Women of Color Have High Ambition, But Little Help

Articles | October 26 2017

By Alina Dizik

When Alissa Johnson, one of Xerox ’s XRX -8.73% most senior minority female executives, mentors women of color, she tells them to forget their comfort zone. With a shortage of female executives—especially in technology roles—she is often the only minority and the only woman in meetings.

“Everyone wants one person to break in and bring the rest of us along,” says Ms. Johnson, chief information security officer at Xerox, who previously was deputy chief information officer at the White House.

But so far it hasn’t worked out that way. As female executives of color, including Ms. Johnson, reach the upper echelons of large corporations, plenty more say they want to be there but can’t find a way.

When it comes to corporate ambition, women of color are far more likely than white women to say they aspire to a top executive role, according to a new study from LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co., which surveyed 70,000 women and men in North America. Yet black, Latina and Asian women still hold only 3% of C-suite roles, compared with 16.7% of entry-level roles, the study found.  (Read more)