Break the Ceiling, Touch the Sky: Lessons for Inclusive Leadership

At BIC, we believe professional development goes beyond just training, providing our team members worldwide with access to resources and opportunities that allow them to reach their full potential.

Most recently several team members from North America attended 2023 Americas Break the Ceiling Touch the Sky® virtual event, of which BIC is a proud sponsor.

Hosted by House of Rose Professional, the virtual experience brings female leaders and male champions together to exchange and learn from best practices within the diversity and inclusion space. This year’s event had specific focus on tools and techniques C-level leaders can take back to their organizations to foster more inclusive and equitable practices.

Chairman and CEO Anthony A. Rose provided the group with an overview of House of Rose Professional’s mission:

To have 70 female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies by the year 2029, which is currently only at 24.

Rose explained that we all have a role to play when it comes to moving the needle on this topic – and empowering female talent is where it starts.

Attendees heard from industry experts through the day around several relevant topics, including:

  • Building virtual teams for success
  • Workplace productivity
  • How AI impacts leadership and diversity
  • Prioritizing emotional and mental well-being
  • Chester Twigg, BIC Group’s Commercial Officer and avid champion of female equality, spoke about the biases that exist within artificial intelligence, and how this may impact women. Twigg also gave special mention to our Rocketbook products, which are changing the game when it comes to personal and professional productivity, allowing people to benefit from the memory recall associated with writing, while embracing the new age of notetaking in the cloud with a reusable product that is good for the planet.

Some of the biggest takeaways from the 2023 America’s session came from the personal perspectives and experiences shared by the panelists.

  • Christina Ruggiero, Coca Cola President of Global Nutrition Category, spoke about the struggles women often face when applying for jobs – disqualifying themselves for not meet all job requirements vs. thinking about their strengths.
  • A panel of speakers from Coca Cola, Revlon, P&G and Diego shared their own paths to career success – and how no two look the same. Sometimes lateral moves are the ones that help you grow the most.
  • Chris Albi, GVP of Operations at The Kroger Company, spoke about the importance of prioritizing oneself, explaining that you can’t possibly have the energy to lead dynamically without taking some time to recharge.  

In one of the day’s final sessions, attendees heard from BIC’s own Kelly Rolader, VP of Revenue Growth & Development, and Monique Lanaux, Chief Talent & Diversity Officer at Alberton’s Companies, where they discussed how each organization, respectively, is transforming within the DEI space.

  • “The honesty and vulnerability of the speakers really touched me as an employee and as a woman.  It was amazing to hear their challenges and successes and know we are not alone in so many of our experiences.  It also was wonderful to hear how other companies are approaching their support of inclusive and equitable work forces and especially wonderful to feel a part of BIC’s actions in this space,” said Jenelle Bartel, Senior National Accounts Manager.

Kelly shared about BIC’s approach to DEI, focusing on four key areas: Belonging, attracting, promoting and influencing. Taking small steps to establish a grassroots movement, fueled by the passion of our team members and buy-in from leadership, is what helps us continue to evolve and adapt our approach.

  • “Break the Ceiling Touch the Sky® gives us an opportunity to take a brief pause from our everyday lives and focus on the ambition of gender equality. Hearing the personal perspectives and journeys of other women leaders motivates me to continue to lead from a place of personal passion, enlist male advocates on my journey, and bring other women with me as I climb,” Kelly says as she reflects on the session.

By providing our team members with the opportunities to share their perspectives and experiences, like in forums such as Break the Ceiling Touch the Sky®, we know we’ll continue to champion change and do what’s right to create a more equitable and inclusive workplace for all.

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