10 Leadership Principles from Women in the C-Suite

Community Blog
Written by Georgia Moore

MARCH 5, 2024

As the business landscape evolves, so does the C-suite. New priorities are shifting traditional roles and responsibilities, and new C-level positions are emerging to meet the needs of the future. However, through all of this growth and opportunity, there is still a gender disparity within these roles.

Women account for 47% of the workforce, yet they only hold 28% of C-level positions in the S&P100, according to a Harvard report. Chief human resources officers are the only position where women have met the glass ceiling, representing 50% of CHROs. The gender gap is more defined in technology and financial leadership roles where women represent 27% of chief information officers, 21% of chief data and analytics officers, 16% of chief information security officers, and 16% of chief financial officers. 

Many of the most influential women in business are members of Evanta, a Gartner Company’s, exclusive C-level communities, and we recently asked them about the guiding leadership principles that helped them get to where they are today. They all have extensive experience and lengthy resumes in their fields, but it is interesting to see how many of them outlined their ability to build emotional intelligence in the workforce as critical to their leadership style and success. Their responses were highly focused on their people – with empowerment, listening, trust and authenticity as major themes. 

This is what 10 C-level executives from the world’s leading organizations had to say about their guiding leadership principles:

  1. Mona Bates, VP, Digital Technology & CIO, Collins Aerospace
    Governing Body Member of the Boston CIO Community

Team empowerment and accountability. Hiring strong and diverse talent and perspectives is one thing; establishing a clear vision and expectations is another. Empower and resource the team at different levels of the organization to execute and deliver results by bringing their best thinking and skills to the workplace. This also fosters a culture where teams and leaders communicate openly. A motto I live by and share often is ‘bad news does not get better with time.’”

  1. Gillian Tomlinson, Group Chief Data & Digital Officer, Weir
    Governing Body Member of the UK & Ireland CDAO Community

For me, empowering others and leading with empathy are critical to nurture talent and foster a great performing team.”

  1. Jen Vasquez, VP, CISO, Evernorth (A Cigna Group Company)
    Governing Body Member of the Denver CISO Community

To authentically connect with my leaders and teams, to bring them into our evolving culture, and to make sure I have a strong relationship with each of them. This enables my leadership team to set high expectations, but create a safe place to innovate and grow their skill sets and enable their career growth.”

  1. Sue Liderth, CIO, EMEA, The Coca-Cola Company
    Governing Body Member of the UK CIO Community

The best kind of sustainable change is created when both digital and human capabilities are developed in tandem - our people are truly our greatest asset."

  1. Karen O’Connor, GM Strategy & Architecture, Chief Architect, Alinta Energy
    Governing Body Member of the Melbourne CIO Community

Lead by intent and not instruction.”

  1. Desy Majo, Chief Financial Officer & Director, & Board (North America), Maccaferri Construction
    Governing Body Member of the Washington, DC CFO Community

Lead by example. Being a leader is not solely about authority or position – it is about empowering others, levering on their own potential, fostering inclusivity, and effecting positive change. It can be a powerful motivator for others to emulate and uphold high standards.”

  1. Béatrice Mabille, VP of Internal IT - CIO, Criteo
    Governing Body Member of the France CIO Community

Transparency and trust are the values guiding my leadership style. I lead by empowering my teams, trusting them to deliver and achieve their objectives. Transparency is required to lead with authenticity, sharing what goes well, the challenges, and saying when we don’t know. It is what I expect from my team members in return – it goes hand-in-hand with the trust I give.”

  1. Ghada Richani, Managing Director, Data & Technology Strategy and Project Management Office, Bank of America
    Governing Body Member of the Southern California CDAO Community

One of my guiding leadership principles centers around the belief that inclusiveness and diversity of thoughts are the secret ingredients of success. I emphasize creating an environment that values and embraces diverse perspectives, fostering a culture where every voice is heard and respected. This principle not only enriches decision-making processes but also cultivates innovation, creativity, and resilience within the team, ultimately contributing to the overall success and growth of the organization.”

  1. Janet Joubran, Chief People Officer, KFC Canada, Division of YUM! brands
    Co-Chair of the Toronto CHRO Community

One of my guiding leadership principles is staying solutions-focused and balancing a future-focused mind-set. But if I had to give you my second, you must enable fun at work. It’s quite incredible how impactful an enjoyable work environment is on engagement and productivity, with research proving this as well.”

  1. Jo Phillips, Chief People Officer, Carnival UK
    Governing Body Member of the UK & Ireland CHRO Community

Nurture people and give them wings to do great things.”

At Evanta, we strive to provide visibility and opportunities to women leaders and promote diversity throughout our communities. We often conduct panel discussions and networking sessions for our female members to connect and empower one another, and at our upcoming UK & Ireland CIO Inner Circle, we will be hosting a CIO Next-Generation Programme to help more women create a pathway to a CIO position.

For more information, apply to join your local Evanta Community, and if you are already a member, go to MyEvanta to view your upcoming programs and register for your next community gathering.

Georgia Moore headshot

Georgia Moore

Sr Director, Content at Evanta, a Gartner Company

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