2018 Letter From HBA’s President and CEO Laurie Cooke
I open this December editorial by reflecting on my June column titled “A time for change. It’s about time.” Wow, was it ever. Without question, 2018 was the year of the woman in so many ways. I think 2018 however has simply been a warm-up for what’s to come as we get closer to the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in 2020.
Looking back at this past year, I’m struck by how the HBA’s achievements and initiatives mirrored how women throughout the world raised their voices and united for real change.
The HBA ignited progress, built momentum and made an impact on many levels in our HBA community. Alongside this we observed and experienced the launch of the TimesUp movement. I think seeing our work in light of the larger stage of women’s rights bears examining as there were some historical milestones that helped foster the global drive for the advancement of women.
- Record numbers of women running for political office—both in terms of the number of candidates and the number of those elected—in the House, the Senate and in local jurisdictions. A few highlights to note:
- The first Muslim woman elected to Congress
- The first Native American women elected to Congress
- The first woman elected senator in Tennessee
- The first woman elected governor of South Dakota
- Global attention to gender disparities across all industries from entertainment and sports to the recent worldwide corporate “Walk Out for Change” at corporate giant Google.
The launch of the HBA’s United Force for Change brand -- and integrated it in all that we say and do -- was more timely than we could have imagined. Building on the brand initiative has reinforced the HBA’s role in taking the leadership role in campaigning to advance women in our industry. Here’s a look at the HBA’s impact this year with our “firsts”:
- Membership topped 10,000
- 1,000 members in the EU
- 132 corporate partners representing more than 300 companies
- The Gender Parity Collaborative launched with 12 founding companies
- Three outstanding companies honored with the ACE award
- First Digital Competency certificate program launched
- Regional seminars and an Executive Summit debuted
- The HBA continuously tapped for our thought leadership
- Collaboration with McKinsey & Co. and Lean In to expand valuable data for our industry in the Women in the Workplace annual study
With all this activity, it doesn’t mean as much to our members if they don’t personally experience an improvement. So I’m pleased to say that our membership survey found that 85 percent of members said that involvement with the HBA helped them advance in their careers – real results.
As I’ve said before, the HBA has been advocating for women in business and gender parity long before TimesUp and the current women’s movements throughout the America and the world. Without a doubt, 2018 was an exciting year and 2019 and beyond is looking even more so.
It’s now time to take note and celebrate.
It’s now time to double down on igniting progress, building momentum and making an impact.
After all, equality delayed is opportunity denied.