Ten years ago when I came to the Business Journal, I had been on the job just a few weeks when I was asked to be the emcee for the fifth annual Women in Business Gala and Awards.
I asked then and some still ask today in this our 15th year, “Why are these recognitions relevant?” Here is the answer: An analysis earlier this year by CNN found only 14.2 percent of the top five leadership positions at the companies in the S&P 500 — you read that correctly, top five positions — are held by women.
So yes, while women have made enormous progress in corporate America — Melissa Mayer at Yahoo, Mary Barra at GM — there is still a long way to go. And that’s what keeps these recognitions relevant and necessary.
We are proud to recognize a record number of recipients this year — 22 women — from a broad spectrum of professions including wine, biotech, law, accounting, banking, health care, wealth management, higher education, human resources and small business. Each has their own story of how they rose to their roles as leaders, innovators and visionaries.
We extend our thanks to all who submitted nominations, more than 50, another record. And we especially want to thank those among our more than 150 previous winners who submitted nominations. Your continuing support means a great deal to us and, I am sure, to the recipients.
Our thanks, too, to Wells Fargo for underwriting these recognitions and to our presenting sponsors, Burr Pilger Mayer, Anderson, Zeigler, Disharoon, Gallagher & Gray, Exchange Bank, Sonoma State University and St Joseph Health–Sonoma County. You stepped forward to support women business leaders. Thank you.
Finally, congratulations to our recipients.
Women in Business winners over the years