A note from founder and executive director Laura Desveaux
My greatest achievement to date was realized on my first maternity leave—and I’m not talking about my son. I’ve always been an ambitious and career-oriented woman, so it’s safe to say that pregnancy and my first maternity leave threw me for a loop. Like many women, I lost my sense of identity. As I started to plan my return to work, I searched for professional development opportunities that would help me develop my leadership skills and navigate the unique challenges faced by women at work. I was disappointed to learn there was nothing that fit the profile for women who worked in healthcare. And so it began.
Purpose fuels passion.
Women comprise 70% of the health workforce worldwide but only occupy 25% of health leadership positions. The gender pay gap results in women making 26% less than their male colleagues. There are repeated calls to ‘develop the pipeline’ but these calls remain largely unaddressed. Gender-specific leadership training breaks down system barriers to position women as health leaders. Organizations with diverse leadership perform better and make better decisions- it positively affects the bottom line! Professional women with other women in their inner circle land jobs that are 2.5 times higher in pay and authority than women without these connections. So what are we waiting for?
She believed she could, so she did.
The goal of Women Who Lead is to create a movement that fills the pipeline with diverse women leaders who are ready to advance the healthcare landscape, equipping them with the skills and opportunities they need to succeed. Most importantly, it is a platform for partnership and inspiration that elevates and amplifies the contributions of women and the broader community.
When women support each other, incredible things happen.
The response from women in healthcare (and beyond) has been nothing short of inspiring. What started as a passion was shaped into a vision, and that vision became a reality because of the collective power of women and their desire to shape their careers and the healthcare industry along with it.