Heather Furby doesn’t have a conventional bone in her body. And that’s what makes her so special in what she does. A northern California native, Furby brings a breadth of corporate and small business experience that she now shares with women in technology.
The problem of getting more young women into science and high-tech fields is getting a lot of attention lately, including a 2014 history-making super bowl ad for engineering toys for girls. However, keeping them in those fields – and moving into leadership positions – is a remaining challenge.
A recent report from the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) finds that women working in science and technology fields are 45 percent more likely than their male peers to leave the industry within one year. Furthermore, the study also found that about a third of senior leaders, both male and female, who work in these fields reported that a woman would never reach the top position in their company.
“We’re just not making it to the top leadership positions,” says Furby. “And because of the lack of growth opportunities, combined with often challenging workplace cultures, many women are simply stalled in their careers and leaving the industry.”
Women make up half the labor force, but in 2013, women only held 4.2% of Fortune 500 CEO positions, and just over 14% of all executive positions in those companies.
“You have to wonder about the sustained success of companies that are only hiring leaders from half of the talent available,” says Furby. “And tech companies are losing out on a major source of innovation and leadership. The gap is not due to a lack of talent out there. There are plenty of qualified women ready for executive and board positions. We just need to hire them and make our companies attractive for them to stay.”
So how do science and technology companies create a culture of innovation that encourages women to join and rise to leadership positions?
“It’s simple,” states Furby. “But it’s subtle.”
Part of Furby’s unique background has been her work with people with special needs. She realized early on in life that every individual has much to offer, no matter his or her ability or appearance, and it made her look at the world differently. It made her question conventional wisdom and pursue answers to questions others hadn’t thought of yet.
Combined with her personal experiences and life in business, she realized that things could be done differently. There is an untapped potential in women-led businesses for innovation, job creation and economic growth.
As the co-founder and CEO of Creative Age Leadership, she offers executive coaching and consulting to women who are ready and willing to take that leap into the C-Suite positions.
Heather helps women in technology tap into their true leadership potential and start questioning, what is possible if the world looked different? She helps women give their true value to the workforce and step into leadership in a major way.
Her services include highly customized leadership and management training, in the shape of workshops and one-on-one coaching, as well as working with intact teams. Her signature workshop, Banish the Box, is geared to helping women create their unique culture of innovation. In addition, she helps them learn how to attract and keep top talent and form a problem-solving team. It quickly helps women accelerate their true talents in leadership.
According to Furby, “Technology is one of the fastest growing industries and it’s very out of balance right now. We are teaching women how to express passions of innovation, creativity and problem-solving within technology and leadership.
That takes a person being confident. What we say at our company is that you need three things to succeed. Be curious, connected and confident. And that’s what we teach women in technology – the opportunities in being curious, what it means to be connected and how to be a confident leader.”
The training at Creative Age Leadership helps women use their natural skills for building community and connections so they can step into their leadership.
To learn more about Heather Furby, visit: CreativeAgeLeadership.com