The Chicago-based Network of Executive Women (NEW), which represents nearly 10,000 members from the retail and consumer goods and services industries, announced that it launched the NEW Future Fund, a campaign aimed at achieving 50/50 gender parity in the industry, it says.
The NEW Future Fund is a $5 million capital campaign to fund technology that delivers industry-specific data and insights and training and collaboration tools to increase the representation of women in leadership positions, NEW says. Brian Cornell, chairman and chief executive officer of Minneapolis-based Target Corp., and Indra Nooyi, chairman and chief executive officer of Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc., will co-chair the industrywide initiative.
“On behalf of PepsiCo, I’m proud to support the NEW Future Fund to make sure women are equally represented at the highest levels of our industry,” Nooyi said in a statement. “We know that when we open the doors of opportunity to extraordinary women, businesses thrive. Through the powerful partners NEW is bringing together, we have the chance to drive meaningful change across our industry, harnessing the talents of the best and brightest, women and men alike. This isn’t just about doing the right thing — it’s about doing the right thing for our businesses and our industry.”
Cornell added: “I’m thrilled to represent Target and join Indra as co-chair of NEW’s Future Fund. I’ve had the opportunity to work for exceptional female leaders throughout my career and am proud to surround myself with strong female leaders at Target. There’s no question we’re making progress, but we still have work to do to achieve gender parity in the industry. The work that will be done as a result of this campaign is a critical step in this process.”
The NEW Future Fund will create additional industry-specific insights and benchmarks on gender parity, NEW says. In addition, the data collected from NEW Future Fund research will be essential to understanding performance and developing more effective ways to accelerate women in the retail, consumer goods and services industries, it adds.
This data will be coupled with online and on-the-go learning and team training resources that will be tailored to these industries’ needs and trends, NEW says. Last year, NEW introduced the NEW Career Accelerator Model with the Center for Creative Leadership to outline the 13 critical success factors specific to women leaders in these industries. The NEW Career Accelerator Model — and the career programs, events, webinars and content based on it — provide a strong formula for personal and organizational growth, it adds. More than 20,000 NEW industry leaders leveraged these training and collaboration tools in 2015.
“Our future as an industry depends on more women in leadership roles,” said Joan Toth, president and chief executive officer of NEW, in a statement. “Today, PepsiCo and Target are showing their commitment to driving innovation and business growth. I’m convinced that working together, powered by the NEW Future Fund, we can achieve 50/50 gender parity in our leadership.”