Honoring Success and Supporting Others
    The program goes above and beyond individual growth by fostering a sense of collective empowerment. It encourages participants to view the success of all women in the workforce as their own success. Furthermore, it provides insights into how women can seek support from their male coworkers and actively contribute to creating an inclusive and supportive workplace culture.

What is ElevateHER?

ElevateHER is a transformative experience that goes beyond boosting confidence and self-perception and helps to cultivate a supportive network of individuals who continue to help each other grow professionally. If you're considering implementing ElevateHER in your organization, here are some key details to keep in mind:

  • The program is typically conducted over three sessions, each a week apart, making it ideal for a lunch-and-learn or breakfast series.
  • It can accommodate up to 12 participants and can be hosted at your workplace, at the AEBetancourt offices in Grand Rapids, or at another agreed-upon location.
  • ElevateHER isn't just for younger employees; it can benefit individuals at various career stages, including those transitioning to new roles or teams.
  • The program can also be adapted to include men or address other specific challenges within your organization.

The Takeaway

ElevateHER is a powerful program that addresses a pressing issue in the workforce – the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions. By helping women redefine their personal brands, gain confidence, and navigate workplace challenges, ElevateHER is a step toward creating a more equitable and diverse corporate landscape.

This structured program can be instrumental in facilitating personal and professional growth. By addressing common challenges, fostering mutual support, and encouraging women to craft their ideal professional brands, organizations can make a substantial contribution to building a more diverse, inclusive, and successful workforce.

If you're interested in learning more about ElevateHER or discussing how it could benefit your organization, please contact the AEB team.