Enhance Women’s Leadership in Seven Easy Steps: The ElevateHER Challenge

By Caitlin Fellows, Women’s Leadership Institute

In just one year, the Women’s Leadership Institute of Utah has been making great strides for women in business and politics. With the revolutionary launch of the ElevateHER Challenge, the Women’s Leadership Institute challenged organizations throughout the state of Utah to take the pledge to enhance women’s leadership in seven areas:

  • Increase the percentage of women in senior leadership positions.
  • Increase the retention rate of women at all levels of your organization.
  • Increase the number of women on your organizations board of directors, extend the influence of women in your industry and encourage women to serve on community and corporate boards.
  • Monitor pay by gender and close identified gaps.
  • Establish a leadership development and/or mentoring program for women.
  • Urge women to run for public office and give follow-up support.
  • Create innovative ways to elevate the stature of women’s leadership in your organization.

As of this year and the second annual ElevateHER Challenge, more than 115 CEOs of organizations have formally taken the challenge to elevate the status of women in their organization. These include some of the top business leaders in the state of Utah, who are setting an extraordinary example for the rest of the state and the country.

Utah is the second state to have businesses undertake such a challenge (Massachusetts being the first), but the ElevateHER Challenge has a unique element that hasn’t been seen before: the political side of women’s leadership. The Women’s Leadership Institute recognizes the business imperative of women in decision-making capacities. WLI also recognizes that women’s voices are underrepresented and critical to shaping public policies that affect women and families. The ElevateHER Challenge urges organizations to support political leadership by women and to increase the representation of women in political office. The Women’s Leadership Institute offers strategic training opportunities for women in both the business and political arenas.

One of the key facets of the ElevateHER Challenge is partnering with men in order to help elevate women. Men are considered allies and advocates of women. Since the highest levels of leadership in business and politics are currently dominated by men, it is essential to work together in order to help make the picture more equal. The Women’s Leadership Institute recognizes this importance, and strives to employ gender equality throughout initiatives such as the ElevateHER Challenge.

Companies who take the challenge can meet with other companies in peer-to-peer exchanges, and learn the best practices from companies who are already doing well in elevating the stature of women. The Women’s Leadership Institute provides support by facilitating these exchanges and providing access to other resources for women. Pat Jones, former Utah State Senator and CEO of the Women’s Leadership institute says: “Organizations are hearing and following the drum beat for women’s leadership. We are moving the needle.” Through initiatives like the ElevateHER Challenge, the Women’s Leadership Institute is doing great things for women in leadership!

For more information on the ElevateHER Challenge, visit our website.


See more photos from the second annual ElevateHER Challenge launch event.