(Updated) Inside Business Mag’s Top 10 Under 40: Nine men, One woman? Really?

UPDATE: I’ve been asked to offer some ideas on who I would put on this list. I’ll do that but also make suggestions about who IB should be sure they’re asking, especially since the NEO business community is one with which I’ve probably had the least interaction over time.  Who would you suggest?? Please email me or leave names in the comment section.

Original post:

It’s just another list, I know, but still. I haven’t seen the print version yet of Inside Business with the Power 100 (Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald leads), but that top 10 under 40, with just one woman – we should all find that truly alarming if it’s at all representative of 1) who we are supposed to think are leaders and 2) if we agree with the definition of “leader” as defined by this segment, why just 10% of the top 10 under 40 are women.  Tri-C and Case Western Reserve University are headed by women (and both listed in the top 10 women list), we have many judges who are women, doctors, philanthropists, clergy, public service, and yes, business.

I’m going to tickle Erick Trickey and see what light he can shed on this (thanks in advance, Erick).

Here’s the description of how it was done for the list published in 2011:

We started our search for the region’s most powerful by turning to those who know power best. We surveyed the leaders on our previous Power 100 list, asking them who wields the most clout in Northeast Ohio today, who gained power in 2010, who lost it and which up-and-comers are already proving themselves. We also invited the business enthusiasts on Inside Business’ e-mail list to offer suggestions and tips, which led us to trends and shifts that our sources in Northeast Ohio’s corridors of power confirmed. Finally, we applied our news judgment about the events and forces that affected our region in 2010 and our sense of which men and women most influenced the region’s economy and which are poised to do the same in the new year.

Now, Ohioans, remember that whole thing about Governor Kasich and his failure to field a diverse cabinet and how in part it had to do with who he talks to about such things (hint: his circle, ahem)? I would say that a bit of that could happen in the way the methodology is described from 2011.

Let’s learn more – and see if we can’t improve the surveying of this important topic, or, if it’s just that accurate, respond to the alarm regarding so few women coming up into power.

3 thoughts on “(Updated) Inside Business Mag’s Top 10 Under 40: Nine men, One woman? Really?

  1. Hi Erick,

    Thanks for this thoughtful response. I’ve opened both links and will look (okay, scour) through them.

    I can just imagine the trendlines you’ve seen over time and yes, it’s that feedback loop I’m talking about that I know can be a problem, in many respects related to climbing any ladder/getting ahead/succeeding by most definitions (i.e., the women in tech startups article I forwarded to you today).

    Adding in more people to the mix of who suggests names is a great place to start. Producing separate stories about the topic and variations on the theme are also useful.

    As you probably know, another concern is the creation of a silo that then can cause people to think it’s all just fine when really that’s not the solution at all.

    One very well-known example of this concern arose in 2010 with the creation of a TEDxWomen event. While there were and are many reasons to cheer this, and the events in 2010 and 2011 were very successful, the debate continues re: giving more women a platform at the regular TED events.

    It’s a progression – and the progression is some steps forward, and then some back – nothing new there. But it should continue to be raised both when progress is achieved and can be praised (the CEO numbers are creeping up ever so slowly and in a few cases, there have been women CEOs bringing up women CEOs – that is great) as well as when we fall short.

    I think I’ll end with this link to one of my most favorite exchanges about “when will there be enough women” on lists, in positions of power, in leadership, in all sectors or at a minimum, where women want to be and can serve well under any measure:


    Spoiler alert transcript from that post:

    [Text onscreen: “The Women’s Conference / October 26, 2010. / abc.com” Cut to video: Three women are sitting on a stage in front of a banner reading “The Women’s Conference 2010,” and below a graphic reading “Legendary Architects of Change.” The women are, from left to right, ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.]

    Ginsburg: It’s the first time the public can see we are really there—really there to stay. Not one at a time curiosities. [applause] You know, one important sign is, in the years that I served with Sandra, every term, without fail, one lawyer or another called me Justice O’Connor [O’Connor nods her head in agreement] because they were accustomed to a woman, and that woman was Sandra—and you can see we really don’t look alike, do we? [Laughter; O’Connor laughs and shakes her head and makes a funny gesture] Well, last year, not one person called Sonia Sotomayor Justice Ginsburg, and this year, I am confident, that no one will call Justice Kagan either Justice Sotomayor or Justice Ginsburg. [applause]

    Sawyer: Landmarks along the way, yeah. So, have you thought—how many women is enough?


    O’Connor: What? [laughter]

    Ginsberg: How many women—?

    Sawyer: How many women would be enough?

    Ginsberg: Nine.

    [laughter and cheers and applause]

    O’Connor: We’re not there yet. [Sawyer laughs]

    Ginsburg: Well, there’ve been nine men there for a long, long time, right? So why not nine women?

    [cheers and applause]

  2. Jill,

    Most Powerful Leaders Under 40 is an interesting list. It’s not future leaders, but people already in positions of power now, at an unusually early age.

    I’ll focus on your provocative question of whether the Power 100 covers areas where women lead. You can see how the list breaks down by area or occupation here:

    My impression, after working on this issue for a few years, is that women rise to the top in the nonprofit and education sectors faster and more often than in business. (Nationally, only 12 Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs — 2.4%.) That’s an interesting pattern. So a Power 100 list that included more nonprofit CEOs and fewer business CEOs would have more women on it. But since IB is a business magazine, I think it’s justifiable that business leaders make up 44% of the list.

    Last year we interviewed five female executives and asked (among other things) what it would take to see more women in top executive positions:

    Magazine lists are always subjective, and it’s possible to get stuck in a feedback loop. So please do suggest more female sources for our Power 100 reporting as well as candidates for the list.

    Erick Trickey
    Senior Editor, Inside Business & Cleveland Magazine

  3. Pingback: Getting here from there: What being platform agnostic really looks like : Writes Like She Talks

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