Inforum News

Inforum Center for Leadership and Ernst & Young Release the First Michigan Entrepreneurial Leadership Report

Inforum Center for Leadership and Ernst & Young LLP have released the first "Michigan Entrepreneurial Leadership Report." The study is a snapshot of women's leadership in Michigan's highest-performing entrepreneurial companies – those who have been recognized for their vision, innovation and strong record of financial performance and are the driving force behind growth and economic development.
This new study, which builds on Inforum's biennial "Michigan Women's Leadership Index" (MWLI), looks at the presence of women in the leadership ranks of high-growth and innovative entrepreneurial companies in Michigan.

Among the key findings:
High-growth, entrepreneurial-minded companies in Michigan are more likely than publicly traded companies to employ a woman in a key leadership role.
  • Sixty-one percent of all respondents report having at least one woman serving in a C-level or equivalent senior leadership position in their organization; 87 percent reported having a woman in a leadership role that leads a division or department and reports directly to the CEO/most senior position in the company. By contrast, the 2011 MWLI found that 49 percent ofMichigan's top 100 public companies had no female top-level executives.
  • Overall, 69 percent of companies with a board of directors had at least one woman member. Of those with a board of advisors, 64 percent had at least one woman member. According to the 2011 MWLI, 53 percent of Michigan's top 100 private companies had at least one woman director.
Women in entrepreneurial companies have a good chance of participating at a high level, even when those companies are founded by men.
  • Among the high-growth, entrepreneurial-minded companies surveyed, the average number of women in senior roles was almost double in women-founded companies as compared with companies founded by men. However, the level of executive participation of women among companies founded by men was also significantly higher than in the largest public companies in Michigan.
  • Leadership roles of respondents that report directly to the CEO or equivalent senior-level decision maker are broadly distributed across functions:
    • 30 percent - operations / product development
    • 28 percent - finance
    • 20 percent - sales
    • 16 percent - human resources
    • 6 percent - marketing
"This research points to what Ernst & Young already knows to be true: companies with diversity in its leadership ranks tend to get stronger business results," said Jeff Bergeron, Ernst & Young's Detroit managing partner. "We're proud to work alongside Inforum on this survey and other programs that help women entrepreneurs achieve their potential and drive innovation and growth."
The "Michigan Entrepreneurial Leadership Report" shows that entrepreneurial-minded companies in general – those with high-growth and a recognized innovative culture – are incorporating more women in senior roles.

"The results of this first snapshot into the leadership ranks of high-growth and innovative entrepreneurial companies are encouraging," said Terry Barclay, CEO of Inforum and Inforum Center for Leadership. "The study underscores the value of tapping into the full potential of women's leadership at the highest levels of a company to drive economic growth." 

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