Reimagining the Diversity of Leadership Through the #MeToo Movement

By: Joy Lillis Last year was one to remember for America. We inaugurated a new President, experienced a total solar eclipse, withdrew from the Paris

By: Joy Lillis

Last year was one to remember for America. We inaugurated a new President, experienced a total solar eclipse, withdrew from the Paris Agreement and witnessed the rise of several significant social movements. One that particularly grabbed everyone’s interest was the #MeToo movement. Launched by Tarana Burke in 2006, #MeToo spread virally in 2017 across social media and aimed to raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. It won the attention of millions and the support of many prominent celebrities who courageously shared their #MeToo stories. What it revealed was even more powerful; the issue of sexual misconduct against women is a far greater issue than anyone could have imagined, or rather, was willing to acknowledge.

While Hollywood was quick to respond, Corporate America seems to be dragging their feet on the issue. There are many routes to fixing the problem, but one of the most effective ways is through diversity, which my company, Ellig Group, specializes in. #MeToo was the result of decades of abuse by powerful men across various industries, and it begs the question, “What if more women were at the top of these companies? Would their voices curb this behavior?”

A recent study conducted by Catalyst shows that approximately 25% of women tend to report experiencing sexual harassment, even though the number of those who experience it is far greater. The study continues to highlight that of the 25%, about 72% of sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC included allegations of retaliation.[1] The Acting Chair of the EEOC, Chair Victoria Lipnic was also recently quoted saying that, “only about 30 percent of women who experience harassment ever complain internally.” So, what can we do about it?

Sexual harassment programs have been in place for decades but to no avail; to change the culture of an organization, a company needs a balanced Board, C-Suite, and equal representation of men and women in leadership positions. It is no surprise that in a country where women occupy only 21.2% of board seats and 26.5% of executive and senior level positions[2], harassment runs rampant. Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev wrote an incredible article in Harvard Business Review called “Training Programs and Reporting Systems Won’t End Sexual Harassment. Promoting More Women Will,” which discusses the prevalence of harassment in workplaces where men hold the majority of managerial positions.[3]

Companies must reimagine the diversity of their leadership, and create a culture where there is a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment – and they must do it now. Ellig Group is an executive search firm that specializes in diversity leadership and has a track record of changing the landscape for a more diverse face in Corporate America for decades – before it was an initiative or a popular movement. Ellig Group advises on diverse leadership because it makes good business sense to represent employees, customers, shareholders, and the communities in which companies operate. It’s also just the right thing to do. The culture of an organization is shaped by the behavior at the top, and the only way to drive positive change is to have gender equality at the top.


Reimagining Search With The Ellig Group

As our clients adapt to meet the rapid pace of change across all industries, we, too, have transformed. The Ellig Group was established, created organically

As our clients adapt to meet the rapid pace of change across all industries, we, too, have transformed. The Ellig Group was established, created organically from its legacy company, Chadick Ellig, and with much of the same team that serviced clients over the years still in place!

Our Executive Search Practice, focused on retained senior-level searches for the C-Suite, divisional, and boardroom positions, remains the cornerstone of our business. We continue to work with clients across all industries, including diversified Financial Services, Professional Services, and Healthcare & Nonprofit. Functionally, we continue to be a multi-specialist firm, with an emphasis on the Communications, Marketing, Digital, Finance, Human Resources, Legal, and Strategy verticals.

Our commitment to inclusion is the hallmark of our company and our people. We know – and the research shows “groupthink” is mitigated and that diverse leadership teams make for the best, most innovative, and most successful organizations. We are immensely proud of our unparalleled track record and ability to truly deliver for our clients: Over the past three years, 96% of our candidate panels contained women and/or diverse candidates, resulting in 75% of our Executive Placements and 85% of our Board Appointments being women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, and veterans.

While our Executive Search Practice is the foundation of our company, it is only the beginning of our partnership with our clients and candidates! Professional development is a lifelong journey and our philosophy, offering a more meaningful and holistic approach to the full talent life cycle, is enhanced by our new Leadership Practice. Through our advisory and assessment capabilities, as well as our leadership development and onboarding programs, we provide the guidance and tools to help individual executives and client organizations reach their goals before and after the search process. We’ll share more about these services here in the coming weeks and months, but here is a quick overview of what you can expect:

  • Executive Assessment: We have developed an insightful and comprehensive methodology for assessing an executive’s key drivers and critical performance factors, and his or her overall alignment with an organization’s culture, practices and rewards.
  • Onboarding: Our post-placement roadmap guides leaders in making a smooth and successful transition into a new executive role. This service includes ongoing post-placement communication and advice, client alignment strategic review, candidate review to discuss priorities and identify success strategies, and executive coaching.
  • Executive Coaching: We offer customized needs-specific guidance geared towards high-potential talent and executives who want to increase their performance and refine their leadership style.
  • Leadership Development: We offer a variety of programs on key leadership topics, including a monthly seminar where Janice Reals Ellig shares advice and insights to talent board-ready women looking to position themselves to serve on their first board.

We want to thank you for all of the trust you have placed in us over the years as we’ve had the privilege of helping you build out your organizations’ leadership teams or navigate your own personal career changes. We are incredibly excited to embark upon this exciting next chapter of our journey at The Ellig Group with you!


Janice Reals Ellig at the Breakfast of Corporate Champions November 14, 2017


Watch Janice Reals Ellig on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” November 14, 2017


Closing Bell at Cheddar: Gender equality in corporate America


“The Fearless Girl” – Janice Reals Ellig, CEO The Ellig Group


Why it is crucial to stay relevant - Janice Reals Ellig - CEO The Ellig Group


Women on Boards - Janice Reals Ellig - CEO The Ellig Group


The Value of Networking - Janice Reals Ellig - CEO The Ellig Group


The importance of a personal brand - Janice Reals Ellig - CEO The Ellig Group


We need a new breed of leaders - Janice Reals Ellig - CEO The Ellig Group


Boardroom diversity should include ‘four and more’ on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” July 25, 2017


Cheddar TV interview with Janice Reals Ellig – CEO Ellig Group:


Closing Bell at Cheddar: Gender equality in corporate America


Say it–Target It–Measure It. Janice Reals Ellig speaks to CCTV America


Janice Reals Ellig interview with CNBC Power Lunch - Gender diverse boardrooms and C-suite May 23 2018



Vox -The number of women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies has dropped by 25 percent

The decline in women Fortune 500 CEOs is “disappointing,” Ellig said, but also a wake-up call for corporations.


Financier – Q&A: Diversity in the Boardroom and C-Suite

“Like driving financial growth, responsible chief executives that champion equality do the same for talent acquisition – at the board, C-suite and throughout an organization,” – Janice Ellig


Nasdaq-Listed Companies Moving the Needle on Diversity in the Boardroom

NASDAQ.COM September 6, 2017

“The business case for gender parity has been made, and further progress toward that goal is going to depend on tone at the top.” states Janice Reals Ellig.


Women CEOs Earned More Last Year, But Few Were in Top Job


“Unconscious bias in the workplace is keeping women from getting opportunities that will put them on track to for top roles,” comments Janice Reals Ellig.


Startling Results of a Recent Gender Parity Survey Draw a New Frame Around an Old Picture

HUFFINGTON POST April 26, 2017

Janice Reals Ellig discusses a recent survey by the Women’s Forum of New York that sheds new light on an old issue–a disproportionate number of women executives recognize the problem of gender parity versus men executives who don’t.


Fearless Girl – SHE is the Future and the Future is NOW!


Janice Reals Ellig discusses where women are NOT!



Janice Ellig is the co-author of two highly regarded books:

What Every Successful Woman Knows

Acknowledged by Bloomberg Businessweek as “the best of its genre,” Janice’s first book offers 12 proven strategies for women who have set their sights on the executive suite. Derived, in part, from in-depth interviews with more than 200 successful senior corporate women, these strategies embody an array of critical dos and don’ts—from building a power base to avoiding becoming a generalist (multi-specialize instead)—and a range of key tactical behaviors, such as bonding with your boss, exuding authority, and seizing the significant and dumping the insignificant. Together these strategies constitute a coherent action plan for getting the power in an organization and wielding it effectively.


Driving the Career Highway

As the leader of The Ellig Group, Janice has decades of experience working with people who failed to see the signs of trouble in their careers – or to read them right. Here she distills the twenty most compelling problems and situations that can cause a person to detour, stall, get lost, or crash and burn on their career highway.

“For anyone whose career could use an overhaul – or even just a tune – up – Driving the Career Highway is a must-read. Loaded with fresh insights and practical, down-to-earth wisdom, it’s an indispensable guidebook for navigating the murky terrain of corporate success today.”

– Fortune Magazine’s expert career columnist Ms. Anne Fisher (“Ask Annie”), Career columnist,