General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra shared her encouragement for women in the workplace with Delta CEO Ed Bastian in the most recent episode of Gaining Altitude.
Barra encouraged women to “find your voice. Have a point of view.” Too often, she said, women are discouraged from speaking up, which can close the door to future opportunities. That’s why Barra sees herself as having an important role in encouraging women to “go for it.”
“You won’t always be right, but no one’s right all the time… And I think if you go for it, and you don’t start to take yourself out of a situation before you’ve even started,” women will find success, Barra said. “And when you get that little bit of uncomfortable feeling in your stomach, that’s when you need to go for it.”
Watch the full episode at delta.com/gainingaltitude.
The leaders discussed companies' responsibility to encourage women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. A focus on increasing the representation of women in the workplace and STEM – particularly in historically male-dominated occupations – starts by reaching girls as early as middle school, according to Barra.
She explained that the onus is on companies to encourage girls to stick with a STEM-based education so that they don’t fall behind by the time they’re entering college. Once they enter the workforce, mentoring can play a role in picking up where education leaves off, Barra said.
“Education is the great equalizer,” Barra said. “… I’m a big believer that if everybody has access to great education then they can be their best self and they can achieve their life goals.”
WHAT IS DELTA DOING?
At Delta, we seek to reflect the world we live, work and serve in at all levels of our company. We remain committed to growing the percentage of female officers, among other important goals.
Through Delta's Close the Gap reporting, we hold ourselves accountable for our plan to grow and attract talent in three demographics where the difference in representation between frontline employees and leaders remains the largest: Black employees, women and other ethnic minority groups.
ABOUT GAINING ALTITUDE
Gaining Altitude is a new series from Delta that tackles conversations worth navigating, connecting people while building understanding across the globe. CEO Ed Bastian hosts one-on-one live conversations with insightful leaders about topics that matter.
From transformational leadership to employee-first culture and the importance of knowing your personal values, the first three episodes have featured meaningful life lessons with General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Union Square Hospitality Group CEO and Shake Shack Founder Danny Meyer, and Walker and Company Brands CEO Tristan Walker.
Catch the next episode with Jopwell CEO and co-founder Porter Braswell at 1 p.m. EDT Oct. 27. Discover all the episodes and watch live at delta.com/gainingaltitude.