Business Women and Business Responsibility: Results from the NYC Mayor’s Commission on Women’s Survey of NYC Companies

June 2004 Volume II Number 3

Net Contents
I. Network Presentation
Key Learnings

II. What’s Next?

III. The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future
The Concept of the Network

I. Network Presentation
Many thanks to those who attended WNSF’s luncheon panel on May 17: “Businesswomen and Business Responsibility: Results of a Report from the NYC Mayor’s Commission on Women’s Issues.” The event, sponsored by McKinsey & Company at its headquarters, highlighted the results of the first survey about women’s status in New York City’s large corporations. It also explored methods to enhance diversity in the workforce and the advancement of women in management.

Key Findings

The report features five New York companies that distinguish themselves in their efforts to recruit, advance and support women in the workforce through special leadership programs and health- and childcare support.

These companies all follow a formal strategy for gender diversity and inclusion. Measurable objectives and metrics to monitoring progress are equally important to successfully implementing a strategy.

While almost all companies surveyed offer leadership programs, only few employers stand out in offering tailored programs for women. Supporting the advancement of women is socially responsible and a good business decision. Women are customers, employees and future leaders.


  • Moderator: Ann Goodman, Acting Director, WNSF.
  • Government: Anne Sutherland Fuchs, Chair, Commission on Women’s Issues for New York City, Senior Advisor, Solera Capital and Director, Latina Media Ventures; Stephanie Cuskley, Commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Commission on Women’s Issues and Managing Director J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.
  • Corporate: Jessica Lennon Whitney, Manager, Diversity & People Development, Time Warner Inc.

Ann Fuchs explained her mission to “brand New York City as the best city for women in the country. No city in the world has these advantages for women as New York does.” As Chair of the Mayor’s Commission on Women’s Issues, she has a message for women in New York: “Be safe, be healthy, have a family and be successful.” Fundamental changes in the way companies deal with women’s issues would further enhance New York’s economy and the overall quality of life.

The Commission is divided in five committees, each designed to target a specific aspect of its work: Economic Development, Research, Health, Childcare and Women in Government Liaisons.

  • The Economic Development Committee is assigned to raise awareness about the importance of women entrepreneurs to New York.
  • The Health Committee provides the mayor with suggestions on health-related policy. The committee’s program “Step Out New York City”, launched in March 2004, is designed to promote physical activities and the city’s health website.
  • The Childcare Committee is in the process of building a database for all childcare related information which will be available on a special website.
  • The Women’s Liaison Committee provides resources for the other four committees and ensures that all city agencies keep the goal of the Women’s Commission on their agenda.
  • The Research Committee set the stage for the Commission’s work by answering the question: What does a successful company for women look like? A survey, started with the expertise of McKinsey Inc and funded by Barnard College, looked at the status quo of working women in New York.

The survey, sent to the 90 largest employers in NYC, came up with five “winners”, distinguished companies that are ahead of the field regarding managerial status, career advancement, work/life quality, flexibility and healthcare for their female employees:

  • American Express
  • Deloite & Touche
  • New York University
  • J.P. Morgan
  • Time Warner

Deloite & Touche, for instance, sets objectives to recruit employees, and women make up three quarters of D&T’s total workforce, compared to 55 percent of the citywide average for women in the workforce. The company also has a formal process to ensure women are included and represented in succession planning.

The other distinguished companies also offer women’s management and leadership programs. New York University reports that women comprise 60 percent of its managerial ranks, compared to the average 45 percent for survey respondents.

American Express is closely following with 55 percent of female managers.

J.P. Morgan Chase, D&T and Amex all have a formal policy for flexible working arrangements and provide health care insurance benefits for part-time employees. Time Warner offers on-site childcare. NYU and J.P. Morgan offer active assistance to help employees quit smoking. Lung cancer is now the number one cancer in women. Each of the five distinguished companies has a designated gender diversity executive assigned to these issues.

By identifying employers and their best practices to advance women, the Commission will be able to set benchmarks for other companies.

Working on the advancement of women is in a company’s own interest, Fuchs explained. Women are customers, they make 83 percent of all consumer purchases, they are employees comprising 55 percent of the workforce and they are future leaders, providing 30 percent of new business school students.

The Research Committee’s next project will focus on the 500,000 women in NYC without a college degree in order to improve education and related information for women.

As a representative of one of the companies recognized in the “Working for Women in NYC” survey, Jessica Lennon Whitney detailed Time Warner’s approach to increase diversity. She explained that the company used the AOL-Time Warner merger to redefine the values and strategic vision for the company. “During this time, diversity emerged as both a core value and as a true business imperative for us as the largest media and entertainment company in the world.” The new strategy comprises several key components, including:

  • Suppliers and vendors – Time Warner looks at women and minority- owned businesses when the company chooses new business partners. A testament for this policy is the new Time Warner Center at Columbus Center, built with the help of a top women-owned construction company.
  • Investments – Time Warner has a diversity-focused investment strategy that singles out companies owned or run by minorities.
  • Philanthropy and Outreach – Commitment to strengthen the communities in which the company does business.
  • New Markets and Content – Expand base in underserved markets, makes products appeal to a diverse America.
  • Workforce – To build a workforce that is inclusive and diverse. To implement strategies to support and strengthen workforce diversity. A new model, Time Warner Foundations of Leadership, places a strong emphasis on developing people in all divisions of the company.

The workforce diversity strategy has a number of initiatives that relate to developing and advancing women, including:

  • Time Warner Women’s Network – More than 300 women (VP level and above) from the NYC area from all divisions have the opportunity to meet, network, build relationships across divisions and assist the company in providing leadership and development opportunities and— as a byproduct–advance business.
  • Leadership development – A week of intense leadership training for 30 high level women from all divisions in cooperation with Simmons School of Management. The program also offers strategic networking with company executives.
  • Workforce Planning – Review of key talents, annual workforce diversity action plan, succession planning, employee opinion surveys.

Time Warner was recently recognized by Diversity Inc as one of its 50 Companies for Diversity.

Stephanie Cuskley introduced the Mayor’s Commission on Women’s Issues’ newest project: The Small Business Award program, whose slogan is “NY loves Women.” The initiative, in cooperation with the city’s Department of Small Business Services, seeks to honor women-owned businesses for their effort, inspiration, success and contribution to the city’s economy in general. “Small businesses are the key driver in the U.S. economy”, Cuskley stressed. The award is also a means to raise awareness of the resources that are available for small businesses and the website describing them. The Commission raised $400,000, which will be given to model women business owners in installments of up to $ 30,000. Male small business owners may also apply if their businesses help women. Applications will be accepted through September 15, 2004, and information is available on the website

The goal for the awards program and the surrounding publicity campaign is to increase the confidence level of women in NYC so they can be more successful in the business world. The winners are to be announced early next year.

II. What’s Next?
Look for an email invitation to the next NYC luncheon panel. “ETHICS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: CONVERGENCE OR DIVERGENCE?,” to be hosted by Bertelsmann on October 4.

III. The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future
The Concept of the Network

The Network provides a forum for business and professional women to congregate, reflect and act on the converging issues of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. Through meetings and simple electronic support tools, the Network aims to facilitate the exchange of experiences and best practices on these vital workplace issues. By creating a new network of executive women, the Network seeks to: improve responsible practices in workplaces; sensitize corporate culture more generally to issues of sustainability and social responsibility; and encourage a public commitment locally, nationally and internationally to sustainability principles.

The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future is a 501c3 organization.

For more information, please contact:

Ann Goodman, Acting Director
Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future
Please direct inquiries to:

Fiscal Agent:
National Environmental Education & Training Foundation
1707 H Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20006
T: 202-833-2933
WNSF Board Member/NEETF Liaison: Deborah Sliter, Vice President of Programs

Board of Directors: Linda Descano, COO, Women & Co., CitiGroup; Muni Figueres, formerly of the Costa Rican Foundation for Sustainable Development; Joanne Fox-Przeworski, Director, Bard Center for Environmental Policy, Bard College; Ann Goodman, President, Telesis Consulting and Acting Director, WNSF; Clair Krizov, Executive Director of Environmental and Social Responsibility, AT&T; Joyce LaValle, Senior Vice President, Interface Inc.; Kathy Robb, Esq., Partner and Head of Environmental Practice, Hunton & Williams; Deborah Sliter, Vice President of Programs, National Environmental Education & Training Foundation.

This issue of Net Notes was written by Irmintraud Jost and edited by SUSAN RIFKIN OF MCGRAW-HILL’S ‘WRITERS TO THE RESCUE’ VOLUNTEER PROGRAM.

WNSF thanks founding sponsors AT&T and the Ford Foundation for their generous support.

“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.” -Stewart L. Udall

“Forget the damned motor car and build the cities for lovers and friends.” -Lewis Mumford

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