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Present Women at Corning

Present Women at Corning

Present Women at Corning

Women Leaders in Finance continues to expand

Women Leaders in Finance continues to expand

​When Telsha joined Corning, she expected the Women Leaders in Finance program to be a place to network. It's turned into much more.

"It's helped me identify my strengths and make decisions around what path to take as it relates to my career. The program has provided me with invaluable professional development opportunities and empowered me to speak up," said Telsha, a Corning finance employee. "Seeing other women who navigated their way to senior positions with Corning makes me proud to be a part of the program and it has inspired me to say, 'I can do that too.'"

Telsha, now a coach in the program, is one of nearly a hundred women at Corning who have developed valuable leadership, business, and relational skills through Women Leaders in Finance. The program prepares future leaders through coaching, training, and networking opportunities—while also increasing awareness of women's vital role in Finance.  Nearly a decade after its founding, the program is celebrating a 19 percent increase in women in Finance leadership at Corning, while also finding new ways to encourage women to succeed in their careers.

"Diversity is essential for Finance to succeed, and more importantly it's a deeply embedded part of our Values at Corning," said Stefan, a co-sponsor of the program. "Diversity strengthens the Finance function and gives us a competitive edge."

Reshaping a historical trend

Women have historically been underrepresented in finance leadership across corporations. Corning's program has addressed this trend by connecting women with coaches who help develop their careers, peers with whom to build a strong network, and training to sharpen their skills.

"Women have been vital to the success of Corning throughout its history, and we have always had a strong commitment to diversity," said Michelle, director and co-sponsor of the program. "When the program began in 2009 we saw an opportunity to strengthen our pipeline of talent for leadership roles. We've seen that many women who have advanced into leadership credit the program with helping them get there."

An emphasis on coaching

The program develops women in four areas: analytic skills, influencing others, results orientation, and managing self. For example, during the 2017 conference, participants worked on an exercise to turn financial information into powerful messages and learned how to create a personal development plan. Other trainings have included presentation skills, business partnership, and managing change.

Beyond the trainings, many participants said the peer and coaching relationships are among the most valuable parts of the program. Everyone in the program meets regularly with a coach who provides guidance about career or technical questions.

"I've found that I've been able to reach out to people who I've met in the program," said Donna, a finance employee and program member. "They've been like my informal mentors throughout Corning."

Investing in the next generation

Members of the steering team said they are pleased with the success of the program so far, but they still see opportunities to improve gender diversity in Finance. They've opened the program to more people and expanded internationally. Employees from more than 14 countries are now part of the program. Other staff groups – IT and HR – are also planning to partner with Finance and create a similar leadership program.

As the program grows and evolves, it continues to send a clear message to participants about Corning's commitment to developing leaders.

"Corning always supports the next generation of leadership," said Zsuszanna, a program participant. "It's great that they support women and make sure that they get the same chances."