In celebration of March being Women’s History Month, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to recognize modern-day women who are currently changing the game in HR. Whether it’s their commitment to women in leadership, their quest to transform company cultures, their role in revolutionizing recruitment, or other admirable accomplishments, these female leaders serve as an inspiration for all women in the workplace.
Kathleen Murphy, President of Fidelity Investments (Boston, MA)
A well-known female leader in financial services, Kathleen Murphy has repeatedly been named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in American Business” by Fortune magazine, one of the “Wall Street Top 50,” and one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Finance” by US Banker, among other honors. And while her long list of accolades and professional achievements are nothing short of noteworthy, it’s her commitment to women in leadership that caught our attention.
Like many industries, financial services has a long way to go to achieve gender parity when it comes to women in leadership positions, and Murphy has made this part of her mission. “Fidelity’s research found that companies with women in leadership positions and initiatives promoting gender diversity generally outperformed the market over the long term,” said Murphy. “For these reasons and many others, we created the Fidelity Women’s Leadership Fund, which invests primarily in companies that prioritize and advance women’s leadership.”
Angela Damiani, CEO & Co-Founder, NEWaukee (Milwaukee, WI)
In 2009, Angela Damiani co-founded NEWaukee, “a social architecture agency that designs memorable experiences that connect the people, places and companies within a city.” Damiani helps communities and companies build meaningful connections and attract, engage and retain young talent. Every year, NEWaukee hosts the Bubbler Awards, which highlight the best workplaces for young professionals in Wisconsin, based on their competitive salary and benefits, opportunity for advancement, and employee and community engagement.
As someone who’s dedicated to developing engagement strategies that work, Damiani’s come up with out-of-the-box benefits for her own employees. Employees enjoy unlimited vacation, team happy hours, “call into work well days,” annual paid sabbaticals for professional and personal development, monthly off-site Friday excursions, an annual company trip to a different city each year, and paid networking events of the employee’s choice.
Genevieve Thiers, High Note Enterprises (Chicago, IL)
After experiencing her own entrepreneurial success early in her career, Genevieve Thiers is now paving the way for other female up-and-comers. Thiers launched Sittercity, an online service connecting child care providers with employers, in 2001. She sold a majority stake in the company in 2009, and since then, she’s become a power player in the Chicago tech scene. In an effort to help other women in tech, in 2015 she launched High Note Enterprises, an investment fund that supports female entrepreneurs focused on solving problems for other women. She’s dedicated to fixing the imbalance of women in tech. To date, she’s invested in 10 women-in-tech companies — and she’s showing no signs of stopping.
Georgene Huang, Fairygodboss (New York, NY)
After losing her executive role during a management shake up, Georgene Huang found herself in a less-than-ideal position: unexpectedly looking for a job while two months pregnant. While interviewing, she wanted to ask certain questions. Is work-life balance enabled at this company? Are women paid and promoted fairly? What’s the maternity leave policy? But due to fear of stigma, she kept quiet.
Wanting to relate with other women about their experiences and how they overcame similar challenges, Huang founded Fairygodboss in 2015, which offers an online women’s career community with expert career advice, job openings, and company reviews. Huang feels the community can leverage transparency to drive company change and keep the momentum going on improving gender diversity.
Morgan Phelps, Colorful Connections (Milwaukee, WI)
As a woman of color who transitioned from journalism into public relations, Phelps navigated the challenges of entering and advancing in a new industry. Based on her experience, Phelps set out on a mission to close the diversity gap. “I am combining learning and experience with my involvement in diversity and inclusion initiatives to create a path for increasing diversity within communications and advertising,” said Phelps.
To achieve that, she founded Colorful Connections, a social enterprise and recruitment agency, in 2019. Colorful Connections matches companies with skilled and diverse talent, mainly in the communications and creative industries. They also provide supportive services for professionals and companies in recruiting, performance coaching, and diversity consulting.
Women everywhere, we salute you.
There’s no question — these women’s efforts are noble and praiseworthy, and for that, they deserve special recognition. But as we honor them, we also want to thank women everywhere, for their contributions in business, community and beyond.