Leadership Development with a lens on the Unique Experiences of Multicultural Women

Our mission is to expand the talent pipeline by advancing Multicultural Women at a critical stage in their careers

Women have advanced, but multicultural women are being left behind.

MCW represent a third of the female workforce, but are five times less likely to hold executive, senior, and managerial jobs.

Board seats in Fortune 500 companies have six times fewer women of color.

"The Women's Leadership Gap" Center for American Progress.

I get more pushback for speaking up than other women do.

Asian women report more pushback for acting assertively than any other group of women in the workplace.

49% of Asian-Americans report pushback compared to 30% for African-American, 31% of Latinas, and 37% of white women.

Williams, Joan. UC Hastings College of the Law.

I aspire to powerful positions, but I feel my talents aren’t recognized.

Black women aspire to a powerful position with a prestigious title as much as men do, and are far more likely to harbor this aspiration than white women (22% vs 8%).

Black women are more likely than white women (44% vs 30%) to report feeling stalled, and to feel that their talents aren’t recognized by their superiors (26% vs 17%).

"Black Women, Ready to Lead," Center for Talent Innovation

Even when I’m wearing a suit, I get mistaken for a cleaning lady.

Black and Latina women reported that they were regularly mistaken for janitors.

More than any other group, black women reported having to “prove” their competency. About 77% of black women experienced this bias, versus 65% of Latinas, 64% of Asian-American women, and 63% of white women. As a result, mistakes are “more costly” for black women.

Williams, Joan. UC Hastings College of the Law.

Over the course of my career I will lose over $700K by getting paid less for the same work.

When compared to white men, the cost of the wage gap is more than 12 cents for an Asian woman, 32 cents for a Black woman, or 41 cents for a Latina.

The real cost is much higher. Over her lifetime, from the start of her career to the end of it, the average, full-time Asian working woman stands to lose $315,000 and a full-time White working woman, $440,000 as a result of the pay gap. Black and Hispanic women stand to lose much more – about $717,000 for Black women and $854,000 for Hispanic women.

US Department of Labor

I’m planning to leave my company because I don’t see opportunities to develop and advance.

Multicultural women are a greater flight risk than their non-hispanic, White counterparts (55% vs 48%)

What makes MCW want to stay? After Higher Salary (94%), their focus is on development and advancement:

+ Access to professional development (84%)

+ Clear paths to advancement (83%)

+ Ability to get ahead (82%)

Multicultural Women at Work - The Working Mother Report
Sponsored by Deloitte

Men can be aggressive or angry at work, but I have to suppress my emotions so people don’t descredit me as the ‘Crazy Latina’.

More than any other ethnic group, 59% of Latina women felt they could not express anger at work.

They could easily be discredited as too emotional, even in instances where they weren’t angry. Simply not being deferential triggered negative stereotypes for these women.

Williams, Joan. UC Hastings College of the Law

The Challenge

Too few MCW are progressing to HiPo status, leadership positions and, ultimately, executive levels.

Our Unique Position

Our program is designed to address these challenges with a strategy of extended commitment to development, community building, and collaboration with participants’ leaders and HR professionals.

Ensuring Success
Through Support



Executive Briefings with Interactive Discussion that provide participants’ leaders with data, context, and tools to support and reinforce participants’ evolution.


Each participating company receives briefings for key HR professionals to gain information about the program, ask questions, discuss nominations, and express their preferences around learning objectives, cultural norms, etc.

Key Elements

+ Access to a community of MCW peers and role models
+ Facilitated support from their Leaders and HR Professionals
+ Flexibility on timing and location

Program Overview

8 Interactive Web-based Discussions

(90 minutes each)

Each session will be highly interactive with small group discussions, polling, Q&A, and more.

8 Self-paced Topics

(5 to 30 minutes each)

Pre and post work activities deepen the monthly discussion and help the participant put the ideas in practice. We employ videos, articles, and quizzes for a lively experience. Gamification provides dynamic cohort engagement and competition.

Action Steps and Small Team Support

For each topic, participants choose actions steps using the GROW model and work in small teams for accountability and peer coaching.

Executive Guest Speakers

(10 to 20 minutes)

Listen to short podcasts of Bonnie interviewing thought leaders and senior business executives about the issues relevant to our participants.

“Pay It Forward”

(Capstone project)

Each participant shares her wisdom with their peers and leaves a legacy for future participants by creating the content for a new course topic based on an article, video, or other media.

Live Networking

(Dates and locations TBA)

We coordinate with participants to facilitate networking events in various local or regional geographies.

Conclusion and Graduation

(Final virtual meeting-90 minutes)

Awards for the best Capstone Pay-It-Forward projects, review achievement data, celebration of success.

Learning Objectives


Navigate the unwritten rules in their business segment and take ownership of their career progression


Increase awareness of the most typical setbacks for MCW leaders and how to move past them


Expand skills for leading teams with critical nuances for MCW in presence, dealing with pushback, strategic relationships, and more


Create their own Community of MCW to draw upon on long after the program ends

Who Should

+ Multicultural Women (Black, Asian, Hispanic, Multiracial)
+ 12-15 years career experience
+ Significant career advancement
+ High aspirations
+ High performing

Benefits for
Participating Companies

Prepare multicultural women for advancement
Augment internal leadership development programs with access to a large community of MCW leaders
Improve engagement and retention of key MCW talent
Cultivate a diverse pipeline of talented leaders

Measuring Success

Pre and Post Surveys for participants, leaders, and HR professionals

Activity and completion metrics by individual

Team performance – how your company cohort fared against other company cohorts

Follow-up in 2017 to track advancement

Advisory Board

Phyllis Anderson
Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
Pat David
Managing Director and Global Head of Diversity
Shawna Freeman
Senior Vice President, Leadership Development & Organizational Effectiveness
Ehrika Gladden
Senior Director, Americas Cloud Business
Valerie Grillo
Chief Diversity Officer
Jackie Glenn
SVP, Chief Talent and Diversity Officer
Michele Meyer-Shipp
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
Valerie Lewis
Assistant Vice President and Assistant Secretary
Lydia Mallett
Director of Talent Acquisition and Organizational Vibrancy
Pam Rincones
Sr. Vice President, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Ana Duarte McCarthy
Chief Diversity Officer
Geraldine Mehu
Associate Market Executive
Jimmie Paschal
Executive Vice President, Head of Enterprise Diversity and Inclusion and Strategic Philanthropy
Susan Reid
Managing Director and Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion
Magda Yrizarry
SVP, Chief Talent and Diversity Officer

Facilitator: Bonnie St. John

For over 20 years, Bonnie has circled the globe as a keynote speaker and leadership consultant for over five hundred different companies, non-profits and associations. Bonnie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, taking an M.Litt. in Economics. The celebrated author of six books, Bonnie co-authored her most recent #1 bestseller,How Great Women Lead, with her teenage daughter, Darcy. Bonnie has been featured on: The Today Show, CNN, CBS Morning News, NBC News, PBS, NPR, and The New York Times, as well as People, “O”, and Essence magazines, to name just a few.

NBC Nightly News called Bonnie, “One of the five most inspiring women in America.”

Blue Circle Leadership Institute

We partner with innovative companies and organizations of all sizes to support leaders who are at the forefront of business transformations. From the Fortune 500 to professional organizations and associations, Blue Circle equips clients with unique tools and techniques to help them create a culture within their organizations that can sustain rapid growth, increase resilience, and thus generate breakthrough performance that transfers to bottom-line business results.

Our programs are designed with one goal: to help the best get even better.

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