We sat down with Chief Co-Founder, Lindsay Kaplan, on the MoneyLion-sponsored Women Who Roar segment on Cheddar, as we share how she’s created a private network dedicated to helping women advance the career ladder to executive positions.
Women in C suite positions have been on the rise in the past few years. In 2021, women hold around 25% of the c suite roles in the counties’ 1000 largest companies. While the increase in female leadership is encouraging to women looking to grow in their careers and earn more money – not all companies have the proper processes in place to support this new trend.
Lindsey Kaplan of Cheif also felt this as she worked her way into corporate positions. When she was the VP Casper, she noticed there was diversity in the c suite but she found herself mentoring other women in the company on a regular basis. While she welcomed women who needed mentoring, she and another female VP realized there needed to be a program to help facilitate and discuss the challenges women face at the c suite level.
Kaplan and co-founder Carolyn Childers started small by opening the network to women in New York City. They hoped they would get a few hundred members – and they did, quickly! In fact, Chief is over 5,000 members strong today stretching to women all across the world.
So what happens at Cheif? At its core, Chief is a mentoring and networking group for women in the c suite to connect, discuss issues, wins and create friendships. Kaplan states that networking with Cheif isn’t just about transactional partnerships, but growing a long-term relationship where you can continue to get to know someone and lift each other up during your careers.
Chief’s networking system works with peer groups that bring together groups of 10 women together at different corporate levels, diverse backgrounds and varying industries throughout the year. At these events, an executive coach from Cheif facilitates this conversation while normalizing help and support in the workplace. Members can join online, through the app or can even enjoy perks like visiting on our their artfully designed clubhouse locations in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago
Chief members have even had personalized events with speakers such as Stacy Abrams, Jane Fonda, Amal Clooney and Gloria Steiman to name a few.
While the pandemic has caused many women across the world to leave or lose their jobs earlier than expected, Chief has been there to offer support and get feedback from their members to discuss what is really happening in the workplace throughout 20-21. An internal survey at Cheif concluded that over a third of their members said they have been knocked off their career course and quarter plan to leave their company sooner than expected because of how their company handled the pandemic. We’re not just talking mothers and caregivers, 77% of the non-caregiver members reported they felt they had to work harder to keep up with the pace of the pandemic.
Throughout it all, Chief has stuck to their mission of keeping an emphasis on women networking, creating community and supporting each other. As the workforce reassembles, Kaplan also notes that creating a diverse c suite is not just about checking boxes – the company has to support those changes and provide help to women and especially people of color moving into c suite roles.
Although Lindsay Kaplan has a wealth of advice she reiterates that your career is not a ladder but a mountain. There will be ups and downs, hurdles all along your path and to understand that these challenges are normal.
Be sure to follow Cheif on Linkedin to see how they are making a difference in female leadership or you can nominate yourself or a woman in your company to become part of the Cheif network.