On Tuesday, March 3, West LegalEdcenter will host Transformative Leadership: Empowering Women by Improving Participation and Representation – an inaugural event designed to address the challenges affecting leadership opportunities for women in the world’s largest organizations. And with International Women’s Day on March 8, the event takes on a particularly timely tone.

Patsy Doerr, global head of Corporate Responsibility & Inclusion at Thomson Reuters, will kick-off the sold-out event in New York with the opening address to attendees.

“There’s no doubt that all firms are struggling with the same issues and want to increase [the number of women in leadership] because it’s proven that gender-diverse leadership teams have a direct impact on the bottom line,” she said.

As organizations look at how to bridge the gender gap, Doerr asserts that a top-down approach is essential. She noted how Thomson Reuters president and CEO Jim Smith recently joined the 30% Club, an organization with a goal to bring the makeup of FTSE-100 boards up to 30 percent women by the end of 2015.

“It’s our responsibility, as an organization, to help drive change in terms of women in leadership across the globe, and in some cases, that means joining organizations that advocate for women,” Doerr noted. “Corporations need to support women in leadership, because if you think about the purpose of having a diverse employee base, it is to cast the widest net; to attract the best possible talent.”

But for women to take an even bigger role in business also means a fundamental change in the culture, organizational support and individual behavior. In a speech Doerr gave last month at The Power of Successful Women in Boston, she spoke about what women, as individuals, can do to better achieve success.

“There is research out there that identifies very specific behaviors that women typically struggle with: self-promotion, networking with a purpose, and taking risks.” Doerr noted.

She went on to describe a recent study that found a disparity between men and women in pursuing job openings – men will often apply for jobs when they believe they only meet 60 percent of the criteria, while women only apply when they believe they meet 90 percent of the criteria.

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