Andrea Jung, President and CEO of Grameen America, the fastest-growing microfinance organization in the United States, came to Bridgewater for a fireside chat where she spoke about wealth inequality in the US, career management, marrying your passions with your career, and lessons for leadership — specifically why progress towards more diverse and inclusive workplaces demands strong leadership. The conversation, which was moderated by Bridgewater’s Lexie Toorock, addressed Jung’s ascent to being the longest-serving female chief executive in the Fortune 500, as well as Jung’s perspective on the current landscape of leadership today.
While Jung built her career to the C-suite and boards of many prominent companies, she never neglected her passion to champion women’s rights, increase representation, and mentor the next generation of women and minority executives. Beyond her personal commitment to doing so, she believes that decisive leaders need to recognize the lack of diversity around them and create strategies to assist in breaking the glass ceilings that hold back women and minorities. That said, she is hopeful for a brighter future, as the amount of diverse talent in “CEO-Ready” positions is greater than it has ever been.
Jung told the Bridgewater audience that businesses are at an inflection point: They can drastically shape this country’s future by choosing merit over convention when fulfilling their next leadership role. She encouraged the audience to continue leading in the realm of Diversity and Inclusion and taking advantage of Bridgewater’s honest, open, meritocratic culture to keep driving forward in the pursuit of a more diverse and inclusive environment.