Page 38 - BusinessWest March 17, 2021
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  Women in Business
Learning to Take Charge
Women’s Fund, HCC Partner on Course to Develop Leaders
OBy Mark Morris
nly one-third of all businesses in Western Mass. are owned by women, according to a recent survey. In the healthcare sector, one of the largest employers in the region, leadership positions are held by women 41% of the time
— with outliers like one hospital where it’s only 16%. These findings are from a 2019 study commissioned by
the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts titled “Status of Women and Girls in Western Massachusetts.”
To address disparities like the ones in the survey, the Women’s Fund and Holyoke Community College (HCC) have teamed up on an eight-week training program this spring for women who want to enhance their leadership skills.
Titled “Women Leaning into Leadership: Empowering Your Voice,” the course begins March 25 and runs through May 13.
According to Michele Cabral, executive director of Profes- sional Education and Corporate Learning at HCC, the idea for the course grew out of the Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series, hosted by the college.
Until COVID-19 forced it into a virtual meeting, the col- lege hosted the luncheon every month for the past five years. With attendance limited to 28 attendees, four women leaders would each select a topic relevant to women and leadership, then break out the attendees into four groups to discuss their particular subject. The next month, the groups would rotate so they could discuss a different topic with a different leader. Areas of discussion have included dealing with different lead- ership styles, the role of communication, and conflict man- agement when you’re the only woman in the room.
When COVID hit, Cabral said they pivoted to a remote video lunch and changed the format to having one person lead the discussion and opening it to anyone who wants to join via video. A recent conversation covered how to deal
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