On Tuesday, October 15th, over 200 of Dallas’ best and brightest gathered at Venue Forty50 in Addison, TX to help celebrate EWF International’s 20th Anniversary. This sold-out event included great food, can’t-miss networking, and an engaging panel discussion on The Male Perspective: Why Gender Parity Matters. The panel – made up of Sherif Mityas, CXO of TGI Friday’s, Arjun Dugal, CIO of Capital One Financial Services, and Tom Foley, Attorney and Founder of The Study USA – had a lively discussion about why businesses and male executives should invest in gender parity and diversity of perspective, shared the business and professional benefits they’ve seen, and explored some of the obstacles facing efforts – and ways to overcome them.

All three male leaders on the panel agreed that in order to drive greater gender parity and diversity of thought, companies must be willing to make investments and measure their performance on these initiatives.

“We’re thrilled that so many came out to support our 20th anniversary and participate in the discussion,” says Tanis Cornell, CEO of EWF International. “It really reflects how gender parity is increasingly being recognized as a business imperative. Gender diversity will require the support of both men and women.  Multiple studies have highlighted the undeniable business advantage that companies with greater gender balance in the management ranks financially outperform companies those that don’t.”

A very special part of the program honored Tanis Cornell’s contributions to the Dallas business community over her accomplished career here. In addition to a tribute video, she received a standing ovation from the crowd. “There’s a perception that women don’t support each other, or that we’re always competitive, but that’s simply not our experience,” she said, gesturing to the crowd. “This is what our community looks like: enormously supportive.”

Jennifer Carter, President of EWF International, echoed Cornell’s sentiments. “One of the things I’m proudest of is that this community makes things happen. Two women in attendance have landed new jobs because of connections they made at the luncheon, and we’ve have heard of at least three business deals that came together through the event. That’s what we’re building – a vibrant community that drives business outcomes, and helps women and companies be even more successful.”

During the program, Tanis Cornell also introduced the members of EWF’s newly formed corporate Advisory Board: Brenda Boehm, Heather Capps, Valerie Freeman, Toni Portmann, Jeannine Sandstrom, Neelu Sethi, Nancy Shemwell, Trude Van Horn, Catherine Walsh, and Gail Warrior. “Our board is made up of accomplished women who have built their careers on delivering results for their companies. They know from experience and from the data that more women in the C-Suite means better company performance – and they’re committed to helping EWF move the needle even more in the future. We’re honored and grateful to have them on board,” said Tanis Cornell.

EWF also provided a look into future growth in 2020: expansion into the Austin market, helmed by CEO Tanis Cornell, and additional depth in the leadership development programs, which will fall under EWF’s new Executive Women’s Foundry, which will launch in 2020. “When you look at the leadership pipeline, we know that women are ‘falling out’ in early and middle management roles. While they’re performing on par or better than their male peers, they aren’t being promoted at equal rates. The reasons for this are complex, but two key components are access to the insights of mentorship and targeted leadership development training,” said Jennifer Carter. “EWF’s Executive Women’s Foundry includes programs that are designed to give women actionable, effective strategies and tools to get promoted and deliver results for their companies. We know the program works – more than 85% of the women who go through it get promoted, find new opportunities, or negotiate substantial raises within 12 months of the program.”

In 2020, EWF will add Foundry curriculum designed to help more seasoned managers and directors prepare for promotion into senior leadership.  Additionally, they’ll add Peer Advisory Boards for Managers and Directors, providing the same supportive community and strategic sharpening that the Executive and Owner forums have long provided.

The next cohort of the Emerging Leaders Program, best suited for seasoned individual contributors and early managers, will launch in April 2020. Registration is now open, and applicants are encouraged to act quickly – seats fill fast!