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CHICAGO - The Network of Executive Women (NEW), an industry organization formed to promote diversity, has a new leader. Helayne Angelus, v.p. of global customer business development diversity for Procter & Gamble, will serve as president of the group.
Angelus replaces Kimberly Betts, a manager in human capital of Deloitte & Touche. Betts will remain an officer as immediate past president for NEW, which has more than 1,500 members.
Angelus has served on NEW's board for five years, headed the group's programming and education committee, and most recently served as v.p. for the board. Angelus became involved with NEW when P&G became one of the group's founding sponsors.
"I believe passionately in the mission of NEW, and have confidence that our sponsors and members will derive bottom-line business benefits with greater representation of women and minorities at all levels," Angelus said. "I have experienced how P&G has changed from the primarily male organization I joined 30 years ago, to one that has representation of women and minorities at all levels. This has been a key enabler for winning in the marketplace."
Angelus noted that the NEW Executive Committee has "just completed a renewal of our three-year plan. We are focused on the continual improvement of our value equation to our members and sponsors via sharing diversity best practices in the Industry."
She said the Network plans "to enhance the offerings, and expand nationally with our regional strategy to engage members and sponsors in an efficient and effective way with our mentoring and other programming. And we are committed to increasing the number of multicultural women in this industry via our Women of Color Initiative."
Angelus added that NEW plans to develop "key metrics that will measure the diversity ROI of our sponsoring companies."
"We plan to grow to 14 regions over the next two years and ensure that we maintain high standards," Angelus said. "Our plan is to also expand internationally in the next five to 10 years, as there is a need by many of our global sponsors to share diversity learnings outside the U.S. However, we are a volunteer organization, and we count on the support of our members and sponsors to help guide us. We are financially solvent and will only expand when we have the funding and resources to do so with excellence."
In related news, NEW recently revealed research that suggests women are making scant progress in executive advancement. The data comes form a just-released census of female executives at Fortune 500 companies released by Catalyst.
"In the last years, growth has averaged 0.5 percent a year for women board directors and 0.8 percent per year for women corporate officers," Catalyst reported. "At this rate it could take 70 years for women and men to hold an equal number of seats on Fortune 500 boards, and 40 years for women and men to hold an equal number of...officer positions."
Only eight of the Fortune 500 companies -- 1.6 percent -- had female CEOs in 2005. Furthermore, even among the highest levels of leadership, "women are segregated into less powerful and prestigious positions. They hold proportionately few board committee chairs, clout titles and line positions," the Catalyst census reported.
Catalyst said women executives "face three significant barriers that men rarely face: gender-based stereotyping, exclusion from informal networks, and a lack of role models. These obstacles combine to restrain women from top positions by pigeonholing their talents, restricting access to essential information and discouraging their ambitions."
NEW executive director Joan Toth said the factors cited in the report are top priorities for the Network. "We believe that networking, mentoring and diversity best practices -- when fully implemented -- can help advance and retain women in the CPG/retail industries."