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Bernice Ledbetter Empowering Women in the New Economy | Los Angeles Business Journal Women's Leadership Series & Awards 2021

Bernice LedbetterBernice Ledbetter participated in the first panel of the Los Angeles Business Journal 2021 Women’s Leadership Series where she and other panelists covered the importance of breaking the glass ceiling and how to create inclusion in the workplace. During the panel Ledbetter was asked a series of questions where she provided her expertise.

Question: What are the greatest barriers for women to achieve equity and inclusion?

Employers will need to prioritize flexible work-life balance, especially for working mothers. The pandemic pushed more than 33% of working mothers to downshift their careers or leave their job altogether. Minority working mothers were disproportionately impacted and at greater risk of being excluded in the new economy. Businesses will need to nurture a culture that supports working mothers, allows a flexible work schedule, and prioritizes women being included in the day-to-day items and tasks.

Question: What breakthroughs do you see on the horizon for women?

I do think there is some good news. The workplace of the future will require “relationship workers” which is a common skill set found in women that they excel at. As soft skills begin to play a more important role in the business world, women can take a leadership role with greater authenticity.

Question: What advice would you provide young women on how to achieve higher leadership?

  1. Claim your achievements and be proud of them -- be sure to take credit for the work you’ve done
  2. Learn how to build and leverage your network
  3. Build allies across the organization. This is especially important for when you start a new position or project.

Other panelists included Dee Dee Owens, partner of advisory market leader for the pacific southwest at KPMG LLP; Jodie Poirier, executive managing director for greater Los Angeles at Colliers; Angela Reddock-Wright, employment mediator and arbitrator at Reddock Law/Judicate West.

In addition to participating in the panel, Ledbetter authored an article on empowering women in the new economy. The COVID-19 recession is being coined as the “shecession,” disproportionately impacting women. The pandemic also shed light on many things, one being the lack of policies and support from employers that enable employees to balance work and life. As the economy bounces back, Ledbetter shares three steps on how employers can protect and promote equality: promote women employees and provide flexibility; reconsider the organization charge; and foster diversity by allowing women to act “outside the norm.”

The full article can be read on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s website on page 8.