Women in the Channel is tackling the topic of gender diversity in channel leadership at it 11th Networking Event, March 15 at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. We’ve invited a gender-diverse Keynote panel to discuss the payoff of women in leadership. To get the ball rolling, we’ve invited panelist Lisa Miller, senior vice president of sales at Level 3 Communications with current responsibility for the company’s wholesale, indirect, inside and strategic content sales channels, to share her views on this important subject. You can hear more from Lisa at the Women in the Channel event, 5-8 p.m., March 15, 2016, in Galileo 1001 at the Venetian Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas.
The Women in the Channel Networking Event is open to all women attending the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. Men will be admitted on an invitation-only basis. Admission is FREE to all WiC members and $20 for non-members. To register for the event, please click here. To become a member, visit www.womeninthechannel.com.
Do you believe that a gender diverse leadership team is important to your company? If so, why?
Yes, I do. Level 3, in the last few years, has initiated a “cultural revolution,” led by our North America President, meant to reevaluate many of our traditional behaviors and to usher in a new way of recognizing talent and connecting with our peers, both formally and informally. The entire process has been championed by our C-Suite, which I believe, has been critical to the initiative’s overall success.
Does your company have specific initiatives to advance gender diversity among its leadership team?
We have a number of initiatives aimed at this, including our Women’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) as a voice and resource for women to take on new challenges and grow their careers in the company. We also have a thriving mentoring program for women. Senior female and male leaders in the company are integral to the success of this program, as they serve as the mentors and executive sponsors to our higher-performing women.
What benefits has your company realized in focusing on advancing and empowering women as leaders?
Since instituting these programs, we’ve seen our employee satisfaction numbers rise, employment engagement rates grow, attrition rates decrease, and more than ever before, employees indicate that Level 3 is a place they’d recommend to their friends. Employees who participate in our diversity-focused programs score 3 to 11 percentage points higher than the rest of our employees on our employee-engagement surveys. Those figures make a difference to our business in real dollars and cents.
As a female leader in the telecom industry, how have you personally advanced and/or empowered women as leaders?
For me, mentorship is something akin to a personal calling. I have spent countless hours in my nearly 30 years in telecom mentoring women and men in both formal and informal settings. Currently, at Level 3, I am the executive sponsor for our Global Women’s Mentor Ring Programs. I am very excited that we are expanding our program this year so even more people can take advantage of this program. I also believe that empowerment is a lifestyle choice. I choose to empower my employees’ decisions. Often, that then becomes a very liberating moment for them.
As a female leader in the telecom industry, what advice can you offer other women about improving their opportunities for leadership?
As a leader, I look at the workforce I have today and evaluate that against the workforce that I need tomorrow. The advice I can offer other women is: Find your voice. Stop apologizing. Own your success and be strategic in charting your career path toward the success you want to have. Seek out opportunities to demonstrate your strategic aptitude and do things that scare you. Those roles, projects and challenges, I believe, serve as gateways to the C-Suite.