Economic & Societal Growth, Reports Reveal

Women’s advocate Michelle Patterson Offers staggering research findings underscoring the breadth and severity of opportunity loss

"Professional Women Still Marginalized Despite ‘Incontrovertible Proof’ that Women are Key to Business, Economic & Societal Growth, Reports Reveal"
Amid March Women’s History Month, an event that highlights the contributions of women in historical and contemporary society, it’s painful to concurrently reveal that “at the current rate of change, it will take until the year 2085 for women to reach parity with men in leadership roles in our country.” This staggering estimate, just reported by the Center for American Progress (CAP), persists despite “over the past two decades, a considerable body of research has emerged to lend incontrovertible proof to the idea that when women thrive, organizations thrive—and nations thrive too. From that research, there is now a consensual view that women’s leadership is not just a matter of fairness, but also has the potential to move companies, governments, and societies in new and better directions.”

“The opportunity loss implications of women who continue to be marginalized in today’s corporate and overarching economic landscape cannot be taken lightly,” notes esteemed working women’s advocate Michelle Patterson, Founder and President of The California Women’s Conference and President and CEO of Women Network.

To provide keen insights and to delve deeper with acute insider perspective on the troubling state of women’s leadership in the U.S.—including why it matters to society at large, Patterson is available for perspective-based commentary and editorials on any and all germane topics.

Discussion points may include the following frightening female factoids:

  • Although women are 50.8 percent of the U.S. population earning almost 60 percent of both undergraduate and Master’s degrees, also  holding almost 52 percent of all professional-level jobs, American women lag substantially behind men when it comes to their representation in leadership positions (CAP, Catalyst, Center for Economic Development):
    • They are only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.
    • Their presence in top management positions today remains below 9 percent.
    • They hold just 16.9 percent of Fortune 500 board seats, representing “no significant year-over-year uptick for the 8th straight year.”
    • The percentage of women on all U.S. corporate boards has been stuck in the 12.1 percent to 12.3 percent range over the past decade.
  • The United States, once a world leader in gender equality, now lags behind other similarly wealthy nations in women’s economic participation. In the two decades from 1990 to 2010, our country fell from having the sixth-highest rate of female labor-force participation among 22 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, countries to 17th on the list. (CAP)
  • America ranks number six in women’s economic participation and opportunity on the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Gender Gap Index of 136 countries. (Catalyst)
  • Stereotypes and skewed perceptions remain powerful and still impede the advancement of women. The dearth of women in leadership roles—and in whole fields—creates the perception that women do not belong in those positions or professions. (CAP)
  • Structural barriers: A shortage of role models, for example, means that women—and women of color in particular—lack mentors, sponsors, and opportunities in male-heavy organizations to develop the sorts of social relationships out of which mentorship, sponsorship, board appointments, or simply promotions, naturally evolve. (CAP)

Patterson continues, “I applaud the 2012 report, “Fulfilling the Promise: How More Women on Corporate Boards Would Make America and American Companies more Competitive,” from the Center for Economic Development, which condensed all of its findings into “one fundamental recommendation” that wholeheartedly uphold: that “Businesses – business leaders – must make it a priority to develop the talents and advance the careers of female staff who have been identified as potential leaders. This means providing such women with the experiences and backgrounds needed to rise to the top, and advocating their promotion to higher levels of responsibility. The development of talent within an organization is critical to long-term competitiveness. Businesses that can provide talented women with developmental opportunities and integrate them into their workforce are much more likely to succeed in competition with those that fail to do so.”

As an executive who herself has achieved tremendous professional success as a business woman and entrepreneur, Patterson is also available for interviews and editorials on an array of evergreen success and career-related topics that serve to advise, empower and foster leadership skills among working women, as well as outline and underscore the significant economic and cultural influence of today’s female business executive—and strides that still need to be made.  Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • 5 ways women in the private sector can turn around the economy
  • 4 ‘Barrier Breakers’ for Women in Corporate America
  • Better together: why collaborating with men can help women advance
  • Guilt Free Growth:How to nurture your career while excelling at home
  • Business acceleration for female business owners: tacticalways to stimulate—or revive—sales and marketing strategies to achieve critical objectives
  • Master Multi-taskers: Strategies for success in a post-feminist generation, when “having it all” requires “giving it all you’ve got”
  • Women Superheroes:Work, family and life balance—how it’s possible to have it all

All of the research findings, reports, and topics cited above offer riveting discussion opportunity as a precursor for what Patterson and her team of elite speakers will bring to the California’s Women’s Conference on May 19 and 20 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California. Set to grace the stage is TV and film actress Geena Davis, author and motivational speaker Immaculee Ilibagiza, Olympic Gold Medal winner Bonnie St. John, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul Series Jack Canfield, and legendary reporter Jane Pauley to name a few. With talented and thought provoking speakers, networking opportunities, exciting exhibits, and engaging breakout sessions, the Women’s Conference is projected to host over 10,000 attendees.

The power of unity, connecting and collaborating are key elements in the progression of women,” said Patterson at the recent Power of Collaboration Global Summit held at the United Nations in New York City. “Women and men collaborating with global organizations have abundant opportunity to advance in the future.”

About Michelle Patterson
A recognized visionary and lauded business accelerator, Michelle Patterson is a sought-after expert on such issues as the women’s economy, professional development, networking, and business growth.  She is a written contributor and guest on media outlets including The Huffington Post, CNBC, Fox Business News, Bloomberg, and over a dozen TV stations in California.  Most recently, Patterson successfully oversaw the 2012 California Women’s Conference, continuing the tradition of this historical event that has featured thought leaders and A-list celebrities such as Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Gayle King, and more. Under Patterson’s leadership, the newly revived conference received critical acclaim and was covered by the largest media outlets in the world.  The California Women’s Conference was the latest in a number of signature events Patterson has oversaw. Just to name a few, these events include celebrity chef challenges, signature wine festivals such as “Taste of Ladera” with over 30,000 attendees, corporate workshops, and hosting the President of the United States.

Patterson’s business acumen and impressive rolodex has led to her being labeled by the media as an “acceleration executive” that focuses on helping individuals, corporations, and small businesses grow faster.  Patterson began her entrepreneurial journey after serving as a Regional Vice-President and National Sales Trainer for the world’s largest specialized recruiting firm, Robert Half, where she oversaw 9 divisions and was recognized for helping generate record revenue growth.  When she launched TouchPointe , LLC in July 2006, she continued her track record of impressive revenue growth – leading the company to achieve seven figure revenue within just six months of launch. Patterson was tapped by Internet giants Groupon and Living Social early on in their business cycle to help them increase their market share.  Today, Patterson continues to produce the California Women’s Conference and has taken her program global licensing the conference through she created.  The Women Network helps corporations engage women professionals from both a recruitment angle to attract the right talent, as well as customer acquisition angle to increase their market share with identified sub-segments of the highly complex and sought after demographic.   Emerging businesses frequently tap Patterson and the to help them get connected to the right individuals and develop the right strategies to accelerate their growth.

In addition to her success with , Patterson is an energetic and engaging public speaker for organizations such as Loyola Marymount University, Groupon, and The Green Festival.  Patterson is the feature author for a women’s anthology that will feature notable celebrity contributors to be released by Ben Bella Books in fall 2013.  Patterson also hosts the radio show OC Spotlight & Women Network, which airs weekly on OC Talk Radio. There she interviews top-tier guests ranging from Grammy Award winner Lil Jon to Groupon CEO Andrew Mason.

Patterson is driven by the belief that everyone has something significant to contribute.  She is committed to helping individuals discover their talent and connect to the right circle of people to live out their purpose.

Beyond her notable business success, Patterson is most passionate about her family.  She lives in Ladera Ranch, California with her husband, Eric, and their two beautiful children, Jaclyn and Chase.

About The California Women’s Conference
The California Women’s Conference offers its attendees inspiration, resources, and connections to take the next step in business, personal development, health and wellness, or philanthropic endeavors. Featuring widely respected thought leaders, talented entertainers, and a marketplace of ideas, exhibits, networking and panel discussions; the conference is designed to benefit women from all walks of life.

For nearly thirty years, women in California have enjoyed a conference that provided a forum for building successful businesses, strengthening careers, and positively influencing the world around them. The California Women’s Conference will continue the tradition of empowering women and providing resources in every aspect of their lives, and embracing philanthropy by donating a portion of programming and proceeds to participating charitable organizations. For more information visit .