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#LeadLikeAGirl: Tacy Byham, CEO of DDI, Helps Women Leaders Ignite Their Impact on International Women's Day

Businesses with more women leaders financially outperform their peers; Tacy Byham challenges women and men to take action for gender parity in leadership

PITTSBURGH (March 1, 2017) – Gender equality is still 170 years away, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap Report.

On International Women’s Day, DDI chief executive Tacy Byham, Ph.D. will work to shorten the timeline for gender equality by energizing women worldwide to pursue leadership. Byham will ask women and men to unite to increase women in leadership when she gives her virtual keynote “#LeadLikeAGirl: How Women Leaders Ignite Impact” on March 8, 2017 at 10 a.m. EST.

“Research shows that having more women in leadership is not just a women’s issue, but a business issue,” said Byham. “Organizations that have more women in leadership roles perform better financially, and yet less than 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women. My goal with the #LeadLikeAGirl campaign is to show women and men how to take measurable action that will propel women forward as leaders.”

The research behind the business case for more women in leadership shows that there are fewer women in the candidate pool among progressively higher levels of leadership, which may be at least partially attributed to a confidence gap. Leadership development programs, however, can help to close the confidence gap. Organizations that successfully hire more women leaders tend to perform significantly better financially.

Specifically, studies show that:

1. The biggest gap between men and women leaders is confidence. In an analysis of 13,124 leaders, DDI found that men consistently ranked themselves as more effective leaders than their peers, while women were less confident. The confidence gap grew larger among higher levels of leadership.

Confidence Gap

“The gap in confidence often translates to men putting themselves forward for new challenges, jobs and projects, while women may hold back, waiting to be recognized for their hard work,” said Byham.

2. Women have a stronger fear of failure than men. In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Tara Sophia Mohr examined the reasons why men and women chose not to apply for jobs for which they were not 100 percent qualified. For both sexes, the top reason was that applicants didn’t want to waste their time if they probably weren’t going to get the job. But notably, the second most common response for women was that they didn’t want to put themselves out there if they were likely to fail.

3. Leadership development training improves women leaders’ confidence. Among women who participated in Interaction Management®, a type of leadership development training, 82 percent reported that their confidence in being a leader increased.

Training makes women more confident

4. Companies achieve better financial performance when at least 30 percent of leaders are women. Organizations that have at least 30 percent women leaders are 12 times more likely to be in the top 20 percent of financial performers,  according to DDI’s report Ready Now Leaders: Cultivating Women in Leadership to Meet Tomorrow’s Business Challenges.

It's good to be over 50

During the keynote, Byham will discuss how individuals and employers can leverage this research to improve the number of women in leadership. She will also share her personal journey as a leader and demonstrate how to apply key leadership skills at work, at home and in the community. Byham invites men and women to virtually attend the keynote to learn how to:

  • Find your strength and the leader within you
  • Explore the confidence gap
  • Identify your personal wake-up call
  • Super-power your network

The cost to virtually attend the keynote is $15. All proceeds will benefit nonprofit organization Room to Read and its Girls’ Education Program, which helps girls in many of the most underserved parts of the world complete secondary school and graduate with the necessary skills to make informed, independent decisions about how to lead their lives.

“International Women’s Day is a time to champion girls and women around the world so they can reach their full potential,” said Erin Ganju, CEO and co-founder, Room to Read. “We are proud to partner with Tacy Byham whose inspired action of investing in Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program through her webinar will enable girls in Asia and Africa to develop key life skills such as self-confidence, perseverance and relationship building—empowering the next generation of female leaders.”

To register for “#LeadLikeAGirl: How Women Leaders Ignite Their Impact,” visit

For more information about DDI’s Women in Leadership programs, visit DDI’s website:

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About Development Dimensions International
DDI is a global human resources consultancy specializing in leadership assessment and development. We help companies transform the way they hire, promote and develop their leaders at every organizational level. Clients include half of the Fortune 500 and multinationals doing business across a vast array of industries from Berlin to Bangalore. We serve clients from 42 offices.
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About Room to Read
Founded in 2000 on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children®, Room to Read’s innovative model focuses on deep, systemic transformation within schools in low-income countries during two time periods which are most critical in a child’s schooling: early primary school for literacy acquisition and secondary school for girls’ education. We work in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and ensure girls can complete secondary school with the skills necessary to negotiate key life decisions. Room to Read has benefited 11.5 million children across 18,000 communities in Asia and Africa and aims to reach 15 million children by 2020. Learn more at

About Tacy M. Byham, Ph.D.
Tacy M. Byham, Ph.D. is chief executive officer of DDI. In addition to overseeing the organization’s day-to-day operations, Tacy spearheads DDI’s increased strategic focus on its core of leadership insight and growth. During her more than 20 years at DDI, Tacy has led multiple strategic initiatives, including the creation of DDI’s Executive Development Practice and award-winning frontline leader development programs. She also managed the development of succession management programs and corporate universities for key clients. Tacy is the co-author of the acclaimed book, “Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others,” and has penned multiple book chapters and blogs on various leadership topics. She is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from innovation, managing the middle, the arrival of unprepared leaders, harnessing the power of manager support, and sustainability efforts to move from training to impact. In addition, Tacy advocates for mentoring and other issues facing working women and speaks on the topic #LeadLikeAGirl for numerous global corporations.

Available for interviews:
Tacy Byham, Ph.D., chief executive officer, DDI

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