Mentoring Program Serves Young Women in Business

ALBANY, N.Y. — A new program to boost the number of women in corporate boardrooms is tapping 100 executives from top businesses in New York to mentor young women.

The effort to increase the number of high-level female executives was announced Monday at a New York City event hosted by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Executives from IBM, Citigroup, Time-Warner and Macy’s will volunteer for the program, which will start next month and will be open to women who are between two and seven years out of college.

Partnership for New York City chief executive officer Kathryn Wylde, who took part in the announcement, said that though there are many women in business, they don’t have the same professional networks that help young male executives on the rise.

“They don’t have a well-defined ‘old girls’ network,’” Wylde said with a laugh. “The boys are on the golf course, and the women are often either at their desk or taking care of family responsibilities. The women don’t have the same kind of professional network and support system.”

Wylde said the Partnership is involving both female and male mentors, in part because of necessity.

There are 15 female chief executive officers among the companies listed in the Fortune 500, according to the nonprofit organization Catalyst. Research released this month by Catalyst found men were more likely to reach senior executive positions than women across all career profiles.

Making the announcement with Gillibrand and Wylde was Council for Urban Professionals executive director Chloe Drew. The program is a collaboration between the two groups and was initiated by Gillibrand.

The Partnership is identifying the 100 mentors and the Council is identifying 100 young professionals.

The announcement was made at New York University at Gillibrand’s first Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit.

“We know that when young professionals have a mentor in their field it makes a difference,” Gillibrand said. “I have been fortunate to have extraordinary women role models who were instrumental in my own life. I’m thrilled this new program will give more young women access to senior business executives to help them succeed in their own careers.”