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Tacy Byham, CEO of DDI, Unleashes the Hidden Potential of Women on International Women's Day

On March 8, Tacy M. Byham, Ph.D. will make the case that it’s commercially negligible to overlook the potential of women and give practical tips for women and men to create a more gender equitable workplace
PITTSBURGH (March 6, 2018) – Imagine a world in which Steve Jobs was told that men just weren’t suited to be technology leaders. Or a world in which Steven Spielberg’s movie-making career had depended on his looks rather than his talent. Or in which Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t secure venture capital because investors worried that he wasn’t “serious enough.”
In other words, if these game-changing male innovators had faced many of the barriers common to women, our world would look very different today. How many innovative women had similar potential, but were never given the opportunity to realize it?
On International Women’s Day, DDI Chief Executive Officer Tacy Byham, Ph.D. is working to unleash the hidden potential of women by offering her virtual keynote “#LeadLikeAGirl: Power Moves to Unleash the Potential of Women.” Taking place at 11 a.m. EST on Thursday, March 8, the keynote is free and open to the public.
“One of the biggest barriers preventing us from achieving gender equity in the workplace is the belief that this is a social justice issue that only women need to worry about,” said Byham. “But over and over again, we see strong data revealing that organizations are much more successful and profitable when they have more gender equality in leadership. International Women’s Day is an excellent opportunity to remind ourselves just how much all of us—men and women—miss out on when we fail to unleash the potential of women, and re-focus our energy and effort on achieving a more inclusive environment.”
In her keynote, Byham will address many of the key barriers that hold women back, including a lack of confidence, fear of failure, using self-defeating language, and missing networking opportunities. She’ll give practical tips to help women overcome these barriers, and will focus on actions that male allies can take to support a more gender equitable workplace. 
Byham will also focus on making the business case for more women in leadership, drawing on powerful data to support the bottom-line benefits of gender equity. Specifically, studies show that:
1. Organizations with greater gender diversity are 1.4 times more likely to see sustained, profitable growth. According to the Global Leadership Forecast 2018, produced in partnership by DDI, The Conference Board and EY, organizations that have at least 30 percent women and 20 percent women in senior leadership have, on average, 76 percent greater profitable growth.

2. The reason why organizations with more women succeed has to do with their culture. The Global Leadership Forecast 2018 showed that leaders at organizations with more women tended to operate with different mindsets, not different skills sets. Leaders at gender-diverse organizations had a more inclusive culture, which fostered several key business benefits. Organizations that had at least 20 percent women in senior leadership positions and 30 percent women overall were:
  • Twice as likely to say that leaders work together to create new solutions and opportunities.
  • Twice as likely to say that multiple perspectives determine success.
  • 1.5 times more likely to work across organizational boundaries to create synergies in their efforts.
  • Faster growing and more agile.
  • More likely to experiment and embrace failure in pursuit of innovation.

3. Men think women are doing better than they really are. According to the “Women in the Workplace 2017” report published by McKinsey and LeanIn.Org, half of men believe that an executive team that is only 10 percent women is “gender diverse.” The report also showed that half of men believe their managers consider a diverse pool of candidates when hiring for a position.
The survey data results become even more obvious when paired with DDI’s analysis of more than 15,000 executive assessments, which shows that the pool of candidates assessed for higher levels in the organization becomes increasingly less gender diverse.
4. Men and women are equally as competent as leaders, but have a few key personality differences. DDI’s High Resolution Leadership Study showed that there are no statistically significant differences between the leadership skills between men and women, but there are a few notable personality differences. Men tend to be more inquisitive and impulsive than women, often because men are often rewarded for taking risks. Women, meanwhile, are often nurtured not to try things unless they can get it right. Conversely, women in the study tended to be more interpersonally sensitive than men, which can be advantage in environments where leaders are valued for their interactions with others.
5. Women need male mentors and sponsors. Mentors and sponsors play a critical role in helping a leader develop and opening new doors to opportunity. However, women are often reluctant to ask someone to be their mentor. To make matters worse, many men are now shying away from mentoring women because the #MeToo movement has made them fearful that the relationship may be misinterpreted. 
“While it’s good that men are becoming more aware of the issues of sexual harassment, it’s the wrong solution for men to avoid mentoring women, which will only lead to fewer women in leadership,” said Byham. “Now more than ever, it’s important for men to understand the right ways to mentor and sponsor women in the workplace. It’s better to ask questions and learn how to better support women than to simply avoid women in the workplace altogether.”
To register for Tacy Byham’s webinar, “#LeadLikeAGirl: Power Moves to Unleash the Potential of Women,” visit
For more information about DDI’s Women in Leadership programs, visit DDI’s website:
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About DDI
DDI is a global leadership company that helps organizations transform the way they hire, promote and develop leaders at every level. With more than 100 industrial & organizational psychologists on staff, DDI has dedicated itself to the science and practice of leadership since 1970. Clients include half of the Fortune 500 and multinationals in every industry across more than 90 countries. To find out more information about DDI’s leadership expertise, visit
About Tacy M. Byham, Ph.D.  
Tacy M. Byham, Ph.D. is chief executive officer of global leadership company DDI, leading more than 1,000 employees in 26 countries. Notably, women comprise 53% of DDI’s leadership bench. A nationally recognized speaker and author in the field of leadership, Tacy co-authored Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others with Richard Wellins, available in five languages. A staunch supporter of women’s empowerment and gender equality, Tacy served as the inaugural keynote speaker for the Women in Technology conference, sponsored by HR Technology (2016) and has delivered her #LeadLikeAGirl speech at many conferences and organizations worldwide. She was also a foundational member of The Conference Board’s Leadership Council on Advancing Women in the Workplace which is leading a systemic approach to gender parity and creating a ripple of growth and change.
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