According to a Pew Research Center survey, 75 percent of women believe greater change is needed to achieve gender equality in the workplace, compared to 57 percent of their male counterparts. To address the increasing concern about gender equality, major corporations are taking a closer look at their hiring practices and employee resources to promote diversity and inclusion. In an effort to raise awareness at Panasonic Corporation of North America, the company supported the launch of Women Connect, a business impact group to enrich the experience of women within the company. The mission of the group includes fostering inclusion and diversity, career building and demonstrating benefits to recruiting, retention and business development. Membership has grown to over 300 since its inception last year; there are even a few male members. This month, the group will celebrate its 1 year-anniversary.
Under the executive sponsorship of Joseph Taylor, Chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America and Victoria Obenshain, Vice President of Mobility at Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, the group has provided an opportunity to promote a conversation that has an impact on how business is done at a nearly 100 year-old global corporation. Women Connect was created to help bolster a culture of inclusion and innovation and is committed to empowering women across the different sales divisions that make up Panasonic.
“Within the first year, Women Connect has given employees a platform to engage, support and understand one another, “said Gina Tokar, Vice President of Sales Operations, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America and President of Women Connect at Panasonic Corporation of North America.
Recently, more than 50 employees gathered at the company’s headquarters in Newark, NJ, to learn about developing a skill that even some of the most senior execs say they’re afraid of practicing: public speaking. Frequent events are scheduled in support of the group’s mission. Other activities include How-To Network Events, a fundraiser for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and guest speaker presentations. Last fall, the group also hosted New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. In addition to events, members are also welcome to join the group’s Remarkable Women book club or become a member of subcommittees focused on networking, mentoring and professional development.
In addition to current activities, Panasonic Women Connect hopes to implement mentoring and executive interview programs over the next year. These initiatives will foster professional development, growth and business ideas across the corporation’s various departments and internal sales companies.
Women Connect is a part of Panasonic’s growing diversity and inclusion initiatives. The company also has an active Veteran’s Business Impact group.